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Feb 27, 2024

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Reinventing the Lightbulb - Part 15


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Zorro’s ears perk up and his eyes widen, “Ah! Viktor! Raziel!” He smiles, and runs up to them, giving them hugs. “You’re not dead! That’s awesome.”

Viktor gives a hug back nodding. “Yez. Iz vondervul. He looks out over to the other two, Barry giving a small wave, and the tribal girl just sitting around curled up in a ball. “Exzitink night out here?

Raziel nods slowly, smiling. “Yes. We can all say we’re more or less un-maimed.” He stares off into space, considering this for a moment more. “Well…except maybe psychologically.” The tiger snaps back to reality.

Zorro chuckles, “Not as exciting as the night in there, I’d wager. So, what happened?” The fox tilts his head, “Are they all trapped?”

Viktor nods slowly, stating to pick up speed as he think. “Yez, ve vaahched them aahll go by, aahnd then heaahrd the door zhut. Zo they zhould aahll be traahped inzide.”

Raziel nods as well. “Yeah. They all walked in, they shut the door, and then I set the rope on fire. I’m not sure if they noticed then…but they probably have by now. I figure the tribals could let them stew in there a few days, until hunger softens them up, and then deal with them themselves. Or…we could send guards. But I think it’s an internal affair, at this point.” He smirks, and inclines his head slightly to the jackal girl.

Zorro nods a bit, looking to the girl. “Well, they seem peaceful enough. I imagine it’s best to leave it to your people, then. I don’t really want to mess with them further, and, well, we have a delivery to make, eh?”

The girl looks up and shrugs. “I no go back. I come outside world, I find place here now. Many things to see. Village not know about spirit men, they die if you no come back.” She shrugs “I no want go back, they punish me there. Put me in beast cages for many days. I stole statue, and that a no no. Bad.”

Raziel tilts his head. “Stole? I thought you made— Oh…to make the mold in the first place, yes?” The tiger rubs the back of his head. “I can’t fault you for wanting to see the wider world… But what will we do with the spirit men? It may be a little unconscionable, but I really don’t care. After all the problems they’ve caused us, and the villagers…”

Zorro mms, “Well, it’s a long trip back to Esquemelin, and they were doing human sacrifices…” He shrugs, “I guess someone will find them when they stink up the place. But geez.”

Raziel shrugs. “I’m indifferent. That’s why I was waiting for some input from you guys.” The tiger slowly begins pacing again.

Barry stands up and adjusts his vest, coughing softly to bring attention to him. “Well, I suppose I’ll return to the village. Without these ‘spirit men’ roaming about, I can finish my research, and I can tell them about the trapped men. What they do with them past that doesn’t concern me, they /did/ try to feed me to a bear.”

Zorro nods, “Ah, right. You actually WANTED to be there. Carry on, then. Thank you for your help, as well.” Not that they really had much opportunity to use his advice.

Raziel looks a little startled, but nods to the red fox. He had forgotten Barry was even there. “Well…alright then. Good luck with your research.” The tiger turns to face the tribal girl. “We’ll likely travel as far as Meson together, then head out separate ways. You’re welcome to accompany us, If you’d like.”

He nods, taking some things out of his pockets. “Here, some tribal necklaces. It’s not much, but it’s what I’ve got, at least right now. Thank you for saving me.” He hands them over to the three, and then tips his hat and walks back to the pyramid. The necklaces are rectangular carved pieces of bronze no less, with a not-quite-as-detailed version of the statues face on it, and the pyramid underneath the face with a circular sun behind the pyramid.

Zorro takes the necklace and puts it on, smiling and admiring it. It’s nice. He thinks he’ll find money from Sovereign nicer, though >.>

Raziel takes one of the necklaces as well, gently tucking it in a pocket alongside the other trinket. Safest place for it, really. “Well, if all that has been resolved…I guess we should be heading back. Maybe we’ll see you again someday.” The tiger extends a handshake to Barry, then packs up everything. Not…that he has anything he’s not already carrying.

Zorro follows alongside Raziel, and nods, “I think it will be nice to revisit this place sometime when it’s all settled down and trade starts up.” The fennec nods to Raziel, “Aye. Let’s get a move on.” The fennec starts padding through the forest toward Quark.

Viktor takes his necklace and ties it to his forearm, giving Barry a wave. He then gathers what’s left of his things, which is basically the clothes on his back and his forks. He then turns tail and starts to follow the group, the tribal girl following behind him.

Raziel gives a final look back at the temple, before carrying on. “Quite the adventure, wasn’t it?” he says to no one in particular. “I don’t think Zorro’s the only one who will have stories to tell…”

Zorro chuckles, “I just want to go find a bed in Quark, sleep, and eat something. Damn, we’ve been out a while. My little bones ache.”

Viktor shrugs. “Eh, yoo guyz probaahbly haahd it vorze thaahn aai did.”

Raziel thinks back, counting the days since they arrived. “We’ve only been here at the temple for three days, believe it or not. It seems like so much longer, now. I guess having your life threatened continually will do that to you.” He smirks at the arctic fox, adding, “Yeah, but we weren’t the ones that got smacked over the back of the head with a spear. That had to hurt.” The tiger makes a short pit-stop at the camp they originally made, getting anything left behind. And purposefully avoiding the bushes containing the fallen Druj…

Zorro keeps close alongside Raziel, not wanting to get lost. Especially since he feels like he might pass out at any moment. Thankfully, Quark is only a few hours away.

Viktor hehs and nods. “Yeaah, thaaht hurt. But aaht leaahzed aai got to zleep vor aah little bit.” He follows up behind the two, trailed by the girl, who sways back and forth across the path, looking at everything.

Raziel takes the lead back to Quark, since it seems to have been delegated to him - presumably because of Viktor’s self proclaimed unfamiliarity with the forest, and Zorro’s exhaustion. Easy enough, though; he remembers the way. The tiger snickers a bit as he looks at the tribal girl, commenting, “If you think different looking trees are interesting, just wait until you see Quark.” He furrows his brow a bit, thinking. “Do you have a name, by the way? I don’t remember you ever telling us.”

Zorro pulls out a notepad, and begins chronicling the adventure as it’s happened so far. The fennec pads along the forest floor, scribbling notes and trying to keep awake as he listens.

The girl stops looking around at all the new things and focuses on the path. “So many new things. So different.” She catches up, still hanging behind, but not quite as far. “Name is Akala-Monati Mukashbar-Mosfet.

Raziel blinks a few times. Not knowing anything about pasu tribes or their languages seems to have come back to bite him. “Uh…do you mind if I just call you Akala?” The tiger keeps most of his attention to the path, steadily making progress.

Zorro chuckles at that, looking up at Raziel, “You’ve been a city tiger all your life, haven’t you?” The fennec’s ears flit a bit as he transcribes the previous few days events.

The girl shrugs and nods slowly. “Yes. I suppose. Would new name be better for outside world?”

Raziel shrugs a little self-consciously, glancing at Zorro. “Yes, I have. I don’t even have a tribe… Well, I suppose that might not be true. I probably /do/, and my parents would know, but they’ve never been very… forthcoming with information.” He rubs the back of his neck, and looks to Akala, glad to change the subject. “I don’t think that’s necessary. There are plenty of stranger names out there.”

Zorro shrugs, “Most tribes don’t count you as members if you’re not really active in them. You’re just Heyokan. Granted, we Heyoka used to be an actual tribe— I’m actually from an outlaying clan that still acts as one, though they’re finally dispersing into the cities as well.” He nods to Akala, “The shorter version Raz suggested would be best for most interactions. Still your name, but easier for others to swallow.”

The girl thinks on this a moment, staying silent for a few, then she starts to ask again. “But…. do not outsiders go by whole front name?”

Raziel shrugs back at Zorro. “I don’t even know if I’d even claim that. I’ve never associated with the Heyokans in any meaningful manner either. I just…don’t have one. Oh, what was the term for that…” The tiger fumbles at the word for a moment. “V… vr… Vrataya! Yes, that one.” He directs his attention back to the girl. “Well…sometimes. Sometimes people shorten names for convenience. For example, my name is Raziel, yet people shorten it to just ‘Raz’ all the time.” He scratches his chin. “Not entirely sure why…six letters in not that many, really.”

Zorro looks to Raziel, “Nah, Vrayata is for folks who are out in the woods and don’t hang out with anyone. Heyokan’s come to mean ‘pasu who participate in this larger society we’ve got now’.” The fox swishes his tail, “It’s the syllables, Raz. It’s the earliest syllable break that sounds ‘whole’. No one would call me ‘Zor’. I mean, I guess they could, but it’d be weird. They’d probably not call you Razi, either. You’d beat them.”

She nods and goes back to thinking. “Ah, I see yes. Thank you much.”

Raziel snickers. “Why is it your first impression that I beat people who displease me? Just because I’m tall and well armed? Not /all/ tigers are musclebound maniacs.” He smirks at the fennec, obviously joking.

Zorro looks ahead, “Ah, I think that’s Quark up there.” His tail swishes again, and he starts putting up his notebook, “Damn, I’m going to need the rest. How far is it from Quark to Meson, again?”

Viktor says, “Ummm…… a lot ov milez? Yoo haahve to go through Quaahrk, then Helio, then Gileaahd, then aahcrozz the zeaah, then ve get there.”

Raziel nods. “Yeah, it’s uh…not close. But we’ll worry about that later. Right now, I’m eager to get into town, and eat a warm meal again…”

Zorro nods, “Well, I’ll just be glad to get there.” He picks up the pace a little. Warm food and a real bed. Oohhh yes~

Viktor nods as well. “Yez. Very lonk trip here.”

Raziel breathes a sigh of relief as they approach the outskirts of town. Quark isn’t the nicest place in Loka…but it doesn’t have Druj, psyco tribal cultists, hallways full of lethal traps, or bear-fighting arenas. Well…it may have a few of those, but not all.

Zorro looks around, trying to spot an inn. “Food. Sleep.” He starts shambling any direction that may provide him these things.

Akala looks around in excitement, cant wait to see a new villiage. She rushes up forward towards the settlement, standing in the center of town and taking in all the sights.

Raziel chuckles, and looks back to Viktor, the only other one who hasn’t wandered off yet. “Just imagine how she would have reacted if she’d seen Acre first.” The tiger keeps an eye on the jackaless, but follows Zorro, making sure neither get into too much trouble.

Zorro makes his way into the inn, looking around for the keeper, and dragging the bags under his eyes across the floor.

Viktor follows behind Raziel for a moment, then moves off to fetch the jackaless, directing her over to the inn. He escorts her inside, then catches up with the group. “Zoh, aahll my money vaahz ztolen by the tribaahlz. How aahre ve goink to paahy vor aah night?”

Raziel shrugs. “I…should have enough money to cover it, and a decent meal, as long as we don’t get too fancy. My skill set lends itself to reasonable pay…if on an irregular basis.” A look of realization crosses the tiger’s face, and he abruptly heads off for the bar. He returns with a mug of beer, but instead of drinking it himself, he hands it to Zorro. “I told you I’d buy you that drink,” he says with a grin.

Zorro oohs. He takes hold of the mug, and sits down, starting to lap at its contents. Then he… kinda falls asleep in it. After a moment he wakes up because he can’t breath, foam shooting out from his nose. Tired fennec. However, he blinks a few times, and finds beer in front of him, so he goes back to lapping it up. This cycle happens about three times, by which the beer level is low enough that his muzzle fits and still allows him to breathe.

Viktor snickers and pats Zorro on the back, trying to wake him. “Hey, letz get yoo up to the room, yez?”

Raziel looks at the fox with some concern as Zorro nearly drowns himself…but relaxes a bit as the pattern forms. “Yeah…maybe we should.” The tiger quickly finds the innkeeper and rents one of the larger, plainer rooms for the group, and returns to retrieve the fox. “We’re in room number four.”

Zorro murrbles, leaning on Viktor. He’s a lightweight too, what with being a fennec, and he kinda stumbles, needing the arky fox for support.

Viktor leads the fennec to the room, walking slowly with him so he doesn’t fall over and things, leading him to one of the beds.

Raziel snickers at the scene. Maybe he should have waited until tomorrow to do that, so the fennec could have enjoyed it more. But a promise is a promise. The tiger orders himself a steak, and sits at one of the tables while he eats, keeping an eye on Akala. After this…he’s going to bed himself. He thinks back. Raziel is shocked to realize he hasn’t slept since the night after Viktor was captured…two days ago.

Zorro falls onto the bed and is asleep immediately. He therefore sets the example for a cat. Tora would be ashamed.

Akala just sits at the table, smiling at antics, but is otherwise silent, just watching everything with wondrous awe. So much stuff.

Raziel devours his steak without any hesitation. He may be exhausted, but he’s also hungry! The tiger waits for Viktor to come back downstairs, some vira already on the table for him to order with.

Zorro is still asleep. Zzzzz. Gonna be out til murrnin

Having finished his meal, Raziel rounds up the jackaless, leaves his payment, and heads upstairs. It’s been a very long day. Compound night/day. Whatever. The tiger arbitrarily picks one of the nice, soft beds in the room, and quickly passes out.

Alaka follows Raziel up to the room, finding Zorro asleep in a bed, and Viktor asleep against a wall, leaning in a chair. She then watches Raziel flop down on the other bed, and promptly falling asleep. She frowns a bit, then just kinda lays on the floor, and waits for sleep to take her.


Next - Reinventing the Lightbulb Part 16

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