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Thread: [M/IC] War of the Hidden (Numbers and Naming)

  1. #51
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    Shivali would give a small nod in response to her companion's words, though her eyes remained fixed on the checkpoint ahead. She watched rather intently, even as they walked, trying to get a feel for things. It would be good if she had a rough idea of just how many guards were about, how strict they were being with their inspections, and how they were treating the various humans who sought passage inside. If they regarded one type of profession with more or less suspicion than the others, it would be good to know in advance, so that she might formulate some sort of agreeable cover.

    "Anything that helps eliminate needless risk from our task seems a good idea to me, even if it requires a little extra effort" the warrior-servant would respond simply, finally pulling her eyes away from the guard house. Shivali had entered human settlements dozens of times during her work as a scout, so there shouldn't be any issues there. Theoretically, Christina's plan was quite sound.

    "I could try and hide you on my person somewhere, but then you wouldn't be able to guide me through the rest of the town. Still, if I were to pull the hood of my cloak up, then you'd be practically invisible from the outside. If they don't insist on getting a good look at my face, they might not even realise I have a ferret on my shoulder" she would add, though the bulk of her attention was focused outwards now. They just had to find a place that was out of sight, so Christina could transform without drawing any sort of undue attention. Easier said than done, considering the surrounding landscape, but they would doubtless find a way to make it work.

  2. #52
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    "If I stand in front of you and pressed up against you, do you think a mix of my cloak and your cloak together would be enough to temporarily cover me up. Unless someone specifically watches us, the combination of our cloaks could hide me enough to allow me to get smaller and smaller. If I get small enough to be thick as a ferret, I'll easily hide between our cloaks allowing me to be able to make my height and width much smaller to fully turn into the ferret. It carries the risk that if someone bumps into us or decides to talk to us, we could be discovered. Especially since there isn't a very good place nearby to allow me to shift without people taking notice. Didn't think about this before we got here." As such, she quickly moved to her companion, pressing against her to get as close as she can in hopes of being more hidden.
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  3. #53
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    "If that's the best option we have, then we might as well get it over with"

    After a few moments spent searching, Shivali was forced to conclude that her companion was right. There was no denying the lack of cover in their immediate vicinity, and things would only get worse the closer they drew to the city walls, as other travellers became more common. Pursing her lips briefly, she would turn her attention back to Christina as soon as the decision was made.

    "We'll just consider it a lesson learned for next time. Now be quick about it; the longer you take, the longer our chance of discovery" Shivai would respond simply. She would quickly come to a halt, turning to face Christina. Almost immediately, the young Nekorian pressed herself up against Shivali, who hesitated briefly. The sensation was definitely somewhat unexpected, though not outright unpleasant. She was overcome with the sudden urge to reach out and embrace her companion, considering that the two were virtually hugging. Unsure as to where this sudden want had come from, Shivali refrained, instead standing by passively as she waited for Christina to do...whatever it is she needed to fuel her transformation.

    Partially to reassure herself and partially to distract herself, Shivali would turn her head while she waited, watching the rest of the road for anyone who might discover them. So far, so good.

  4. #54
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    This time as she was covered, instead of the cracking and popping of bones breaking and forming it was more of a creaking noise. The bones and everything simply got smaller at the same rate in order to make less noise until she appeared to be a very thin and small child on the ground in front of her companion. "Now for the next part." As she spoke her voice was higher pitched. Like a child even. She got closer to her companion and that was when the sound of breaking bones and new bones snapping together appeared. They were much quieter than the time before since the bones were smaller and required smaller breaks.

    Finally, she was in the form of a ferret and she stretched her neck and body before crawling up the side of her companion, carefully using her claws to get to the neck without leaving marks. Once she was on the shoulder of her companion she looked around through her eyes. "Such a bigger world when I am in this form." She whispered into her companion's ears so that she wouldn't be heard by others.
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  5. #55
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    The sound of reshaping bones was just as disconcerting as the first time around, but Shivali was somewhat better prepared this time. Knowing what to expect made all the difference, as did the opportunity to avert her eyes under the pretence of watching the road. She would keep her gaze averted until the process was complete, the passage marked only by the strange sensation of a ferret running up her side. The warrior-servant would turn her head to try and catch sight of her companion's new form, but was met with only a brief glimpse, before she realised the futility of the endeavour and gave up on it.

    "You could've just asked me to pick you up, you know" she would remark idly, making use of the time to reach back and pull up the hood of her cloak once Christina was settled. Only once she could feel that the little ferret had stopped moving would Shivali set off, beginning with a somewhat measured pace.

    "Let me know if you start to slip, hm? We'll need to be somewhat subtle about talking, especially when there are more people around, but I'll do my best to keep an ear out" Shivali said. She would continue to pick up the pace as they moved, and she became reasonably more certain that Christina was in no danger of falling. Given her bodies, it seemed unlikely that a fall from such a height would do her any real harm, but better safe than sorry.

    As she progressed, the road did indeed become more crowded. Travelling merchants, both with wagons and on foot, became something of a common sight. Noise filled the air, and the press only grew thicker as Shivali reached the guard's post. She joined the shorter line intended for travellers, which was marked separately from the one reserved for merchants, who would be both required to submit to inspections and tax.

    "If you notice any of them are your kind, let me know" she would mutter softly, trying to give the impression that she was just mumbling to herself, whilst trusting that the close proximity would allow Christina to hear.

  6. #56
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    "If I start to slip you'll know since my little claws might start to dig in order to hold on." She said in an amused tone before going quiet as they started to get surrounded by more people. The more people that surrounded them, the more she held on, being careful to not actually pierce the skin.

    "Do not worry. I doubt most of the people will be able to hear my voice. Even if they are right next to us, I'm close enough to your ear that I can talk pretty quietly and still have you be able to hear me." As they continued to move she kept her eyes for the usual sign of a Nekorian. "We should be fine. If there is one at the gate, it'll probably be in the line with the merchants. Even if there is one in our line it won't make note of us if all it sees is a human with a pet ferret." She rested her small muzzle on her small paws as she got comfortable on the shoulder of her companion.

    "Just remember the name of the merchant and you're here as a mercenary answering his call for someone to come be one of his guards. He's already in town and has been cleared. When you give his name they'll probably pull a guard from the merchant line so find his name on the list. Once his name is found on the list they should just wave you in and tell you the rules of the city. If his name isn't on the list as being marked as checked in, he has been to this city before. They'll simply tell you he isn't here yet. In which case just say that you must have beat him here and wish to wait in the city till he arrives. Though I can't imagine why he wouldn't be checked in if he is in the city."
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  7. #57
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    "That's what worries me. If anyone here is going to recognise one of the Tehnu, it certainly won't be one of the human guards" Shivali would answer, mumbling in much the same manner as before. She swept her gaze back and forth across the crowd as she spoke, feigning nonchalant curiosity as she tried to assess the situation and recognise any possible threats. The hood made it a little difficult, but Shivali wanted to appear as casual as possible. Any form of suspicion would draw attention, and attention would only increase the chance that they would be discovered. She had snuck into human settlements dozens of times before, but that was no reason to let her guard down.

    Perhaps she was merely being paranoid, but a measure of wariness seemed like a good thing to have in her line of work. Even the most careful of scouts had a bad habit of winding up dead, considering that they were literally sent walking straight into enemy territory.

    Regardless, Shivali was able to adopt her assigned guise easy enough. She had enough fighting experience to put most human mercenaries to shame, and the lithe grace of an experienced and precise warrior. Aside from that, it only took a few minute adjustments to her body language to complete the illusion. Shivali raised her head and pulled her shoulders back, adopting the self-assured and battle-hungry look of a mercenary eager for work. By the time they had reached the front of the line, she was more than ready for her confrontation with the guard on duty.

    "State yer' name and purpose"

    "Shivali Tenna. Here to take on mercenary work" she would offer simply. The warrior-servant knew better than to lie about her first name, which was a rookie mistake. People were often slow to respond to a false name, and a slip of the tongue was more trouble than it was worth. Even as she spoke, Shivali would reach up and flip back her hood; a deliberate gesture to try and make the man think she had nothing to hide. His eyes lingered on the ferret briefly, but he neglected to comment outright.

    "A mercenary without a weapon?" he questioned simply, eyes flickering down to Shivali's waist. Despite his pointed question, however, she gave a perfectly nonchalant shrug, buying time for her to come up with a fitting response.

    "Got my knives. Those're more than enough. You wanna see 'em?" she questioned, fixing the man with a toothy grin. He simply rolled his eyes at the off-handed remark.

    "Who's your employer?"

    "His name was Alex. Alex... ah, damnit. What was his family name again?" Shivali would wonder out loud, scratching at her face absentmindedly as she 'pondered' the thought, with the guardsman watching on patiently. Hopefully Christina would get the hint and quietly supply her with the name, so that she could be sure to give the guard the correct answer.

    Once she had done so, the guard would briefly ask Shivali to wait there, before promptly stepping away - presumably to check the lists that Christina had mentioned before. When he returned, the man waved them onwards casually, before turning to the next in line. Glad that things had turned out in their favour, Shivali stepped forward, sticking to a casual pace as she moved through the checkpoint. She wanted to move on before the man changed his mind, but without drawing any undue attention.

    "Which way from here?" she would whisper as soon as they were clear, trusting her little companion to provide her with directions. They were still too exposed for Christina to transform back, so old-fashioned methods would have to suffice for now.

  8. #58
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    "Belloth" She whispered into her companion's ear when asked for the family name of her contact. She continued to watch the rest of the exchange before it was time for her to give directions. As she gave directions she moved and climbed to the top of her companions head, sitting on her hind paws to give her more height to see the different landmarks around them. She was using her bodies connection to the bird she made to guide them as a feeling to something that she needed to go to.

    After wandering around for half an hour though, they finally arrived at what looked like an inn. "This is it. My bodies tell me he's on the second floor, probably in a room that he is using as a place to sleep. When we get up there you'll knock and then say this code phrase. True love is eternal and is blind to age, species, gender, and handicap. He'll ask you what you love and your answer is a ferret. He'll know then that you're my companion before he even opens up the door and he'll let us in. Now let's go!" She said before giving directions to the exact room they would need to go to.
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  9. #59
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    It quickly became evident that their passage into the city had passed without incident, and Shivali soon found herself enveloped into the fold of human civilization. People and buildings pressed close on all sides, creating an environment totally different from that of the open road. Whilst most humans might have seen it as safe and secure, to one of the Tehnu it was just as foreign a place as the wilds themselves. A place that required caution and care to navigate, though it was less intimidating for those with experience. Shivali herself had done enough travelling to avoid being overwhelmed, and promptly followed Christina's directions towards the inn where they were supposed to be meeting her friend. Shivali attracted a handful of glances when the ferret moved up to her head, but nobody moved to hinder their journey.

    After half an hour spent forcing her way through the throngs of people, Shivali finally came across the inn where they were supposed to meet Christina's old friend. The warrior-servant made her way for the door without hesitation, slipping from the streets and into the building's interior. Almost immediately, the noise and bustle of the outside world faded, leaving them in a much more peaceful environment. After a brief glance about the room, Shivali would head for the stairs leading up to the second floor, not paying the innkeeper so much as a glance. Moving down the hallway, she would wait until Christina confirmed she had the right door, before knocking twice sharply.

    "True love is eternal and is blind to age, species, gender, and handicap" she spoke, without waiting for any sort of response. After a few seconds of tenuous silence, another voice came from behind the door.

    "What's your favourite thing?"

    "A ferret"

    The door was unlocked and yanked open quickly from the inside, and Shivali quickly stepped inside. She paid no mind to Christina's companion, who busied himself shutting the door behind her. The warrior-servant would instead reach up to grab the ferret resting atop her, before stepping it over and setting it down on the bed.

    "I should keep you as a ferret more often. You're much more manageable like that, when I don't have to worry about you running off. Much more helpful, too" she would quip idly, a small smile tugging at the corners of her mouth as she stepped away, finally turning her attention to the man she knew to be Alex. There was little else to do but wait for Christina to transform back then, so that they might go about their business.

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