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.