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Getting into writing again. I wanted to answer the question of how a feral druid would view Boralus and fit in with the goings-on there. ))

The smell along the piers of Boralus was as enticing as it was disgusting. The harbor water stank with deceased sea creatures and human refuse, but the market stalls wafted with the delicious smell of fresh fish. It drew Anarial in, following her nose to investigate such a bizarrely human scene: Kul Tirans setting up their wares, pulling up knotted nets from the water, throwing back gnawed-on boots and rusted cans, and tossing flailing fish onto beds of crushed ice. They then shouted slogans and competitive prices at one another, hoping to draw in other humans, like some sort of coin-fueled version of a mating dance.

Gazing down from her perch, Anarial watched the market scurry itself along. She enjoyed human watching, it spared her from speaking Common or being social. It was entertaining, even if odd the slurs and  vowels of the Boralus accent evaded her Common skills. Luckily, she had other senses to rely on: hearing their tone and smelling the mood of the market was more than enough to inform her of goings-on.

As the sun crawled high in the sky, Anarial felt the fatigue of the hot day creep upon her. Hopping down from her perch, she stretched and slunk into the shadows. In spite her many years attempting to be diurnal, the noon day sun still stung her eyes and unpleasantly burned her skin, even if she bore fur. In her preoccupied musings with the market, she lingered too long and now had to wait for the hottest hours of the day to pass.

After a brief prowl, she chose a shaded place a little ways off from the main market drag to rest. Nestled between two crooked buildings, her refuge would do her well enough till the sun sank deep enough to the West. The dirt felt cool under her paws and smelled faintly of the wilds this odd human fish town was built directly upon.

She dozed for some hours before the sound of approaching booted feet woke her. Instinctively, she let out a warning growl before opening her eyes, searching for the trespasser. She was greeted by a fish tossed her way. It was massive, deliciously fleshy under its sheen of green-blue scales, and though cold to the touch from ice, otherwise fresh. Raising her nose to the air, she sniffed and looked quizzically at her mysterious gift giver. It was a human, of course, his skin tanned and wrinkled, his hair salted with white and grey. Telltale signs of old age in humans, Anarial had learned. Oh, how short their lives were. But how interesting.

Puzzling over the fish then her benefactor, Anarial yawned and let out a questioning chuff. The fish was not an unwelcome offer, but the human was new and unexamined.

“Yeh gotta be hungry,” the old man drawled in a sailor’s accent. Anarial reviewed the Common words twice in her mind before arriving at an understanding. “Eat up. Saw you watchin’ us all morning. Dunno who yeh belong to, or if yer hopin’ to steal sumthin’ when we’re lookin’ the other way. How about we strike ourselves a deal, hm? I give you a few, yeh leave our stalls alone.”

Anarial tilted her head at the man. Curious. He thought she was haunting their market to steal their fish? Was this some sort of peace offering? She was well aware that she was massive in her feline form, nearly able to look this grown man in the eye when she casually sat on her haunches. And what did he mean, who she belonged to? Did he assume she was some human tracker’s pet?

How insulting.

Quite annoyed, she rose from her comfy sprawl position and contemplated her next move. Was he close enough for a quick pounce and rectifying nip on the calf or arm? Or perhaps she could bat him around a little till he whimpered in apology. But then the human authorities would no doubt come and try to chase her from the scene. She could easily escape or maybe maul them a little. But such behavior was unwelcome in human cities. Though short-lived, humans had a nasty habit of always remembering when you broke their odd social protocols. They would mark you and draw swords every time you are spotted.

She eyed up her quarry. He was still standing there, waiting for her answer. Grinning to herself, she wondered how much it would spook him if she spoke up in near-perfect Common. But that would require being social, and she was still in no mood for it. If she could not bloody him a little for his infraction, he at least could have the decency of skulking away and leaving her be till she chose to leave on her own accord. How rude.

Wait, what is that smell?

Oh, that’s right. The fish.

Fish first, she decided. Its tantalizing smell still filled her nostrils. Watching the man, she bent her head and licked the offering. Delicious. Her teeth effortlessly broke through its scales and her barbed tongue tore the juicy flesh from its insides. It was quite delectable. She even enjoyed the cold tinge to the flesh, it was a welcome respite from the hot day.

“Good girl,” the old man sighed in relief. “I’ll bring yeh anuther one inna bit. Don’t go pickin’ off my catch when I’m not lookin’, can’t have a massive brute like yeh lurkin’ around my stall, scarin’ off customers.”

Brute? Well, that was certainly a better compliment than pet. Though crude, it better suited her size and attitude. Besides, the fish was delicious, and the human curiously offered her more. For what, exactly? Staying put, not bothering him, and all the while, she could stay out of the sun till night fell, being hand-fed as a reward?

Oh, yes. This was acceptable. Anarial decided right then she thoroughly enjoyed visiting the fish market. She mentally cataloged the smell of this old man. Yes. She would lurk and “brute” around his stall eagerly and often.

Author Ari
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