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Tia's dreams were pleasant. Memories of her childhood. She and Boe ran along the water's edge, the winds whipping through her then, short and unbound hair. The winds played with the strands and the feathers she had woven in, making petals from the accompanying flowers shake loose and fall into the stream, racing the girl and her wolf hound down the banks.
Then it was night time, a bright fire lit in a forest clearing and Tia dancing the sound of the snaps and pops, leaping and twirling to the swaying of the flames. She didn't smile, for she was concentrating, learning. But still she felt herself slipping, slipping deeper into the warmth and the passion. She twirled and leaped, the fire's heat spurring her on when it was meant as a warning. She felt to her knees in front of the flames and opened her arms, commanding it upward in a final crescendo. The flames rushed forward and up and Tia screamed...
And woke up. The room was still dark but rays of morning crept in from behind the curtains. Tia took all the breath she had held in and breathed it out, calmly. It was not the first time she dreamed of that memory, nor would it be the last. That dream always came with the familiar pain in her right arm. There was danger close by. Her hand found the glass necklace and the coolness of the bead helped steady her heart. She looked over at Boe who was laying completely still but his ears were alert. She placed a hand on him and looked at Meer who was asleep on top of the bed, exactly how she had left her the night before. Tia leaned back against Boe who still didn't move. She felt he could sense it too. Something was close enough that the elements wanted to warn her. She let her hand creep up to her arm and she touched the rough, raised flesh. It stung and burned despite being an old wound. She looked at Meer again.
She stood up and walked over to the bed. There was her teacher, laying in just her underwear, again. It almost made Tia chuckle how use she was becoming to the sight of Meer in her underwear. Slowly, Tia shook Meer, hoping she would come easily out of sleep.
"[#ff6b05 [b Meer. Meer you need to wake up.]]" She waited until she saw Meer's two bright golden orbs looking up at her before she gave her the news.
"[#ff6b05 [b Meer, there is something bad coming. I know it. We need to get ready. Now.]]"
There they were, those luminescent little lines that she'd studied for so many years of her life. They were thicker than she'd ever seen them. They were glorious and silver, lined with black. They were holding her aloft in this perfect white void that surrounded her. She in turn was surrounded by the little coils of light. Or was she? It was hard to tell where the ground was in this place. It's not like the floor would be evident in a void.
Then, something materialized on the horizon. A little black dot. It was moving towards her. As it did, it began to gain form, and definition. It was a woman's form, made of smoke. It's eyes were fiery beacons, reaching out towards her. She was sprinting right towards Meer. Meer was confident that her coils of light couldn't be bypassed, and remained calm, but when the smoke woman came to the coils. She stopped, blinked, and walked right in.
Then, she was the only person she'd ever shown her heart to. That long, ebony hair, the red energy seeping from steely eyes. Those literally perfect curves. Sarah. She was at a loss, even more so when she spoke.
[#a85a5a "You aren't going to keep me waiting are you?"] Then, she was awake, in a sweat and dazed. She rose to all fours, panting.
Then, she scrabbled up the headboard and out of the window, climbing to the roof. Once on top, she looked to the sky. A full moon was out. Still in her underwear, she began sprinting across the rooftops toward a spot she knew. A spot close to her heart, a spot she hoped was occupied.
It was a bridge in between the two northern watchtowers of the trade district. It overlooked the entire district, and was next to the keep. But this particular bridge was rather secluded, overborne by the keep as it was.
It was the spot Meer had realized she was in love. A thought that spurred her to move faster.
And by the time she reached the bridge, she was there. Skin as pale as the moonlight that shone on it, and almost ethereal in appearance, dressed in her cloak as she was. That old blood colored cloak concealing her form. Meer approached her on the moonlit bridge slowly, nervously.
[+gold "Hey Sarah. Have you uh... Found a cure for your condition?"] Sarah turned with a bittersweet smile.
[#a85a5a "You'd be the first to know if I had."] Sarah almost floated over to the edge of the bridge, then opened her cloak to reveal that black lingerie she always teased Meer with, taking a seat and beckoning her over.
Meer approached slowly, sitting down and nuzzling into the larger woman's shoulder. She sat in silence for moment.
[+gold "I promise I won't be so long next time."] Sarah chuckled at her, wrapping an arm around Meer.
[#a85a5a "Be sure that you don't. The men in the city drive me crazy."] It was Meer's turn to chuckle now. It was half hearted however.
[+gold "Did you want to spend the night together?"] Sarah smiled down at her, drawing Meer into a long kiss, much more satisfying than the one she'd received in her store. When Sarah broke it, she was left a little dazed, and fairly disappointed.
[#a85a5a "We both know you'd be gone by the time I woke up. If you want more, you'll have to visit again soon."] Sarah spoke while standing up, drawing her cloak closed as she vanished into the shadows. Meer was left alone with a warm feeling on her lips, and a hollow sensation in her heart.
The moonlight bathed her in sympathy, but it was lost upon the mouse-woman, who was deep in thought about her wanderings. With a heavy sigh, she realized she had work to do, and made her way back to her bed. She drifted into sleep fitfully, mind abuzz with unwanted thoughts.
Tia just watched as Meer paid the bartender and left upstairs. She watched as her mentor wandered up the stairs, clothes in hand instead of on her body; Tia was beginning to think she preferred it that way. She had noticed something in her mentor's eyes when she walked over, something had come over that alluring golden sparkle she normally had. It was gone almost as fast as Tia noticed it but she noticed it for sure.
Tia looked down at Boe who looked up with his face a mess of pork strings and his eyes a slight plead. Tia sighed out and shook her head.
"[#ff6b05 [b Come one Boe. We need to go upstairs.]]"
He whimpered slightly and looked at his shredded ham bone. Tia shook her head with a smile and waved Boe and his bone towards her. Boe yelped gently and scooped it up in his mouth and Tia picked up the messy plate and put it on the counter. The barkeeper gave her a dirty look and she thought about blowing some nose blood on the plate just to complete his bad attitude. She just stared for a couple more seconds before turning and wiping her crusting nose with the back of her hand. Blood smeared across her hand and she frown gently. She thought about snapping it back in place like she always had but Meer would be disappointed in her if she did that. She would go to their room and try it there. Somewhere she could sit down encase she managed to mess it up.
She rounded the corner of the stairs and stared at the line of doors. She thought back to what the bartender said.
"[#ff6b05 [i Third room on the right or second room on the right?]]"
Tia walked two down to the right and reached for the knob before stopping. She snapped her fingers gently and Boe came padding over and sniffed at the door. He sneezed out and backed away, shaking his head.
"[#ff6b05 [i Not that one.]]" She pointed to the next door and Boe sniffed at that one before pawing at the wood gently, the bone still comically in his mouth. Tia turned the knob and opened the door.
There was Meer laying across the single bed, her clothing choice not having changed.
"[#ff6b05 [i She must be exhausted.]]" At the thought, it was like a code word for her body to almost sag beneath her. She gripped the doorknob and sagged her shoulders. Boe padded over to the corner of the room and laid down and curled his tail around him. He whimpered and laid his head close to his body. This was his signal for Tia to lay down with him and sleep. They did it so many times when they lived in the wilderness. Tia smiled and walked right over, laying down, her head resting against Boe's furry side. Nothing was more comfortable then Boe. He was warm and soft and his breathing was the most comforting thing in the world for Tia. She took a deep breath and focused.
"[#ff6b05 [i Nirris...]]" She thought gently, reaching out and feeling the energies around her. There was air like always, just in and out of her reach, playful and light, like smoke. She focused harder and sat completely still, her breathing deeply in and deeply out. There she saw it, the golden light and the string of forgotten words.
"[#ff6b05 [b [i Pone rectum in nasus]]]"
There was a snap and she sat up with a little yelp of pain. She clasped her hand over her mouth and fresh blood that had come out of her newly set nose and she let a whispering string of curses go into her hand as she laid back down. It felt right but by the fucking Gods did that hurt. She felt the blood trickle down the side of her face and she wiped it again before shrugging and letting it go. It would stop soon enough and she could drain some down the back of her throat anyway. A little blood never hurt before.
She laid with her head back for a little while listening to Boe munch quietly on her bone. Soon, his munching turned to licking and his licking turned to silence as he fell asleep, his breathing deepening. By the time he let out his first dog snore, Tia was asleep herself.
Meer was taking another drink from her mug as Tia spoke up about betting on her. Meer continued on drowning herself in the sweet honeyed beverage. Slowly tipping the mug until she no longer felt the liquid delight trailing down her gullet. At which point she melodramatically slammed the mug onto the counter, wiping her dribbling lip off sensuously with her tongue. She held up a finger at her good friend, the bartender, who, in a long suffering sigh, got her another drink. She grasped her fresh mug in hand, turning back towards the ring, to find her erstwhile student squared off against some poor everydude.
Meer turned towards Boe, poor thing. Or maybe not so poor. He was a dog with a nice steak to chew on. Couldn’t be upset if he tried. Meer whistled at the dog, getting his attention handily.
[+gold “So pooch. Think she'll survive?”] the question lingered as Boe looked at her doe eyed, before tilting his head and whining a bit before returning to his steak. [+gold “Yeah, yer probably right.”]
But just as Tia and Mr. Dude began to get past the foreplay, it began seeping into her vision. That lingering darkness. Meer struggled to keep her eyes open as the bar around her vanished and the battlefield loomed before her again. Her chest caught, and everyone before her became shadows of themselves, all flowing into the floor and red eyed. Their cheers weren’t the happy cheers of competition. They were raucous war cries, grinding against her ears as she watched the shadows before her batting. Dueling. Meer began breathing faster, her heartbeat thrumming in her ears. She grasped at her knees to try and remember how she got here, but there was nothing. Nothing but the high.
The high of battle. The smell of scorched flesh. The sound of steel grinding against bone. She saw the two fighting and roared with the shadows around her. As the smaller shadow made to stand above the other, Meer yelled out.
[+gold “Give him hell!”] Meer's cry was particularly bloodthirsty. Then she heard that all too familiar snapping noise; and she smiled. But as the shadows began to shift again, the haze in her eyes began to clear, and the battlefield rolled back, the weapons dotting it vanished, the bar returning. She found herself still sitting down, gripping the handle of her mug so hard that she'd warped the steel that framed the handle. She loosened her grip a little bit, deigning to take in more of the alcohol, trying to drive off the haze that filled her mind. As Tia sat back down she asked a simple question, one that Meer answered with a wave of her hand, a glorious silver line of magic trailed behind it.
[+gold “Of course you can. Just don’t expect it to feel good.”] She felt her blood on fire, and quickly made to drink again, eager to control her blood. The alcohol left pins and needles all along her skin as she restrained her tendency for battle. She flung her head to either side, her neck popping audibly. She huffed and felt her control returning. The pins remained, but perhaps that was for the best.
[+gold “Anyway kid, it's getting pretty late. You’ve got a very early morning to catch.”] Meer shifted about to face the bartender again, separating some silver pieces from her little pile, and scooting them towards the bartender. He scooped them up and spoke quickly, in a tone one might call relieved.
[+brown “Third room on the right. Hope you don’t mind a single bed.”] Meer laughed and waved her hand at him shortly before taking her mug back in hand and deciding to finish off her drink. It took several seconds and a worried look from the bartender before she stopped. She slammed the mug back down on the counter with a heavy sigh, followed by a deep breath. She grabbed up her clothes and dropped them into her satchel, long forgotten at her feet. Quick as a flash, the money was swept from the counter and into the same bag. Shouldering the worn bag, she made quickly for the stairs that stood inconspicuously at the other end of the bar, almost entirely unnoticeable between the spectacle and the beer.
With little taps, Meer made her way up the stairs, staggering on the last step, she caught herself reflexively, performing a wobbly somersault back onto her feet and into a hallway that stretched a distance she couldn’t even comprehend right now. She held up her left hand and counted to the third door on her right. With a stupid smile, she walked carefully to the door, managing to make it into the little room.
It was absolutely Spartan in appearance. Barely furnished, a large bed dominated most of the room, and a small table sat to the left of it, a window just above the backboard of the bed. She walked onto the bed, not losing any speed from having to step up onto it, and immediately collapsed into the bed. In her state, Meer would easily admit to this bed being the most comfortable thing she'd ever lain on.
She certainly hoped that her student hadn't gotten lost out there. That hallway was tricky to navigate.
Tia gave a pointed look at the green man who wasn't paying them anymore attention; his heavy arm waving in the air to get the bartender's attention. Tia walked over to the bar and took the spoon in her hand, looking over at Meer who had already devoured most of hers. Was it that good? She took a small spoonful and put it into her mouth.
It was a small explosion of spices. Hot and cool in the mouth at the same time, the rice balancing the spice of the broth, meaty and full of earthy vegetables at the same time. She took the next spoonful with much more gusto and began eating much like Meer, taking ever explosion with joy. She hadn't noticed Boe begging until she looked down and saw his pained expression at her enjoying food without him. She ruffled his ears and picked up the gold piece from the pile beside Meer.
"[#ff6b05 [b Barkeep, some meat please, rare as you can make it. If you have pork, that would be much obliged.]]"
The bartender just gave her a gesture to tell her that he heard her when Meer began speaking again.
"[u Hey, maybe we'll make more money. I mean, it's unlikely I'll be in any more fights. But, maybe some poor whelp will need some healing.]"
Tia looked back at the pits and felt the familiar pull in her chest towards the dirt. Others were sitting around it, calling for the next round of fights, money being traded between hands in the background.
"[#ff6b05 [b Perhaps there is.]]" Tia just murmured into her bowl of almost gone rice special. She watched a human man, covered in tattoos that she didn't recognize stepped into the pits, calling out a challenge in a booming voice. Tia stood up, placing her dish on the bar and looked at Meer. She was here to learn, she knew but she knew the nature of the calling.
"[#ff6b05 [b Bet on me this time Meer.]]" She said with a small smile and before Meer could protest, she was headed down towards the pit.
She raised her hand and meekly said, "[#ff6b05 [b I'll take a go..]]" She raised her chin to the laughter. She didn't have Meer's aura or her skill but she was determined to prove she wasn't useless. That's what pulled her to watch, to want to do this. Tia idolized Meer for what she could do and Tia was going to prove she wasn't helpless. She wouldn't let Meer think that of her.
"[i You have got to be shitting me...]" The man said rolling his eyes.
"[#ff6b05 [b Scared?]]" She said placing her hands on her hips much like Meer would but without her famous smirk.
"[i Oh shut up.]" The man said brushing her off. "[i Is there anyone else willing to fight?]"
"[#ff6b05 [b I'm here.]]" Tia said putting a little more force in her voice. The man looked at her, clearly annoyed.
"[i Give the little girl a weapon then... At least try and make this fair.]"
"[#ff6b05 [b I don't need one.]]"
The man laughed and rolled his shoulders. "[i Fine but if you start crying when I knock you on your ass, I swear to the Gods, I'll give you a] real [i reason to cry]"
Tia smiled then and planted her feet shoulder width apart. The man laughed at her again and mimicked her.
"[i Here it comes girly.]"
He stepped forward and threw a lazy punch that Tia easily blocked. The crowd booed, obviously bored of the slow paced match. The man feinted and laughed when Tia flinched to dodge. He gave her another small jab that she lazily dodged.
"[i Aw... feel like you're doing well? Well, not anymore!]" He said punching straight for her face. She blocked to the left and spun, driving her elbow up into his jaw, sending him staggering back and the crowd into silence. The man looked at her with anger and disbelief and she shrugged.
"[#ff6b05 [b Oops... lucky hit?]]"
"[i Bitch]" The man growled stepping forward again, throwing a combination of punches. Tia dodged them, focusing on the movement of air around his punching and ducking or blocking them with her forearms. He swept for her legs and she jumped, vaulting herself over his head with a little help from the air. She landed behind him and stood, turning in time to see the red rage in his eyes. He lashed out with kicks and punches and Tia avoided most of them, taking a shot to her forearm and side that left her winded. She exhaled hard and dropped to a knee before rolling from an overhead kick. She breathed in and kicked up with two legs, connecting with the man's ribs. He staggered to the side, holding his ribs and the crowd cheered. She stood again and readied herself. She smiled at him.
"[#ff6b05 [b Come on.]]" She breathed and made the first move. She went in close, dodging a punch and getting inside his defenses. She balled her hand into a fist and drove it with extra force into the side of his face, sending him flying to the side. She bounced a little bit, feeling the wind that propelled her hit playing with her hair a little, her body heating up like it normally did when she was in a fight.
The man looked back at her before running forward and suddenly grabbing her head and cracking her face against his knee. She saw stars and dropped to her knees, blood rushing to her face and down the front of her mouth and chest. She knelt in the dirt, world spinning and the man knelt before her.
"[i Nice tricks but you'll need more than that to...]"
He was cut off when Tia moved. She grabbed his arm and kicked out his legs so he was laying on his side on Tia's body. She wrapped her arms around his arm, torso and underneath his other armpit. She pulled his arm and torqued his wrist, feeling the muscles straining.
"[#ff6b05 [b More.]]" She simply said and dislocated his arm. The man screamed and Tia let him go, pushing herself backwards and wiping her nose with her hand. The man laid on the ground and growled and whimpered at the same time. She waited for him to get up but he didn't, not willing to say anything to her either.
Tia's head was spinning so she just smiled and raised an arm.
"[#ff6b05 [b Whoo!]]" She joked and walked out of the pits to more people exchanging money, some happy some angry. She walked over to Meer and gave her a shy smile.
"[#ff6b05 [b So... um... now that that is out of the way... can one heal one's own broken nose?]]" She said trying not to smile with all the blood in her teeth.
Meer sniggered at the green man's assumption. She knew damn well that healing could suppress pain, but no better than medicine could. Pain wasn’t something that just faded in this world. Not so long as the gods had something to say about it. It was unfortunate, seeing as most people had quite an aversion to pain. Meer giggled girlishly again.
[+gold “Hey bud, you aren’t bleeding internally anymore. You owe me, and my girl here some money. How's that for wounded?”] He snorted indignantly before throwing several coins of varying rarity at Meer. Her mug wobbled against the counter as her hands became a blur, snatching the coins out of the air and placing them upon the counter, a little pile of silver and one gold piece. Meer relaxed her posture again, nodding her head towards the pile.
[+gold “Now that’s how you make money Tia. Take some. That gold piece is yours for healing him, I believe.”] Meer stretched out a little bit, her hand gently resting itself upon the handle to her mug, where it stayed as Meer's nose shot into the air. She began sniffing the air rapidly, her little button nose detecting the usual smells of blood, sweat, and alcohol. But there was another smell, something heavenly wafting from the back of the bar, and she spun about to look past the bartender and through the window leading into the kitchen. She could see two people bustling about back there. Not much long after the smell had reached Meer's inquisitive nose, the smaller figure made some quick motions with it's hands, and in an instant, a pair of incorporeal hands floated out to the bar carrying the dishes ordered earlier by Tia. They clattered for only a moment as the hands set them down and vanished into the air.
Meer had been licking her lips through the entire torturous process of the dish being delivered to her. She quickly took he spoon from her dish, and bore her mousey buck teeth in a predatory manner at the poor dish. With a quick motion, she'd taken a quick bite. A little gleeful squeal came through muffled as she chewed through the food. After removing the spoon from her mouth, she turned to Tia expectantly. Then realized she'd forgotten something
[+gold “You did good for your first time kid. And don’t worry about him not feeling good. Healing never feels good. Now, eat up before that gets cold.”] Meer quickly set about demolishing the dish in front of her, the rice vanishing before her eyes. She stopped, having realized that she had absolutely destroyed the food before her. She shook her head a little, taking a drink before continuing, and in a matter of moments, the food was gone. She let out a cute little burp and shook her head again, turning back to Tia.
[+gold “You channeled a little bit of Nirris' knowledge. That’s good. Tomorrow morning, we will meditate on it, and you'll learn a little more. For now, eat up and enjoy the atmosphere.”] Meer spun back around in her chair and flushed the rest of her drink down her throat. She burped again, covering her mouth with a fist as she did.
[+gold “Hey, maybe we'll make more money. I mean, it's unlikely I'll be in any more fights. But, maybe some poor whelp will need some healing.”] She closed her eyes and shrugged at her student. Then she shook her empty mug at the bartender, who, with a long with, refilled her mug and took a pair of silver coins from her little pile.
Tia listened intently to every word Meer said, the excitement she had felt the first time they met blossoming again in her chest.
"[i They will be like old memories you didn't know you had.]" Meer said with the most adorable hiccup in her voice. Tia pushed the thought aside and looked at the green man's protruding rib and increasingly sour face.
"[#ff6b05 [i Like memories I didn't know I had.]]" She thought to herself. Slowly she was brought back to her childhood. The wind whispering in her ears, guiding her hands into the positions she needed, the words coming effortlessly when called. It was like the wind pulled them from her lungs. Perhaps...
She gently hovered her hand above the man's chest. He scoffed a little bringing her out of her thought for a moment before closing her eyes and listening.
"[#ff6b05 [i Memories I never knew I had...]]" She repeated once more before being still. Slowly, the sounds of the bar started to die again and she felt only the wood beneath her feet, the heaviness of the air, and the heat from the bodies around her. The elements called her but she tried to stay strong. It was not their influence she needed.
"[#ff6b05 [i Nirris...]]" The word echoed in her mind and she took a deep breath. In the air, she gently felt it, a presence she had not known before. It worked it's way down her arm, neither hot nor cold, something entirely different. It felt like both liquid and air. Tia closed her eyes tighter, afraid if she opened them, the presence would be gone. Her heart hammered in her chest like a blacksmith's hammer, ringing in her ears.
She took another breath and said the words that were put in her head and in front of her eyes.
"[#ff6b05 [b [i Costam fregerunt fulciretur.]]]"
There was a loud snap and a roar from the green man that caused Tia's eyes to opened immediately and caused her to jump back in surprise. The rib was no longer ready to poke out of his skin but the ugly dark bruise still remained and a rather annoyed looking green man.
"[i Fucks sake that hurt more than breaking it. You couldn't be gentle.]"
"[#ff6b05 [b First time.]]" She admitted while crossing her arms. She was getting rather sick of his attitude. "[#ff6b05 [b Let's make sure your heckling didn't make me mess it up. How does it feel?]]"
He lifted his arm and winced. "[i Like it's in place again. Aren't you healers supposed to make it, I don't know, better?]]"
"[#ff6b05 [b In place [i is] better than almost coming out of your body.]]" Tia said with her own roll of the eyes. She looked back at Meer and saw the red staining her cheeks and almost commented on her cute little face. Then she thought much better of it and instead said, "[#ff6b05 [b I felt it. I heard Nirris. How did I do?]]"
Meer stopped smiling as she continued to drink down, the drink the bar tender had so graciously given the winner of that little brawl. It was strong, with a strong honey flavor it was hot and Meer expected one thing of it, for it to be alcoholic, which it was. Being able only to fight is not what she expected of her student. Seems she had a little explaining to do.
[+gold “Alright Tia. Clerical powers are granted by the god you worship. And they can be taken away just as well. Thankfully for you, Nirris isn't a very picky goddess, she preaches free will and tells us to accept the consequences for our actions.”] Meer took a moment to take another huge swig of her drink. The frothy liquid in her mug sloshed loudly as she lowered the mug back onto the counter. She could already feel the warmth spreading to her cheeks. Good thing she'd built a good tolerance for this stuff. She was small, so the alcohol spread quickly.
[+gold “Now, most clerical power requires wisdom. Seeing as you're young, you might not be terribly wise, but we'll find out soon enough. Now, wisdom isn't exactly having knowledge, but being able to use knowledge. Nirris will provide the knowledge, and I will teach you how to use it.”] Meer took her mug, placing it against her now increasingly moist lips. She let the strong mead slide increasingly easily down her throat. The taste of honey lingered on her lips so deliciously, she giggled a little bit. Then, she turned back to her erstwhile student.
[+gold “Now, just focus your mind, and try to remember the words for the spell. They will be like old memories you didn't-“] Meer's sentence was interrupted by a hiccup loud enough to make the bar stop for a second. [+gold “didn't know you had.”] Meer turned to examine her drink. Holding her arm up to the mug, it was almost as long as her forearm. Tolerance be damned, she needed to slow down a wee bit.
She set the mug down for a moment walking around the bar quickly to gather her clothes, setting them on the bar before looking back to Tia, watching her intently now, her golden eyes unwavering.
Tia just watched as Meer walked away. A lesson? She listened to what her mentor said and motioned the goat man back over.
"[#ff6b05 [b Hi, thanks. Um... two rice specials please?]]"
"[i Coming right up. Aaaanything for the hound?]" He looked down a little displeased at Boe's being there but Tia just hardened herself and shook her head.
"[#ff6b05 [b He takes care of himself.]]" She said with a slight but sly grin. The goat man didn't break eye contact for a moment as he walked away towards the back. Damn, those eyes were hauntingly beautiful but that voice...
Tia turned her attention back to the ring and look down for a moment as she saw Meer's half naked body again.
"[#ff6b05 [i You'd think I would be used to this by now.]]" She thought to herself as she brought her flushed cheeks back up to watch the ring. Apparently this was a lesson of some kind. Tia's face turned even more red as she hoped that stripping down into your underwear wasn't part of being a cleric. She had to admit, Meer didn't look bad in her underwear. She was exotically and ethereally beautiful with her luminescent tattoos. Tia found herself tracing her own markings as she watched Meer and the green man square off, ready to fight.
It was over before it even began. Meer swept the match and the green man found himself lying flat on his back, making noises that signaled something broken. Tia had been especially drawn to how Meer used water to bring the man in. She was still learning the extent of what Meer could do and her harness of the Western element stopped her for a moment. She came walking back over, green man in tow and still no clothing. Tia pursed her lips as Meer sat the man down close to them both and as she took a drink told Tia to fix the man's broken rib.
Tia's mouth opened for a moment and then closed in a flash. She didn't want to let Meer down but she had never healed anyone before. She had hurt people and gotten hurt but someone else always took care of it. Now here was a man sitting beside her, wheezing and looking at her with unkind eyes. In fact, he was partly glaring and pouting at her when she looked him over.
"[i You're going to heal me?]"
"[#ff6b05 [b Yes.]]" Tia said long and slow, dragging each syllable out longer than it needed to be. The man tried to sigh and roll his eyes but ended up wheezing painfully and going a little crosseyed.
"[#ff6b05 [b Serves you right.]]" She thought as she got a little closer to the side where his ribs were broken and started examining it. She could see a bruise already forming, black and greens making a ugly stain on the man's skin and a noticeable protrusion in his chest area.
"[#ff6b05 [b Gods damn it Meer. What did you do?]]"
She touched it gently just to try to get a sense of what she was dealing with and listened as the man hissed in pain.
"[i Could you not?]"
"[#ff6b05 [b I'm trying to help just calm yourself.]]" She spat out, her stress levels starting to rise. She felt Boe shift beside her and lay down, a small whimper as he did so. Tia breathed in and out, steadying herself and looked at Meer with her drink and underwear.
"[#ff6b05 [b I haven't healed anyone before. I need your help.]]" She admitted, her cheeks flushing again, this time with shame.
Well, at least the girl had confidence. Even if it wasn’t entirely there. The pit in the middle had been touched up since the last time she'd been here, and the bar was as sleek and shiny as ever. She immediately made her way over to the smooth, black, stone counter. She had to jump a little bit to get into the stool she planned on sitting in for approximately the next hour or so. Meer didn’t even hear what Tia had said over the sound of flesh hitting flesh. Her ears twitched about, Meer smiled at the sound. A sound so familiar. So intimate, so animalistic, and yet, so hostile. She swirled about on the stool, catching the final moments of the fight, she could feel the heat in the air. She took a moment to savor the smell of blood and sweat, before shaking her head, clearing the haze in time for her to catch what Tia had said about her paying Meer back. Her smile widened slowly.
[+gold “Yeah, I actually have a few ideas about that.”] She leaned back against the bar and undid her flowing red scarf, revealing the simple collar of her shirt and the large runic tattoos that crept up her neck to her chin, ending in pointed tips. She raised the scarf high above her head, and began waving it about frantically.
[+gold “Yoohoo! Big winner!”] within a few moments, she'd caught the attention of the horned green man. She crooked her finger towards herself beckoning him closer with a smoldering look in her eyes. She set her scarf on the bar as he made his way over, turning to Tia to say something quickly.
[+gold “Order the rice special, it's basically just a stew broth poured over a bed of rice, but something about the way the chef spices it makes it taste divine. Personal opinion. Order two, and fast, I'm going to prepare a lesson. ”] Meer returned her golden gaze to the man, now upon her. His gaze was expectantly triumphant for a pit fighter. Meer wasn’t like your everyday spectator. She had something more fun in mind. She simply, gave the man a once over with her eyes. He seemed to be getting impatient though, and quickly spoke up.
[+green “Well ladies, what is it?”]
[+gold “You aren't in bad shape, how'd you like a real fight?”] her words came out almost before he stopped talking. The man raised a quizzical eyebrow at the much smaller woman. She smiled back at him, continuing.
[+gold “I'll make things enticing for you. If you can beat me, I'll give you three gold pieces.”] The man raised his eyebrow even further, but grinned a little bit.
[+green “Alright missy, you're on.”] as he turned about to enter the ring, a wicked smile crossed Meer's lips. She turned to Tia, the smile fading a little bit.
[+gold “Bet on me.”] Meer then gestured to the bartender, before kicking off her boots and making her way into the ring. As she took the step down into the ring, the other combatant to be spoke up once more, seems he didn't ride the high quite like Meer did.
[+green “You sure you want to do this?”] Meer undid her blazing red sash and tossed it to the side, holding her arm out for flair, she used her other arm to remove her shirt and pants. She could feel the electric tingle on her tanned skin. The air was cool, her tattoos that covered her body began to luminesce slightly, the white markings giving Meer an exotic beauty, and the stares of everyone in the room. Though she'd likely have gotten those either way, with the way she was standing in her underwear. The tattoos were worming their way under those as well. The white leather articles sported gold tubing, and looked just as sturdy as their wearer, even as they gently hugged her curves and made her look even more feminine.
[+gold “Aren't you?”] She raised her hands into fists, and under her tattoos her lean muscles began to very much resemble a taut spring, full of energy, simply ready to burst with power. The bigger man smirked and flicked his hand toward himself, motioning for Meer to make the first move. Before he could finish his action, he began to regret it. Meer had spun around on one leg and flung her arm out, a tendril of water which wrapped about the man's waist, dragging him right into Meer's attack range. And she took advantage of the man's momentum to slam her elbow into his gut, causing him to double over. His body now hung over hers, Meer knocked his legs out from under him and proceeded to flip him onto his back, over herself.
Before he could recover, Meer leapt onto his chest, flattening both of her hands, and slamming them into the mans chest. A grunt, with the accompanying cracking noise, caused Meer to draw a smile. She made a strike at the ground with the tips of her hands, still flattened, making sizeable divots in the dirt on either side of the man's neck. Then she pulled her legs up, sitting on the mans chest. She just had a dopey from on her face as she stuck her feet into the divots.
[+gold “You can concede now sweetie. No one will think less of you.”] Meer propped her arm up on her knee, relaxing as the man caught his breath from the onslaught of blows he'd been subjected to. He waved one arm about breathlessly. Meer just chuckled and got off the man, helping him to his feet and dragging him over to where she'd been sitting before, leaving her clothes where they were for the moment. As Meer approached Tia, she grinned, from ear to ear, before setting, him down next to her.
[+gold “Alright Tia. He's got a fractured rib. You've been inducted as a cleric of Nirris. Try healing him.”] She leaned back into the bar, having taken a seat next to the man as well. She reached around behind herself, grabbing at the air, until the bartender sighed and, placed a drink in her hand, which she immediately brought to her lips and took a small sip of.
Tia smiled as she clasped the pendant around her neck. The cool surface of the glass made her happy and relaxed. She was also smiling at Meer's comment. This was much more her element. While traveling from town to town, Meer would sometimes act as a peace keeper. Barkeeps thought it was brilliant. An unsuspecting bouncer, they would sometimes call her. She wasn't a weak one, she wasn't afraid to knock a few heads should the need arise.
"[#ff6b05 [b No problem.]]" She said with a swing of arrogance in her step and voice.
She followed Meer inside and almost instantly her smile falter.
"[#ff6b05 [i Oh yeah Tia... no problem at all.]]"
Inside there was a bar to her right, tables to her left, a server walking around the outside near the walls because in the middle, down inside the floor was a ring where two men were duking it out, shirtless, sweaty and bloody.
"[#ff6b05 [b Is this what qualifies as dinner and show in these parts?]]" She inquired quietly, half to Meer and half to Boe who stuck close to her side with one signal of her hand. She followed Meer through the crowd to the bar where they both stood and watched for a moment.
The man on the right looked to be some sort of half beast, his skin was tinted a forest green with short horns coming from his head while the other looked mostly human. He was much worse off, blood coming from a cut that was made just over her left eyebrow, blinding him in one eye. They circled each other for a moment before the human let out a battle cry and swung for the underside of the green man's jaw. The green man actually stood there and took the hit, his jaw snapping up but he let the momentum carry is fist around and straight into the side of the human man's head, sending him reeling to the dirt floor of the pit. The green man howled with triumph and the crowd roared with him. He kicked the human man over to show his stomach and bruised face to the crowd. In turn everyone pointed their thumbs up or down, most of them down and like that the Green man picked up the human and threw him out of the ring towards the door. He landed on the wooden planks with a heavy, almost wet thud and the crowd cheered.
"[#ff6b05 [b That was ... slightly barbaric.]]" Tia said with an eyebrow raised and a strange feeling in her stomach. She didn't know if it was uncomfortable about what she saw or something else because she couldn't make herself look away from the pit. Something about it drew her attention. She snapped herself back and looked at Meer.
"[#ff6b05 [b Hey, Meer. Is there maybe some way I can earn gold around here? I appreciate your kindness but it's time I start paying you back.]]" She glanced at the fighting ring again before looking at the bartender who had walked over to where they were standing. He was woodland based too, horns curling above his head, a small brown goatee on his chin and piercing green eyes that cut right through Tia. She blinked once then twice at the man before he opened his mouth.
"[i Is there aaanything I caaan get you laaadies to drink?]" He said with a heavy bleat in his voice. Tia took a deep inhale and smiled widely looking at him.
"[#ff6b05 [b Y-Yes, I mean no! Not at the moment, thanks.]]"
The man nodded and walked away, a pair of fuzzy legs and hooves poking out from his pants. Tia turned around and snickered gently, releasing some of her pent up laughter. All that beauty but damn that voice. She shook her head and looked back at Meer.
"[#ff6b05 [b I'm sorry. I just needed to send him away for a moment. What's good here?]]"
Meer didn't speak immediately. She actually looked to the ground, sighing. She didn't, rather, couldn't give a straight answer to her student. She scratched the back of her head, following Titaia through the city at the casual stroll she had decided to make pace with. It was decent enough for a sightseer like her. She thought carefully, looking up to her and shrugging.
[+gold “Honestly, if I had it my way, you'd be healing people the rest of your training. But, best case scenario, we capture all enemy combatants besides demons. Worst case, I tell you to leave, and I kill them.”] She sighed at the prospect. Ending lives wasn’t something she enjoyed doing. It was necessary sometimes, and she couldn’t change that. She still didn’t like it.
With time, Meer found that her wayward student had taken them full circle to the glasssmith. Meer let her converse with the old man. She chuckled at herself. ‘Old' Like Meer was so young. She ran her thumb over her lips tenderly, stuck on the feeling of Sarah's kiss. She was lost for a moment, before Boe pressed himself insistently against her breasts. Meer laughed at the silly dog, pushing him away.
[+gold “Snout off the goods there buddy. I need those to bring in the boys.”] Meer laughed at him again, pushing her girls back into their rightful places, after having been disturbed by the dog. Her leathery underwear chafed pretty badly if it wasn't where it needed to be. And with the particular way Meer moved, it was a rare occurrence that they were disturbed. Of course, the article in, question had better do it's job. Clothing makers that took custom orders for bras were few and far between.
It was in the middle of repositioning her boobs in front of the gods and everybody that Tia grabbed her attention with a pendant. It was quite pretty, and the sunlight reflected off of all of the colors beautifully. Meer squinted at the little bauble. It was flawed, but Meer smirked at it anyways.
[+gold “It's a pretty piece…. Do I need to pay the glassmaker?”] In her excitement, Meer didn’t get a response right away. Then she figured if she had it, he must've given it to her. So she forgot about the little pendant for a moment and grasped at her stomach, which seemed to be upset with her for the lack of food she'd been putting in it. She looked to her student and wondered when the last time she'd eaten was. They certainly hadn't shared a meal together.
[+gold “Alright kid. Put on your new jewelry and let's eat. I know a place with the best rice dish.”] Meer didn’t hesitate in her sense of direction this time, she knew exactly where she was going this time. It was an old bar with great dishes and a strange cook. She snaked her way through the crowds and into a backalley that most people, would miss if they were just casually strolling. Fortunately for Titaia, her teacher was a hungry one. Meer about faced to see her, standing before a door with the words ‘The Shattered Mug' written on it in big red letters.
[+gold “Alright kid. This is not your everyday inn. You may see some weird, probably graphic things go on in there. I'm just warning you now so you can prepare yourself.”] Meer wasn't wearing a serious expression, but she knew enough about the place to know things could get… out of hand.
Tia thanked Meer at least one more time as they left the hair cutter's. She ruffled Boe's now short fur and smiled happily. He seemed happy too. He bounded about with more energy, mostly around Meer's heels. He too knew who took care of him. They walked though the city, the hustle and bustle dying down to a mere trickle of people. It was much easier to keep up with Sarah and Meer now. Boe kept bounding around like his usual self. Tia snapped for him to come over to her side once he got in the way too many times. She watched Sarah and Meer chat idly about many things and she felt a twinge of jealousy. She had never had anyone to talk to like that except for Boe and he didn't really talk back. She got a head tilt or maybe a cold nose to the palm of her hand. She pushed the thought and followed closely, wondering where they were going.
When they came upon the bleak building, she remembered rather quickly. The woman, the cultist was inside there. They were here to get answers. Tia thought back to the look in the cultists eyes, the dark nothingness. It was different than any other time she had fought. The others had always been drunk or had anger in their eyes. What she had seen was determination. The thing that haunted her was that she didn't feel the determination came from the host themselves. She shivered when she entered the building.
"[i Alright Tia.]" Her voice broke Tia from her thoughts and she found herself outside the cell of the woman. She looked at Meer. "[i Time you learned something about Nirris, the god with whom you've entered a covenant with. She teaches that we are all created with free will, and have the right to make choices. Though we are always aware of the choices we are presented, we are always aware of the consequences as well. We must all take full responsibility for our actions.]"
Tia just nodded as she listened, her fingers finding her burn again. The door opened and Sarah vanished into the shadows. Boe growled low and Tia went to shush him before she realized he was staring at the hooded figure, not Sarah. She slowly walked in after them, waiting for the interrogation to start.
Tia jumped when Meer socked the woman in the stomach. The noise was not unknown to Tia but it was the panic on the woman's face when she came to that made Tia's stomach flip. The first words out of the woman's mouth were about the amulet. She wanted it back. Tia remembered how much better it felt once those infernal contraptions were burned. She pressed her teeth together as Meer started her demands. The woman resisted and Boe growled low again, his hackles raised and his body pressed in front of Tia. Tia watched, her hand on Boe's body. The woman started screaming at them, hatred dripping like poison. But Tia saw a flash of red from the darkness and the girl started screaming. Meer slapped her and Tia pressed forward, her throat dry and her eyes wide in horror. She pushed against Boe who wouldn't budge. Meer kept screaming at the woman who was on the ground now. Tia opened her mouth to say something but the woman started talking, telling Meer everything she wanted to know. Tia shuttered at the truth that poured from her lips and pushed against Boe who still wasn't budging. She was about to yell at him when Meer revealed her big trick.
"[#ff6b05 [b What?]]"
It was a health potion. Not poison. The woman was completely fine. Boe only moved once the woman stopped struggling and he padded over to a cool spot on the floor, sitting down. Meer nodded to them and Tia snapped at Boe who grumpily agreed walking out.
"[i This is why I prefer to take them alive. But sometimes they're whipped into such a frenzy by whatever has them enthralled that you can only save one or two. I saved who I could.]"
Tia nodded, slowly coming out of her panicked state. Meer wasn't trying to hurt the woman. She was trying to save her. Tia hung her head, slightly ashamed at her reaction but she looked back at Meer who was offering to go out on the town.
She thought about it and headed off towards a specific spot, walking slower than they had all day so she could look at all there was around and also talk to Meer.
"[#ff6b05 [b Meer, I've never killed before.]]" She said bluntly as they walked. She kept her head up and looked over at Meer only when she felt she was strong enough to keep Meer's gaze. "[#ff6b05 [b I have fought before, I have been in many battle situations. I would save people, I would take care of badness and rift raft. I never had to kill anyone. Will we need to?]]" She already knew the answer but she wanted to hear it from Meer. She promised to learn under Meer and she wanted to be part of this mission. She wanted this. But she began to wonder if she could be as strong as Meer seeing what she had gone through. As she waited for Meer's response, her feet had guided her back to the glass worker at the beginning of the city. He turned, seeing them and waved slightly.
"[i Hello ladies]"
"[#ff6b05 [b Hello sir!]]" Tia said, putting on a polite smile and a happy tone for the man. He walked over and propped himself against his counter of wears. Sweat gleamed off his bald head and his mustashe lifted up and down as he spoke.
"[i What can I do for ya?]"
"[#ff6b05 [b Did you finish your piece?]]"
"[i Aye...]" He said placing a hand behind his head and rubbing it. "[i I did in a certain sense.]" He walked over to his work bench and show Tia and Meer the piece from earlier. It was a swirl of blues and reds but there was a large crack down the center of the globe, contained inside the glass except for the bottom where the crack left it with a cleft. "[i I made the fire too hot I guess. It cracked.]"
"[#ff6b05 [b It is still a beautiful piece. The crack makes it completely unique.]]" Tia smiled loving the way it looked like a lightning bolt through the entire piece. "[#ff6b05 [b You should put it out for sale sir. I can assure you someone will buy it.]]"
He chuckled slightly and shook his head. "[i You're kind. But I won't sell something with a flaw.]"
"[#ff6b05 [b It's not a flaw. Maybe the fire did that specifically. It wanted loved your work so much I wanted to contribute more to this piece.]]"
The man was quiet for a second and Tia chuckled nervously, wondering why she opened her mouth at all. Then the man leaned back his head and began laughing.
"[i You're a strange one. How about this, since you're fighting so hard for it, why don't you just take it?]"
Tia felt her body tingle. "[#ff6b05 [b Really? Are you sure it's okay?]]"
"[i Someone who loves my work so much? I am sure.]"
Tia felt the pendant come to rest in her hands and she beamed at the man.
"[#ff6b05 [b Thank you sir! Thank you!]]" She turned back to Meer and held it out for her to see. "[#ff6b05 [b Meer! Meer, look how beautiful!]]"
Meer chuckled a little, reaching back into her bag, and pulling out three silver coins and tossing them to the little lizard. It was at this point that the old rabbit threw out his arm, the coins freezing in the air, they began to hover their way into his hand. He carefully inspected them, flashing Meer a grin. He nodded, taking the coins and storing them, patting the little lizard on the head and soon after calling his next customer.
[+gold "Alright, suppose we're off to interrogate now."] Meer shrugged and began to slowly make her way off towards the large cylindrical tower that dominated the city. As they approached, the city streets became more and more sparse, despite barely being midday. It became painfully obvious that this was a government building, if it wasn't evident before. Pennants lined the walls and guards were coming in from, and going out to patrol. Meer smiled, she was glad everything was in good shape. It warmed her heart to know that the country she'd fought so hard for was still getting things done right.
It wasn't much longer that Meer was showing her tattoo off again. Guards and officers alike saluting and standing aside as she and those behind her made their way into the tower. Meer froze in the center of the tower.
[+gold "Now where...?"] She snapped her fingers, evidently remembering what she had in mind, taking them down a hallway that wasn't particularly long. Never much need to have more than two or three people to interrogate. There was a lone guard in the hall. A human, large and imposing, as need be.
[+gold "She in there?"] Meer asked, the guard nodding, his visor clicking as it hit the bottom of his helmet. Meer nodded, looking to Sarah, who was all smiles. She reached under her cloak and drew a small syringe filled with a thick, syrupy liquid. It was bloody red, and she kicked her lips in anticipation.
[+gold "Alright Tia. Time you learned something about Nirris, the god with whom you've entered a covenant with. She teaches that we are all created with free will, and have the right to make choices. Though we are always aware of the choices we are presented, we are always aware of the consequences as well. We must all take full responsibility for our actions."] Meer entered the room, beckoning that she and Sarah follow. Meer was clearly visible in the dark room, but Sarah almost immediately vanished as she entered, melding into the shadows uncannily quickly.
Meer shut the door behind Tia, a single shaft of light shining on the still unconscious prisoner. Meer approached slowly, balling her tiny hand into a fist and quickly slamming it into the woman's gut. This caused her to jerk to life. She sputtered out the breath that had been taken by the blow. She struggled to breath, jerking her head around. Meer stood before her and carefully lowered the woman's hood, revealing a young woman, couldn't have been older than Tia. She had light ochre skin, and a pair of little nubbed horns rose from her forehead. Her eyes were a shade of red Meer recognized, but not for reasons she wanted to think of right now. Meer ripped the stone from her mouth in a quick motion, she spoke immediately.
[+orange "Where am I? Where is my amulet!?"] she struggled against the bonds that held her down.
[+gold "You are in my domain, and your amulet is gone. I am going to present you with a choice. You can tell me who runs your sect, or I can torture you until you do."] The young woman hesitated. She looked around quickly, but Meer grabbed her by the chin and dragged her face back to looking at herself.
[+gold "I am giving you one chance to leave alive. Make your decision now."] Meer snapped her fingers with her free hand and jerked the woman's head aside by her chin, revealing her neck to the air, a slender black arm extended from the shadows, gently pressing a syringe to the woman's neck.
[+ochre "I-I'll never tell you! Nonbelievers! Servants of false gods!"] Meer sighed and nodded, Sarah quickly shoving the syringe into the woman's neck, and pushing the liquid into her veins. The woman screamed at the sensation of the needle. Meer slapped her across the face, knocking her to the floor, the chair she'd been sitting in falling to the wayside. Meer walked over and kneeled in front of her.
[+gold "Now, that liquid is going to kill you in one minute, and a minute after your death, it will reanimate you under my dominion. Now, you can tell me now, and keep your free will, or you can tell me then, and I'll force you into my service for the rest of your natural life."] The woman began breathing quickly struggling at her restraints, and attempting to stand. Meer held her down by the neck, using the other hand to force her to look into her golden eyes.
[+gold "Time is wasting."] The woman stopped, nodded, and Meer pushed her back into the shaft of light, sitting.
[+orange "We were only told that if we served we would be spared, even empowered once our job was complete! I just, I didn't know any better! I never even got to see the leader! He always acted through the hierophants! They-They're operating in the wildlands to the south! That's all I know! Please don't kill me!"] The woman was shaking in Meer's presence, but Meer gave her a matronly look, and stroked her hair gently.
[+gold "Good girl. And don't worry, that serum was probably a cherry flavored health potion."] Sarah stepped from the shadows, giggling a little bit.
[#a85a5a "Raspberry, but yes."] the woman was still breathing way too fast, so Meer took a hold of her by the back of the head, stared her deep in the eyes, and a little red spark transferred between their eyes. The woman calmed down a little, her breathing returning to normal.
[+gold "Don't worry kid, it's my duty to protect innocents like you from people like that."] Meer ripped the bindings from her hands and ankles. She stood he your girl woman up.
[+gold "What's your name kid?"] the woman was still shaking, but she teared up, looked to Meer and spoke in a shaky voice.
[+gold "Alright Aya, Ms. Sarah here is gonna help you out. Just don't inconvenience her."] Sarah nodded to her, Meer giving Aya a small smile. Sarah took Aya by the hand and took her from the room. Meer nodded to Tia and Boe, leaving the room.
[+gold "This is why I prefer to take them alive. But sometimes they're whipped into such a frenzy by whatever has them enthralled that you can only save one or two. I saved who I could."] Meer had a serious expression etched across her face, a huff escaping her. She rolled her neck around, some pops escaping.
[+gold "Anyways, we know where we're headed, but we can head out tomorrow. I'd be a bad teacher if I didn't let you explore the city a bit."] Meer had been talking as she made her way from the tower, not wishing to dwell upon the actions she'd just undertaken. She'd repent for what she'd done, it was in her nature. As sunlight caught her face, she cast her golden eyes to the sky, happy that at least someone survived.
[+gold "Alright kid, lead the way. There's a lot to see."]
/ 1y 39d 13h 55m 36s
Tia watched the exchange between the two women; Sarah, the new comer, holding most of her attention. She didn't like the idea of inflicting pain on the prisoner at first and found her face twisted into a slight scowl at the way the two talked about it as if it were an old past time. It only took Tia a couple of moments to think back to the other town however, to the giant demons that came from the summoning rifts. How the air was split and the winds were shrieking to find herself feeling more at ease with the decision. She had her hand on the top of Boe's head, ruffling his fur back and forth, trying to release some of the heat.
"[i First we're getting that poor guy a haircut. I'm going to get mine cut too. Now tell me who does your hair!]"
Meer's voice was dramatic and excited and Tia felt herself becoming excited too. She hardly ever cut her hair, letting it grow longer and teaching herself to care for it and pin it up in ways that it was out of her way. She had asked for some haircuts from shops before, mostly doing it herself when needed but after seeing some of the shops this town had to hold, she felt herself starting to buzz with excitement. Sarah nodded and took them to the shop, not far from where Sarah's own shop was.
Once inside, Tia kept her mouth from dropping when she saw the way they weaved the client's hair without even laying a hand on it. Tia's hands found their way into her own hair, at the tight buns she had at the top of her head, no doubt messy from the days of traveling. She watched silently as Meer stepped up and into a chair. It was over as quickly as it started, Meer's hair cut off and trimmed up without the girl even laying a finger on Meer's head. Tia looked at Meer and admired how nice she looked. The wonders a haircut could do.
"[i You're next buddy.]"
Meer said looking down at the wolf dog. Boe whimpered slightly and pressed himself against Tia's leg, almost knocking her over. She scowled gently at him and looked up at Meer and Sarah who were both waiting expectantly.
"[#ff6b05 [b Boe is... a bit of a baby sometimes. Demons and cultists aren't a problem but a haircut makes him whiny.]]" She said giving him a sarcastic pat on the head. She stepped behind him and looked at the girl who gave Meer her haircut, noticing now her strange physical qualities. Tia had never seen anyone like her before with her skin dotted with scales and her wet appearance. Tia tried not to stare and instead asked her.
"[#ff6b05 [b Please, he is not acclimated to heat. Could you help?]]"
The girl just looked at Boe and back to Tia. It was quiet for a moment as Tia watched the girl's face for a sign of, well, anything. The girl just nodded and pointed over by the chair where Meer just sat. Tia whistled low and motioned Boe over where the girl pointed. Boe whimpered and slowly padded forward to where both girl's had pointed. The girl hovered her hands near Boe who's tail was between his legs but his hackles were raised. Tia shook her head, feeling her cheeks rise with a blush. She knew Boe was an excellent dog and a great companion to have next to you in a tight spot. Not that he was entirely showing that now.
The girl touched each side of Boe's chest and the purple wisps from before circled around Boe, a mess of brown and cream hair falling to the floor. It took only a second longer than Meer's hair and there stood Boe, a new Wolf Dog with shorter hair than Tia had ever seen. Boe slowly relaxed and shook out his new short coat, feeling how light he now was. He whined, happily this time and turned to face the girl with a happy lolling tongue. The girl seemed to shrink away from him and Tia's whistled low before Boe could smoother her in thankful kisses. The girl walked to the counter and held up three fingers this time. Tia felt her face fall and looked at Meer, hoping she would help.
"[#ff6b05 [b Meer, would you mind? We can pay you back plus more. Please?]]"
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