Solo Cat With No Cradle

Tarn finds that feline friendship can mean more than he previously thought. (Challenge)

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A lawless town of anarchists, built on the ruins of an ancient mining city. [Lore]

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Cat With No Cradle

Postby Tarn Alrenson on February 18th, 2019, 8:24 am

35th of Winter, 518 AV

For a city in a state of perpetual anarchy, Tarn’s afternoon walks were often surprisingly monotonous. He wasn’t on Sun’s Birth business for the moment, so he had donned a wool coat instead of the gang’s uniform of studded leather armor, and wore a pair of gloves to cover the brand on his hand. He’d put them on once he’d put some distance between himself and the Sun’s Refuge. He wasn’t proud of his organization, but didn’t necessarily want his superiors to know he was ashamed of his allegiance.

As Tarn walked, a flicker of motion caught his eye from an alleyway to his side. It was probably just one of the city’s many rats, but even a rat promised more excitement than the same circuitous route through the city he took nearly every day. Tarn made his way into the dark alley, littered with useless refuse. Upon closer inspection, there was a small alcove made by the pile of rubble. Tarn crouched down and peeked inside, only to meet the bright yellow yes of a cat.

Tarn blinked.

The cat blinked.

A hint of a smile tugged at Tarn’s lips. He reached out a finger in an attempt to pet the scrawny creature, but it bristled immediately, hissing and swiping at the offending appendage. Tarn snapped his hand back, taking a moment to examine the light scratch marks the cat had left. He frowned at it, and the feline glared back with a fury that surpassed its six-pound frame. A smile wormed its way back onto Tarn’s face, and he couldn’t help but let out a faint chuckle.

Tarn doubted he’d be able to convince the cat to warm up to him, so after a few more moments of staring at it, he stood and resumed his walk. As he strolled through the city, his thoughts drifted back to the cat. Maybe it had to do with how it was much smaller than he was, weaker too, but it had shown no hesitation in staring him down in defiance. It was just an ordinary alley-cat, but for some reason Tarn couldn’t get his mind past it.

Tarn soon found himself in the market with the cat occupying his thoughts. His eyes drifted over the merchants and their stalls until they fell upon a fishmonger, and an idea popped into his head. He made his way over to the man. The merchant caught Tarn’s eye and flashed a toothy smile marred only by the fact that he didn’t have many teeth to show.

“Can I help you good man?” the fishmonger asked.

“Yes, yes you can,” Tarn replied. Somewhat awkwardly, he pointed at a fish he thought would be suitable. Its sides were shiny, and he’d heard somewhere that cats liked shiny things. “Can I buy that one?”

“Of course!” The fishmonger exclaimed. Tarn paled when he heard the price.

“Err, maybe not,” he said. “How about that one?” This time he tried to pick a fish that seemed abundant among the fisher’s wares. Finding the price much more amenable, he paid the man and took the fish.

“By the way,” he said, “do you think a cat would like this?”

“A cat?” the fishmonger asked, eyebrows raising.

“Yes, a cat.”

“Well, I should think a cat would like just about any fish it could sink its teeth into, don’t you think?”

“Yes, yes, of course.” Tarn muttered, walking away. Behind his back the fishmonger shook his head, saying something about this city being full of loonies.

On his way back to the alley where he had found the cat, he fumbled with and dropped the fish a few times. It was slippery, and the gloves didn’t exactly help. By the time he got there, the fish was grimy and decidedly unappetizing. Still, Tarn bent down and peeked into the alcove to see that the cat was still there.

“Hey,” Tarn said softly to the cat, “you hungry?” He laid the dirt-caked fish down just in front of the cat’s hiding place before backing off and standing up. After a few seconds a tentative paw reached out of the alcove and quickly pulled the fish inside. Tarn’s face broke out in a grin, and he left the feline to enjoy its meal in peace. As he walked, he found himself inexplicably happy, and even began to sing an old sailor’s shanty to himself that he had heard in his youth by the docks. It was out of tune and off melody, but for the moment Tarn was happy.

OOC: Word Count:758
Boxcode credit goes to Antipodes


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Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point. --CS Lewis
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Tarn Alrenson
We all can make a difference.
 
Posts: 81
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Cat With No Cradle

Postby Tarn Alrenson on February 18th, 2019, 9:40 pm

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36th of Winter, 518 AV
The next day, after Tarn had completed his assigned patrols, he returned to the alley. Cautiously he approached the alcove he had found the cat in before and peered inside, bracing himself to be attacked once again. It wasn’t there. Tarn stood up, a little disappointed. As he turned to leave, he jumped with a start as he nearly stepped on a tawny cat with bright yellow eyes. The feline just swished its tail and stared up at him with all the arrogance and elegance of a queen looking at a servant.

Tarn regained his balance and gazed back at the cat, letting the silence hang for almost a minute.

“So…” he said, and awkward twinge to his voice. “Did you like the fish?” Being a cat, the cat didn’t answer his question. Instead, it moved with the sort of liquid grace only cats possessed, leaping onto the top of a nearby pile of rubble and beginning to give itself a tongue bath. Tarn glanced back at the alcove, and seeing no rotting fish corpse, assumed that the cat had indeed liked the fish. He sat down on a large chunk of broken wall near the cat’s perch. It gave him a side eye as it cleaned its paw, but otherwise didn’t respond. Tarn rested on his improvised seat and took a few chimes to examine the alley. It was run-down and grimy, even more so than most of the city, explaining its lack of human occupation. It was however, the perfect home for an alley cat.

“Is this where you live?” Tarn asked the cat. He gave it a second to answer, though he didn’t expect it to. In his head, he interpreted the rasping of its tongue as a yes.

“I live over on the West side,” Tarn said, “with the other Dragoons.” The cat flicked its eyes toward Tarn, probably curious as to why this human was still talking to it, but he took it as an accusation.

“I know, I know. They have their problems, but at least it’s safe. For me at least. Do you know how nice it is to be able to sleep knowing there’s somebody watching your back?” Tarn looked at the cat, then at the alley.

“You probably don’t.” A pang of sorrow struck Tarn’s heart. Why was he sad about this? Hundreds of people--humans, and others of the thinking races--lived in Sunberth in conditions like these, but somehow, he was sad because of this cat? He recognized the ridiculousness of it, but couldn’t find himself to lessen his sadness an iota.

Tarn sat in silence for a while longer, enjoying the quiet companionship of the feline. Over a bell later Tarn stood, stretching his legs.

“I don’t suppose you’d like to come with me?” Tarn asked.

The cat simply stared.

“Alright then.” Tarn said, and walked back out into the city, and a world of human conversation.
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OOC: Word Count: 489 (1247)
Boxcode credit goes to Antipodes


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Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point. --CS Lewis
User avatar
Tarn Alrenson
We all can make a difference.
 
Posts: 81
Words: 81305
Joined roleplay: June 27th, 2018, 3:14 am
Race: Human
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Cat With No Cradle

Postby Tarn Alrenson on February 18th, 2019, 10:22 pm

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37th of Winter, 7th Bell in the Morning, 518 AV
The morning after, Tarn was free of duties until late morning, so as the sun rose to prominence in the sky he’d made his way to the market and bought another fish. Carrying it carefully, Tarn managed to make it all the way to the cat’s alley without dropping it. Proud of himself, Tarn looked up to find the cat. He dropped the fish in shock.

A grizzled, sickly beggar was on his hands and knees in the alley, reaching into the cat’s alcove and spitting curses that would make a sailor wince.

“Hey!” Tarn shouted. He darted forward and grabbed the man by the collar. He dragged the beggar backwards, casting the man onto his backside.

“What the petch are you doing boy!” The beggar shouted. “That little morsel scratched me!” Tarn looked down at the man with a stormy glare barely concealing a pent-up rage boiling just beneath the surface.

“Leave the cat alone,” Tarn growled. The man’s eyes betrayed a hint of nervousness, but he didn’t cave.

“That cat gave me a taste of claw!” he said, “I’m gonna show it a bit of a cookfire, and maybe get myself a taste of the rest of the little beast. It deserves it!”

“I don’t care if it deserves it.” Tarn said quietly, taking a step forward. “You are going to leave this cat alone.” The beggar scrambled to his feet and tried to meet Tarn eye-for-eye, but came up a head short. He spat by Tarn’s feet.

“Of course, m’lord,” the man said mockingly. Tarn bristled. In a city of anarchists, there were few insults worse. The beggar sauntered away, the effect sullied by a slight limp. Tarn stared after the man until he could no longer see him. After the man was gone, Tarn retreated back into the alley and sank onto the stone he had used before as a seat.

After a few moments the cat crept slowly out of its alcove, stretching luxuriously and laying down next to Tarn as if nothing had happened. Tarn smiled, but a touch of fear nagged at him. The beggar would come back.

“Could you come with me?” Tarn asked the cat after some time. It looked back at him with its beautiful golden eyes. “Come on.” Tarn tried to pick up the cat, but it hissed and streaked away, slipping through his grasp.

“Please! You’re not safe here!” Tarn pleaded. He retrieved the fish he had dropped and tried to lure the cat closer with it, but distrust gleamed in the cat’s eye.

“Please, just let me help you. Let me save you!” The cat didn’t move, and didn’t respond. Tarn’s shoulders sagged. He laid the fish down gently near the cat’s alcove. A glance at the sun’s position showed that more time had passed than he thought. He would need to report for patrol soon.

“Please…” he said quietly one more time. The cat remained.

Tarn left.
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OOC: Word count: 491 (1738)
Boxcode credit goes to Antipodes


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Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point. --CS Lewis
User avatar
Tarn Alrenson
We all can make a difference.
 
Posts: 81
Words: 81305
Joined roleplay: June 27th, 2018, 3:14 am
Race: Human
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Cat With No Cradle

Postby Tarn Alrenson on February 18th, 2019, 11:06 pm

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37th of Winter, 15th Bell
Tarn returned to the alley that afternoon, when his patrol had finished. He dashed all the way from the Sun’s Refuge. His legs complained, and by the time he got there he was struggling to suck in air, but for some reason the cat’s wellbeing was of the upmost importance to him in that moment. He got to the alley, and the beggar wasn’t there. He let out a sigh of relief and took a minute to recover his breath.

When his blood no longer pounded in his ears like a mad drummer, Tarn straightened himself and began to look about the alley, calling softly to the cat. There was no answer. Tarn quickly began to worry, and his calls became more and more frantic. The cat wasn’t in the alcove and wasn’t on its perch. Maybe it was out hunting?

That speck of hope was smothered when Tarn checked the back of the alley. There he found the remains of a fire, the coals still radiating heat. Next to it was a bloody, tawny hide.

Tarn’s fists clenched, and his eyes shone with the promise of murder. Tarn checked the streets adjoining the alley to no avail. The beggar wasn’t there. However, a young child of the streets crouched nearby the alley’s mouth, amusing herself by drawing in the dirt with a short stick.

Tarn crouched down next to her. She stiffened, ceasing her drawing.

“Hey,” Tarn said, “did you see the man that made the fire over there?” The girl hesitated, then shook her head. Tarn reached into his belt and pulled out a gold Miza, holding it out toward her. “Are you sure?”

The girl stared at the coin, her eyes flicking between Tarn and the money. Eventually, she spoke.

“I saw him.”

“Did you see where he stays?” he asked. The girl nodded. Tarn gave her the coin. “Take me there.”

The girl took off jogging, and Tarn followed. She took him on a winding route through Sunberth’s streets to a poor area of the Castle Commons. At one intersection she stopped and pointed. Tarn followed her finger and saw the beggar sitting at the corner, begging for money. Tarn gave the girl a second Miza and thanked her. With wide eyes, she took the money and ran off, obviously wanting nothing to do with a Dragoon on the warpath.

Tarn approached the man. As he drew nearer, the beggar caught sight of Tarn. He took in the obvious anger in Tarn’s eyes, along with the telltale armor he was wearing, and the sword at his belt, and his eyes widened with fear.

“I didn’t know! You weren’t wearing the uniform and I didn’t see your brand, I didn’t know!” the man exclaimed, rising to his feet and raising his hands to fend off the expected flurry of blows. Tarn lunged forward and grabbed the man by the throat, shoving him back into the wall of the stone building behind him. The man barely resisted.

“What did I tell you about the cat?” Tarn growled. The man sobbed a little.

“To leave it alone.”

“Did you?”

“I-“

“DID YOU!”

“No!” The man exclaimed, shaking in Tarn’s grasp. Tarn pressed forward harder, and the man gasped for air.

“Why?” Tarn asked furiously.

“I- I- I, w-was h- h-hungry,” the man rasped. Tarn threw the man to the side, staring down at him in disgust. The beggar gasped, finally able to breathe. At once, Tarn became aware of the stares. Everybody around him was watching him, and he didn’t like the looks in their eyes. They made him feel like a brute. A thug. And they were right.

Tarn walked away without another word, rubbing his eyes to hide the tears, grieving for both the cat and himself.
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OOC: Word Count: 630 Thread Total: 2368
Boxcode credit goes to Antipodes


Image

Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point. --CS Lewis
User avatar
Tarn Alrenson
We all can make a difference.
 
Posts: 81
Words: 81305
Joined roleplay: June 27th, 2018, 3:14 am
Race: Human
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets

Cat With No Cradle

Postby Orakan on April 12th, 2019, 8:25 am

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ImageTarn
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Skills
● Disguise - 1XP
● Observation - 4XP
● Investigation - 2XP
● Animal Husbandry - 2XP
● Negotiation - 2XP
● Socialisation - 3XP
● Singing - 1XP
● Acrobatics - 2XP
● Persuasion - 2XP
● Unarmed Combat - 2XP
● Intimidation - 2XP
● Leadership - 1XP
● Logic - 1XP
● Running - 1XP

Lores
● Self: No longer proud of your association with the Sun's Birth
● Disguise: Covering your gang brand with a glove so as to not draw unwanted attention
● Animal Husbandry: Attempting to gain an animals trust through kind actions
● Location: Seaside Markets
● Negotiation: Finding a better priced item
● Cats: Like shiny things?
● Cats: Like fish
● Persuasion: Trying to convince a cat (and yourself) that being in the Sun's Birth isn't that bad
● Selfs: More concerned about an alley cat than you are of your fellow people
● Intimidation: Glaring and changing tone to make a point
● Leadership: Issuing an order
● The pain of being rebuffed by a cat you are trying to protect
● Animal Husbandry: Trying to lure a cat with fresh fish
● Persuasion: Pleading to the point of nearly begging
● Negotiation: Using coin to to get someone to talk
● Intimidation: Gang association
● Acrobatics: Lunging at your target
● Unarmed Combat: Grabbing someone in a choke hold
● Unarmed Combat: Fuelled by the need for revenge
● Self: You're just another brute


Misc/Penalities/Loot
Please deduct the cost of the fish that was purchased. Thanks!

ImageComments
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You're writing is so wonderful and easy to follow and Tarn is just too good for Sunberth. You captured his emotions and character really well here (and did the cat so much justice). Someone's definitely chopping onions around me. Thanks for the read (sob)! Do let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding your grade and don't forget to delete/edit your request in the grading queue.
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“The means to every crime is ours,
and we employ them all,
we multiply the horror a hundredfold.”

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☉ absence ☉I'll be away in NZ from 28/5 - 9/6. Apologies for any inconvenience
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Orakan
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