Heraldry, Pt 3: Charges
Designing New Characters
July, 2006: Mischief
Bathing Beautyby Andrea Adams
Slipping into the cool water, Qalisir heaved a sigh of relief. A pebbled beach had formed in this sheltered bend in the stream, the small stones undisturbed by the cat-elf's passage from woods to water. He was alone though the not-too-distant noises of camp setup could be heard, somewhat muffled by the trees. Qalisir waded deeper, before dropping to a crouch, fully immersing himself. He stayed submerged for nearly a minute, current gently tugging at his tresses, the road-dust and sweat soaking free from his naked pelt. Surfacing as the need for air required, the elf snapped his head backwards flinging his sopping hair across his back and shoulders.
"Three times lucky," Qalisir thought as he padded closer to shore before settling to sit in the shallows. He set to soaping his fine, downy fur revelling in the luxury of bathing alone in the clear water before the rest of the caravan did. With so many hands on this trip, there was an odd man out and for the last three nights Qalisir had won the draw to idle as others set up camp. He had almost declined to participate tonight after two evenings of extra rest, but there had been no stream nearby their prior camps and this unexpected gift was too wonderous to pass up. "Tomorrow night, I shall for certain bow out of the lottery," his thoughts continued. A third straight evening off left some of the other caravanners muttering about mages and magicking the wins.
Eventually, body cooled and cleaned, Qalisir turned to his hair. He had unsnarled the tangles and was starting to braid one side when the sound of furtive creeping rustled through the brush on the caravan-side of the bank. Narrowing his eyes and with a slow turn of his head, Qalisir scanned the bushes, but saw nothing out of the ordinary. He eased himself onto his feet with a minimal amount of splashing and edged towards the bank. The barest of rustlings met his movement. "Not quiet enough," he thought, "if you want to hide from me."
Positive that one of the other caravan folk were sneaking up on him to have a bit of mischief at his expense, the elf decided to turn the tables. With a wide smile, he crept up onto the bank skirting the potentially noisy pebbles. Soap bar in one hand, dead leaves in the other, Qalisir leapt towards the last place he had heard rustling. Mid-leap he gave voice, crying "Aiya! Aiya!" as he lobbed the leaves in an arc which left them raining down on the underbrush.
The deer buck never expected to see a cat-elf in his woods, let alone a naked, screaming cat-elf flinging detritus about the forest. Bawling in terror, the buck bolted in the direction he was facing, straight through the brush and towards the pebble beach. In his flight, one of his antler tines snagged Qalisir's abandoned clothing which had been laid neatly over one of the bushes. The limp cloth slapped at the buck's neck as he ran, further fueling the terror. Within moments he had galloped out of sight, though the sound of him crashing through the underbrush continued for some minutes.
Qalisir had the presence of mind to land on his feet, though a jolt of adrenelin urged panic. He stood frozen as the buck shot away in a flash of white tail and russet breeches.
Cries arose from the caravan, before the buck had disappeared from sight and soon the woods were filled with traders armed both with concern and weaponry. His comrades found Qalisir still staring across the stream, still naked save for the soap still clutched in his hand, still inattentive and dumbstruck at the entire affair with the deer. Their leader touched the cat-elf on his shoulder, eliciting a scream from Qalisir as he was startled back into reality.
It took less time for explanations than for the blush of embarassment to fade from Qalisir's cheeks. Someone took pity on him and set off on the deer's trail, eventually retrieving his now-shredded garments, but unfortunately his dignity was nowhere to be found.
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