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Ladies' Night: The Seven Kingdoms Ep1

The confidently calloused fist of Nova, arm cloaked in loose robes, dislodges a tooth from the stubbled jaw of a river-rat roustabout. The tooth skitters up the stained wooden table of the Green Mint Meadow Travelers' House toward Igor sitting at a bar stool, hand wrapped around a sloshing bottle of white, aromatic liquid, left hand holding a low burning oil lamp as they explain the need for nametagged limbs. Next to them, the bow of Xenia burns the vary air, launching an arrow of raw magic toward another ruffian recently twisted about by the shattering chair, whose raw pieces are held in the muscled hands of Morella, her shoulders loosely protected by the bones of great mountain beasts. Across the room a blade of pure shadow sucks at the air as it is lowered against a ferocious river captain, dagger and curved sword in hand, Elsinore Blackheart's skin rippling in discomforting silvers and black, oily blood drips from her side to the floor. Natasha, still bedecked in the southern kingdom's desert robes, leans to open the chest, its former bearer running from the room having been told to run back to Port Capital at her subtle words.

And Lester, his ears twitching in the electric air, hunkers in the corner with a bottle, faintly snoring.

~ ~ ~

A mere moment before...

A crew of river-trading thugs entered the Green Mint Meadow, ordering drinks, and quickly breaking into song. As part of their song, they kicked at the crate they hauled in, which whimpered in response. Natasha inquired after the crate, while Igor encouraged her liege, Elizabeth Bathory, to consider making a meal of the least smelly of the roughs while Morella, with no particular stealth, raised a chair against them. Perhaps it was the drink, or the off-key song, or the curiosity of whatever hunkered in the three foot wide box, but a fight was in the air.

Natasha, not eager to offer her own song, asked about the crate. Its whimpers were familiar to Elsinore and even to Natasha, though odd and soggy to the others. One way or the other, they'd sort it out. Elizabeth Bathory, at the encouragement of her stooge Igor, dove at one of the riverrats for a fumbling meal while timber and whip fell on the others, at the hands of Morella and Nova respectively. Xenia offered commanding words and summoned her bow to do additional talking. Natasha made a mere suggestion of a homeward run, and the crate-bearing individual made a run for it. Bathory's first meal managed to scurry away, but Morella's fierce attacks put blood in the air; Bathory would not go hungry after all.

Elsinore, at first "protected" by the captain of this paltry crew, was offended by the fumbling "ma'am" and attempted a strike against him, though his swift dagger protected him. Her skin shimmered and warped, unsettling the captain who landed a painful blow with his curved blade against her. Morella's ancient blade cut one from nethers to nape. Another fell to arrows, another to Bathory's fangs, and within a few passing the moments, the floor was damp with blood, very little of it of our ferocious few. Igor raised a potent libation, lamp in one hand, and shouted for the pragmatic attention of the room.

Natasha pried open the chest, gray-scaled fingers with webbing probing in the gap between its body and its lid. Out of its cavity leapt a runt of a figure, one of the icthyoid humans of the eldritch coast. "Your name shall by Innsmouth," Natasha announced, his skin flaking and eczematic and dumbly sliding from the southerner's cloaks. "Igor, examine this unique creature with me!"

"Take my craft! My raft for me life. Deal?" said the captain, seeing the odds sharply turned against him as he worked toward an interior door, behind which the wheezing of one of his wounded comrades radiated. In the detente, the only remaining sound was the hungry lapping, like a dog in a sprinkler, of Lady Bathory having a long delayed meal.

"The password with the harbormaster?" Elsinore asked.

"For my life?" A quiet, faintly affirming silence returned to him. He eased open the door, knowing it would not hold his assailants. "Greenwater, the word is greenwater." And the door bolted impotently between them.

"Perhaps we can get this whelp back home? It has been too long since I've been on the ocean," Elsinore added.

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