Une Attache Pour l'Âme

Title: Une Attache Pour l'Âme
Time Period: June 25, 135 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

  • An armored guard
  • Sapiutu-la-trè, Octavia's familiar (iguana)
  • Prochaine-dormir-à-Sekhmet, another familiar (cat)

Summary: Octavia's familiar makes an important delivery to a secluded room.

The waves that rock the waters of St. George’s Strait tip the interior of the green ship at odd, expressionist angles. The uninitiated and inexperienced will find themselves pitched against walls, tossed down passages, or while scaling a stair, finding the incidence of incline shifting to and fro - perilous business.

Hence the profit in certain shapes, for those with the means to assume them. Sapiutu-la-trè’s claws click as he scuttles, in iguana form, through the rear-most of the ship, whose chambers the Dornian guests have been strictly barred from entering. Green and grey in the low lamp light, the spiny reptile would blend seamlessly into the patches of shadow were it not for the gleam of the talisman he carries in its mouth. A coin on a chain, a charm - un souvenir.

Around one last bend, and Sapiutu halts as a deeper, greyer shadow sits hunched in the way. The guard wears armor - uncommonly heavy, and uncommonly old. Plate covers shoulders and chest, with chainmail hanging in sheets, covering the gaps, leaving not a speck of flesh exposed. He even wears a full helmet, which obscures the least detail of his features. Only ‘his’ height and breadth suggest it is indeed a ‘he’ - with all that wrought iron in the way, there is no immediate way of discerning. That it is a guard is alone certain, as it sits guard right outside a closed cabin door, shambling mass of metal perched improbably on a small stool.

The guard lifts his head, and though its eyes are invisible, Sapiutu knows he’s been seen. His tail coils behind him for a hesitant moment, but soon the familiar is waddling up, lifting his head and bearing his neck-frill, dull scales acting foil to the chain and coin. The guard doesn’t take it, but instead lifts a gauntleted hand and taps three times on the closed door.

Silence- and then a light scratch from inside. The guard draws the door ajar and a pair of blue eyes set in dark, angular face emerges, then a sleek, pale-dun body on dark feet, followed by the tall twitch of a black tail. The door clicks closed behind it as the cat pads in a delicate arc, winding under the guard’s stool and reappearing in the gap between battered greaves. It considers Sapiutu with the unique feline mix of attention and aloofness. Unspeaking and expectant.

Sapiutu lets the chain drop from his mouth, then noses it across the floor towards the cat. The feline steps forward, last pawfall pausing in midair as it hovers over the trinket.

And what’s this? - the cat inquires.

From the golden woman Seven spied - the lizard answers - nearing death.

The cat’s paw presses down on the coin, draw it closer so it can dip its head, and examine it more closely. Its tail, lifted stalk-straight and tall, gives a single flick at its kinked tip.

Seven says Five wants her living - the lizard continues - and Eight feels pity, wants mercy.

Mercy? - the cat echoes the lizard’s thought back at him, in ironic tones. Still, the cat takes the trinket in its own mouth, trailing the chain after it as it leaps up onto the knee of the armored guard. From this perch, it addresses Sapiutu with elevated authority.

Does Eight know what mercy is? - the cat poses - certainly Seven should be wiser than to presume knowledge of what Five desires.

Sapiutu’s question need not even be voiced. The wonder alone speaks itself across the familiars’ connection, unambiguous and direct. What does Five desire?

Dry land - the cat answers, dryly - a meal that will stay down.

The cat twists its head to look at the guard, who takes it a signal and reaches back again to re-open the door. It bounds down, picking a path back from whence it came. It pauses upon the threshold.

I will ask - the cat promises, in parting - don’t wait about.