[P] [m] the accusing cups and stubbed-out cigarettes
#1

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Have a grumpy Skoll! Wink Somewhere not far from Amherst.

The creek tasted like silt and questionable fish, but it was highly preferable to the hangover presently cracking Skoll's skull open like an egg.

He couldn't even remember drinking that much, but the liquor he'd traded for had been stronger than any of Alessan's wines, if harsher going down. In fact, the last time he'd been that drunk, the two of them had—

Water coursed through his white-streaked fur as he splashed his face aggressively.

He should have been home. If he was home, he wouldn't be hungover, because there was hardly anything left in the cellar, and he would be useful to his family. Tora and Thyri and Galilee were capable of defending themselves, but he worried about his darker quiet daughter, and his son who'd taken to running almost exclusively on all fours. He shouldn't have abandoned them. Something else could have happened.

Now he was remembering why he'd gotten drunk.

Skoll sat down in the creekside vegetation with the speed of a man beginning to feel his nearly eight years of life. He groaned and massaged his temple, glancing down at the colorful burst of flowers around him. He didn't know what scent was stronger: pollen, fish-shit-water, or last night's mistakes.


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#2
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The trio stopped at the creek’s edge, watching as the stream skipped playfully over stones and fallen branches. Thị Ánh smiled, a little gentler than usual, and patted Nhím’s withers.


How about we rest for a while, hm? The water’s nice.


She carefully slid from Nhím’s saddle, leaving her to graze along the water’s edge. When the mare didn’t move right away, the dingo began to worry. Nhím was never this tense with her and Mitra, she was only like this when a stranger was…


Ah.


A figure, large and disgruntled, rested further downstream. As long as he was sitting there, there was no way Nhím would relax. Thị Ánh didn’t blame her— the man was the epitome of shady.


Perfect for business.


Mitra, love, keep Nhím company.


Mitra gazed ahead with empty eyes as the dingo placed her at Nhím’s side. Thị Ánh let her eyes flicker back downstream, sizing up her target.


I’ll take care of our… company.


As she sauntered down the creek, she kept her hand on her belt— ready to unsheathe her kukri should things go south. The man dwarfed her in size, and his sullen appearance didn’t make him seem any more friendly. Even if his type made the perfect customer, they were also incredibly dangerous— especially if they didn’t take to kindly to people like her.


She stopped at a healthy distance from him, wrinkling her nose at the scent of booze that engulfed him. She made a mental note to push her recreational wares instead of poisons.


Hello there love, you’re looking a little worse for wear.


She tilted her hips, her showman’s grin beaming down at him.


Rough night?


Best to start slow. Being too upfront made drunks a bit defensive.


290 words. <3

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#3
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Skoll pricked his ears at the voice: accented, refined, an odd falsetto. Reluctantly, he lifted his head and turned his single green eye toward the approaching stranger. It was a sandy-colored dog, dressed in turquoise garb, accented with jewelry. A wealthy trader, Skoll assumed, though he had nothing to give and little he wanted.

He grunted and pushed his wild hair out of his face, his hand lingering on the back of his neck as he stared at the loner. Hips cocked, grin broad, voice lilting.

One of those kind of men, Skoll decided. Whatever, fine.

(He was a bit off the mark.)

The Seneschal slowly rose to his feet, joints popping quietly in his knees. "Night was fine. Morning could be better." He set a hand on his own hip, the other arm dangling languidly at his side. "Getting too old for this," he joked, but the delivery had something to be desired. His head ached too much and his mood was too low for his usual playful, self-deprecating inflection.

"What do you want," Skoll went on flatly. "Are you trying to sell me something."


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