Masquerade: Traveling Side Show: A Long Day

The market was bustling with both Arak (green skinned) and Boranki (feathered) beings, shouting to have their wares seen and chosen. Mirhion moved between the booths, looking over merchandise with a skilled eye. The others milled around as well, conscious that the local guard was watching all of them. The Traveling Side Show had a bad reputation of hiring thieves and outlaws (which wasn’t a lie) but they had a strict rule of not shitting where you sleep – in other words: they didn’t steal from the towns hosting them. But, given the reputation, it was fair that the guard was watchful and distrustful, given all the unknowns.

He watched her from his booth as she slowly moved from the far side to his, her long braids and ribbons of many colors dancing on the faint breeze and matching the long wrap of cloth that barely covered her full backside and slender, muscular legs. Her tattoos of black and brown, painted in the traditional Arak-Shamans markings, ran the full length of her supple and lithe frame and she moved like a dancer; a smooth and gliding gait. He licked his lips as he imagined how she would taste and feel under his hungry hands and mouth. A grunt from his wife yanked his attention back and he tried to look ashamed but failed. She left in a huff for the back of the tent.

As the girl came closer, he stiffened in lust and caution. His wife was a female of power and could disown him easily enough if he touched another with even one feather, let alone the deeds he was pondering in his mind, and never mind that she was not of his race! He was glad, very glad, that his wife was not the mind-reader her sister was; he watched this female come closer and closer with tension and lust rising under his tunic and under his breeches. The girl raised her silver eyes to gaze into his and he felt a shiver at the connection; she was a witch! She had to be. He swallowed and stared back at her. She smiled slowly, showing teeth.

She asked him about his wares and he stumbled over his words as they oozed from the lips of his beak like snout. His feathers ruffled in agitation as she stood there, her scent filling his mind and making him forget what he was saying several times. She seemed very aware of her effect on him, to his annoyance. After his wife wandered back out and stared holes into the back of his skull, he finally gave up and she bought some of his fine cloth. She invited them both to the Side Show and swayed off. His eyes remained locked on her backside until she was gone.

The bar was quiet when she entered with her bags of goodies, moving to the counterspace to unload and put things away in the tent where she needed them. She heard him enter quietly, or his idea of quietly. Her supernatural hearing made sneaking up on her nearly impossible, but she feigned being unaware for the sheer amusement of it all. He moved closer, stealthy, as she put away the fruit behind the bar. He rounded the bar and skulked behind her, reaching for her with claws out. A half breath before he would have grabbed her, she moved away as if distracted, just out of reach.

She kept the game going for a good period of time before he finally sussed out she knew he was there. He sighed, and stood up to slide out of stealth. “You know I’m here.” She chuckled and turned, eyes glowing faintly in the dark. He stared at her eyes, a tiny red flag waving deep inside his mind but unable to look away. She smiled slowly, showing teeth. That smile was both terrifying and sensual and his brain locked up, stuttering and unable to tell him to run. He simply stared.

She oozed closer to him, almost gliding, and he felt the downy feathers near his skin start to stand up in warning. She got as close as possible without touching him, his feathers quivering as the heat from her skin warmed his own. How was she so hot? Something wasn’t right. His mind just couldn’t focus as her scent filled his mind. It was so sweet, so alluring… so….

“Is he bothering you? I swear, I can’t take him anywhere.”

The nasal and sharp voice of the female cut through the tension and Mirhion grinned, the male startling and taking a step back. The glow in her eyes faded away when he darted a look to his wife, standing there annoyed with arms crossed. “Come here, Arno.” Her voice was no-nonsense and matriarchal, and he knew better than to argue. He trotted to her side obediently and the Mirhion’s charming voice filled the air. “It’s so nice to meet a female who understands the necessity of keeping her males in line.”

The female nodded, moving to the bar with Arno behind her, the male glaring at them both. She fished out glasses and filled them with a traditional drink of their race, the pungent smell of turned milk and fermented fruit filling the air. Mirhion and the female shared a drink and laughed, leaving Arno to squirm as he watched the lost moment slip away farther into the night. Mirhion gave him long amused looks when the female’s attention was elsewhere, letting him know she knew what he had been up to. He shivered, realizing somewhere in his mind how close he had come to something terrible and wonderful. He pushed it away and drank instead.

That night, in the hustle and bustle of the bar filled with patrons kept Mirhion focused on serving and putting on a show. She spun and tossed bottles, made drinks and flirted, keeping her clients entertained and mesmerized. When the night was over and the bar was cleaned, she sat with Renoth and his little female, drinking with some of the other show workers and laughing about their day. They watched the courtensans walk their clients to and from the hill-tents and joked about coin, but underneath it all she could not help but feel contentment.

Maybe she finally had found a place to live for a while. Her eyes fell on Renoth and his female. Her mind knew eventually he would grow bored and start killing again. It was only a matter of time. But she would be there to mitigate the damage and hopefully, their stay here would be longer than the last place. She sighed, took a drink, and moved her gaze and her thoughts to the violet sky and the twinkling stars – the beauty of their home could not be denied.

 

Masquerade: Traveling Side Show: New Again

**written to: Beyond Good and Evil Frame of Mind OC ReMix

The voices blended together, the smoke of the room filling her head as she worked. Her hand passed into her vision as she reached for a bottle of liqueur and she paused, still not used to the dark green color of her skin these days, even after several months of living in this body. Shrugging off that feeling of surprise, she picked up the bottle and turned to face the busy tavern, smirking at cheering patrons as she tossed the bottles and put on the show she was famous for as she created drinks for the thirsty wayfarers of Side Show Tavern.

Her leathery green skin was marked with black and brown intricate tattoos of the race she had become. She wore as little as possible, to show off the muscular body given her by complete accident when they arrived. Mirhion moved lithely and with grace, dancing behind the bar as she prepared drinks and joked with patrons. Wildly colored hair fell in braids and bobbles down her back to her waist, decorated with painted bits of shells and other ornaments. Everything swayed as she moved and danced to the entertainment of the patrons, and the night passed quickly as usual.

The bar was a glorified tent, pitched on the side of an expansive lake, dotted with sails and wide winged birds, the sky streaked with orange and lavender by day and shimmering red and green at night mixing with the paint splashed star-clusters in the midnight violent sky. There were several, with large pack animals grazing in a nearby field that moved them there. This was the infamous Traveling Side Show, filled with freaks and entertainment of all forms and kinds, traveling the landscape and moving every few weeks to find a new set of patrons to milk for coin and bobbles.

“The night is getting old, sister Marai.” Renoth entered with a smug grin, his mass of black hair and his darkened green skin marked with similar tattoos to Mirhion’s. She looked up from her cleanup to smirk at her little brother. “Then come help me, brother Aranni. I still have stacks to do.” She chuckled at his rolling eyes but he did come over to pitch in and get things counted and put away behind the magical curtains that kept their inventory safe from bandits and thieves. The last of the patrons wandered out drunk on the arms of courtesans heading for the hill-tents nearby.

Mirhion finished count and sat on a stool at the bar, her tail swishing absently as she flipped to the place in the ledger to begin the night’s entering of numbers and coin earned. She felt Renoth’s tail slide up the back of her leg and she smirked and grunted, thwapping him with her tail in response. “Behave. Where is your latest little plaything?” He huffed and moved to the other side of the bar to ensure his best behavior. “She is getting something to eat from the food tent.” Mirhion nodded and they joked quietly together until the pretty purple haired girl showed up.

Mirhion sat on the rock with a bottle of Sishial in her hand, cork gone and drinking from the fluted top. The suns were gone and the sky danced with lights from the clusters of stars strewn across the deep dark violet sky. “This place is beautiful.” She said it quietly in Norrathian Common, feeling a pang of loneliness as she spoke it. Pulling up her legs, she wrapped her arms around her legs and rested a chin on her knees, the feel of the leathery skin against her braided and beaded chin beard reminding her of the immense differences between the body she loved back then, and the one she held now.

Her mind drifted across all the faces of friends she left behind on Norrath. Did they miss her? Did they even remember her? Somehow she doubted it, but maybe. A cluster of falling stars streaked across the sky as she watched, chased into the shimmering lake water with a cascade of sparks far off. “You miss it.” The voice almost startled her but she had been half expecting him for an hour now. “You’re late, Lisveran.” She said it scolding but all she got for that was a bratty chuckle as he sat down near her. The portal behind him shimmered closed with a snap and he came to sit by her, leaning on her shoulder.

“You look so different, but still beautiful.” He said it quietly, a hand playing with one of her many long braids. She looked to her baby brother with a soft smile. “And papa will kick both our asses if he finds out you skipped out again. You promised, Lis.” The boy smiled mischievously. “I never said I wouldn’t. I said they wouldn’t catch me. Not my fault that Father didn’t clarify.” She laughed softly and draped an arm around the boy, dwarfed by this race’s sheer size. “You grew. And I’m glad to see you.”

She planted a kiss on his temple and they sat together, sipping Sishial and watching the stars dance, fall, and glimmer in the beautiful place she called home – for now.