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Lacernella Rubra

New Flavors. [Dairut/open.]

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Dairut was said to be so difficult to find that unless one had been there, it could not be found. Maps often led travelers astray, and those that found themselves in the desert city were not often there under favorable means. Merchants, however, liked to come and go and ply their trade amongst the slave masters and their ilk. It was a generous and well made boon if one had goods to trade that were in need.

Shanna peers back at the goods she has acquired and can only hope that the goods they have brought would suffice. Shanna had no intention of becoming a merchant, but having goods to ply for trade should gold not work was always a benefit she found most becoming. For now, they circled above the desert in the general location of what her map had entailed to her, but she did not set down just yet. There was no landing pad, nor was Shanna certain she wanted to place her valuable airship within the city limits should someone get the wrong idea and try to pry it from her greedy fingers. No, it would do best to leave it outside and venture on foot into the city in hopes that they would be allowed through the gates.

Dairut likely held little secrets, but it fascinated Shanna just the same. She had always heard stories of the Enclave as being some terrible, hopeless place. Everyone who lived in Genesaris heard the whispers, the quiet admonishments to children who were to behave lest they should end up behind the high walls of the very city that so many tried to escape. Only a fool would try to enter it willingly, and Shanna was quite often just that.

Deciding to take a risk, Shanna circles over the desert once more as she peers at the ground.

“Jaw Finder, do you see anything?” She asks, hoping they might have better eyesight, as all Shanna can see is sand and more sand.

The great city of Dairut is hard to miss, however, with it’s large walls and towering spires of homes. It isn’t until she notices a blip of color in her peripheral that Shanna gasps and points to a billowing cover of a tent, which then lead her gaze to what seemed to be thousands more all stacked upon one another as though there was not enough room for any of them.

“Yay! We found it! Now we can see what kind of good things they might have!” For once, Shanna is not in search of the Ars Nocturne, her flighty mind instead seeking to find new flavors for her newfound friend.  

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Jaw Finder had been on the roof of the airship, just above the cockpit since they reached the desert.  They had been to many deserts over the years and found that spending time in the sun sped up their body getting used to the climate.  their scales had started to take a brownish tint, and while the sun's rays were hot, the wind with their sails un-furrowed kept them from over heating as they layed there with their eyes closed.  this acclimatizing was interrupted as Jaw Finder heard a tapping from below them.  below them was most likely a certain soft body trying to get their attention from within the airship.  This soft body was one Jaw Finder knew as 'a mage' who Jaw Finder had decided to follow due to there odd-ness.  Jaw finder pressed their head to the roof and could make out that  mage wanted to know if Jaw Finder could see anything.  Jaw Finder crawled forward to get a better view in front of and below the ship and opened their eyes, revealing a caramel colored film entirely over their eyes.  This film took several hours to form and limited Jaw Finder's ability to see color, but it let them see without needing to worry about sand or the sun harming their eyes. 

it took a couple seconds for the lenses to dry in the desert air, but then they could see the sand going on for miles with rocks and cacti dotting the endless dunes.  Just then they tasted an odd scent on the wind and looked to see a mountain of colors, dimmed behind Jaw Finder's lenses but still vibrant.  Jaw Finder goes to tap to get Mage's attention, but a sudden turn signals that she saw it as well.  impressed, Jaw Finder scurries over to an access hatch and slides back into the airship closing it behind them before anything blows out. 

"mage gave the statement that 'Dairut' presents difficulty in finding, Soft body Eyes has difficulty with color?  Mountain flaunts its presence like it seeks a mate, scent reaches to this far location on normal winds."  Jaw Finder walks up to the cockpit with typical silent footsteps, they poke their head in looking at Shanna and then looking at Dairut.  "Safe spot was needed to ensure safety in landing airship, I have recollection of such"  Jaw Finder points to a somewhat doughnut shaped rock formation a ways from the city "the size is understood from here, airship can rest within.  rocks stand high, Soft bodies lack skill in climbing, you can rides I"

Spoiler

Jaw Finder is now adapted for a desert climate.  their scales have turned a rough brown and provide resistance to the arid climate, their eyes are now behind lenses that work like tinted goggles, they have lost the ability to blink until they shed the lenses.

 

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“No, I think we just got lucky that we didn’t hit any storms.” Shanna explains as she peers onto the horizon where Jaw Finder motions to a pleasing spot in which to let the airship rest. The mage nods and steers the ship in that direction until they are upon it and she nestles it within the donut shaped alcove with a pleased noise. Once it has settled upon the ground, Shanna moves to gather a head covering and her pack.

dc1SnOl.jpgShe pauses after a moment and considers for a moment their predicament and she pulls some of each good they had acquired and put it into the pack. That should find them covered should the usual gold not suffice for payment.

“Uhm, I might have forgot to mention that Dairut is technically a slaving city, so whatever you do, don’t wander off, ok?” Shanna offers as she pats Jaw Finders’ back a little awkwardly before pushing a button on the wall of the airship. The panel opens for them to set boots on the warm sand. Shanna pulls a hood over her head and wraps it around her face to prevent sand in her mouth and nose. It is likely a futile effort, but it’s an effort none the less. She steps out further into the donut shaped rocks and then peers around for a moment. There is a small hole in one side, big enough maybe for her to wiggle through. It wasn’t unusual for desert rocks to be riddled full of holes between the sand and the wind. The abrasive combination made it difficult to stay whole.

“Maybe I can get through there while you go above?” She comments, considering her options for a moment. While simply riding Jaw Finder would be considerably faster and easier, Shanna didn’t want to assume that Jaw Finder would always be ok with it, furthermore, she hated taking advantage of people and creatures alike. Her eyes crinkle as a smile is brought to her lips.

“Let’s try that first, then if need be, I can ride with you.” She nods to this, wiggling over to the small hole. Shanna manages to shimmy through, though not without gaining sand in some very unfortunate places. She wiggles to and fro once she is on the other side and grimaces. “Note to self, don’t shimmy through sand.” She sighs, before waiting for Jaw Finder, who probably beat her to the other side, truth be told. Shanna perks and motions to the city ahead of them. The large walls could be seen from this far away, as well as some of the more gruesome aspects of it. Bodies, heads, and various other limbs were tacked along the top in warning to those that dare trespass on their laws. Shanna grimaces at the sight, and shakes her head.

“Let’s try to avoid ending up like that.” She points, before shuffling forward through the thick sand. AS they make their way, Shanna watches as the looming walls grow larger and larger, the colorful tents seeming more vibrant as they came to the gates. Of course, no one would stop them from entering – as long as they upheld the laws. Shanna had no intention of starting trouble, so that should be simple enough. Jaw Finder did gain a few curious looks, however, as its kind had never been seen in Dairut – likely never been seen in all of Genesaris. Shanna gives Jaw Finder a warm smile as she removes the part of the hood covering her mouth and draws in a deep breath as they enter the larger market of the city. It is compromised of thousands of tents, each one peddling wares, some peddling people. She looks around curiously, barely able to contain herself as she croons.

“Shall we find some food, first?” She asks, peering around to see if there was a food vendor nearby.

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stepping out of the airship, Jaw Finder starts looking around the rock formation to see if there is anything they missed from the sky.  As Jaw Finder walked around, their feet didn't disturb the sand at all, it's easy to be an illusive creature when you can't leave any tracks.  Jaw Finder hears a mage and nods as the hole looks safe enough.  as Shanna begins crawling through the hole, Jaw Finder unloads some of the cargo that Shanna probably wanted to bring into the city, there's a big pack and a little pack, they are filled with all sorts of things and stored water.  Jaw Finder steps back out carrying the large pack on their back and holding the small one in their hand, their feet now sink into the sand, leaving imprints.  looking down Jaw Finder can see that mage is about half way through, making her usual odd sounds and talking to herself (most likely).  Jaw Finder soars up the rock while holding the small pack, landing on the top with a *thunk* an then walking over to the edge and hopping off to see a mage emerging from the hole.  Jaw Finder lands as mage tries to brush off a bunch of sand.

"Congratulations" Jaw Finder said, clapping their hands together, the small pack hanging by a leather strap.  Jaw Finder was told in the past that soft bodies preform that ritual when someone preforms an important task.  It seems this ritual was successful as mage's body language changed to what Jaw Finder has come to understand means mage is pleasantly excited.  Jaw Finder hands mage the small pack, as the two walk towards Dairut, Jaw Finder trying to match mage's stride.  eventually Jaw Finder positions themselves between Shanna and the sun, mage seems to benefit from this.  Jaw Finder notices pieces of what looks like soft bodies, wondering if those limbs could be eaten, Jaw Finder heard Shanna say "Let's try to avoid ending up like that" and assumed that meant they were not part of the 'market'  which Shanna had tried to explain to Jaw Finder for a good part of their trip out of Umbra. 

Speaking of Umbra, the city of Dairut was similar to Umbra in many ways but wholly different in others, while the streets of Umbra were filled with the noise of countless soft bodies walking, the streets of Dairut also hosted an abundance of soft bodies calling out from piles of different things of all sorts of shapes and sizes.  These Soft Bodies all called each trying to make their voice heard in the ocean of like minded individuals.  It reminded Jaw Finder of birds and their mating rituals, was it mating season for soft bodies, or was this part of the soft body 'market'?  regardless, like Umbra, Jaw Finder could feel gazes of suspicion from throughout the crowded street.  Shanna is busy looking from pile to pile with a deep hum which is hard to hear over the squawking soft bodies.  Jaw Finder wondered if soft bodies even had mating rituals like birds. 

just then a scent hit Jaw Finder's tongue.  it smelled of cooked lamb mixed with a warm herb aroma and the thing soft bodies made out of wheat called bread.  Jaw Finder looked over and saw a soft body in a tent with a large piece of lamb meat on a metal vertical pole  slowly rotating next to a surface heated with magic, that cooked the outermost layer, the soft body would slice off a cooked piece of meat and then wrap it in something that resembled bread but was flat.  the lamb would be wrapped along with grilled vegetables and a warm smelling powdered herb.  Jaw Finder grabbed Shanna's head from above, stopping her looking back and forth, and turned her to face the tent. (see if you can figure out what food it is on your own!)

Spoiler

it's shawarma

 

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Shanna pauses as her head is twisted by Jaw Finders larger hands, and she blinks in surprise before peering at the stall in which she is directed.

“Do you want some?” It is a silly question, in retrospect, but Shanna just offers a grin and totes her happypants self over there to see what the big deal was. She watches as the item is prepared and gives it quite the confused look. She isn’t sure about the mixture of vegetables, but she pays for two of the strange sandwiches and offers one to Jaw Finder as she puts away the clinking change into the depths of a pocket.

“Here you go!” Shanna chirps as she takes an experimental bite of her own. She finds it delightful, feeling silly about her reservations regarding the mixture. Instead she devours it like she has not eaten in days, as her eyes gaze all about the colorful maze that they’d adopted themselves into for the time being.

“Oooo, lookit those pretty beads.” Shanna offers as she walks towards yet another stall, this one bartering glass beads of various styles and colors, arranged like a colorful painting. There were even necklaces and bracelets, and other bodily decorations that hung from a display. Shanna cannot resist the temptation of the written word, however, and finds herself drawn even further into the depths of the market by the promise of books. She peers curiously through a stack of books in one tent, disappointed to find them nothing special, and most of them copies of what she already has. Dairut is not known for its love of education, afterall, and anyone who has an education higher than a basic understanding of the world has likely spent many coins in acquiring it from professors and specialists that have come to them.

Shanna turns with disappointment before offering a crooning sort of noise at Jaw Finder – she opens her mouth to say something, but pauses when she sees a line of slaves carted through the center of the marketplace. While this is a common occurrence among the crowd, so much so that they do not even respond, it is the first that Shanna has seen and her gaze widens almost comically at the condition of the poor things. Some of them were well treated, surely these were the more favored slaves, and then there were others who wore the cruelty like badges on their skin. Shanna frowned when she noticed a particularly young child among the group. Without thinking, she begins to trail the line, wondering where they could be going. Likely they are going to the auction block.

Their final destination confirms it as Shanna squeezes in at the back, peering around at the crowd that has gathered nearby a large pedestal.

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Jaw Finder gently takes their sandwich and examines it before taking a large bite.  The flavor was remarkable, while lamb and bread could be distinguished, they were met with an abundance of flavors that wrapped around to create an experience that Jaw Finder didn't have the words to describe, even more so as their tongue didn't just taste the flavor, but the aromatic scent as well.  regardless, they took their time trying to find the words in a daze of flavor as they slowly savored the sandwich.  it was only after they finished that they noticed a mage had disappeared.  with the loud sounds of the market and the dozens of strong and new scents, Jaw Finder only had their eyes to try to find her.  standing taller than the crowds of soft bodies, Jaw Finder looked around, with nothing of note in sight, Jaw Finder remembered a long line of soft bodies walking past them as they were trying to discover the meaning of the universe through new flavors, but they had since presumably turned a corner and left.

"finally done with that Shawarma eh scaly, you looked pretty silly standing there as your lady friend wandered off.  guess swamp food doesn't stand a chance against genuine Dariutal cuisine eh?" Jaw Finder looked to the soft body that had served them the food.  "location of small one with I unknown. Does you have recollection of where she go?" The man was now busy serving another customer and also needed a moment to follow what the giant lizardfolk had, he had seen the girl walk off but didn't really see where she went, and couldn't see her from his stall either.  "if you're asking where your friend went scaly, I don't know, saw her heading that way"  the man pointed down the street "don't know what a woman like her was doing if she went on that way, straight down that road is the Jovial Flats, slavers there might snatch her up if she's not to careful-" "information you has given provides usefulness" Jaw Finder started heading down the road.  the stall owner calls to them, "hey, I hope you find her scaly!"  the stall owner turned to another customer. "Hey,  you see that guy?  now I might not know much about those swamp lizards, but I don't think their supposed to have bug eyes, like whats up with that?"

Jaw Finder heads straight down the road, completely missing the turn the slave line took to head off to the auction block, with Shanna trailing behind.  Jaw Finder continues down the main road, eventually wandering off the main road as they enter the Jovial Flats, going off of scents that might lead the way to Shanna but never do.  eventually Jaw Finder is hastily going on all fours through a series of side streets where the roar of the market can be hardly heard, this is deep in a sea of harems and housing, dingy with little light coming through the towering stacks of stone and fabric. 

a scream is heard echoing through the ally ways.  "what you think you can run away you little brat?  You're a slave, I own you now, so you better do as your told so you can learn to be a good little servant that people pay a lot of money to me for, or I can beat you until the only thing your torn up face would be any good for is feeding to the scarabs!"  Jaw Finder scurried over to the alley where the scream and voice could be heard.  looking down the ally, Jaw Finder could see a young small soft body knocked over, they were in clothes that somewhat resembled those of soft bodies Jaw Finder had seen in a couple windows, above them was a large soft body who was holding a stick that looked for hitting things, neither of them seemed to notice the giant lizard on the far end of the alley. "I don't care what you think you own!  where's my little brother you bastard!"  "I've got no use for tiny brats like that, he's probably still back at the auction, not that you'll ever see him again! hey, how bout I give you a nasty cut on that pretty face, they say slaves with scars are in right now!"  the large soft body laughed, raising his stick.  "scum like you are just evil!  you hear me! PURE EVIL!"  at the far end of the alley, behind tinted lens, pupils widened to perfect circles.

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“Even that young…” Shanna murmurs to herself as she watches with a sad gaze as the slaves are hauled upon the block one by one. It saddens her greatly, and angers her a bit, but she is quick to remind herself that this is the law of Dairut, and it is best that she not get involved. Shanna watches their little faces, unable to help herself. She remembers staring through childhood with a bleak hope that wherever you ended up was less cruel than the last. Shanna remembers peering through slits in closet doors, and prying her fingers through loose floorboards in an effort to escape whatever punishment may come.

The orphanage had not been kind to someone like her, who thrived in chaos and lived in its theory. Even now, locked doors still presented her with a feeling of unease and panic. Darkness was not her friend, for in it floated the demons that wrestled her subconscious.

“Do it.” Speaking of demons, her loudest raised it’s head and whispered sweetly at her. “Save that poor, sweet child.”

“What would you gain from that?” Shanna frowns, trying to keep herself quiet so as not to arouse suspicion.

“Satisfaction. Despite your attempts to paint me as such, I am not evil. I simply am.” Shanna contemplates these words for a moment before she peers up at the block again. Drawing in a deep breath, she waves her arm in the air.

“I’ll buy the child!” She offers loudly, and the auctioneer peers curiously at the newest face in the crowd. Usually there were familiar faces, the cruel of the kind that often found their slaves beaten in dark alleys or set upon pikes on the wall for the smallest of slights. She has surprised herself with this action, as she rarely heeded what the voice gSy0zAW.jpgrecommended. Still, it pains her to see such hopelessness in the eyes of a jaded child. While Shanna was not fit to be a role model or parental figure in any sense of the word, the Red Tower housed many a people who would be good for a child to grow among. The auctioneer nods to recognize her bid, looking around the group. Few wanted such a young child, for they were more trouble than their worth – often needing more care than older, sturdier slaves that might be used for labor.

It is for pennies that Shanna has won the child and while she is pleased that it did not cost an arm and a leg, she is decidedly upset at the lack of cost, as well. It seems detrimental to the poor thing. The child peers at her for a moment, noting her kind look and manages a moment of hope as she moves to collect them.

“Just go along with me for a bit, ok?” Shanna murmurs to the child, who gives her a curt nod, understanding that if they don’t, they are likely to be beaten for their misunderstanding. Shanna grasps the rope that is tied about their small neck and gently guides them back into the crowd, the waif of a child following eagerly as she searches for Jaw Finder. Jaw Finder is unique, so she has no doubt they will be easy to spot. However, concern crosses her visage when she does not immediately find the scaly one.

“Oh no.” What if someone decided that Jaw Finder would be a great pet?

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"scum like you are just evil!  you hear me! PURE EVIL!" as the child closed their eyes, bracing for the slaver's blow, they never felt it.  Instead they felt a strong wind blow through the alleyway alongside a thunk and the clattering of wood on stone, and nothing else.  they opened their eyes and no longer saw the slaver standing there, like he had just disappeared.  looking back towards the far end of the alleyway to see where the wind came from, all they saw was what looked like a large pack of something, it looked like textiles, but not ones made in Dairut.  it was then, the kid started hearing noises from behind them.  sounds of fabrics tearing and bones cracking and liquid dripping, looking back in the direction they had run from they saw it.  A giant creature as big as an adult crocodile but on long legs, was actively consuming the slaver no more than 10 feet away from where the child was laying, it was tearing.  they knew it was the slaver because they could see his face, staring at them with a blank expression, as if something had knocked the anger right out of him, blood was dripping from parts of his face and pooling beneath it, merging with the blood that had come out of his torn up corpse.  the kid had memories of going to the town butcher and gagging when they saw the dead animals hanging in back, but here they didn't feel anything.  they didn't know if it was because they hated the slaver or what, they just kept staring at the slaver's face, jostling as his body was torn and eaten in a dark alley.  eventually the creature made its way to the head, holding it with large clawed hands and biting into it like it was some kind of fruit.  The child couldn't move and couldn't look away.  they were sure they felt scared, but in a way they felt happy, watching that wretched piece of shit be eaten like some stupid animal.  the creature licked up bits and pieces that were flung around with a long tongue, in mere minutes it had eaten an entire person, clothes and all, leaving nothing but bloody smears.

The creature looked at the child, it was a lizard with dark brown scales and these bronze domes where one would expect eyes, even though the slaver's blood was everywhere, this thing seemed remarkably clean.  did this thing intend to eat them next?  the lizard slowly walked over to the child making no noise and focusing squarely on the kids face.  "soft body wearing animal skin and hood over head, constantly makes noises with mouth.  Has you seen?"  "Huh?"  the kid said reflexively.  what did this thing mean by 'soft body'.  "adult with low height, skin pale color, fur colored brown, only long on head.  is this recollected?"  the kid stares at the lizard "n-n-n-no, I-I haven't s-seen anyone like that." 

Jaw Finder heard the small soft bodies answer, and leaped over  and across the alley to pick up the backpack.  "Hey wait!"  The small soft body called from accross the alley "you're not just going to leave me here are you?  if a guard or someone finds me here I'm dead!" Jaw Finder looks over to see the soft body running over.  "Don't be found"  the small soft body reaches Jaw Finder taking a moment to catch their breath.  "look I know I don't look like much but I have to live to find my brother, I'm all he has left and he's all I have left after our village was destroyed."  Jaw Finder puts on the backpack and stands up. "living alone and dying alone are fates of many beasts, circumstances must be accepted."  Jaw Finder starts to walk away.  "WAIT!  you didn't let me finish, um uh um, the person you're looking for is my brother!" Jaw Finder turns around and tilts their head.  since they can't read minds or expressions they can't tell that the kid is visibly thinking 'holy shit, is that thing seriously buying it?!'.  "Y-yeah, that description you gave, that sounds just like my brother, please, he must be missing me just as much as I'm missing him" Jaw Finder walks back over to the small soft body, they look nothing like Shanna "Brother is Mage?  no resemblance between family, scent different, mage also spend life in city tower, village was never mentioned."  "Yeah, mage!  that's my brother!  I take after our mother and he takes after our father, so we don't look alike, but I can promise you, me and him are family.  also, I wouldn't be surprised if he never mentioned me or the village it was many years ago and, and..." The small soft body drools from their eyes, but then wipes it away.  "maybe he just wants to move on if anything.  please, just take me to him."  Jaw Finder look at the small soft body.  Jaw Finder hasn't know Shanna for long at all, she could be this soft body's brother for all they knew, it was probably a good idea to take this small soft body.  "Mage is brother, then small soft body will be relocated to with Mage." The small soft body grabbed Jaw Finder's leg. "oh thank you, thank you so much!"  the small Soft body backs up and clears their throat, then extends their hand up to Jaw Finder "I'm Fadil" "Jaw Finder"  Fadil stands there for a bit and then grabs Jaw finder's hand and tries to shake it "this means hello" 

looking down at the reinvigorated Fadil, Jaw Finder thinks 'Fadil soft body has much energy, Mage is definitely brother.'

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“Jaw Finder!” Shanna calls, cupping her mouth to hopefully spread her voice out over the clamoring of the crowd. Alas, it is unlikely that her voice carries, considering that the bidding has begun for another poor soul. Shanna peers around, gently tugging the child behind her in a show for the others. Dairut was very much a ‘keep what you win’ and ‘only the strong survive’ sort of city, and Shanna didn’t want to give anyone a reason to challenge her. As they moved about the market, Shanna peers through the throng of people in attempt to find her odd companion. She hums beneath her breath a bit, something suspiciously sounding like the lone ranger, as she dodges the sloppy footing of a beast of burden.

She grimaces when she slips and lands on her behind rather suddenly, and a squeak leaves her throat as she makes an impact before she quickly stands and dusts off her behind with a blush hidden behind her tresses. The child attached to her barely manages to suppress a laugh, and Shanna offers them a soft look, only to have the child quickly look away, fearing a strike. Shanna sighed at that, before gently motioning for the kid to follow as she resumed her trek to search for Jaw Finder. Perhaps Jaw Finder had stayed at the place with the delicious sandwich…thing. So, Shanna headed back towards the food stalls in hopes that Jaw Finder might find itself returning to the place that they were initially separated.

“Jaw Finder!” She calls as they move towards the stalls. She does turn to the child in between callings for her friend.

“What’s your name?” She asks.

“Name?” The child responds, peering up at her through dirty tresses.

“Yes, your name. What are you called?”

“Vidal.” The child responds.

“Ok, well, I’m Shanna. It’s nice to meet you.” She offers a smile. “We’re looking for my friend right now, Jaw Finder is a giant lizard looking thing, so if you see him, let me know.” Shanna states. Vidal’s eyes widen into pools of chocolate before giving a quick nod. Did this woman intend to feed him to the lizard thing?

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while Shanna searched where she last saw Jaw Finder, the stall owner who she had bought weird sandwiches from whistled over to her.  "hey!  you're that wizard girl from before, should have done something about your pet before going to buy slaves.  that big lizard of yours went looking for you out in the Jovial Flats."  the stall owner points down the main road.  "he should be fine as long as he doesn't do anything stupid but you better be careful if you go after him, I hear kidnappings are up these days.  Maybe you can by a leash so stuff like this doesn't happen again eh?  HAHAHAHA"  the stall owner returns to running his stall.

Meanwhile: in the maze of alleys and pathways that is the Jovial Flats
"man, I wish I could do something about this outfit" Fadil said pulling at their attire "anyone sees this they'll think right off the bat that I'm a slave and I don't think we can sell people on you being my master."  "the statement is agreeable, I does not own Fadil, so statement would be false." Jaw Finder points at Fadil's clothes  "remove clothing, problem will be soved"  Fadil looks at Jaw Finder with a look of confusion and disgust
"eww, what?  yeah no, doing that is sure to get me caught, not that I would even be down for that in the first place.  I'm not some big lizard like you who doesn't have anything that needs covering up, and I'm not some little kid who can get away with it either."  Fadil looks at Jaw Finder's pack and notices what looks like fabric in Jaw Finder's backpack. "hey, do you have any clothes in that big pack of yours?  even something to make a cloak with would be great."  "objects contained in bag determined by mage for giving to market.  important to be carried, not to be given away"  "well look, Vid- ,I mean ,Mage, is my brother, and I'm sure he'll forgive you for letting me take a look especially if it helps me not be killed by the guards"  Jaw Finder looks at Fadil and then takes the backpack off and puts it down saying "reason is found in spoken words, however, guards acting in desire to kill Fadil must be 'evils' as Fidal is a 'good', Jaw Finder would kill and eat them."  Fadil was taken aback both by how Jaw Finder seemed to want to protect them, and realizing that with Jaw Finder around, stuff could get real bad real fast.  It would be best if they found this 'mage' person fast. 

Looking through Jaw Finder's backpack, Fadil found quite a lot of fabrics and a whole mesh-mash of other stuff neatly packed into the, well, pack.  The stuff definitely looked foreign, probably from somewhere to the east maybe even as far out as Umbra, actually, Jaw Finder said something about 'mage' living in a city tower, so maybe it is from Umbra?  Fadil had only heard stories of Umbra, and it always sounded magical to them, well sort of because it was magical, literally.

Eventually, Fadil found some fabrics they could fashion into a head scarf and oversized poncho, it looked dumb, but not like Fadil was an escaped slave... hopefully.  It took a while to smush everything back into Jaw Finder's backpack as neither of them new the magic of proper folding technique.  "whew, how'd all that stuff fit in that backpack so well before?  but, we did it, and now we should be fine just going to the main road, I'm sure some stall owner saw him and can tell us."  Jaw Finder nodded, and the two began making their way back to the main road.

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Shanna contemplates turning the stall owners stall to ash, her blood bubbles with anger at the way he speaks of Jaw Finder, and furthermore implying that Jaw Finder was a pet. Jaw Finder was her friend, albeit new, Shanna didn’t appreciate the way it was being referenced. Instead of acting on that desire, Shanna puts a vapid smile on her face.

“Thank you.” Is all she says, turning about face with poor little Vidal in tow as she looks towards the Jovial flats. Shifting a bit, she pauses to take off her headgear, instead, putting it on Vidal so the beating sun doesn’t scorch his little head. Vidal blinks in surprise, and then suspicion at this but makes no complaint.

nN2vmhM.jpg“Jaw Finder!” Shanna calls once more as she enters along the main street of the Jovial flats. A few people give her strange looks but she cares not as she eagerly seeks her companion. Vidal, meanwhile, also looks for the giant lizard like creature, hoping that the woman does not intend to feed him to it. He points after a moment, mouth agape.

“That?” He asks, and Shanna turns only to gasp.

“Jaw Finder!” She practically lunges forward and wraps the creature in a hug. “I thought I’d lost you, and this is a dangerous place to be lost, I would have missed you terribly and gotten in trouble trying to find you, I’m sure. Now let’s get outta here, I don’t think I like this place.” She rushes all in one sentence.

“Plus, the way people keep staring, I think some of them might be entertaining the thought of making a pet out of either one of us, and I’d rather avoid that, so I vote we just go back to the airship. Oh, by the way, I found this kid….” She offered. “I didn’t want to leave him ot the hands of some of those nasty people, so I bought him….I thought I could take him home to Tristram and he could live a better life.” She whispers the last, not wanting to be overheard.

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Walking down the main street of the Jovial Flats, Fadil's disguise seemed to be working rather well, the guards and people going around their business didn't seem to pay them any heed, also somewhat because any heed that they did pay was directed upward, looking at the tall Lizard and not the child-sized tapestry pile.  Jaw Finder was busy, tasting the air for Shanna's scent in a hope to find her that way.  There was still a lot of new scents from the bustling streets, but it was becoming less overwhelming and easier to pick stuff out.  in this searching, a strange scent peeked Jaw Finder's interest, it was a scent of another person, Jaw Finder hadn't smelled a person in years, and here, in this soft body nest in the middle of the desert, there was definitely one other than them.  Jaw Finder stopped and looked around, ignoring Fadil's questions of if something was going on.  then, on a roof overlooking the street, somewhat obscured by the angle and a couple of colorful tents, Jaw Finder saw a large dark Figure, staring down with yellow eyes peering through bronze lenses.  Jaw Finder stared at this Figure as both stood motionless, Jaw Finder was giving whatever it was their full attention.

"Jaw Finder!" Suddenly Jaw Finder was hit with a pretty meaty tackle, the weight wasn't too much but with the backpack setting off their center of mass and being caught completely by surprise, they were sort of tipping over.  looking down, they quickly realized this assailant was Shanna, who started talking super fast about weird soft body emotions and wanting to leave, seemingly oblivious that Jaw Finder was trying really hard to keep the two of them from falling over.  it didn't help either when midway through, she moved in closer to whisper the last part.  thanks to their tail Jaw Finder was able to hold themselves up long enough to get their feet firmly planted and use their muscles and wind to push themself back up, meanwhile grabbing Shanna's shoulders so she wouldn't go flying from the inertia.  Back up straight, Jaw Finder shot a look back up to the building roof, but the figure was now gone, and the scent was no longer on the air.

"Mage" Jaw Finder said looking back at Shanna.  "much of spoken talk not make much sense but urgency comprehend-able, additionally, sibling was found" Jaw Finder pointed with their tongue over at Fadil " congratulations on gaining title of brother again, clapping and holding impossible action." Jaw Finder felt that leaving soon would be good if the person was confrontational.

Fadil was nervous about how to convince Shanna to take them along, and if they could convince her to stay because they still needed to find their brother, however it was hard to see this past their disguise (but should be clear to people other than Jaw Finder in the voice). "Y-yeah, Jaw Finder saved me from a bad situation and it's a long story but I can explain what's going on somewhere else, please trust me on this and, and-"  Fadil looks over and notices a boy wearing headgear that is too big for him, approaching 'Mage' and Jaw Finder cautiously.  Fadil looks over and thinks 'no, it can't be can it, that's just way to lucky for someone like me'.  But says nothing for now.

  Jaw Finder is a bit occupied looking to see if the shadowy figure is anywhere and lets go of Shanna's arms when she stops the hug.

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Vidal looks at Jaw Finder with a mixture of horror and fascination. Jaw Finder was a curiosity he had never thought to see in the very streets of Dairut, of course, he was young and hadn’t lived long, so maybe it was more normal than he realized. Perhaps this person was of such high enfluence that they collected exotic creatures as pets, and he was to be the next snack?

He shook in his little slippers, unable to help himself as a soft whimpering noise escaped his throat. Shanna ignored it for the time being, not maliciously, but simply because the clamor of the area was so loud it drowned out the pathetic noises the young boy was making. As Jaw Finder was unsettled and managed to reset them on their feet, Shanna gave it the brightest grin she could muster despite her discomfort with the city.

“Wait, what?” She pauses to question, peering at the waddling creature of cloth that was next to Jaw Finder.

“I don’t have a brother. I mean, I suppose I could, since I don’t know who my parents are…but as far as I know I’m the only one, and have no siblings. Er…” She pauses to peer at the child as he speaks, and cants her head to the left. She releases her hold on Jaw Finder then, even as Jaw Finder looks for the missing shadow. As Fadil pleads his case, Vidal gasps and peers through the overly large headgear at his brother before suddenly throwing himself forward with a sobbing sort of noise. He wraps himself around the other boy with no intention of releasing him any time soon. Shanna watches this for a moment, a sort of wrenching in her chest.

Shanna had longed for such companionship for so long. For someone to care for her even an iota. Jaro had filled the void for a time, but Shanna hadn’t seen him in quite some time…not sure if he was in his room or simply chilling somewhere else for the time being.

The orphanage had no time for children like Shanna, who looked upon the universe in such wonder and had within them a curiosity to rival a cats. No, often she was left confined to a room and fed through slots in the doors. Shanna frowns for a moment at the two children, but not in displeasure. She frowns as memories move through her brain like a slideshow before she shakes it off and gives a small smile.

“Alright. Well, let’s all go back to the airship and we can go from there.” Shanna offers as she takes both children’s hands and leads them towards the gates. Once they manage to pass through them with little incident, she pauses to wrap both of their feet in small pieces of fabric so that the sand doesn’t burn them. Once that is done, she makes a quick pace back towards the airship. Little Vidal peers up at the rocky formation that comes into their view and lets his mouth fall agape at the sight of the airship. He had only heard rumors and whispers of the fantastical things that flew in the sky, it was very rare for them to be seen in Dairut. He gasped and pointed up at it.

“I know, it’s pretty awesome.” Shanna manages with a grin before waving her hand upwards at the thing, the side opening so that they can enter. The children both enter, awed and confused as they take in the inside of it. It seemed far too amazing…Vidal poked around for a moment before peering at Shanna curiously. Shanna blinks back at them, helping Jaw Finder unload itself of the burdens they have taken.

“Uhm…make yourselves comfy, I guess. I’m gonna input the navigation codes for the Tower.” She offers, turning to do just that. It only takes a few moments, as the navigation home is well known. She returns to offer the children jerky and a strange fruit drink in a pouch, with a straw stuck through it.

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Fadil was in shock, they had been so alone up until this point, deep down they were afraid their little brother was already dead.  They were just using looking for him as an excuse to stay strong, an excuse to keep going and not to give up.  Since their village was attacked, misery felt inevitable and expected, losing their parents, seeing people they knew all their life beaten and broken, being pulled away and sold for less than a goat; it was scary sure, but it was expected, no matter what they didn't, no, couldn't cry.  when they ran, they did it to feel something, to not just live ashamed in the expected.  But, their brother hugging them, crying his eyes out, that didn't happen, stuff like this couldn't happen.  you don't just follow giant lizards who eat people in alleys and get everything you wanted just like that?!  the more Fadil thought about just how ridiculous this all was, the more they started crying, their face was red as a beat, there was no sound, and they couldn't stop.  All that went through their head was abject confusion and it made them want to cry, not because they were happy or sad, but for once in a long time they didn't feel scared.

Fadil hugged their brother back, as tightly as they could, they felt his bones through his skin, the undernourishment he had suffered, he smelled bad too.  But it all felt so comforting.  As the tears subsided, Fadil eventually became able to see again, they saw Jaw Finder looking around at the roofs, probably that big dumb lizard saw a bird or something.  The woman who was Jaw Finder's companion (owner??) was looking at the two siblings with an expression that was somewhat ineffable.  Fadil had seen people smile before, grown ups too, but this didn't feel like any of them, it didn't feel like how their mother smiled at them, and it didn't feel like the looks of pity that Fadil got from spineless passerby's in the slave market.  But, again it was comforting.

Fadil Saw that her hands were outstretched and she said “Alright. Well, let’s all go back to the airship and we can go from there.” Fadil fought back the urge to cry again, there eyes were still red and their nose was running, but no more tears were coming out as they vigorously grabbed the woman's hand.  Vadil, seeing this, grabbed her other hand as well. and they followed her out of the city.

leaving the city, Jaw Finder spent the whole time looking around trying to see if the figure would reveal themselves again, eventually Fadil had to grab their hand so they would stop falling behind.  the trip to the airship after they left the city was short, and both children seemed adamant on walking the whole way themselves, the two children probably crawl through the low path a lot more easily than Shanna crawled out, while Shanna probably opted to ride Jaw Finder over given how that crawling out went for her.  like their brother, Fadil was amazed by the thing that they were seeing.  they had no more desire to cry, but they were still yelling internally about how unbelievably stupid this day was being for them. Jaw Finder put the cargo down and made sure no wildlife was stowing on or around the ship while the two kids were deciding that Shanna was the coolest person ever over juice boxes and jerky. 

Jaw Finder mentioned that they preferred riding outside to riding inside and stayed on top of the ship.  As the ship lifts off, Jaw Finder looks back in the direction of the city and sees on the top of the city walls, looking towards the ship, three figures.  while it was far away and late afternoon, Jaw Finder could make out somethings.  The first one looked like a soft body and was holding something several feet long.  The center one also resembled a soft body, but a bit taller, and looked like it was reflecting light.  The third one was even taller, and even from this distance Jaw Finder could tell, it was a person and it was the figure Jaw Finder saw in the market.  Jaw Finder watched these people for as long as they could, the figures didn't do anything as the airship began heading east, but Jaw Finder could tell, they were watching.  There was something up with that Desert city.  much about it was interesting, but Jaw Finder wasn't sure they would want to go back.

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