[P] Stop! Theif!
OOC: Kinsey is present as is Arianna. :) WC: 550

IC: The streets were bustling with business this morning. As Bloom threaded her way through the trade hub of Portland, she sought out a specific shop, green eyes focused ahead. She carried a large, overstuffed satchel of goods on her shoulder with her paw held protectively around it to prevent any passerby from simply snatching it away. She didn't trust the folk around her in this new land yet. Perched upon her other shoulder, swaying with the motion of her movement was Kinsey, the polecat who was chittering excitedly at all the action around her. Bloom had to keep a close eye on the little weasel else she scamper off and do some 'shopping' of her own.

Tagging along closely behind was Arianna. Keeping an eye out for other shops with goods of value, the grey woman made mental note of these places to return to once they had concluded their business. She had to practically run to keep up with Bloom's fast held pace. "Bloom, slow down! Please!" She begged, but Bloom snorted through her nose and did not comply. If anything she continued onwards even faster. The blacksmith shop she was looking for was right up ahead. "C'mon, we're nearly there."

Weaving between bodies, Bloom approached the open-fronted stall and brought the satchel up to the counter with a heavy 'thwump'. The man behind the counter, a grizzled old dog with an eye patch and multiple burn scars on his arms came over. "How can I help you?" He asked in a gruff voice that matched his appearance. Bloom smirked a little. "I've got some weapons I'd like to trade ya." She announced, opening the clasp on the bag and beginning to rummage within. The man raised his brows and leaned in a little closer with interest. "Well let's see what you got miss."

Arianna stood back, leaning against a support column that separated the blacksmith's shop and another shop next door. Green flecked eyes people watched. There were so many Luperci here! She'd not seen such a busy city since they'd left London. She noticed a shadowy figure lurking in the alley opposite where she stood, watching Bloom conduct her business and narrowed her eyes. She didn't like the way he leered after her and the shiny weaponry she pulled from her satchel. She'd have to keep an eye on the figure. It didn't matter that the goods they were trading away were already stolen themselves, this was their loot and means of getting from place to place. She couldn't let some other petty opportunist get away with stealing their stuff.

Pretending she hadn't seen him, Arianna turned her gaze back to the items in the window of the next door shop. A beautiful dress in a shade of green that matched her eyes caught her attention. Moving closer to view the display from the window, Arianna temporarily lost track of the possible thief. When she looked back, the shadow man was nowhere to be seen. Frowning, Ari moved closer to Bloom and whispered in her ear. "We are being watched..." She warned, Bloom's posture stiffening slightly but otherwise giving nothing away, and then moved back to her spot by the column, eyes flicking this way and that, trying to relocate the shadowy figure but with no luck.
"Charms! Jewelry and charms!"

The sea of Luperci parted to make way for a small hand cart that was being pushed by a fair-haired wolfdog. The barker cupped his hand around his muzzle to project his voice as he advertised the wares that were lined up neatly for display: various metal amulets, bracelets woven with leather and bone, rabbit's feet, and tarnished chains were among the selection that promised vigor, fertility, beauty, and luck.

A roving stall was not unusual in Portland. It was a good way to be where people were, and it afforded more flexibility and speed than a wood and mortar storefront. As long as a wise merchant knew where to step to avoid the ire of similar businesses, the unofficial "turfs" of other and older barkers, they could find good opportunities for trade.

Inversely, it lacked stability and safety. The streets were often full of bodies to navigate around and the roads were not always kind. Some paths were bare dirt, and the churning of paws and hooves and wheels would render the ground into dry mud on a particularly humid day. It made pushing a cart bothersome when the wheels often got stuck on a stubborn piece of earth and jostled the goods. Not to mention the labor of it all—though the wolfdog, with his thick arms, did not seem to mind the burden.

Then, perhaps most importantly, there was the risk of robbers. Thievery was one of the few intolerable acts in the city that was subjected to law, but oftentimes it was not a crime committed in broad daylight. There was little to stop goods from being purloined by a sleight of hand, especially in tight quarters like a busy market street. All it would take was a momentary distraction or an innocuous pass by. Or, if a thief was bold and fast enough, a hit and run was never out of the realm of possibility. The more a vendor carried, especially so flagrantly, the wares so tiny and light, the more susceptible they were to those who had unsavory intentions.

But the barker was not alone. Helping part the way, a massive wolf trotted at the man's heel, a black beast that stood up to the man's waist. The harsh sunlight made her already dark pelt into a stark silhouette, and she was nearly as amorphous as a true shadow. But her silver-blue eyes, two pinpricks of light, and the halo of lighter fur helped give shape to her broad face. She was focused on the cart and the Luperci that stepped around it.

With every step she took, the metal hanging from her leather collar clinked and twinkled, not unlike chimes. The bells heralded their approach if the golden wolfdog's voice did not accomplish this on its own. If the traffic did not yield, it only took a simple nudge of the wolf's shoulder against a hip or an arm for the body to step aside and fade back into the crowd, allowing passage.

One such bump startled a dog woman. There was a gentle prod against the small of her back and she squeaked in alarm, nearly dropping the rolls of fabric and pelts she was carrying. Her bewildered gaze fell upon the dark wolf, and for a heartbeat, there was a flash of panic on her face as she stared down at the brute. She was shorter than the man pushing the cart, and the top of the wolf's head reached to her chest. Perhaps she was expecting a Luperci in a similar stance, and seeing a Lupus form reach so high gave her a scare.

But a wide, sheepish smile appeared on the beast's muzzle in response to the dog woman's squeak, and whatever fright that she could have inspired was swept away by the soft expression. She took a step back to give the fabric trader some space and gave an apologetic dip of her head, lowering her ears.

"Excuse me," the wolf chirped politely and peered up at the dog woman, friendly but expectant. The dog woman, gathering her wits, looked between the wolf and the cart she stood in front of and realized the reason for the intrusion. A small "ah" escaped her and shuffled to the side with awkward silence to let the roving pair pass. The dog stared for a moment, even after the cart wheeled ahead, before giving a shake of her head in embarrassment and disappearing back into the market crowd.

Blaidd never minded the looks. More often than not it was a quick affair, a curious glance from a traveler on the other side of the road or from a patron entering The Lucky Cat for the first time. Sometimes, more than many would admit to, there were stares. Looks of unease, suspicion, or, what Blaidd found the most amusing and fun: assessment.

Most of these were from brutes that were in her league—canines that they all were, they fell to instincts at times that compelled them to size each other up. Even if there was no threat, no desire for a fight, they were tickled with the question of what if, and who would win?

Blaidd always met these gazes ahead on. Had to, really. From jowly dogs, rugged wolves, bulky hybrids, Blaidd was not the only big beast on the block, far from it. But the dark wolf had more to protect than just her pride as an animal. As a guardsman of the Grimalkin troupe, she needed to know which canines she could tackle with absolute assurance, and what to do if she was faced with a fight that was disadvantageous. Imaginary conflicts, silly little make-believe wars in her head, were one of her favorite things.

Maybe it was so fun because, in all her youthful confidence, she thought she hadn't encountered many Luperci that would beat her in a contest of tooth and nail. It was why she was comfortable nosing her way around the Optime forms that stood in her way without a care of offending someone. One look at her and most were warded off if they were smart. And if someone wasn't, if they wanted a fight, she knew she would win it. She was Blaidd Grimalkin, the Gwyllgi, the Shadow-Beast of—

"Blaidd, are you gonna keep standing there, puffing your chest at nothing, or are you going to help me?" Aurelio teased as he gave her a nudge with the head of the cart to pull her further from her daydreaming.

Blaidd blinked from her reprieve and grinned at the golden wolfdog, flashing her white teeth and surging forward as if to nip him. The metal on the collar jingled erratically as she bounced at him. Aurelio was hardly intimidated and caught her muzzle with a free hand, closing her mouth and shoving her away with a laugh as the wolf obediently rejoined his side.

"I wasn't puffing," Blaidd insisted as she trotted, keeping pace with the cart and recentering her focus on the jewelry once more.

"Uh huh," Aurelio uttered in joking disbelief, unconvinced. "You're such a thug. So proud of giving that poor woman a scare. If you start freaking out the customers, I'm going to have to bring someone with a more marketable face."

"What?" Blaidd laughed and she bumped into Aurelio's knee. "First of all, I'm adorable. Second, I only freak out the people who need freaking out. That's why I'm here!"

"Ah, I see. So I am to understand that you're saying that the little dog, weaponized with cloth, was a threat to you?"

Blaidd opened her mouth, not saying a word before she closed it. Then she rolled her eyes and pointed her nose in the air, huffing. "She was an accident. At least I'm doing my job—less talking, more barking!"

Aurelio rolled his eyes back at her, but he did resume calling out the wares. After a couple of minutes, they had trudged their way towards the craftsman stalls when they attracted the attention of a jackal hybrid.

Despite her earlier claims of cuteness, Blaidd's neutral expression was rather stern as she sat by the parked cart. She was in work mode now; while Aurelio showed off the pieces, embellishing them with their magical qualities, the dark wolf kept an eye on the customer and the Luperci that wandered by. A smart thief would think twice before letting their hand stray too close when a maw was there, ready and waiting, perfectly leveled to strike.

The showcase was being held beside a smithy shop, and Blaidd was almost inclined to let her eyes wander to what it had in store. While she couldn't afford a new weapon, nor had any desire to part with her treasured sword, it didn't stop her from admiring the shiny metal of a newly-forged blade. In another life she could have been a blacksmith, she supposed, if she wasn't so built for fighting. It was an art, creating and carving out a finely balanced weapon that felt satisfying to the grip.

And as it was so often, beauty was preyed upon.

Blaidd had not let her attention drift too far and Arianna was not alone in spying the lurker in the alleyway. The dark wolf narrowed her pale eyes at the shade, but the Luperci did not spare a glance towards the cart, preoccupied with staring at the smithy. The male looked suspicious standing off to the side like that, but as long as he was not sizing up the cart, Blaidd wasn't going to make a scene about it.

As he disappeared from view, Blaidd swept her gaze around elsewhere, keeping watch for other Luperci. It had seemed like the potential threat had passed, and she wasn't going to get hung up on it and let it distract her.
[WC — 1,642] | NPCs: Aurelio
Blaidd is in Lupus form.
OOC: Blaidd can have seen the theft, follow after them into the alleyway and point them in the right direction and help them locate the thief I figure. :) WC: 1021

IC: The calls of jewelry and charms reached the ears of both Bloom and Arianna and while the red hued woman was too preoccupied with her business with the smithy, the grey female's attention was drawn to the streets where a large golden male and his companion, a large black wolf were selling their wares from a mobile cart. The shadowy figure in the alley was not forgotten but for the moment, Ari moved through the thronging crowd to get a better view. She stuck to the back, wanting to stay nearby Bloom while she cut her deals, but still interested in what the pair had for trade.

Green flecked gold eyes flicked over the shiny sparklies and fixated on a large emerald brooch. It was beautiful, catching the way it did in the sunlight. If only Bloom wasn't literally in charge of all of their tradable wares in the moment, Arianna would've asked what the man wanted for it. Huffing and turning away from temptation, once again the dark figure caught the Nightwalker lady's attention, this time he was on the opposite side of the blacksmith shop, lurking in the shade of the overhang to the clothing shop next door that Arianna had been inspecting before. She didn't like it. The way his orange eyes continued to linger so focused on Bloom made Arianna uneasy.

She was about to approach the stranger when suddenly, all hell broke lose in the square. A slim brown female in a dark cloak ran into another merchant carrying a heavy armful of what appeared to be metal scrap, the clattering clangs of the pieces falling onto the cobbled stones ringing out drew all eyes to him and had other folk leaping back so as not to have the heavy pieces land on their feet. At the same time, the dark figure made his move. Bloom had three very nice daggers out upon the smithy's counter. All with precious stones inlaid in their pommels and grips. The blades were polished to a nearly perfect shine. She had been negotiating a price for them but when she and the Blacksmith took a step away from the counter to see what the commotion was in the street, she left her satchel of other goods wide open and unattended next to her feet. With practiced precision, the shadowy man slipped passed behind her and scooped up the bag and shouldered it, turning the corner and disappeared.

By the time Bloom turned back, he was nowhere to be seen. With a snarl she accused the blacksmith of stealing it. "Where is it you swine? Couldn't get enough of what was right in front of ya huh!?" She had grabbed him by the collar of his shirt and pulled him across the counter, teeth bared in his face, threatening him with one of the pristine blades at his throat. Arianna, realizing quickly what had occurred, hurried over. "Bloom, no! It wasn't him!" She pulled her off the Blacksmith who look startled and also angry. Whipping around to her friend, Bloom fixed sharp green eyes upon her. "Then who?" She growled, hackles raising. "I saw a suspicious figure earlier watching you, he must've gone down that alley! C'mon!" She tugged the red woman away from the shops and into the street towards the alley way where she'd seen the suspicious man before.

From within Bloom's cloak a loud chittering came from Kinsey. "Kin, you stay and guard those blades, we'll be back!" Bloom instructed the polecat who leaped from her hood and onto the counter, and puffed up her tiny body standing over the three weapons baring her fangs at the smithy. The large dog simply shook his head and backed away further into his shop, not wanting to take any shit from the red woman or her vicious pet. Arianna lead the way into the alley, looking every which way for signs of the thief, Bloom followed, a hand on the sword strapped to her hip.

"I just know it was him, he couldn't keep his eyes off you, Bloom." She said brows furrowing. "I couldn't care less if he was ogling me naked, he's got all our stuff, Ari. We need to find him." Bloom growled and started searching behind spare crates and in abandoned entrances to small shops. "He couldn't've gone very far..." Arianna nodded in agreement, also searching for traces of their perp. "I wonder if anyone else saw him." She mused out loud. "Do you really think that smithy will honor you now that you threatened him?" The Nightwalker woman asked trying to hopefully distract a little from the immediate problem.

Bloom snorted. "Well, he certainly knows the blade are sharp enough. Got a nice up close view of the gems in 'em too. He'd be a fool not to buy." The Bríddn grumped kicking a rain filled bucket and splashing water all over the alley. Ari dodged the splash and noticed on the ground a fresh foot print not belonging to either of them. "Hey look! I think this belongs to our thief!" Bloom crouched and inspected the footprint. Frowning she looked up to her companion. "Looks like it. It's a dead end up ahead, so unless he scaled a ten foot wall without hand and foot holds... He's definitely down here." She narrowed her eyes and drew her sword, standing. "Come out come out! We know you're down here, scum!" She called down the alley, sweeping her blade in front of her threateningly.

There were a few more empty shops to check ahead. He had to be taking refuge in one, sorting through his loot as fast as he could for what was most valuable on the black market. Bloom's lip curled at the thought. That used to be her job... the very notion made her sick now. While she understood why some had to resort to such lowly acts, having it happen to her? It made her blood boil. Ah well, turn about was fair play she supposed. But she'd be damned if she was just going to let this thief get away unpunished.

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