Closed [The Pig's Foot] Inspection (Richard Blow)

A Spiritist investigates some disappearances, with a barmaid at the epicenter.

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[The Pig's Foot] Inspection (Richard Blow)

Postby Thaloyss on May 17th, 2015, 12:30 am

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50th of Spring
515 AV


Thaloyss nudged open the door to The Pig's Foot, feeling the eyes of a few patrons settle on her tall frame. She called to Merv, letting him know she had arrived, and took her place behind the counter. The eyes remained on her and made her skin prickle. They were sizing her up, probably wondering if they could take her in a fight or if they could restrain her outside after hours.

They couldn't. She was much too strong for them, too tall and long-limbed for them to get a good hold on her. She straightened up, laying her hands palms-down on the wood a good arm's length from each other. Hopefully it deterred them from further thoughts of overpowering her. She didn't feel like eating someone today.

Now that was interesting. The Dhani didn't feel like eating someone today. It was unusual. There was always one drunk who decided it was a good idea to slip his hands up the slits her skirt and she would promptly sentence him to death, even if she didn't consume the entire body. A leg or two would satisfy her unless she was ravenous, in which case she'd devour them entirely. She could always roll a body into the water or rip it to pieces... then dispose of the pieces. She didn't fancy slithering back into the tavern or through the streets of Sunberth wearing her scales.

The barmaid shrugged off the oddity, fixing up a drink for a patron who signaled to her. The touch of calloused fingers sliding across her smooth skin induced a turn of her hip to show the kopis at her side. The metal glinted dangerously and she grinned as the seeking hands receded. She noticed then that once again, she wasn't tempted to lure him out back. With a frown she returned to the counter.

There was no growling of her stomach, no hunger to speak of. It was almost as if she'd eaten beforehand, but... she hadn't. She rarely did, it would spoil her appetite. The whole thing, it just didn't make any sense. Why wasn't she hungry? Why wasn't she set on killing the rude one? It was absolutely, totally and utterly confusing. There must've been some sort of big happening going on that caused the empty-but-full sensation in her gut, with the something-is-wrong sensation beside it.

Thaloyss put her head in her hands with a sigh, leaning against the counter. Try as she might, there was no concievable reason for her lack of hunger. Was she pregnant? Probably not. She hadn't slept with any constrictor Dhani recently, let alone Dhani, let alone anyone. She decided it was the weather, even though it wasn't too bad even after the storm. Weather was a good excuse for anything.

She looked up as the door opened again, watching the newcomer. Skin similar to her own, though hair far longer than hers and twisted into dreadlocks that hung about him like a dark cloud. He was far too thin to be healthy, despite his broad shoulders, and was probably not even a full meal. Not that she felt like eating, of course. A bit of a beard as well. He seemed out of place, probably not a regular; she'd have noticed him before.
Last edited by Thaloyss on May 18th, 2015, 4:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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[The Pig's Foot] Inspection (Richard Blow)

Postby Richard Blow on May 17th, 2015, 4:00 am

The man's unfamiliar air was undoubtedly compounded by his behavior. He seemed to be very interested in the scent and texture of everything around him, judging by all the sniffing and furniture-rubbing he was doing. The vast majority of patrons didn't pay him much mind, a couple scooted away slightly, and Merv seemed to be eying him with equal parts bemusement and boredom as he approached the table he was currently rubbing his cheek against and eyeballing with two bags and a bottle of whiskey. Thunk-thump-thump they went as Merv set them down. The stranger opened the bags, one containing a modest amount of mizas and the other filled with trail mix, and grinned. "You're brilliant, Merv." he chirped as he scooped up some trail mix and let it fall back into the bag. Merv grunted in reply and looked away. "Just get done fast before y'make anyone tense Richard."

"Thanks Merv, I feel so very welcome." he deadpanned back as he popped a nut into his mouth and leaned forward. "So, what makes you think ghosts?"
"I'unno. People die all the time, but I don't see many humans hide bodies. We just let it all hang out. My guess is something's trying to cover its tracks. That's where you come in."

"Awesome. Welp!" Richard said tightly as he leaned back before springing to his feet. "Since there's no bodies, just show me around the place for now."
Merv shrugged at this. "Thaloyss!" he barked without looking at her. "Look busy and show this man around."
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[The Pig's Foot] Inspection (Richard Blow)

Postby Thaloyss on May 17th, 2015, 5:11 am

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Very strange, this one. He looked like an animal, sniffing and rubbing everything in sight. Thaloyss had seen Kelvics that were more civilized, but Merv allowed him in the tavern and therefore she was supposed to keep a friendly smile no matter how weird things got.

She couldn't help but stare as the man went about his business, doing whatever Merv had asked him to do. What had Merv asked him to do? Surely something that involved finding something, right? The man was intent on touching every single inanimate object's surface.

Richard. Such a generic name for an out-of-place character. The Dhani tilted her head, curious, and leaned forwards slightly. He was so different from the norm, so fascinating. She simply had to know more, and the mention of ghosts only fanned the flames of her intrigue.

Of course, the next sentences contained 'bodies' and 'cover its tracks.' That set off alarm bells in her head, chiming loudly. They weren't just looking for ghosts, they were looking for something that didn't want to get caught. Killing someone wasn't unusual, but eating them was just plain bizarre in human society. She hadn't told Merv about her little... habit, if you will, since it hadn't really come up.

Honestly, the barmaid was surprised he hadn't found out by now. The ones that went missing were the same ones she lured into the back. He appeared to be totally oblivious. Nevertheless, the realization that she was the target of their investigation -- whether or not they knew it -- made her heart pound. It felt like there was gauze in her mouth and cotton in her ears, like her tongue had swelled up and blocked air from her lungs. She almost didn't hear Merv telling her to step on it and show the man around.

"Yeah, Merv. Definitely. Come on, Richard. I don't know what you're looking for really, but I'll do my besst to try and help," she said, swearing internally at her usage of 'best' and the sibilance of her speech. It was so difficult, trying to not blow her cover. A tall woman people could understand, but the moment her race came into the spotlight the entire playing field changed. No tavern owner in their right mind would hire someone who ate their patrons, even if they considered it pest control.

Thaloyss beckoned for Richard to follow her, giving him a quick rundown of the place. As an afterthought she showed him the alley where she devoured her prey, figuring that if she was going to look innocent she wouldn't hide the most crucial part of her dining.

Her mistake was clear; there was a copious amont of blood left over from her most recent meal, and a single arm half-hidden around the corner. The Dhani panicked for a moment, her vision blurring, then she composed herself.

"Ah," she said, "That'ss unfortunate. I'll have to clean that up later." She didn't make any effort to sound sad. The last one was quite delicious, with very tender meat. He struggled too much, though. She had to knock him out first. Subconsciously she licked her lips and wiped the corners of her mouth, then placed her hands on her hips.

She turned to Richard, cocking her head. "Found what you needed, or do you need me to walk you around more?" she asked.
Last edited by Thaloyss on May 18th, 2015, 4:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
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[The Pig's Foot] Inspection (Richard Blow)

Postby Richard Blow on May 17th, 2015, 5:52 am

"Aawww yeeeaaah, Merv got me a hot tour guide." Richard didn't bother hiding his appreciation, spending a good half-tick looking Thaloyss over before making eye contact and sticking his left hand out, his right being occupied by the whiskey bottle. If the Dhani cared to notice, she may have seen or felt several scars on his palm. If she cared to observe further, she may have spotted the man's eyebrow twitch slightly at her hiss. Regardless, he seemed to be in good spirits. "Fantastic!" he said with a wide smile. "I'm sure we'll feel the place up in no time."

Richard did not seem interested in correcting his mistake. The Spiritist seemed to be both disappointed and uncomfortable with whatever he was seeing as he was led around the place. "So how long've you been working here?" Richard asked casually as he rubbed a chair, then proceeded to sniff his hand. His mood seemed to dampen somewhat afterwards.

"Y'know, whatever's behind these shenanigans, they're pretty clean about it." he muttered as they made their way to the alley. "I mean, I been really dressing down the place and I haven't found a single trace of- Woah!"

Richard seemed not to notice Thaloyss' slip, being too busy skipping gleefully over to the arm and picking it up by the wrist to pay proper attention. "Aw man, I was worried we'd have to do things the hard way, but this, this is perfect, this is..." the Spiritist's face fell like a lead brick as he took a good look at the point where the arm had been torn off its owner. "Chewed. Gods-dammit, why'd it have to be chewed?" he moaned, "It couldn't have been some ghost I could just backhand. No. We had to have a monster."

After a couple ticks, Richard sighed, sat down against the tavern wall with the arm and the whiskey in his lap and asked "Y'seen anything skitter or slither outside lately? An alligator? I'unno. How often do you even come out here? Looks like cleaning duty's pretty spaced out."
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[The Pig's Foot] Inspection (Richard Blow)

Postby Thaloyss on May 17th, 2015, 6:21 am

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The man, Richard, seemed fairly excited about the arm she'd failed to dispose of. Meanwhile, Thaloyss was mentally chewing her nails to the quick. How was she going to explain this? 'Oh yes, Mister Richard. That arm belonged to a man I found very rude and ended up devouring. There is no way at all that is connected to me. Absolutely not. Nope. No way.'

The Dhani almost choked with rage. A monster! What impudence! She may not be the cleanest eater, but it hardly warranted the title of monster! Her nose flared and her mouth hardened into a thin line, a sharp retort prepared. She managed to swallow the most of her verbal venom, instead posing a question.

"Are you confident it could've been a... a monsster?" she asked, her voice tight, "After all, it could be ssomething fairly normal," she suggested. She wasn't too pleased with him now, contemplating a quick shift and grabbing a bite to eat. It would get rid of her problem, too. Perhaps he was the reason behind her lack of hunger. He gave off a strange feeling, like someone who's taken one too many doses of a hallucinatory drug.

This Richard had sat down, looking like he was about ready to drink his whiskey until it was all gone. The barmaid narrowed her eyes at him, letting out a huff. "No, nothing came through here. I come out here fairly often, though I don't clean much. I'll have you know it iss fairly clean, conssidering other placess," she hissed. Her anger made her careful avoidance of sibilance falter.

She was still hung up on the monster thing, too. And to think he accused her of chewing! No, she either hacked off the limbs or ripped them off with her bare hands. Chewing was difficult already in human form, why would she ever utilize it in Dhani form when she could always unhinge her jaw and swallow things whole?

Thaloyss was seriously considering eating him now. He was a definite danger... Though Merv would get increasingly suspicious and probably put two and two together to get four. She'd most likely lose her job, though a man-eater who doubled as a pretty lady would have a good chance of employment by one of the gangs. Someone needed to disappear every once and a while, why not disappear in a stomach?

She turned back to Richard. "What are you here for, Richard? What did Merv hire you to do? Clearly ssomething important, he doessn't jusst invite the rude oness over every day," she sneered. She was a proper Dhani, not some monster, and he was mean and -- despite his skin-and-bones appearance -- she would choke him down if she had to.
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[The Pig's Foot] Inspection (Richard Blow)

Postby Richard Blow on May 17th, 2015, 4:00 pm

Richard's breath caught in his chest for a moment before he exhaled somewhat dramatically. "Y'ever see a ghost bite someone?" he said morosely as he stood up. "No. You haven't. That's not their jam. When something gets severed by a ghost, you'll usually get a whiff of Soulmist on it. There's no Soulmist in this tavern, so probably no ghost."

The Spiritist shrugged at her suggestion, his eyes pinned to her arms and torso. "Sure. Call it whatever you want. Dunno what it is yet. I'm a wizard, not like I'm not strange myself."
While outwardly Richard's speech and sluggish movements were the same, in the pits of his eyes something was sparking to life.

Before, when he'd heard Thaloyss's accent, he had assumed she was a foreigner who'd maybe come on a ship. Now however, with strangely placed rage at the word "monster", a sudden outburst of pride, and a very specific drawing out of the syllable "s", he was starting to smell a rat. Or, perhaps more specifically, a snake. Fortunately for Thaloyss, Richard wasn't even remotely educated, and hadn't the foggiest idea of what Dhani were, but that didn't stop the man imagining. He just needed some good proof, both for Merv and for himself before he went running into the tavern all wide-eyed and arm-wavey. But for that, he needed some safety, and for safety, he needed to call in some favors.

"I'm a paranormal investigator. I look into the weird shyke that other people can't be bothered to do themselves. It's really quite lucrative. Anyways, let's head back. Merv'll want to see this." Richard said briskly, shaking the arm a little. "Y'ever met a Zith before? They go for people sometimes. Maybe that's what we're looking at."
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[The Pig's Foot] Inspection (Richard Blow)

Postby Thaloyss on May 18th, 2015, 2:06 am

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Thaloyss glared at Richard, the smile that crossed her face more of a baring of teeth. She decided that she did not like him at all, with his strange mannerisms and his odd posturing. That wasn't even mentioning his being a wizard. She did not take kindly to magic, like many in Sunberth. It made her hair stand on end. It wasn't natural.

He was staring at her torso now, and her arms. Had he caught on? She couldn't tell, she hoped not. The Dhani didn't fancy getting bones stuck in her throat while he went down. If the situation called for it -- which it probably would, considering how much progress he'd been making already -- she would have to manage.

"Paranormal... New word," she commented through clenched teeth and a false grin. As the arm in the Spiritist's hand was waved about she cringed. It was probably still fairly bloody, and it wasn't like she enjoyed congealed drops splattering all over her clothes. She usually got blood on her scales, and those were far easier to clean off.

"I don't think Merv would enjoy you waving about a ssevered arm, nor would the otherss. I... I'll go get him, how about that?" she said. The barmaid paused, wondering how she would explain things should Merv find out, and poked her head back into the tavern.

"Hey, Merv! Come out here, Richard ssayss you need to ssee ssomething!" she called, then ducked back out. The owner had looked a tad busy, but when it came to his tavern and disappearing patrons...

"Ssiku help me," she hissed under her breath, then turned back to Richard. "Everyone here will have sseen a Zith before. If that iss a bite, it might be a Zith."

Maybe a Zith could be her cover. She could blame the disappearances on a Zith, pretend that it was the one who dragged the customers out into the Wildlands and killed them, that the arm was just a sloppy mistake and that it wasn't her sloppy mistake.
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[The Pig's Foot] Inspection (Richard Blow)

Postby Richard Blow on May 18th, 2015, 7:23 pm

"Yeah! I think I read it in a book once." Richard said with potentially misplaced pride. "It means out of the ordinary. Magic-like. For me it mostly means ghosts. In hindsight, I probably shoulda made the ad more specific." he added with a touch of bemusement.

When Thaloyss suggested she go fetch Merv, Richard shrugged and replied "Go for it." When she was out of sight, the Spiritist stood up, dusted himself off, and started prowling the area for signs of violence outside of the obvious arm and blood. The first thing he noticed was how disturbed the dirt near the arm's resting place was. Upon closer inspection, it looked like a massive, flexible rolling pin had pressed the earth out into a thin mini-hill and valley. "Okay. Twenty foot long snake monster that isn't stopped by safe zones. Great. You've really gotten yourself into something special, Richard." he thought anxiously. In the back of his mind, he felt a strong desire for a bouncer, or maybe the ghost of a master boxer for the future, but that didn't help his now. Richard now couldn't help but notice entire stacks of boxes completely flattened, and a lead pipe in a corner that was bloody on one end and bent into a right angle. "Giant snake monster with super strength. Wonderful!" There was no way in Dira he was confronting that alone.

When Thaloyss popped back, Richard had to fight the urge to smash her over the head with the whiskey bottle and make a break for it. "Uh, yeah! Sure! That's possible!" he squeaked with poorly disguised nervousness. "Get. Witnesses."

"Hey, uh... I forgot my magnifying glass inside, y'mind if I grab it no you don't mind 'kay-bye!" the Spiritist spat out before speeding towards the front... And straight into Merv's belly. "The petch?" the old man said with pursed lips.
"Merv!" Richard beamed with a look usually found on drowning men being thrown life preservers. "Perfect timing! I wanted to discuss a little payment hitch that came up! Also I found an arm." he said matter-of-factly.
The wizard's mouth said greed, but his eyes said private. Fortunately for him, Merv was an old Sunberthan who knew where to look. "Mhm."

The minute they rounded a corner, Richard started whispering quickly. "Okay, so this arm here's been torn clean off. Ghosts don't do that. Not only that, I found what looks like the prints of the friggin' lord of all snakes and a lead bar that was probably some poor sod's last weapon before it was bent in half. Whoever's been killing your customers is stupid strong, and I think I might have a guess. When'd the disappearances start?"
"A season or so ago."
"And when'd you hire the hissing barmaid?"
Merv's brow furrowed at this before he replied "A season or s-" He paused, closed his eyes, and took a deep breath. "I'm gonna kick her ass." he muttered under his breath.
"Uh, not yet!" Richard hissed. "Still just a hunch. Do me a favor and make like you're going back, then wait behind the corner here? If she's this sloppy, I'm pretty sure I can bait her out... If she's our snake monster."

Merv mulled this over, then announced loudly. "All right, thanks for the update Richard. Keep doing your thing."
"No problem, Merv!" Richard said with equal volume, "I'll get to the bottom of this in no time!"

The Spiritist then licked the arm's stump a few times with a grimace on his face, popped some trail mix into his mouth, and started chewing. In the event of emergency, he'd need to buy some time, and when facing someone not only capable of kicking his butt, but ripping it off, his best bet was the element of surprise. Once the whole mixture was a fine mush, he swallowed it and focused. By the time Richard returned to ground zero and Thaloyss alone, the cold in his stomach told him he'd succeeded. It was bad Soulmist, but he didn't plan on negotiating with it.

"So Merv was really interested the arm." Richard said nonchalantly as he walked over to where the bent bar was- importantly, in a position where Thaloyss would have her back turned to the corner if she wanted to look at him. "He said it was probably a Zith also. Me though? I'm not so sure. Zith go for meat and entrails, an' they don't hide their food. Heck, they don't even wear clothes! Naw, I think it's someone a lot craftier. Sneaky like a snake. Don't you?" While the Spiritist was trying to sound smug, it was obvious from his voice and the way his knees were shaking slightly he was a loud noise away from screaming like a little girl.
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[The Pig's Foot] Inspection (Richard Blow)

Postby Thaloyss on May 18th, 2015, 7:56 pm

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Thaloyss narrowed her eyes at Richard. He was oddly nervous, looking more and more like a tasty little snack each second. Like a skinny mouse, he was, darting this way and that all of a sudden when before he was fairly calm and composed. He must've caught on, otherwise he wouldn't be acting that way.

As the Spiritist blurted out a poor excuse and ran out to the front, she turned to look at what he'd seen and nearly swore aloud. Gods, she was so sloppy. Not only were her tracks all over the ground, she'd forgotten to get rid of the pipe he'd whacked her with. She still had a cut on her leg from that, too. Not to mention the boxes she'd flattened in the struggle. He was feisty, that one. The feisty ones were always the best.

The Dhani crouched to get a better look at her tracks, rubbing at one of them. There were very faint imprints of her individual scales, and she itched to wear them again. She scratched at her wrist, trying to rid herself of the urge. No, she couldn't reveal herself just yet. This one was smarter than the others, his mind wasn't dulled by drink. He'd caught on because she'd made stupid mistakes and he couldn't keep his nose out of her business.

She stood slowly and cracked her knuckles, savoring the pop of each bone. Her eyes were cold and hard as she turned back to Richard. She grimaced at him licking the blood from the arm. Humans were a strange bunch, especially Spiritists, going around taking bites off of other people's food. Even she didn't do that. It was gross. Who knew what diseases they could be carrying?

The barmaid watched the investigator closely as he maneuvered her so her back was towards the corner he'd just rounded. She felt vulnerable, but then in Sunberth one is always vulnerable. Her hands clenched into fists. "That iss not unusual. An arm can interesst anyone. Didn't you jusst ssay you thought it a Zith?" she asked.

Thaloyss took a step towards the ever-so-slightly quivering Spiritist, drawing herself up to her full height. "What are you ssaying, mousse? That I'm the one eating people? That I am the cause of these dissappearancess? That I, little mousse, am a ssnake?"

She loomed over Richard, her eyes glinting dangerously. With each word she seemed impossibly serpentine, as if her teeth were elongating into fangs as she spoke. Oh, how she wished she could simply change and kill him. She was, unfortunately, still wearing her clothes. She didn't want to rip them, no. That would be unfortunate, though freeing.

"You tell me exactly what you are doing here and why you are inssinuating that I am the ssource of all thiss. If you fail to do sso, I will tear you limb from limb," she snarled, baring her teeth. She could already feel the pull of shifting, forcing it down with more effort that she thought she needed. She wanted to wrap her hands around his throat and squeeze the life from this little mouse, this little investigator who dared accuse her of being some sort of monster.

The Dhani couldn't care less if Merv was listening. What she needed was her job and a dead Spiritist, more specifically this Spiritist. He was meddling, and he needed to go. Preferably down her throat and into her stomach.
Last edited by Thaloyss on June 17th, 2015, 6:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
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[The Pig's Foot] Inspection (Richard Blow)

Postby Richard Blow on May 18th, 2015, 11:03 pm

"Keep it together, Richard..." the Spiritist thought as he gripped the whiskey bottle tighter, painfully aware that the last man to come at her with a blunt weapon didn't do so well. Of course, the last man didn't have backup. "I lied." he said bluntly. In response to her rather pointed questions, he said with attempted dismissiveness in a voice a bit too loud and shrill "Oh, no! Unless for some reason you identify strongly with snakes. Can't imagine why."

The investigator took a couple steps away from the corner now, wanting to have more space to run. "Like I told you before, I'm here to solve mysteries and get money. Now, I'unno why you're suddenly so sure it's you I'm accusing, unless you happened to be a giant snake monster with super strength." Richard pulled the Soulmist out of his stomach and into his mouth, his face and hands going white, his pupils dilating. "Please be stupid, please be stupid, please be stupid..."
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