The Rat Catchers

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The Rat Catchers

Post by Wraithwriter »

A flash of lighting and the sound of thunder cracking like a whip was a clear announcement that Summer had finally come to the northern hills of Shil. Rain poured from the skies flooding the streets of a the small trade city of Yurinash, and three youths bolted for the nearest shelter. As it so happened, the three were in for a bit of luck since the rain had driven them to take shelter in the Golden Tankard.

The Golden Tankard was a renowned establishment famous for two things: the finest mead found outside a dwarf stronghold, and the juiciest rack of lamb in all of Shil. So as the three entered the heavenly aromas of thyme, rosemary, garlic, and roasting lamb greeted them. They would have still only stood on the threshold of not for the sound of an mountainous voice addressing them.

"Well," the voice inquired, "are you coming in or going back out to brave the rain? Either way I don't care, just close the door!" The owner of the voice then went back to lifting a large barrel into place on a rack full of others like it.

Hurriedly the last youth to enter closed the door behind her then went back to studying the voice's owner with her companions. As the voice implied, the man very well could have been a living breathing mountain. Standing at least eight feet tall his head just missed brushing the rafters, and his arms and legs would have looked more at home serving as tree trunks. With these obvious signs there was absolutely no doubt the man was of giant blood.

Done with his work the giant turned toward the three brushing off his hands. "So what brings you three to my establishment?" he inquired. "You did notice the sign, saying that I am closed till dinner?"

With a winning smile a young human man stepped forward to address the proprietor. "We do sincerely apologize good sir, but the rain forced us to find shelter. Would it be acceptable for us to wait out the worst of the down pour?" The giant simply glared down at the overly charming youth until the he swallowed and receded back into the safety of his friends.

Seeing this the giant nodded before speaking. "Now I will have none of your glib tongue," he announced with that large voice of his. "If it is to escape the rain that you came then that is fine, but don't ever attempt to sweeten the vinegar with me."

Here the giant paused to study the three youths, of which the other two were currently laughing at the other's misfortune. There was an ugly looking halfling with a pair of tonfa tucked into his belt, and kittenish looking catfolk girl carrying a naginata. "Your not the usual band of rioters that we see in these parts, where are you from?"

"Jatza," came the reply from the ugly halfling.

"Never heard of it," announced the giant. "Well any ways, I am Marcu owner of the Golden Tankard. Feel free to have a seat while you wait. These storms don't usually last long." So saying Marcu retreated through a door behind the bar leaving the three alone.

"That ever present charm didn't work this time did it Fan," Taunted the halfling.

"Quite you ugly runt," return an irritated Fan.

"Don't take your ire out on Jiao-long," commented the catfolk girl. "That is at least the thousandth time you tried that, statistically failure was bound to happen."

Fan shot her a glare before speaking, "Thank you for pointing that out Ju."

"Your welcome," replied Ju completely ignoring Fan's sarcasm. "Why don't we take a seat," Ju stated fitting her words with action.

No sooner had the three taken a seat when a yell came from where Marcu had gone. Shortly they heard loud cursing and stomping that heralded the coming of a fuming Marcu. With one last curse the giant entered into the main room to begin glaring about.

"Where are you?" Marcu inquired of the room as he glared around. "Where are you? Lazy good for nothing beast!"

"Where is who?" Fan asked voicing the confusion of he and his friends.

"My cat, that's who!" Marcu clarified. "It is suppose to police the place for rats and mice." Here the giant raised a loaf of mouse chewed bread and a cheese wheel that was missing a ragged hunk. "Now I have this! I can't serve this!"

Marcu then went back to cursing the missing cat under his breath. This left time for the three companions to trade uncertain glances. But before they could decide what to do the giant returned his attention back toward his guests.

"Do you three want to make a bit?" Marcu inquired.

"Now see here!" Ju objected heatedly. "I may be catfolk, but I am no mouser!"

"It's true," stated Jiao-long. "In all the time I've known her I have never seen her catch a mouse. Maybe sniff some catnip, but never catch mice." At the end of this Jiao-long ducked, just avoiding Ju's hand.

"What?" Marcu asked giving Ju a bewildered look. "What are you getting at?"

"You were going to hire us for some rat catching," came the answer from Fan.

In an instant the giant's face went from bewildered to amused before he broke into laughter. "You thought I wanted you to catch rats?" Marcu asked between belly laughs till he finally got control. "Sorry to deflate your ego, but this is not the job for a kitten and her two play pals."

"Now see here!" Came the retort from all three of the companions.

"No hearing me out," the giant said making a calming gesture. "I wanted to hire you to find me a new 'Cat' as in were-cat. Around here the rats are every bit as organized as the Ciy Guard."

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