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Chapter 90: More Mouths to Feed

Chapter 90: More Mouths to Feed

In Which We Keep Ending Up Back Here.

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Catamount: The next few days were filled with constant walking, following the trail to the north. Though there were no signs of hares following behind them, the refugees moved as fast as possible, stopping only when necessary to sleep for a few hours and often eating on foot.

The grasslands swiftly give way to woodlands and at a fork in the trails, Soquan and Jozra advise taking the westerly most one, hoping the bridge to Kodan has already been completed. Despite their exhaustion, the refugees press forward. Even though the hares don’t seem to be a problem any longer, supplies are running low. In the ghettos of Afrin, ‘all you can carry’ is not enough.

Arrin: The refugees race along the riverside trail in the late evening, the sound of rushing water filling their ears. Ahead of them, is the light at the end of the tunnel, those with seeing eyes can spot the lights of the city of Kodan shining faintly though the trees in the distance across the river. Soquan grins ruefully and turns to address Jozra beside him. “You know, it seems that no matter how hard we try, we keep ending up back here.”

Chris: Holst cocks an eyebrow at them, realizing there still wasn’t all that much he knew about the pair’s past. “Really now?”

Catamount: The ferret chuckles, “Yeah.” Turning to Holst, she explains a little. “We passed through here on our way south and had some… adventures with this safe-house we’re heading for. And then when leaving we had some troubles and I…” She grins sheepishly, “…kinda fell in the river and we had to come back.” She shrugs it off. “It probably makes for a better campfire story.”

Arrin: Soquan reaches out to clap the fox heartily on the shoulder. “Don’t you worry, you’ll hear the whole story soon enough.”

Chris: Holst chuckles a little bit and shakes his head. “I’m sure I will.”

Catamount: Jozra peers ahead as a small tan shape races back towards the three. The image quickly resolves itself as Azrun. “Found the bridge you were talking about up ahead, Joz. Looks passable. Zander wants you guys up in front since you’ve been here before.”

Arrin: Soquan nods at Azrun and turns to the ferret. “Shall we head upfront then, Jozra m’dear?”

Catamount: “Might as well. I’d pay to see the look on Kirrian’s face, actually.” She gestures to Holst. “You’d better come too if you want a chance at seeing steam boil out a vixen’s ears.”

Chris: Holst cocks an eyebrow and gives a crooked grin. “All you had to say was vixen.”

Arrin:  Soquan chuckles and shakes his head “C’mon lover boy, maybe your smooth moves will settle Kirrian’s temper a bit.”

Catamount: Jozra chuckles as Azrun smirks and rolls his eyes. “Looks like the front of the pack may have reached the bridge already. Let’s go.”

The four start trotting towards the front of the group of refugees, quickly catching up as the new bridge, while complete, is only wide enough for a single cart, slowing the tide of weary beasts. Azrun takes off again, working as ‘trail sweep’ while Zander, Jozra, Soquan and Holstadt approach the city of Kodan.

Most of the buildings are dark, as the owners have gone to bed, but a few lights glow here and there. And as the group begins walking up Kodan’s streets, more lights flicker on.

Chris: Holst’s eyes flick left and right to each light and movement that he happens to catch. His grip tightens around his chain.

Arrin: While the group treks tiredly through Kodan’s streets, Soquan looks at Jozra with a sleepy smile. “Remember where the place is Jozra?”

Catamount: The ferret glances at the otter with a wry grin. “I’d rather forget, actually, but yes.”

She leads the group deeper into the town, ending up at the front of a large house. Jozra eyes the house with a mixture of satisfaction and dread and then looks backwards, noting the tired and hopeful faces of the refugees. She hesitates just a moment and then walks up the front steps and raps on the door with several heavy blows.

“…that should wake them up.”

Chris: Holst appeals to Soq with a shrug. “What am I missing?”

Arrin:  Soquan grimaces. “We aren’t exactly on friendly terms with the owner of this place. Forcefully ejected from the building last time actually. Joz and I will tell you the story later.”

Catamount: Jozra’s statement may have been a bit of an understatement, for no sooner had Soquan finished speaking than several lights throughout the house flickered on, and a just a few moments later the door was pulled open by a concerned, then astounded, then near furious Kirrian with Sola and Dawn right behind her.

Chris: Holst blinks at the scene. He takes half a step forward, sensing the tension in the air.

Catamount: Sola gave a startled “Yeep!” at the sight of Soquan and Dawn glared icy daggers at Jozra but Kirrian, perhaps surprisingly, actually saw past the otter and ferret and noticed the dog-fox and rat beside them as well as group of weary beasts behind them.

Arrin: Soquan tries to diffuse the situation quickly before the whole town awakens due to Kirrian’s yelling. “Look, we don’t want any problems Kirrian, but as you can see, we have a lot of tired beasts here that need a soft bed and warm food. You were the first beasts that came to mind and I hope whatever grudge you hold against Joz and myself won’t cloud your judgment with these others.”

Chris: Holst clears his throat as his brain registers the vixen. “Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated, we’ve come a long way from Afrin.”

Catamount: The vixen gave first Soquan then Holst long, appraising stares before finally shifting her gaze to Jozra. “I should have known you would be back.”

Kirrian’s charitable side is too large to let her rivalry get in the way however, and she sighs, relenting. “I don’t have nearly enough room for all of these people. Did you honestly think we could take even a quarter of them? I think we can make enough room for the very young and the very old and the sick, though. Sola? Go get the kitchen running again. It looks like we have more mouths to feed.”

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