A Spirited Day in Shrewsbury - Prison Break - RPLOG

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It's a quiet, relatively chilling morning. The sun is only barely on the horizon, bathing the land in an eerie, red glow. The road stretches far ahead, leading further from firmament, and closer to Cliffside's territory's borders...

The road is winding, and it takes a while to get the cart up to speed...

All in all, the mission-statement's been really vague for the amount of money offered... Tales of bandits near the border, a request to investigate them, and any other disturbances, and little more... Still, the beings should be getting close, now.

Bandits? That isn't anything that Aleera can't handle. She was one at one point, even, so she knows very well that not every single bandit is neither as talented nor as scary as she is. No, if they've just got bandits to deal with, this whole mission should be a walk in the park....

...But unfortunately it seems like they don't /just/ have bandits to deal with. Simple as the siamese may be, she has decent instincts, and something about this whole expedition is... off. Still, she doesn't seem particularly nervous about the whole situation, and as the sun rises, she's simply lounging in the back of one of their little convoy's carts, with her arms wrapped around Lyas's back so that she can lazily hug him against her chest. She idly watches the surroundings pass them by, and as they finally draw closer to their destination, she just kind of tosses out the general question of, "What do you reckon is goin' on 'ere? They must be dealin' with some pretty tough bandits er somethin'."

Lucasiel had spent most of the trip being relatively quiet, but now that they are nearing their destination the panther speaks up as she starts strapping her heavy plates on. "If we come to blows with the bandits, it's imperative that we do not kill the leader. Capture, sure, but do not kill." She props herself up and brushes her hair back before sliding the helmet on.

Zalthar had remained fairly quiet during the days it's taken to get out this far, spending many of the daylight hours with a cloth wrapped around her eyes, sleeping lightly in a corner. During the nights, she volunteered for watch duty, more comfortable in the quiet air. But as the cart nears its destination, she can be found sitting up, head bowed to keep the light out of her face, but ears twitching and taking in the surroundings with calculating care.

"That sounds doable. Sounds somewhat fun, if I'm honest." The lynx rolls her neck, back, and tails about, slowly patting herself down to make sure her stuff is all where it's supposed to be.

Lyas is grinning as he lounges back against Aleera. It's been a few weeks since he took any Freesword work - time for a good fight. Bandits or whatever else is going on - it doesn't matter to him. Humming faintly, he takes out a knife and a half-carved block of wood, one he's been working on most of the trip. Starting to carve strips off the little block, he tips his head back to speak to Aleera. "Guess we'll find out. So long as you don't get too feisty - " he nods along to Lucasiel's recommendation - "Aim for kneecaps, love, not heads."

The Cat throws a look Zalthar's way as she speaks. The cloth so frequently over her eyes has attracted his curiosity, but he's avoided talking with her aside from where necessary. He keeps looking her way, though... to the point where he winces as he slices his thumb with the knife. SHould've been paying attentin.

IF they come to blows. So far, it's been far, far too quiet, with nary a bandit in sight. It'd be another day's travel to get to Shrewsbury, the first town along their route... But by now, they should be in the bandits' territory... The only question is... Where they should go to try and find them.

And still, the road swerves ahead, disappearing between the hills, as a third fort is barely visible upon the horizon whenever the cart carries them to the top of a hill...

The comment about capturing the leader earns Lucasiel a curious look from Aleera at first, but... seeing as how everyone other than her seems to be in agreement about it, she simply offers a little shrug of her shoulders. "Aye, I can manage that, I guess," she murmurs, releasing her lover from her embrace so that she can instead pick up one of her own weapons -- specifically, her blunderbuss -- and examine it while she speaks, "If'n we're lucky, they might just give up when they see a gun trained on 'em anyways. Most bandits ain't willin' to give up their lives fer loot, 'n guns ain't known fer leaving people standin' if they hit."

But, again, it doesn't exactly sound like they're dealing with common bandits here. As she catches that next fort out of the corner of her eye, that draws the siamese's attention away from her weapon, and she takes up peering at that instead. "We're s'posed ta be investigating, ain't we? Should we stop there, er...?" Hopefully there are people in the group who know more about searches like this than she does.

"It'll be fine," Lucasiel says, looking over the horizon. "If I could get to the leader myself I am fairly certain I could get him to stand down." Her eyes settle on the fort, and she nods. "I think stopping there would be a good start."

"That would be a wise decision. If nothing else, we can get a feel for the surrounding areas." Zalthar's gems seem to have turned from an inky violet to a pepper-speckled gray and a translucent milky white. Her shoulders also seem to have relaxed a little, moving with apparently a bit more confidence?

"My skills would also be good at disabling them. But we're getting close, are we all ready?" She's pulled one leg up, the other hanging off of her seat and swaying.

Lyas grimaces as he inspects the cut on his thumb, popping his carving work away in his belt pouch. He speaks under his breath, ostly to himself. "Mayhap this ain't the best time for this, anyhow..." His bloodied knife is wiped off on his breeches, given a showy twirl, and dropped into its sheath. Giving Aleera a brief pat on the shoulder, he uses the opportunity presented by her releasing him to jump to his feet, knees slightly bent to compensate for the rocking of the cart.

"What'll you do to 'em?" The Cat asks Lucasiel, as he props one foot on the side of the cart, surveying the fort. "Don't know if chattin'll be enough to have them stand down. I mean, I 'm all for talking things through with folk but if they're already swingin' a blade your way it gets tricky."

Slowly but surely, the cart comes closer and closer to the hill atop which the fort lies... Curiously, there are signs of some kind of struggle... A pretty large struggle, given the fact that the fort's doors are open, and there's a pillar of black smoke rising from inside, visible, now that the cart carries the beings closer and closer...

As muttered of a comment as it may be, it does still draw Aleera's attention to the cut on Lyas's finger, and as he tucks his knife away she simply leans in to give him a little kiss behind one of his ears. She does, of course, realize how tense he can get around Zal, and she's been pretty insistent about sticking close to him throughout their journey because of that. In any case, with the tabby up and on his feet, the siamese moves to a sitting position, using the opportunity to swing her musket and blunderbuss over her shoulder where they belong.

...And it seems like she's done that just in time too, because as the fort comes into view, it's immediately clear things aren't quite as peaceful as they appeared to be! "Stop the cart," she commands to... whoever is driving exactly, and she moves from a sitting position to a kneel. Not that it... really helps her keep her balance while the cart is moving, but they won't be moving for much longer anyways.... Regardless, she quickly pulls out her musket, bracing the butt of it against her shoulder, but rather than turning her full attention to the fort, she takes a moment to survey the land around it first. Keeping an eye out for any shadowy or hidden areas where someone could reasonably hide for an ambush.

"I am very persuasive," Lucasiel replies with a grin hidden by her helmet, patting the large battleaxe's haft. "I don't know about the rest of the bandits, though. Just the leader. I think I can convince that one." She starts to stand as they draw nearer and leaps out of the cart and onto the back of a steed that certainly was not there earlier, drawing her sword and bracing her shield.

As the pillar of smoke comes into view, nimble hands swap back the lynx's original gems, ears straight up in alert. There aren't any quips, no banter, or advice. Just slowly quieting breath as the hunter prepares to do what they do best. Cloak drawn tight around her figure, hood pulled forward, the feline seems to dissappear into her own clothes.

Off of her back comes a shortbow, far too small for any normal sized being to be able to use, save for a child, and an arrow is pulled from her left sleeve, knocked and ready as the lynx starts reading off under her breath some kind of script, or mantra, from memory.

Lyas looks out over the scene of devastation, noting the smoke and the bodies. Wonderful - it's going to be one of those missions, the ones that come back to haunt you thinking what might have been if you were just a little earlier... Ah, well - that's a thought for 3am, not this moment. The Cat tips his nose to the air, taking in the scent of calm countryside with its sour overtones of burning. "Smells like cooked meat," he exclaims to the group. He tosses his arms in the air in mock disgust. "Great. Now I'm hungry."

It looks like whatever happened here finished a while ago, but there's no point continuing to make a target of himself. The Cat puts a hand on the side of the cart and slings himself over, dropping to the ground. He'll still move with the cart, but now he has it as a protective barrier between himself and anyone who might try taking a pot shot. Speaking of pot shots... the tabby pulls a pistol from its holster at his hip. His preference is for the basket-hilted backsword on his other hip, of course... but that's only effective once your opponent is in range.

All in all, the battlefield must've been over for a couple of hours, at least. That pillar of smoke is still rising, and, as lucasiel rides ahead, the true scale of what happened here comes into view... Strewn across the far side of the hills are hundreds of bodies, many of them -clearly- not dressed for battle.

Above the fort sways a flag, tattered and torn, likely damaged in the struggle.

Even now, amidst destruction and potential danger, Lyas's joking manages to make Aleera laugh. She even chimes in with, "Maybe we can put this meet in 'at one kitchen's ice box? I'm sure we could make it look... /kinda/ like fish." With her own end up that joking done, however, the siamese hunkers down and prepares herself for combat. Unlike her companions, she doesn't leave the cart quite yet, instead opting to lower herself a bit and use the side of the vehicle for what little cover it's able to provide.

The sounds of muttering mantra does get her attention, though. The siamese glances back at the lynx, thinks for a moment, then simply calls out, "'Ey, little cat. Yer real sneaky, right? Think you can take a look aorund 'n see if these bandits are still about?"

"How... Curious." Lucasiel's phantasmal steed carries her over towards the corpses. She stares down, regarding the equipment of the Beings. "Clubs of bone. Clubes of bone... I've only seen two groups use something like that, and one of them tends to stick to the underground and creator ruins." She narrows her eyes and turns the horse back about, trotting back towards the road. "I want to see what's going on in the town."

The hood turns slightly towards Aleera, nodding twice. The arrow gets sheathed once more, and the bow returned to her back. For a moment, she climbs up on top of the cart, crouched low and still, guaging the most likely places a bandit could hide nearby. Not seeing anything, Zalthar leaps forward and starts running towards the fortress. As she moves, she presses her palms together, and her image twists briefly in impossible ways, settling into a distorted, mostly transparent shape that mostly looks like road.

Hidden from view, but still being cautious, Zalthar peers into the open gate, and starts to wander the streets just inside. Slowly, her curiosity settles into something resembling apathy, and she shakes her head, starting her return back to the group.

"Don't know about fitting the lot, but I'd say one corpse in the ice box'd be fair payback for the trevally," Lyas shrugs, unbothered by the blackness of their humour. He gazes after Lucasiel as she rides ahead, one ear flicking gently. She's very exposed, riding up on her own. However, she seems to be alright... for the moment. He turns his attention back to the cart in time to catch Aleera speaking to Zalthar. "I can't believe you asked her over me," He complains, briefly popping his head up over the side of the cart to mock-glare at Aleera. "In any case, though, it's a fair open road. Don't think we'll be sneakin' up unless they're sleepin' or drunk." The feline peers pointedly at the fort, easily defensible even with its door open. If the bandits are still around, surely they'll be smart enough to have left a watcher on the ramparts... Then Zalthar darts past, and his eyes follow her instead - right up until her image twists, and almost disappears. "...Oh. Well, I can't do that, I suppose."

All in all, the place is pretty desolate... Desolate, and thoroughly ransacked, with not a soul seemingly left alive. There are no tracks leading in, or out of the hillside fort, apart from those of Lucasiel's spectral mount, and the ones made by the cart's horse.

Now, it's a question of whether to follow Lucasiel's wishes, or to examine these beings in more detail...

As Zal and Lucasiel both move forward to perform their respective investigations, Aleera simply raises her weapon up, keeping it at the ready just in case there does happen to be an ambush. But... that seems less and less likely with every moment that ticks by, and evidently talking to Lyas is a much more effective use of her time, because as his head pops up, she glances to the tabby out of the corner of her eye and flashes him a wide grin. "I've gotta have someone around to watch my back, don't I? 'Sides, fightin' alone just ain't as fun." The comment about the road earns a shrug, "I doubt we'll sneak up on 'em, but we might as well try ta figure out where they are if they're even still about." As Zal disappears completey from sight, the siamese simply blinks in surprise... and then chuckles a bit. "Creators, that little cat is /strange/," she murmurs to no one in particular, but her tone seems... more amused than malicious, really.

The next thing to grab her attention, however, is Lucasiel turning around and calling out to them. The siamese perks up and lowers her rifle once more, calling right back, "Nothin' worth lookin' at there, 'en? We can start headin' to the town when the little cat gets back from... er... wherever she ran off to...." She peers around for a moment, searching for the now transparent figure before simply shrugging.

"There might be," Lucasiel answers. "But the corpses aren't going anywhere. The lack of tracks is concerning..." She casts one more look over the corpses to see if there are any visible wounds before she starts forward towards the fort's gates.

"I'm right here. What are we waiting for?" Zalthar asks, sitting on the cart's bench, as though she's been there the entire time. With a shake of her head, she looks at Lyas, Aleera, and Lucasiel if she's still there "Whatever happened, I think they're all dead. I suspect there was no respect in whatever happened here." She says that last comment with venom in her voice, clearly disgusted, but also with a tinge of.... something else tapering off at the end. After that, she goes extremely quiet, looking towards the fort again.

Lounging with his arms over the edge of the cart, head tipped up to speak with Aleera, Lyas jumps a little as Zalthar reappears. "That was quick," he comments. He throws a glance towards the fort. Too quick for his liking. Did she go through all the doors or just poke about in the dirt? The feline stuffs his pistol away and switches to his blade, hefting its comfortable weight in his hand. "Hang about," He murmurs to Aleera. "I reckon we should take a look ourselves 'fore we go haring off." He holds outhis spare hand to Aleera, inviting her to take it as she steps down from the cart. Motioning for the pirate to follow behind him, he darts over to the open door of the fort, peering through. "Quiet enough," he notes, then his tail is disappearing through the entrance.

The Cat is thorough in his search. He turns over a couple of bodies, checking their wounds and frisking their pockets. He's looking for anything out of the ordinary at all - it's... far too strange that such a large-scale battle was fought here, with no word of war on the borders. Once he's satisfied he's learnt all he can from the bodies, he moves on to the barracks, testing the door. He's already got a long, thin lockpick pulled halfway out from his arm bracer, ready to deal with any pesky locks.

Plenty of visible wounds on both beings. Bruises, stab-wounds, cuts. Plenty of blood, too. It's quite surprising that these poorly armed beings seem to have been able to storm a well-armed fortress, since most of the beings -inside- seem to have been of the armored variety. Curious indeed.

Really sneaking up on a pirate is unwise at even the best of times, and that goes doubly so for one who's as well armed as Aleera. Suddenly hearing a voice in the cart with her makes the cat jump and whirl around, training her rifle on the sneaky lynx for a second or two... before simply lowering her weapon and starting to laugh. Or, well... she laughs right up until the point that Zal delivers her news, anyways. "I ain't quite sure what you mean by 'no respect', little cat," she starts, "But that was a nice trick."

Lyas, however, seems to have a different plan than Aleera. She gives a little shrug of her shoulders, then accepts his hand and hops down from the cart to stand at his side. "I s'pose that's a good idea. A couple'a thieves might spot somethin' others'd miss," she says, although before they wander too far, she glances back over her shoulder to quickly comment to Za, "You can come if'n ya want, little cat. We prolly won't be long."

For her part, Aleera is more concerned with checking to see exactly how thoroughly the fort was ransacked by whoever attacked it. She's familiar with what pillaging looks like, after all, so she's more concerned with searching for anything that was either left untouched or seemed to be particularly targeted.... That likely means that she'll be spending most of her time in the barracks, really. Still, as she sees the massacre that seems to have happened here, even she can't help but murmur, "What the fuck happened in 'ere? I ain't ever seen a raid look this bad...."

Lucasiel pauses at the gate, her horse coming to an abrupt stop. Half a second goes by and she dismounts, going back on her intentions to check out the fort. Instead, she goes towards the beings once again to get a closer look at something she glimpsed. "Bite marks. On the armored ones... But not on the others. Now that is unusual..."

Zalthar doesn't look up at Aleera, but stands and follows along, tails held close to her body. "The attack seems to have happened in the middle of the night. I think Shrewsbury was attacked as well. We shouldn't linger." She looks toward Lucasiel, and goes to investigate the bite marks for herself, scanning through her eidetic memory and trying to recall anything that would have caused those kinds of wounds. As she does this, it's clear her focus is taken away from her surroundings, entirely devoted to her current task.

Lyas completes his check of the fort, going through every doorway and stopping to check a few more bodies after the first two revealed some... interesting marks. "What's with the clubs?" he mutters, riffling through a dead Being's belt-pouch. There's a heavy sheet of parchment inside, which he unfolds to find neat, looping handwriting on. Unusual to find a fine document like this one out in the countryside. The Cat squints at it for a while, reading slowly. "He was a... Spyguard? I think..." He nudges Aleera with his elbow, showing the note to her.

"Yeah, I saw the bites too," the tabby calls to Lucasiel, adding slyly, "These folk look like they spent the night with Aleera." He prods the nearest corpse with the tip of his sword, lost in thought. "If this lot with the raggedy armour are our bandits, an' they were workin' from this fort... did the villagers from down the way come an' take them out? Seems strange they'd go to this length and not call for help... stranger yet to have Spyguard amongst 'em. Were they keeping tabs on the area?"

"A late-night attack? That ain't surprisin'. If yer goin' up again someone with better weapons 'en you, then yer gonna need to surprise 'em. 'N there ain't exactly anywhere to hide 'round 'ere durin' the day...," Aleera murmurs, surveying the various corpses around the fort once more. There is... one part of her own search that particularly grabs her attention, though.... "Well, I figured out why this don't look like a raid. It wasn't one," the siamese proclaims as she steps out of the barracks, holding out a pouch that sounds like it's filled with coins, judging by the way it jingles, "The attackers didn't bother takin' anything other 'en the bandits' weapons. Unless the bandits were the ones usin' these clubs, anyway"

With her revelation given, she tosses that sack of coins off to the side and steps forward to investigate Lyas's letter instead. Then, her attention goes down to a few of the corpses, noting the bite marks... and her lover's comment makes her snicker a bit. "Nah. Those marks ain't nearly deep enough for me to have left 'em," she says with a cheeky grin, but with that, she stoops down idly bump a corpse with the butt of her rifle, "Somethin' ain't right with these villagers. Seein' as how the weapons are gone, if'n I had to take a guess, they're gearin' up fer somethin'. So if'n the bandits are gone... maybe there's another threat? Or maybe they're planning a revolt! Who knows." She simply shrugs and stands back up.

"Can I see that?" Lucasiel asks, holding out a gauntleted hand for the parchment. "Maybe the Lost Ones are in the area? Surely not, I don't recall hearing of them being out this far, or on the surface, but they're not the easiest to keep tabs on... I would prefer it to Corrupt Court worshippers, though. All the more reason I want to speak with this leader of theirs."

"These are bite marks from a being, or beings. Someone was trying to eat these bodies." Zalthar stands up and thinks. "There was a commotion in the middle of the night, and a lot of rabble. We know that there was a spyguard among the bandits. We know that someone wanted to eat the bandit's, but seems to have avoided the attackers. The attackers were clearly not mounted, as there are no tracks from heavy creatures in the grasses or soil." She wanders over to another building.

"What would my prey be.... The spyguard? The bandits? How would I get into the fort.... Without decent armor or weapons.... It would be easiest to have the gate opened from the inside.... It would be easiest to ambush them, by the time they realize, I'd be on top of them. But who would have let them in...."

Pacing about, she starts wandering back to the cart aimlessly. "It was definately the locals. And I think you're right, Lucasiel. I can't say for certain, but I think that it would be most likely the work of the Corrupt Court. There is also no reasonable way that, without some kind of advantage, our attackers should have been able to win as definitively as they did. Look around, each bandit seems to have been able to fight off only half again as many villagers. Equipped with superior armor, weapons, and training, the commoners managed to almost hold their own each against these fighters."

Lyas quirks his brow at Lucasiel, offering her the parchment. "Lost Ones? If they're who did this... I think I'd rather they'd stayed lost." With that he turns his attention to Aleera - and the pouch of coins she's just thrown down. "Hey, Firework, what're you playin' at? We'll take that, seeing as no-one else looks likely to claim it..." He saunters over to pick up the little pouch, tying it onto his belt to hang beside his dagger. No sense being precious about it coming from a fort full of corpses. Money is money...

A thought hitting him, Lyas eyes the nearest commoner corpse. He crouches in the muck, one finger delicately lifting the Being's cold lip. He's searching for bloodstains on the teeth, evidence of where the bitemarks on the armoured ones came from... if it's not from these folk, then that means they've still a set of dangerous lunatics at large. "We should move on to the village..." he grins a little. "Keep an eye out for more spare sacks a' coin on the way, though, alright?"

As it turns out, that particular being does not have any such signs... Neither does the second, nor the third... And yet, the fourth, a tusked shrew, -does-. There's blood, even a small chunk of flesh hanging from his tusk. Not exactly the greatest of sights.

The ride to the village is relatively peaceful, and, curiously enough, the place seems almost normal, the mood almost... Festive, as beings are putting up decorations for a local, late-winter celebration.

"...Who're the Lost Ones?" Aleera asks, as oblivious as ever to the various going-ons of Sweetweater. She glances between Lyas and Lucasiel for a moment, an eyebrow quirked, but then her attention is drawn to the tabby snatching up the coins she tossed aside. Her smile turns toothy once more, and she even laughs a bit. "I just wasn't sure if we were still in the business a' lootin' while on missions after what happened last time, luv," she replies while he gets to work on investigating some of the corpses more closely, "I'll keep an eye out, 'en. Yer right though, it'd prolly be good to move on to the village soon. After seein' all a' this, there ain't no tellin' what coulda happened there."

And... thankfully for them, the cart ride to the village was fairly uneventful. That doesn't really make Aleera any less confused about the whole situation though, and so it's no wonder that she spends a good portion of the ride with her musket in her hands, keeping it at the ready just in case.... She doesn't drop it when the town comes into view and she sees that they seem to be preparing festivities, even. In fact, that makes her grip the weapon a little tighter. "...Somethin' ain't right 'ere. Do you folk normally have a party er somethin' 'round this time a' year?"

"Old... Beings. Not like us, though," Lucasiel explains as she looks over the Spyguard parchment with a creased brow. "They reside largely beneath the ground, in old creator ruins and tunnels. If you go wandering down there you'll come across their scouts from time to time." She's got no interest in looting this time, but nor will she admonish it. "I don't usually hear about them coming up here, but... I think I'm inclined to agree. This is probably the work of corrupt court dedicants. Bone weapons are almost a sure sign of it, in my experience."

"They could simply be celebrating not being dead. I doubt it though." She looks to her companions, and after a moment "We shouldn't show up armed to the fangs. Whatever is going on, it would send the wrong message, and possibly antagonize them towards us before we learn what's going on."

Zalthar talks to herself under her breath {even match, corpses, cannibal... commotion from Shrewburg, celebration.... raid....celebration...} "Whatever we do, do not let our exits get cut off. I don't know if this is a trap or not." {celebration of cannibal? Celebration of victory? Clearly planned. Too extravagant for impromptu. Tusks? Why tusks?}

"This one's got tusks, an' fleshscraps hanging off 'em to boot," Lyas calls out to his companions, noting that the Being he's inspecting is a shrew. Wasn't the town they're heading to called Shrewsbury? Could be this Being came from there - or it could be a coincidence. Shrugging, he trails after the other Freeswords as they prepare to move off. Aleera's comments about him looting earn her a wicked grin. "Well, let's put it this way," he says, tugging playfully on Aleera's long hair as they clamber back onto the cart, "We'll hand it over if we're /asked/ to." Last time... well... they definitely screwed up there, and they won't be doing anything like that again, but a pouch of coins on a battlefield? That's a bit of a grey area.

Lyas reaches back to whisk the paper out of Lucasiel's hands - she seems a little too distracted by it. He makes it vanish into his belt-pouch, crumpling it as he does, then offers a hand to help Lucasiel up. "If it's bone weapons they like, they'll be back here in a couple months for fresh materials," he jokes. "Why don't we wait an' meet them here then?" Rather than joining Aleera in the back this time, Lyas hops into the front seat, taking hold of the reins. He's taken turns at driving now and then, on the way here, but the women should know not to leave him at the helm for too long - the urge to race passing drovers is too strong for the Cat to resist.

"Hey, a party! This's more like it," Lyas perks up, as the cart approaches the festivities. "You think it's a victory march for what happened up the way? Like a harvest festival, only for bone club materials?" His tone is jovial, but the Cat's eyes are wary. No, this certainly doesn't sit right. Hadn't these Beings seen the smoke from the fort? Heard the commotion, when the battle was raging in the still country air?

It appears to be a local hunting-festival, although it's unlikely the locals hadn't heard the commotion last night. Still, everyone here seems to be in a jovial mood so far, even if they're keeping a wary eye on the strangers strolling into town with a big cart.

Still, should they ask about any of this, they'll be told it's a local tradition, and that, really, they're rather busy, but the town's priest and mayor is happy to give them a warm welcome...

"Celebratin' bein' alive? We do that every day we manage to live through back where I'm from," Aleera says to the tiny lynx, "'N I can definitely say that this /ain't/ that." Still, Zal does have a point there, and... as reluctant as she might be to do so, the siamese does sling her rifle back over her shoulder after a moment. It's not like it'll be far away if she needs it anyways.... Lyas's comments about this being a victory celebration are... well. Many would likely find them distasteful, of course, but they still make Aleera chuckle. "Now /that/ I believe. If'n these really are the same people, I bet they'd celebrate gettin' some new bone clubs."

At one point or another, the siamese does, of course, whistle and call out to one of the various townspeople going about their day, "'Ey! You! What's goin' on 'ere? Why's this place all decorated?" And the response that she gets is... well... really it's mostly somethng that she'd consider unhelpful. The feline leans back in her seat, crossing her arms over her chest and turning her attention back to her companions now. "Do we wanna risk payin' either a' them a visit, 'en? I can't say I fancy priests er mayors, but it might be the best chance we've got."

Lucasiel has a quite firm grip on the parchment, and is not so ready to give it up. Even as he tears half away. She keeps the part with the signature, though. "... Tempted to have them dock your pay for that," she grumbles, carefully folding up her half and tucking it away in her gauntlet. Rejecting the hand up, the metal clad woman hauls herself into the back of the cart to settle in for the ride.

%tWhen they arrive, though, she's quick out though remains quiet, leaving the others to do the talking for now as she casts her eyes over the town.

At the unhelpful response from the villager, Zalthar hops off the cart as well. "I'm going to see if I can learn more from within." She deposits her bow and hooked staff in the cart, leaving her just in her comfortable robes, and anything that's hidden underneath. With that, she heads down an alleyway out of sight, searching for a quiet, secluded place.

Once hidden, her form slowly starts to flicker, warping itself as her features become softer, more playful. Her fur lightens to a tabby's brown, with white sploches on her child's face. Her twin tails become just one, and she gives a few playful hops, accompanied by a couple of giggles.

Her disguise is all but complete within a minute, and she wanders out of the alleyway, and starts looking around, looking ABSOUTELY lost and confused, before going to one of the older beings who look like they might be involved with food, but also kind, asking "Excuse! Excuse me! I want to help too! Can I help?"

Lyas only grins as Lucasiel mutters about him getting his pay docked. Rather than try to drive a cart through a festival, Lyas pulls up by the side of the road, just underneath a convenient tree. He hops down, looping the reins around a branch. "Let's take a stroll through. See if we can't pick up a souvenir..." His smile is crooked as he surveys the townspeople. Simple countryfolk are capable of some pretty terrible things, even if they look harmless...

The Cat nods as Zalthar makes her way into the crowd. "Let's go an' see sommun official-like, then," he shrugs to the two other felines. "Try the Church first, since I'm damned if I know where their mayor is on a day like this."

Zalthar is offered a quick glance, a small nod. "Y'must be Mina's kid? I think frank, down th'street's' got s'more work that needs doin'," the shrew currently hanging up lights offers, gesturing to the butcher-shop down the street.

Lyas and Aleera'd quickly find their way to the church, where a white swiss shepherd being stands, clad in flowing, priestly robes, and exuding an aura of knowledge and refinement about them...

"Welcome. Friends from the heartland, come to check on our quaint little town? Please, make yourselves at home. Have a drink, enjoy the food... And, oh! Where are my manners. Rosa Shepherd, Priest and Mayor of Shrewbury, at your service."

"What? What do you mean by... 'at...," Aleera calls out to Zal... just in time to turn and see her hopping out of the cart and disappearing down one of the town's various alleyways. The siamese peers after her for a moment, then simply shrugs and hops out of the cart along with her two remaining companions. "I don't think a place like this'll have shiny enough souvenirs for my taste, luv," she idly comments to Lyas, carefully eyeing soome of the various townspeople.

She does spot an adorable little kitten talking to someone out of the corner of her eye, and for a moment the siamese is almost tempted to wander on over... but thankfully Lyas managed to keep her on task for now. She looks back to the tabby, offering a nod. "That's a good idea, aye. Shouldn't be too hard to find a church 'round 'ere...."

And luckily for them, it isn't! Finding the way to the church is simple enough, and the siamese is fairly certain that they're there once she spots the weirdo standing out in front of it. "Aye. We're out 'ere investigatin' some reports a' some strange stuff happenin'. We ain't really got time to be eatin' er drinkin' right now, but maybe after we're done 'ere," she explains. Her tone and expression alike are... fairly flat, really. Not cold, but not far from it. Lyas will likely recognize it as the demeanor she often uses when she's trying to mask her emotions and be a bit more business-like. "Yer... the priest /and/ the mayor?" she glances back to Lyas, "Do you folk usually do that 'round 'ere?"

With everyone else wandering off, Lucasiel decides to... Not do that. Instead, she folds her arms and leans against the cart to watch the townsfolk go about their business. Fortunately, her helmet helps keep her from being caught staring. Observing just how these people went about preparing for their festival might yield some insight, she hoped, because she didn't really expect to catch anyone doing something shady in the open like that.

Zalthar smiles and nods "Thank you!" She runs towards the butcher shop, peering in through the window with both hands up to block the obscuring sunlight, before letting herself into the butcher's. A quick glance around, and she makes her way to the counter, leaping up to peer over it's edge.

"Excuse me! Do you need a hand? I want to help get things ready too!" Her tail is flicking wildly, and if she weren't standing on tip-toe, she'd be fidgeting with as much energy as she could muster.

"She does that," Lyas comments to the two women, watching Zalthar vanish into the crowd. He claps Lucasiel on her armoured shoulder, taking Aleera's hand as they walk off into the crowd. "Less thinking, more haste. We sort this, mayhap we'll be in time for evening fireworks." Would they have fireworks on hand out here? Well... it is a fairly-sized town, so it's possible.

When Lyas flicks his gaze back to Aleera, he sees her looking at - a tabby kitten, of all things. "Now, love," he grins, tail linking with hers, "That belongs to sommun else. Don't get any ideas." He gives her hand an extra little squeeze at the gentle teasing. As they approach the church, the tabby looks askance at the priest, radiating her holier-than-thou aura. "Already don't trust this one," he mouths to Aleera. He makes the last few steps of their approach with a passable smile hitched to his face, nodding at the priest's greeting. "Ain't you folk worried that all this'll attract the wrong eyes?" Lyas asks. "Fair dangerous on the roads just now. Thought there'd been bandits about?" He shares a look with Aleera, shrugging to mutter to her, "Yeah, it happens. Priests and mayors can double up, both a' them are good for bugger all in harvest season, after all..."

"Now, I've no idea how y'all do it in the big city with y'all's councils and with the Good King presiding, but over here, we don't really have enough folk who can spare the time to do that. So we pick a single being to be mayor. An' the people chose me, ma'am. Your husband is right, you know. A pillar of the community, for sure, but not much good for huntin' or harvestin'," she offers with a smile.

"Surely, the local military forces will keep Shrewsbury safe? Bandits should be easy pickings for them, given the nearst fort is only half an hour of walking away."

"And please, I do insist. Enjoy the festivities..."

Zalthar gets a glance. "Huh. You're mina's kid? Well, I've got some saussages that need to be delivered to Anna. You know where she lives, right?"

Aleera is all too happy to link hands and tails alike with her tabby lover, and she's... well... she's definitely already holding his hand a bit tighter than usual. Unsurprisingly, it seems that she's a little tense at the moment. Still, even now, his teasing earns a soft grin in response. "I ain't gonna snatch no one. I'm just gettin' in the right mindset...," she warmly teases right back.

Once they're in front of the priest, however, all of that warmth is gone. No, she can't risk showing such things in front of a stranger, and certainly not in front of a stranger as potentially dangerous as this priest.... The explanation about the whole priest and mayor thing earns a couple of nods in response from the siamese, and while that 'husband' bit isn't technically correct, she certainly isn't intent on correcting the priest. The mention of the fort, however.... Now /that/ gets her to quirk a brow. "You know that that fort has been ransacked, right? There ain't any a' the local military /left/ 'round 'ere."

Unfortunately for Rosa, this siamese isn't an easily swayed feline, and that insistence simply earns a stone-faced shake of her head in response. "We really can't, lady. We've got work to do, 'n now ain't the time for us ta get side-tracked."

Zalthar shakes her head "I can't remember right now, everything's so busy!" She explains "It wasn't far, I think..... How do I get there again?" she asks, tilting her head as she tries to look cute and forgivable.

"I'm not her husband," Lyas says with a relaxed grin. Where did all his wariness go? The Cat seems suddenly a bit... distracted. More so than usual... He gives Aleera a wicked look. "Not yet, anyway!" He turns his bright green eyes back on the priest, half-heartedly nodding along as Aleera lays down her tough act. "Fort's done for," he notes, but his mind is drifting towards the food and drink available down the street. It wouldn't be so bad to grab some while they investigate.

"Ain't sidetracking you what I'm here for?" Lyas murmurs to Aleera, giving her hand another squeeze. "Firework, you're lookin' all serious, and I swore I'd fix that. Why not grab a bite while we look around? Our eyes'll work fine even while our mouths're full."

"Ah. I'd swear, you'd make a lovely couple together, Rosa offers with a faint smile on her lips, before gesturing to the food. "Surely, you must be joking? Are you saying Sweetwater's renowned military men and women are fallible?" Rosa offers with a quirked brow. "That Firmament has failed to protect this quaint little border-town?" she offers, one ear twitching, and her tail still, even if it seems to almost wag for a moment...

Still, that food is mighty tempting, and those meat-pies smell some kind of otherworldly amazing.

"Out the door, right, then immediately left. Three streets to the right, another left, and then, the third house. Can't miss it."

Of course, that sudden change in Lyas's demeanor is almost immediately clocked by Aleera. In fact, it's the only thing that really managed to break the stoney demeanor that she's otherwise been putting up... Mostly she just looks... confused, though -- especially after he actually /agrees/ with the priest! "What?" she murmurs, then leans in to rub her nose along the tabby's ear, dropping her voice to a whisper that only he should be able to hear, "Luv, if you want some time together 'en we can sneak off somewhere outta town, alright? I don't like it 'ere."

There's just... so much about the current situation that just doesn't add up. Her lover's behavior -- and the behavior of Rosa herself, for matter -- and the people in this town /definitely/ would've known about the damage at the fort already.... But the lady in front of her seems so sincere.... "Yeah, that's exactly what I'm sayin'," she states plainly, "Why else do ya think they woulda sent us out 'ere?" The siamese glances around them for a moment, then grips Lyas's hand a bit tighter and takes a step back, tugging him along with her. "We'll be back in a moment, eh? We're gonna go get a friend we left behind, and 'en we'll come straight back."

Lucasiel rolls her shoulders as she leans, occasionally moving to pace a few times just to stay moving. It was a strange town, no doubt about it. It was not unlike one she once lived in, where her daughter was born, but... Something about it was off. The sort of rehearsed appearance and calm surface that hid something beneath. She couldn't quite place it, of course, but... She knew when something felt off.

Zalthar's ears twitch as she stares at Frank, taking in the directions. As he finishes, she beams "Thank you!" before picking up the pack of sausages and waving on her way out the door. Back in the street, she follows the directions she commited to memory with ease, walking briskly. As she moves, she looks around, memorizing her surroundings, the people, the places and what's being sold. When she can, she tunes her ears towards a conversation nearby, here and there. She's not entirely processing what she's taking in, more time for that later to play it back in her head. For now, Anna needs her sausage, and by the Creators, she will get it!"

As Zal makes her way across a street, she nearly runs into Aleera and Lyas, offering a cute, high pitched "Hi Leera! Hi Leeas! Say hi to Luci for me please!" and a wave before scooting away into the crowd, far more invisible than she has any right to be.

Is that priest's tail twitching? Funny, that - it's a liar's sign he's seen many times before and it should be important but... that food does look so /very/ good. Was this the sort of hunger Aleera was feeling the other night, when they broke into a kitchen just to cook a late-night meal? No wonder she'd as much as hauled him out of bed. "Wait, hang on - why can't we just take some food with us?" he asks Aleera, as she tugs him away from that tempting display. "I didn't complain when /you/ were hungry..." The last comment is something of a grumble. As much as he wants those pies... he's not quite far gone enough to fight Aleera's insistent grip. He does, however, have to be dragged, and it's in this state that Zalthar finds the two Cats as she runs past. "What... oh. Zal," the tabby says, as he realises who it must be behind that innocent face. He shakes off his distraction momentarily to chuckle to Aleera, "A tabby? She's copying me!" A moment later he's back to staring at a man scoffing a pie, though...

The priest's tail does, in fact, appear to be twitching. Just a little bit. At least, for a moment, before that twitch turns into a wag proper.

Those pies, and all that food, it does seem to be calling to Lyas oh-so-temptingly, even as Aleera tries to drag him away from both the priestess, and the food.

For her part, the tabby kitten is gone in an instant, running along on whatever kind of errand she's running...

At the cart, Lucasiel is occasionally approached by one or two local beings, urging her to partake in the festival, but no-one dares to actually press the issue, if dismissed...

Lyas's grumbling earns no sympathy from Aleera, regardless of how tempting some of that food does seem.... She gives a little sniff and glances over the festivities around them, but nonetheless doesn't slow her stride for even a moment. "Well, when I was hungry, we weren't in a town full a' weirdos who might be out ta hurt us," she says, though really her tone is... more playful than anything else, "Er, well... the people back in Firmament ain't quite as weird as the people 'ere, anyway."

The only thing that gets the siamese to pause is when that strange kitten runs past. She stops and blinks in surprise, glances back to Lyas, then once more to the kitten. "Issat... really her?" she asks, and then simply grins and chuckles, "That little cat can do seem strange things...."

In any case, they do reach the cart again eventually, and once they're there, she's quick to take up a position leaning against it next to Lucasiel. "We just got done talkin' to the mayor er... priest er... whatever 'ey called 'er, 'n she's just as weird as the rest a' this place," she reports, her tone a little lower, "Somethin's goin' on 'ere, but I ain't sure what."

"Weird as they may be... they've food, an' plenty of it," Lyas grumbles. It's a good thing that Aleera has a firm grip on his hand, or the tabby would have long since pulled free to join the festivities. "Wouldn't hurt, to eat as we look about the place..."

Back at the cart, he nods to Aleera's explanation half-heartedly. The priest /was/ kind of strange, but... is that really so important? "Lucasiel, are you hungry?" he asks suddenly, pointing towards the nearest pie-distribution point. "I think we'd all work better with some food in us, don't you?"

Lucasiel remains an impassive suit of plate armour, though she kindly dismisses the locals with a shake of her head and an open palm. No food for her. Why? Because she turns towards Aleera and Lyas when they arrive. "We're not eating. We just saw a bunch of bodies with bite marks, and this town is obviously a little odd. Do you really want to eat the food here?" She asks, implication hopefully plain without her having to state it.

She folds her arms and inclines her head. "We should find the bandits. They probably have a better idea of what's going on around here."

The gears in Aleera's head are turning /very/ hard. There's something... off about all of this food, but she couldn't quite put her finger on exactly what that was... right up until the point that Lucasiel says what she does, anyways. The siamese blinks, then a look of wide-eyed realization crosses her muzzle. "Creators, yer right!" she says -- probably a bit louder than is necessary -- before lowering her voice again, "That priest lady was /real/ insistent about us eatin' some 'a that food. I figured there was some weird stuff in it, but I think yer right about what 'at stuff is." She turns her attention back to Lyas now, giving the tabby a firm look. "See? You /ain't/ eatin' nothin'."

At the comment about the bandits, she quirks an eyebrow and glances back to Luc. "All the bandits are dead, ain't they? Unless these folks took some as prisoners, anyway. If they did, 'en I don't think they'd be keen on tellin' us where 'ey're keepin' 'em."

The tabby Cat might be weak to temptation, but he's not daft. It takes a quick mind to derail events as gloriously as he is wont to do, after all. "That's... true but..." he mutters, looking between Lucasiel and the closest pie-seller. "I didn't see those bodies missin' no parts that could've been minced into pies. You reckon there were more they carted off?" That would mean the battle at the fort was even bigger than they had thought.

Still feeling strangely ravenous, Lyas looks on morosely as a small child licks leftover pie from the fur around their mouth. Despite Lucasiel's morbid implication, he can't help but still want something to eat.

Aleera's sharp rebuke makes Lyas grin a little. "Ever? Firework, I'll waste away." With Lucasiel and Aleera raising concerns about the food, Lyas might think twice about chowing down... but the Cat is still strangely distracted. His stomach pulls him one way, his tapping feet another... the priest did mention joining the festivities, and if he can't have a pie... well, a dance couldn't hurt, now could it? He tugs idly on Aleera's hand, as if to pull her into a twirl.

"I hope they're not all dead," Lucasiel mutters. "And even if the bandits themselves are, their leader wasn't among the corpses." She rubs at the back of her helmet before shrugging. "As for where they got the bodies... Either past incursions, or... I'm not sure, maybe they did cart some off. They're all pretty calm and mellow for a place that had a fort just get lost nearby. This definitely isn't right, and if we can find the bandit leader I figure he would have some insight to lend."

The only real question is... Where to look. The little cat from before came from a butcher's shop that seems to be providing plenty of pies to the festival. If there's any beings left alive, they might be in the back. At the same time, churches do often have their sanctums, which would be an excellent place to hide someone from plain sight. There's no doubt a small jail of some sort... Plenty of places to go and hide a bandit.

Lyas and Aleera, meanwhile, are quickly greeted with a cheery, bouncy countryside tune... Perfect for a more energetic dance.

"I reckon they were carted off, aye," there's a pause, a moment of thought, before Aleera adds, "'N now 'at I think about it, 'at might be why all those bodies were tucked away behind that hill. I bet they kept 'em outta sight from the road so 'at 'ey could go get 'em later." Even now, Lyas's joke likewise makes the siamese chuckle and grin. "If you keep 'is up, it might be ever," she teases right back, as the tabby tugs her hand like that, the cat simply holds her ground and shoots him a more serious look. She brings her hands up to cup his chin, turning his muzzle so that he's forced to meet her gaze, and she leans in a bit closer to him. "Luv. I ain't sure what's gotten into ya, 'n you know I don't mind yer jokes er nothin', but I need ya to focus right now. We can 'ave fun later, but right now we've gotta figer out what ta do about this town. It ain't safe ta let our guard down. Aye?" she emphasises those words by giving the tabby a gentle kiss on the lips, but then she releases his muzzle and returns to holding his hand instead. Convenient as it may have been, it seems that tune is going completely ignored for the moment.

"D'you know who 'eir leader is?" the siamese asks, turning her attention back to Lucasiel now, "Or at least what 'ey look like, anyway. If'n ya do, 'en it might be worth pokin' 'round the town a little...." She glances over the area around them, running through a mental check list of the various places that a prisoner could be kept in a place like this. She's had to perform prison breaks a few times before, but she had the backing of a whole crew of people who were willing to get messy for those.... "I ain't sneaky, though. If we're gonna go pokin' 'round like 'at, people are prolly gonna notice."

Half-focussed, feet tapping to the beat, eyes roving to the pie-stand... Lyas is barely able to follow along with the two women's conversation. Aleera would see, turning his head, that his expression is a little bit... glassy. There's rational thought happening there still, but it's buried underneath a childlike desire to indulge wants over needs. And what he /wants/ right now is to join the party. Aleera gets a distracted kiss back, even as his eyes slide across the happy crowd of townsfolk. Her hand recapturing his stops him abruptly as he begins to take a step away. Instead, he swings their linked hands idly, trying to listen as she and Lucasiel plan.

"If we find a likely place, I reckon I could get in..." he begins, the thought trailing off. The Cat has the skills for sneaking about, and for opening locked doors if needed. If he can keep his head in the game long enough, that is.

"Yeah, I know what he looks like," The heavy metal panther replies before standing up straight out of her lean. "He's a jackal, scar cross his face, horizontal. Looks sharper than he lets on." She casts her eyes around the town. "If one of you can check the jail they might have him locked up. I'm going to snoop around the butcher's place, see what's going on around there."

The jail is... Not super impressive, but it's there. Given this is a small, walled town of only a one or two-thousand beings or so. it doesn't have to be overly large, either. Still, it's attached to the nearest guard-tower and shouldn't prove -too- much of a hike, regardless...

The butcher, of course, is closer. just down the street, and continually working on making more food for the party.

Aleera did, of course, have a hunch that something was wrong with Lyas, but now it finally hits her exactly /how/ wrong things are. That glassy look was a pretty big sign of that, of course, but... more than anything else, it's the way that the tabby kisses her that really does it. He's /never/ given her such a half-hearted kiss before! That realization that someone did something to the tabby is accompanied by a rage bubbling up in her, her eyebrows furrowing and her expression growing concerned.

Still, she glances up to Lucasiel, nodding along with her words. "Aye, 'at sounds like a plan. We're gonna pay a visit to the church again first though, eh? We can give it a search, 'n I've gotta have a talk with that damned, holier-than-though bitch." She does, of course, sound /distinctly/ annoyed, and practically spits out those last few words. She grips Lyas's hand tighter, and abruptly turns to stomp towards where the pirestess was. "C'mon, luv. We're gonna figer out what she did to ya." Unfortunately for Lucasiel's plans, short of restraining her there... really probably isn't going to be a way to stop the siamese right now.

Lyas is still thinking of the ongoing party - and really, would it hurt to take a moment to enjoy it all - when Aleera's words hit his pointy ears. He tugs back as Aleera goes to storm off, perplexed but smiling. "Firework, what're you on about? I'm fine. More'n fine. I just think you're takin' this too serious-like." He pulls Aleera's hand playfully, likely instigating a tug-of-war with the fierce siamese. "One dance, just one. Mayhap some food - " he nods to Lucasiel here, adding, "- Just not those pies. Can't hurt, can it?"

With Aleera so disinterested, the tabby takes further steps - literally - to bring her into the party. He steps in across her legs, hooking one foot about her ankle to steal her balance as he goes to lean her backwards. It's a dancers' pose, one that Aleera is normally amenable to being put in - but today the pirate might have some objections...

"No food," Lucasiel says gruffly. "If you try it, you're spending the rest of the time here tied up on the cart." She straightens up and rolls her shoulders. "Now, are you going to stop playing around so we can get on with this, or am I going to have to stand here til you do?"

"No, you /ain't/ fine. Yer actin' weird, 'n I bet it's because of somethin' that /bitch/ did," Aleera states firmly, her eyes narrowed and her expression distinctly annoyed. And... well... really she only becomes even more so when Lyas tips her back like that. She tries to tug away but he's just a bit too quick for her, and soon enough she's left tipped backwards, looking distinctly pissed off. Probably not at him specifically, but it's hard to tell by this point.... "Lyas, you best let me go. Now," she says, teeth gritted, her voice nigh a growl, "I don't know what she did to ya, but yer safety might be on the line. If she ain't gonna fix what she did, then I'm gonna rough her up 'til she does, 'n you can't stop me." He should really know not to stay in her way when she's quite this angry.... To Lucasiel, she simply offers, "I'm tryin' ta get a move on!"

"If you're goin' to stand about like that, might as well get those feet tappin' and join in," Lyas recommends to Lucasiel, tail jinking playfully as he holds his pose, arms around Aleera's back to keep her from falling. Angry as the siamese is, Lyas doesn't seem to care - he has a hard time taking her (or anything) seriously at the best of times, and now he just flicks her an annoying grin. "Let you go? If you say, love..." Rather than pull her back to her feet, the tabby slowly lowers Aleera to the ground, lying her in the dirt. He might have just dropped her... but, well, there's enough sense left in him to remember that Aleera should /not/ suffer any unnecessary bumps at this point. "There," he says putting his hands up mockingly. "That's what you wanted, ain't it?"

Lucasiel places the palm of her gauntlet over her helmet. "Ugh. We're not here to pick a fight. We're not here to eat the food. We're here to get answers. Do not jeopardize this mission, please. There is a lot on the line here. Be professional." She turns and strides off towards the butcher's place to do some snooping and scouting.

Really when Lyas said those words, Aleera had fully expected him to drop her... and while what he actually does is much less painful, she doesn't seem to be any less annoyed about the whole thing. "You bet yer ass it is," she mutters under her breath, and then the siamese simply stands up and grabs the tabby by the wrist once more. However hard he may be trying to stop her, it seems that she's still intent on dragging him off to have a talk with that priestess, whether he's willing to go or not. Lucasiel doesn't earn a glance this time, but Aleera does respond with, "I didn't come 'ere lookin' to pick a fight. But if she wants to start one, 'en I'm damn well gonna finish it."

The butcher's place is... Just about the way you'd imagine a butcher to be. There's a variety of cured, salted, spiced and dried meats hanging from the ceiling, along with a clean, dry storeroom in the back for freshly cut meat.

At the square they'd found her earlier, Lyas and Aleera'd find the White Swiss has vanished, no doubt having moved along to the next place of interest among her route... She is, after all, both the priest and mayor of the small town.

The tabby cat is still grinning at Aleera's outrage as she gets to her feet. He does reach across to dust off her back - before finding his wrist captured and given a firm tug. "You're demandin' today..." he comments, trailing off. Wait, is Aleera being demanding or... "or... am I really off-task?" Seems he's coming out of it, a little. A faint frown crosses his brow as he looks around. There's hunger gnawing at his stomach and, sure, he likes a good party but... didn't they have more serious things to worry about?

"Ah... Aleera?" the Cat mutters, his carefree expression slowly closing off. His eyes move slightly, tracking the movement of the people around them suspiciously. He grips the siamese's hand more tightly, his other hand drifting to the sword on his belt. There's a sudden chill running through him, a distinct feeling of danger, as he realises he has /no/ idea why he's been acting the way he has. What Aleera was saying about the priestess - so ridiculous to him, a few minutes ago - is starting to sound uncomfortably possible. But the Swiss is no longer where they left her...

Lucasiel snoops around, all panther like. She's not very sneaky, but she's not trying to be. Just observing. Wandering around, keeping her ears open for out of place sounds. Looking where she can...

Really Aleera seems more than ready to retort to Lyas's grumbling even more... but before has the chance to, something miraculous happens! The siamese pauses dead in her tracks and turns to face the tabby, her expression hopeful... In most situations, seeing him frowning and on-guard like that would put her on-guard too, but in this instance, it's like a breath of fresh air. Suddenly, that seemingly perpetual annoyance is replaced by a wide smile. She leans forward, wrapping her arms around the tabby and pulling him into what's probably an uncomfortably tight embrace for him. She even gives him a kiss behind the ears before finally murmuring, "Yer back with me, 'en? I'm... I'm glad. Real glad." Still, now she doesn't want to stretch out her time spent off-task even more, so the cat releases her embrace and takes a step back to look her lover in the eyes again. "Want to go help me 'ave a word with 'at priest-lady? I reckon I'd still like to kick 'er ass."

Lyas returns Aleera's kiss with enthusiasm - but like her, he knows that they've wasted enough time. Specifically, /he's/ wasted enough time... he gives the siamese a crooked grin, retorting, "I reckon that's a recipe for... well, don't know exactly, but we're no good at recipes, I know that much." His stomach still won't stop its insistent nudging... what a pain. But he's /not/ touching any of this town's food... why did he ever even think that was a good idea...

The Cat lets go of Aleera's hand to hunt in his belt-pouch, wondering if he has any food - a packet of nuts, maybe... but, no dice. He'll just have to put up with the hunger pangs. He toys with his sword-hilt with his spare hand, a dull glow of anger shining in his eyes even as his grin remains fixed in place. "No, we'll not go chasin' that dog down. She wants us distracted, don't she? Least, how I see it. Runnin' around after her keeps us from what we're here to do." He buttons his belt-pouch again and takes Aleera's hand, lifting it to his lips briefly. "Best way to fuck up her day's to stick with the job. Now... where'd Lucasiel and Zalthar wander off to?"

Lucasiel casts her eyes around, then grunts and wanders off towards her next destination. Figuring that she'd have to do it all herself, she starts heading towards the jail next. Maybe the person she was seeking would be there.

"Oh! A customer? Anything I can do for you... Ma'am?" It's hard to tell with the heavy armor... Of course, when she slinks off again, the butcher is just left mostly confused, watching the panther leave once more. Of course, once she's outside again, in the crowd of beings... Someone bumps into her, and, before they've even said sorry, they've disappeared again.

Lyas and Aleera are left in the square, the music still continuing all around the pair, the festivities, and the many beings eating and enjoying their food... That jail -was- their original goal.

That comment about recipes makes Aleera chuckle and offer a little shrug of her shoulders. "Issat why we don't bother with a plan either?" she jokes with a toothy grin of her own. While the tabby is rooting around for snacks, the siamese brings one of her own hands back to idly rest on the butt of her blunderbuss. She isn't /supposed/ to shoot to kill, of course, but waving that around while in a crowd is going to look a whole lot more threatening than her other options. However, her attention turns back to Lyas as he takes her hand again, and his words... actually make her pout a little. Still, after a moment she finally sighs and says, "...Yer right. We'll cause some havoc in another way, I s'pose." She surveys the area around them now, offering, "Lucasiel went ta a... shop, I think. I was kinda distracted when she was explainin' it all," she offers her lover a toothy, unapologetic grin and continues, "I ain't sure where the tiny cat went. Last we saw 'er, she looked like a kid."

"Well... if we're looking to bust out some bandits... I'd hedge a bet on the gaol bein' the place to go," Lyas suggests. He lifts a hand, finger hovering in the air until he points in a likely direction. "I think the both a' us can track down a clink right quick. Mayhap we can even give it a once-over and a rating. See how it stacks up against Firmament. Cliffside. Wherever you've been..." Lyas starts off down the road, expertly dodging the jostling members of the crowd. His hand stays locked with Aleera's, pulling the less-sneaky feline through gaps as they open, weaving around other Beings (or even, once or twice, underneath the linked arms of couples). He smiles at Aleera's pout. "Don't be sad, love. Plenty of chaos we can cause this way, I'm sure."

Lucasiel does pause and shakes her head, offering a wave to the butcher. "No, no. Just checking out the place. I was wondering what kind of place was providing all the food, is all. I wanted to see the source," she says, warmly enough. "And did not mean to take up much of your time." She didn't want to be rude, cult town or not. And THEN she's off. She didn't mind the bump too much, but she does give herself a onceover.

It doesn't appear any of Lucasiel's things are gone, at least... And, soon enough, all three beings converge on an old, already slightly crumbling guard-tower, with a small, decently-sized jail of sorts attached to it. Nothing spectacular, but capable of holding at least a few dozen beings, although no doubt, several of them would be in underground cells. There's no doubt a few guards inside, but the place is clearly not too well-staffed right now...

"I reckon 'at we'll both be real good at gettin' someone outta jail, aye," Aleera offers, pout turning back to a grin now that they've started moving, "I don't reckon they could get any worse 'en some a' the ones back 'ome, though. I remember bustin' someone outta one that musta been held together by spit 'n prayers." She chuckles... even while being guided through all of those various gaps in the crowd. She isn't /quite/ as good at slipping through them -- especially with her guns on her back -- but... she can still manage. "I know, luv.... I'm just a wee disappointed 'at I won't get to shoot at somethin'," she says, her grin as toothy as ever.

As the jail finally comes into view, however, the siamese looks it over for a moment before simply giving a shrug of her shoulders. "Eh, this ain't nothin' special. Like I said, we should be able ta get the people out real easy-like." But... entering a building without destroying something is Lyas's specialty, so she's content to leave it up to him. She does notice a much bigger figure moving in the same direction as them though, and she offers their poor companion a wave, "There's the big cat! I guess she musta finished up at the shop."

Lyas fetches up against the wall of the guard-tower, leaning back against the solid brick lazily as his eyes follow Aleera's wave. There, indeed, is Lucasiel, armour making her easily identifiable in the crowd. He gives a languid wave of his own as the panther approaches. "Where've you been?" he asks. "Leavin' us to do the legwork, while you're pissing about..." he's clearly joking - mainly at his own expense, here, as he follows up with, "Not all too clear on what happened earlier, but I'd stay away from the priestess if you see her. She's a white shepard, can't miss her. If you do, though, don't worry - I'll knock some sense back into you."

Tipping his head back to squint up the height of the tower, Lyas continues appraisingly. "Place is old, probably be quick work to get through any locks. First up's gettin' inside, though. If you two can pull the guards out this way, I can slip in easy enough."

Lucasiel hums softly to herself, eyeing her cloak before she looks up towards the other two. "Oh, you made it after all." She looks over the crowd again, looking for anyone that might be nursing an injury or otherwise seem to be bleeding. "I'll leave that to you, then. Don't make a mess of it."

The being that bumped into Lucasiel is long-gone, although there are plenty that don't seem to -quite- know their own limits when it comes to food and drink... If things continue like thiss, odds are some folks are going to wind up hurting themselves before the day is over.

So far, the guards are few and far between, but who knows who's actually inside...

All of Lyas's teasing makes Aleera chuckle even while they're pressed up against the outside of that tower. It's not like either of them are trying to keep their voice quiet just yet anyways.... "I reckon 'at it'd take both a' us to wrangle her while she's like 'at, luv," Aleera comments, but... as Lyas requests a distraction, the siamese simply pushes off of the wall and flashes him that familiar grin of hers. "What kinda distraction do ya want, luv? A gunshot is usually real good fer gettin' people's attention, but I bet 'at you don't want /that/ much attention, do ya?"

Lyas winks at Aleera. "How about a fight breakin' out between two rough-an'-tumble types visiting the town?" He nods between the two armed and armoured Freeswords. "Or else, you can use aught you'd break out in the local bar." He leans in to whisper a final instruction, just for Aleera, then steps back smartly. The tabby Cat gives the two women a nod and a final wicked grin. He waits for them to implement... whatever they decide, really. Then, tucking his thumbs into his belt, he saunters across to the side door. He moves casually, rather than what other Beings might consider to be properly steathily. With the door clearly in sight of other Beings, it's better to act like he has every right to be approaching it than to scuttle along like the stereotypical burglar. As he reaches for the door handle, he's already shrugged a lockpick from his arm-guard into his hand. It's a moment's work to open the lock, and the Cat disguises his movements by turning his back to the crowd and acting as if he's simply turning the handle. A second problem presents itself, though - a latch, holding the door closed. He doesn't have the time to be delicate about it, not without looking suspicious. Lyas digs his fingers in around the rusted metal, yanking it from the frame. It's murder on his fingers and nails, but the latch comes off with a squeal and a crunch. He pockets it nonchalantly, looking for all the world like a Being just replacing his keys in his pocket.

"Hrmph." Lucasiel folds her arms and moves away. Not to abandon them to it, but... Naturally, she tends to be drawing a number of eyes, armed and armored as she is, and she's going to leverage that to draw those eyes away from Lyas and Aleera.

Aleera offers a nod of her head as well as a broad grin to Lyas, and... for better or worse, she falls in line next to Lucasiel. You know what draws more attention than one armed and armored woman? Two armed and armored women! And the siamese is intent on taking advantage of that, because once there's a bit of distance between them and Lyas, she turns her attention to the nearest being who's currently eating that she can find... and just knocks the food right out of their hands. Whoever is her unlucky targer, she simply offers them a wide, toothy smile. "The food 'ere tastes like piss, don't spoil yer appetite with it. I swear, people 'round these parts can't even make a fruit taste good...."

It's too bad for Lyas that he's already slipping through the side-door of the guard tower, because there's nothing he enjoys more than watching chaos unfold. It's no wonder he was attracted to Aleera the moment they first met - she's a veritable font of chaos! He never even has to instigate his own trouble these days, just point Aleera in a direction and watch her go.

Inside the tower, Lyas stops to appraise his surroundings, one hand still resting on the doorknob in case he needs to make a quick exit. He takes a moment to adjust his soulgem, hesitating over which is best for the job. He'd prefer to remain unseen, but there's always a chance he'll need to knock some poor sucker out. Decision made, he pads down the hallway, feet noiseless on the hard ground. His path takes him up to the iron gate, which he tests tentatively, lockpicks again at the ready. Been a while now since he's been in a prison. Sure brings back memories...

As Aleera's hand collides with the pie, her fur is left sticky and clumped with pieces of fruit and jam...

... Meanwhile, the being whose pie she just knocked onto the ground seems to be rapidly switching between disbelief, anger, and genuine sadness, as tears well up in the eyes of the large, muscled bear before her. Probably not the reaction she expected. "Oy! You can't do that! That was me ma's pie!"

"Yeah! How dare you!"

"Not mamma Glukhovsky's blueberry pie!"

Lucasiel stares at Aleera and slowly moves away. She's not involved in that. She's not associated. Nope. She felt bad for that poor bear, cult or not. What a waste of pie.

"Whaddya mean I 'can't' do that? Who the feck is gonna stop me?" Aleera challenges, flicking her hand to try to shake off some of the debris that was left behind on it. The fact that the bear in front of her is crying doesn't seem to bother her in the slightest, really. She's /far/ beyond the point of sympathy for just about anyone in this town. The siamese turns to face the crowd at large now that she has people's attention, and she spreads her arms out in front of her just like someone who's about to start a horribly angry rant. "This whole town has piss poor food! My luv ate it, 'n it made 'im ill! It's like folk out 'ere don't have any spices other 'n salt er somethin'!"

Lyas takes a moment longer with the gate than he did with the door. The change in his soulgem leaves his fingers a touch less deft, but it's a worthwhile trade-off for what this gem does for his stealth. Through the gate, he pads down the corridor, looking for the cells. And the bandits. Or what's left of them...

It takes a little jiggering, but soon enough, Lyas has that lock opened... As it turns out, there's a little over a dozen beings held at this level, and, if he moves into the central plaza - risking exposing himself -, he'd be able to have a decent look at all of them. There's another hallway leading off in one direction, no doubt towards the mess-hall for the prisoners to eat in, and a flight of stairs going down into the lower levels, too.

The massive bear, already on the verge of tears, is soon left bawling, just staring at Aleera, then at the pie now lying on the ground, inedible.

"Mamma Glukhovsky just lost her husband!"

"I say we chase 'er out of town!"


Soon enough, Aleera'd find herself being surrounded by a rather... Angry-looking crowd, coming to the burly bear's defense...

Lucasiel moves further away and pointedly directs her attention elsewhere, looking over the growing crowd. That sure looked like a problem. Not her problem, though. Hopefully Lyas would return swiftly.

Making it to the cells, Lyas checks around for guards who might be lurking out of sight. He avoids the central plaza, for now, peering into the closest cells only. Satisfied that it's just him, a hodge-podge of criminals and a set of laughably old locks, he hitches his familiar cheshire grin to his face. He leans back against a wall, strategically picking one that's in view of some of the cells - but out of immediate sight for anyone entering through the door. "Well, well. Nice to see a lock-up from this side a' the bars for once. So, what's everyone in for today? Theft? Drunkenness? Bit a' arson?" His tone, while joking, is quite low. He doesn't want to bring anyone running, while he's toying with an admittedly bad idea...

The lockpicks are in his hand once more, waved teasingly towards the cells. server ho wants out?square There it is. It would probably be easier to slip by and focus on his target alone, but he's got to at least match whatever trouble Aleera is stirring up above!

"Outta town, eh? 'At's fine. This place is a dump anyway," Aleera says nonchalantly, even despite the crowd that's starting to surround her. In fact, she's... smiling, really! She loves causes chaos, and she's got a whole lot of pent up energy after what happened to her lover.... Still, she's not an idiot. Mostly. The siamese springs into action, moving to dash through any gaps left in the crowd before they can close in too far, laughing all the while. And if there aren't any gaps left behind, then... well... she brought her guns along for a reason. Still, before she can disappear too far, she does call out, "Wherever ya are, big cat, tell my luv where I ran off to if ya see him, eh?" And then she's off.

As Aleera dashes off, most of that crowd rushes after her, bobbing and weaving through the crowd, never quite shaking the mob, but always staying ahead of them. At the same time, not quite everyone chases her, though. The bear just continues looking devastated at the simple act of his mother's pie on the ground.

Lyas, meanwhile, finds almost all of the beings amenable to being let out of their cells. "They're keeping the cap'n in the cellars, I think," one of those bandit-beings offers while the cat works on unlocking their cell. Meanwhile, the thieves are making quick work not just of their own cells, but of those of two burly-looking wolves, too... Seems there is -some- honor amongs thieves, at least.

"Right. Will do," Lucasiel rumbles, turning her attention towards the jail to watch and wait.

"Cheers," Lyas grins. "An' if I can ask an awkward question - have these folk eaten any a' your mates? Mayhap put them in pies first?" Well, it is certainly going to be awkward if Lucasiel's idea was wrong. Not least because he may have just broken a load of bandits out of a legitimate gaol and not a Being-meat-pie cellar. Well. Arguably, he needs the distraction of this lot running around in order to get the bandit leader out, so he /should/ be all square with the Freeswords. Probably.

"Come along, if you like. Else just do me a favour an' cause some clamour on your way out, would you?" His directions given, Lyas begins searching for the stairs down, slipping back into the shadows. He keeps low as he moves, now - there's no way any guards who see him will believe he belongs there, so misdirection and a fast tongue aren't his weapon of choice. If some of those bandits come along, though, he might be able to slip by while the guards focus on the noisier escapees...

For her part, Aleera seems absolutely delighted to have the crowd pursuing her like this. She might not be shaking them off of her, sure, but they certainly aren't catching her either. And, hey... she's still keeping a good portion of the crowd's eyes off of the prison, isn't she? "Ya really think it's gonna be 'at easy to catch a swashbuckler? I've jumped across ships befer, ya know!" she calls back to the crowd, but... well... despite her taunting, the siamese is turning her path towards the gates /out/ of the town. Really she's sort of relying on the hope that the mob will buzz off once she's out of town... or that she'll be able to scare them off with her weapons, anyways.

And cause a ruckus, the prisoners do. As soon as they're all out of their cages, they start rushing out into the guard-towers, smashing up stuff, and generally being a huge pain in the ass for the poor pair of guards left staffing the place, at least upstairs.

The bandits seem a little unsure, and more than a little worried. "Is... Is that why they kept biting folk?" the raccoon offers, exposing a serious bite-wound on his shoulder... One that most definitely should be looked at by a journeyman, priest, or traumamage sooner, rather than later...

Downstairs, sight is a lot worse, with a torch only barely flickering down the hallway. The cells are a lot denser and smaller here, although there's also a lot less floorspace... And ahead, there's the clicking and clacking of something or someone moving along the hall.

No such luck for Aleera however, as she finds that the crowd is more than willing to chase her -far- out of town... Seems she's no longer welcome in this place. And all that, over pie.

Lyas whistles lowly as he leans over to inspect the raccoon's bitemark. "Oh, hey. I've some a' those as well. From my girl. Reckon she's in league with this lot?" Hopefully the shellshocked bandit doesn't take that remark seriously... "Yours looks like it'll need to be looked at, though. 'Fore it goes bad." He claps the raccoon on the shoulder - the non-bitten shoulder - and gives him a little push, as if indicating the other Being should walk ahead of him. This Being has been chosen to be his new friend. Or shield. Whatever the occasion calls for, really. "Let's go get your captain. Cross your fingers that he still has his, alright?"

Lyas prowls down the steps to the lower level cautiously, pointing the bandit ahead rather insistently. One ear quivers as he picks up the clicking and clacking from ahead. Silently, the Cat slips his lockpicks away and draws his sword. Preferably, he'll knock whoever's patrolling out with the butt, but if it comes to it - a good stab in the leg should keep them down.

Despite her athleticism, even Aleera is going to start running out of breath eventually, and she certainly wasn't prepared to be chased /this/ far out of the town. She slows her pace down slightly so that she can reach back and grab her blunderbuss, swinging it over her shoulder and bringing it up into her arms. She doesn't turn around to face the crowd quite yet, though. No, she's at least going to give them a chance to turn around before pointing her weapon anywhere.... "Alright, you lot! Turn around, 'n I won't follow ya back to the town. Keep chasin' me, 'n I'm firin' this into ya. I don't know if any of ya have ever seen a blunderbuss befer, but they shoot a whooole lotta pellets that'll rip up an unarmored group real nice. You've got 'til the counta three ta pick. One...." She presses the butt against her shoulder and slows her pace further, prepping her weapon to fire....

Lucasiel continues to bide her time outside, finding something new to lean against with a rattle of plate and bladed cloak. At least with the mob chasing Aleera out they're not likely to be in the way of the escaping bandits and prisoners.

"Uhm," comes a collective murmuring from the crowd, quietly taking a step back. Already, some of the beings seem to slink off, until thre's only three or four left... Four that quickly turn tail all the same, leaving Aleera alone in the field.

"And STAY away!"

Meanwhile, in the dungeon, Lyas finds a few more beings behind bars, one of them looking like he'd just wound up in the wrong place at the wrong time, while the other two do look right at home...

Those footsteps do continue, though for now, the pair manage to avoid whoever they come from, as they try and find that bandit with the scar...

"Do you know this lot?" Lyas mutters to the raccoon, indicating the prisoners. He eyes the two tough-looking ones warily. He's not so sure letting them out would be a good idea... could be they're in for something more serious than he was ever done for. It makes sense to him that the more violent criminals would be kept on the lower level - unless he has a good reason to let these ones go free, he's just going to walk on by, going around out of their sight if possible.

All of that murmuring makes Aleera crack a grin, but she does save the laughter until /after/ the crowd has dispersed. She turns around, watching them all walk away with her weapon at the ready, and once they're out of earshot... she just starts /laughing/. She laughs and tosses her gun back over her shoulder, even letting out a triumphant hollar. She does, of course, walk back to the town... but she doesn't get /too/ close. Just close enough that she can take up a position on a hill or something near the gate, so that she can keep an eye out for her companions' cart leaving. Hopefully her distraction managed to buy Lyas enough time to do his work....

"Can't say I do... I mean, I recognize that one. We mugged him. He didn't like it. See that bruise? That's where the boss kicked him," he offers, while the captive wolf *growls* out loud at the pair. "You let me out, an' I won't snitch on your little prison-break." he offers...

Still, their actual goal might be just down the hall...

"Pretty sure they already know sommat's goin' down in here," Lyas responds carelessly, one finger pointing laconically above them. The noise of the other bandits running amuck should be evident, even from here. He bypasses the wolf, flipping a finger at him as he saunters on by. The Cat does not respond favourably to blackmail, come what may. He does grip his sword... a little tighter, knowing that whoever is making that clicking sound is probably about to get a shouted warning of their presence...

"GUARD! THEY'RE HERE!" comes the call from behind them, while the captain's cell comes into view...

A little mouse-woman, with a scar just as Lucasiel mentioned, and looking far, FAR too small to be any good with a weapon.,

And meanwhile, the first guard comes rushing down the hallway.

Lyas is quick to respond, lunging forward so that the distance between him and the guard is closer faster than the other Being might anticipate. He's grinning as he tries to imitate the local dialect, yelling "That's our cap'n you got in there!" He keeps his blade high, using is a a shield and a distraction as he kicks at the Being's knees, trying to floor them.

Turns out these guards are tired, overworked, and understaffed, and within moments, the hawk is on her back, knocked out... There's a lot less resistance than Lyas might've expected, really. Notably, the guard has -no- clear signs of being dedicated to the corrupt... And he does appear to be dressed in House Solacious's colours... Might be a knight or part of the personal guard of the Soloacious.

Still, that allows Lyas and his new friend a little bit of time to free their other new friend, and escape the city...

Lyas hovers curiously over the unconscious guard's body for a few moments. The Solacious? Oh, that's wonderful. He's had enough trouble with them in the past... and they've got the leverage to send him straight back to gaol. Just when he was getting his life in order. Well, with some luck his little bit of misdirection, acting like one of the bandits, will be enough to keep him safe.

It's short work to let the mouse out, and he gives her a nod as he does. "Deadly things in small packages, is it? Right this way. I've a few friends who'd like a word... an' I'm hungry, so let's not linger. From what I've been told the food in this town's no good." The Cat directs his two new friends up the stairs, towards the street. With the crew rampaging through the prison - and likely spilling out into the town by now - chances are good they can walk right out.

All in all, Lyas and the two bandits - mouse and raccoon - can walk out almost unimpeded, and although they have to lay low, for obvious reasons, finding Lucasiel shouldn't take too long... From there, it's a little walk to the cart, around town as much as possible, and then, the group can leave... Hopefully without having started a national conflict...

Lucasiel nods curtly at the group when they emerge, eyes on the mouse. She would indeed have to have words with them later. Quietly, though, and one-on-one. For now, she beckons them and starts towards the cart so they could get out of here.

Aleera did, of course, hear the sounds of commotion within the town, and while she was /very/ interested in that, she refrained from risking investigating for the moment. No, she simply remains on her perch until she sees the cart finally exiting the town. She lets them get some distance between them and the gate, but soon she whistles and hollars to get the group's attention. She dashes on over, but... the siamese doesn't hop into the cart quite yet. No, she takes up a position beside it, and despite the new additions to the group, her attention is one Lyas. "You musta done some /damn/ fine work in there, luv. I'm almost sad I missed it," she climbs up onto the cart and scoops up the tabby, carrying him bridal-style as she hops right back down. Her voice and expression alike soften now, growing warm, loving and... almost a tad sad? "I'm... I'm glad yer alright," she murmurs, offering him a kiss on the nose.

She sets the other feline down now. Her gaze flicks between Lyas and the town for a moment. A hand slips into her duster. Now, amidst the chaos and so soon after danger? Is that /really/ the right time? Well, it's as good a time as any.... "...Befer we go any ferther and get into anymore trouble, there's... somethin' I wanna do, luv...." She pauses now, glancing over the tabby, gauging his reaction.

Aleera picking him up like that makes Lyas laugh. Well, he does it to her too, so fair is fair... "Go chat to Lucasiel and your captain a moment," the feline recommends to the raccoon still accompanying him. "See if either a' them can't do aught for that bite." His curious gaze lingers on the look the mouse and panther were exchanging. Was there some history there? He'll have to bother Lucasiel about it. Later, that is.

He offers Aleera a facetious curtsey once she lets him get his paws back on the ground. "If I'd screwed it up, wouldn't you've come chargin' in like a knight in armour anyhow?" he murmurs to her. "Glad you didn't need to, though. Been a good day, this. I've snuck through places I'm not meant t' be, picked locks, bashed a skull... an' all in the name a' the law, more or less!" Running high on adrenaline, the tabby takes Aleera's hand and twirls her about. "Still hungry, though. If you've got sommat to eat it'll make this day perfect."

Aleera's expression, as she reaches into her duster, makes the Cat stop. "Firework?" he asks, teasing but affectionate. "Don't go all serious on me." There was something else that could make this day perfect. Something he's been thinking of, too.

"Yer right about 'at, luv! If somethin' went wrong, 'at town would be a lot more in pieces 'en it is now," Aleera promises, and Lyas's little descriptin of the day's events makes her chuckle, a noise that only grows louder when he twirls her. With one hand, she grabs onto the hand that had twirled her, but... for the moment, the other remains tucked away inside of her coat. "I ain't goin' serious," she says with a grin, "I've just... got somethin' I wanna do." With that, she releases the tabby's hand and pulls out a little wooden box from the inside of her coat. She takes in a deep breath, glances up to the tabby, flashes him a toothy grin... and then opens up the box....

To reveal a pair of earrings. One has a charm in the shape of a ship and the other a charm in the shape of a dock, the latter even including a sapphire implanted in what's meant to be the water. "Lyas...," she starts, calling him by his real name for the second time tonight. She's excited, her voice and smile make that clear, but there's almost a hint of... nervousness under it all? "I ain't... really sure how folk 'round 'ere do this. I ain't sure how they do it back 'ome, even.... But meetin' you has been.... It's.... I ain't smart enough to be able ta say how happy you make me. Yer one'a the only things in this damned country that's really /free/. 'N I wanna be with you ferever," she steps forward, offering him that box, "Will you be my lifepartner, er... whatever it's called...?"

The tabby Cat smiles a lot, to be sure, but often it's a mocking smile, or one convering up some other emotion. The smile on his face as he realises what's happening, though, looks painfully wide. His eyebrows have disappeared somewhere beneath his fringe, and almost every tooth in his mouth is showing! He steps in close, not caring if the others are watching their private moment. "You need to ask?" He responds quietly, pushing his nose up close to the taller feline's. "Couldn't pay me to stay away from you. Can pay me to do just about anything else, but not that." His own hand has snuck into his belt pouch, and out comes a tiny box - small enough to fit in the palm of his hand. This, too, has a nautical theme, an intricately detailed ship carved into the lid. "Swap me," the tabby suggests, taking Aleera's box from her hands. His own, when opened, is shown to hold rings. Carved rings, of wood and bone. One is set with an inlay of emerald, black hair wound around a second groove. The other is inlaid with amethyst dust, wrapped with blonde hair. "... I raided your hairbrush," he comments casually, inspecting the craftmanship of the earring he's now holding. "So, what do we do? Wear both sets? Can never have too many shiny things on you." His tail flicks gently behind him as he speaks, the Cat feeling very contented with life. Adventure and Aleera - it couldn't get any better than this.

Lyas's response simply makes Aleera chuckle, really... but there's no denying how wide her smile is too. She's clearly excited, and... well... by some miracle, that excitement manages to grow even further when she sees the tabby pull out his own box. As she passes her box to him and takes his offered one, she kind of just laughs more for a moment. But... as she cracks open the container and looks over the rings within, she finally manages to quiet herself enough to say, "I guess we really are alike, eh? 'N if you wanted some a' my 'air, you just had to ask, y'know." She takes out those rings, giving them a brief examination before putting them away again and tucking their box into her coat -- likely the very same spot she was keeping those earrings in. "We could throw 'em in the ocean fer all I care! I'm just glad 'at /no one/ can say you ain't mine now," she proclaims in that excited tone of hers, and then leans forward to pull him into another uncomfortably tight hug. But... after a moment, she does murmur, "...We should wear both of 'em though, aye," and with that, she presses her lips up against the tabby's own. They... probably won't keep their companions waiting /too/ much longer. Probably....