Private Tales Songs of Alley Cats

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer
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Violence had broken out. Blood flowed into the street. Greed. Envy. Lust for power. The peace that had held reign in Perchton was gone. Murdered by the glint of gold.

Or so the stories told.

Roland strolled towards the tavern of Perchton, a large town along the Savye river known for fishing and farming. His purse was lighter than he liked. Farmers were crucial to survival but they paid like crap for some basic work around their place. Planting was over. Harvest was a long ways away. All they really needed was someone to help repair fences and barns. Work they could get mostly free help from neighbors. Why pay the armed stranger traveling with a cat?

He could shake his head as he carried his cat in his arms gently scratching up and down her spine. His weapons carried on his back strapped to his pack. No chance he would be entering any doors with how tall his shortspear and greatsword were. Not an issue till he actually got to the place he was headed. Gold had been found in the river and the vein it was from in a local hill. Rumors had it the two most prominent families both claimed it belonged to them. Open war quickly declared and a need for hired hands was required not just by them but by all parties. Even those staying out of it needed some guards to keep the trouble (and some looting) from hitting their shops and homes next.

"What do you think Princess Prissy Paws? Will we find warm food or warm blood today?"

The cat made an annoyed meow.

"Language!"

And the pair continued their way towards the tavern.

Noa
 
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Noa

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Noa’s hand on was on Ne’s shoulder as her albino, furry friend led her through the town. She stared straight ahead, seeing nothing, but her ears were pricked for any and all sounds. So far, all she was hearing were the usual whispers about the woman with the large stringed instrument on her back and the large tiger leading her to the nearest inn.

Normally, Noa would be on a horse from the stables of Astenvale Monastery. Unfortunately when fighting the beast that was plaguing a small agricultural village, her horse had ran off and wasn’t seen again. So now Noa and Ne traveled on foot, and oh did they have a long journey ahead of them back to their home in the Vale.

Is it night?” Noa asked, milky-gray eyes still staring straight ahead. The tiger beside her huffed, and Noa nodded her head in response. “Then you’ll find us a inn for the night, won’t you?” She said with a wry smile. She knew Ne was already on the search, but it was always a little bit of fun to tease her closet friend. There was another huff, this time much more dramatic than the first, and Noa chuckled. She couldn’t see the looks given to her by the few townsfolk still out and about.

Soon enough, the duo were at a inn that had a tavern for it’s main floor. A wide yard where horses could rest while their owners partied inside, filled with troughs of water and if one paid a copper coin then a feed bag could be given to their steed. Ah, if only Noa hadn’t lost Sunflower. Ne led the blind knight up to the door, and Noa opened it.

She stepped inside first, her hand still on the tiger’s shoulder. The quiet was suffocating, and the dusk knight knew that wasn’t a good sign. Another sandal-laced foot stepped inside and then she was stopped by a stern voice, not close to her but somewhere in front of her.

“What do you think you’re doing here?” Noa cocked her head over to the voice.

I wish to pay for a room. Do you have any available?” A murmur swept throughout the great room. Noa could feel the heat of a blazing hearth to her left.

“This isn’t the best place for a woman to be.”

I appreciate your concern, but I am knight. I think I can man—

“Nor do we want some ferocious beast here either! It could attack one of my patrons any moment.” There was a yell of agreement. Noa frowned, confused. “And your armed! With two swords? Who on Arethil would give you two swords? You steal ‘em from somebody? I don’t want no thief under my roof, either.” The frown deepened on the knight’s face.

Roland Grayson
 
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There was a ruckus amongst the townsfolk. An armed stranger with a large cat walking down their streets. It was a spectacle. A show. One unwelcomed due to the chaos that the gold had brought.

Roland could only make out bits here and there, but nothing concrete outside these details as he past by. Seemed his presence was catching attention. The only odd part was how big the cat in these rumors was.

He looked down at the cat in his arms. "Here that? They are calling you fat. Might need to feed you less."

The cat flicked her tail several times in quick, sudden snaps. Her ears were pinned back in disgust.

When the pair finally made it to the tavern all the rumors finally made sense. A woman with a pair of swords and a very large cat that reminded him of a lion was in the entry way. He just showed up right after her as he heard their entire conversation play out while he got him travel setup switched over so he could enter the building as well.

His cat hide herself inside of his pack. His spear and greatsword were both in hand and over his shoulder.

As he walked up, he said as loudly and clearly so as many of those inside could hear him as possible.

"I must be at the wrong establishment. Everyone here must fancy polishing spears as scared of a pair of pussy cats as you all are."

A friendly smile was on his face. Looked like it wasn't warm food waiting for him this time.

Noa
 

Noa

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Noa was never one to push herself into a establishment, and was prepared to take a step back and leave. She was sure there were other places she could try or if need be she could always camp on the outside of town. Not that she would want to, but there was that possibility. She would have stepped back but Ne had alerted her that the footsteps behind them were approaching the entryway of the inn. Noa did her best to get out of the newcomer’s way, yet he still seemed to take up a remarkable amount of space.

Ne huffed. Noa nodded her head. If there was going to be a scuffle, it would be now. And despite being a rather impish dusk knight, this wasn’t something she’d want to get involved in.

Sorry for the bother,” She called out, raising a hand to wave good bye but accidentally hitting the rucksack holding the cat on the man’s back. “Oh. Sorry about that as well.” Noa said, looking straight ahead at nothing more than the wall. A side step, closer to Ne, and Noa found her hand on the top of the tiger’s head. “Let’s go, we’ll try another place.

Roland Grayson
 
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The tavern went quiet after his words. Some looked amused. Some angry. Most just confused either by his meaning or by the fact those were the first out of this stranger's mouth towards them. Thankfully no one had that kind of short temper that made them burst into action so far.

The strange woman apologized for entering the place and as she turned he caught sight of her eyes. Blind. Made what they had said to her upset him all the more. Never a reason to taunt a blind woman as they had, especially a polite woman.

Then she bumped his pack. A very upset, very loud hiss erupted out of it. Princess Prissy Paws was not happy. She had just been bumped through a thick layer of leather, folded up clothes, and other soft goods! How dare this stranger do that!

Roland reached over and very softly laid his hand on her shoulder. If she wished to escape his grip she would find it as simple as sliding off a piece of paper. He said to her in a lower tone of voice as the hecklers from the tavern were starting back up after she mentioned she was leaving.

"Stay. Please. At least till you repay me for the bump. How does a hot meal and drinks for two-" His eyes darted over to the large cat next to her. "-or three sound?"

One of the more drunken hecklers seemed to be upset when his buddy made a comment that Roland couldn't overhear but was followed by a very obvious motion of rubbing his hand up and down a shaft. The drunk tossed his drink at Roland, but the mug hit the wall by him and spilled ale everywhere but on the man.

Roland looked over at him and yelled, "I'm flattered, but I prefer petting pussy cats to polishing spears. Maybe try buying someone else a pint and they might polish yours."

The drunk turned a bright red as his friends and many of the other hecklers turned on him in laughter. As the man tried to sit up he ended up falling onto his ass on the floor as his balance was already gone for the night. This caused even more laughter and the room seemed to mostly forget about the tiger and the blind woman.

Noa
 

Noa

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Trouble. That’s what the man was. Noa could feel it. Something about being blind made it so she just had another sense for when things were going awry. She couldn’t see trouble but she most definitely could sense it. The thing was though: Noa tended to be a fan of trouble. In her younger years she had caused quite a bit of mischief at the monastery but now two years from being thirty that impish nature had dissipated with her age.

But it was still there.

The hiss came as a bit of surprise, causing Noa to flex and wiggle her fingers in curiosity. What had she just touched? It sounded like a cat but she had most definitely only slapped at a sack, hadn’t she? No way a cat would be—

Are you talking about one’s intimates?” Noa asked wryly, looking at the direction the voice was coming from. Ne beside her huffed, not amused or rather more so already knowing where this would be leading. Because if there was one thing that Noa could never refuse was a drink.

The grumbles and comments of those inside didn’t bother her any longer, for it seemed a consensus had been made: Ne was harmless. Somewhat of a truth. Ne was harmless right now at least.

Is there a free table?” Noa asked, a hand still planted firmly on Ne’s shoulder, but her other hand went and took Roland’s much larger hand off of her shoulder and held onto it. “If there is, I’m expecting you to lead me to it. Or else you might realize it’s easy for me to bump into things.

Roland Grayson
 
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Thanks the gods. The woman actually agreed to his proposal. She wouldn't be forced to do a thing, but this crowd didn't look to be as interesting as her. Same kind of drunken louts he was use to spending nights in taverns with as he traveled. Their particular flavor of drink being the biggest difference along the way.

But this blind woman was a new sight. She had a pair of swords and traveled with a large cat. The pair of woman and cat even behaved in a way that suggested she followed the cat's lead like a horse whoever holds their reigns. Not something one comes across often.

Roland smiled (he was aware she couldn't see the action but didn't mean she deserved one any less) as he held onto her hand firmly. She might notice the calluses that had deeply formed all across his palm. Signs of his life wielding weapons and tools.

"I am and there is. It would be my honor to lead you. Perhaps later even in a dance."

There was music but no one was obviously dancing. No room for it. Every bit of space was taken up by tables, benches, and chairs. This establishment was for eating and drinking and bullshitting. A real shame but he doubted any of the men here knew how to properly hold a woman for dancing let alone the coordination to actually dance.

He would carefully guide her with a grace less akin to a random sellsword or laborer and more akin to that of a trained knight or noble. If only he could have properly taken her hand on his arm, but that was sadly not possible while he was still holding his weapons slung over his shoulder with the other hand.

At the table he would loosen his grip and slowly slide his hand out of her own so it would linger just a bit longer. Her seat would be pulled out for her and he would guide her to it softly by placing his free hand on her shoulder or small of her back as needed. Then when she was comfortably sat down he would push her chair in for her.

"Need to arrange a room for the night. Shall I make it just one?"

The music had paused in that moment as the previous song came to an end. The minstrels caught their breaths and relaxed their fingers then picked up the next one. Both were cheerful but this next one had a faster tempo. Good for dancing alone or with a rather energetic partner.

Noa
 
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Noa

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Noa walked silently, her sandals not making a single sound as if she had always walked along these floors. Ne stalked behind her, the large tiger’s forehead pushing against the small of Noa’s back as a reminder that he was there. Or maybe a reminder that Ne did not like Roland and that Noa should hasten any and all interaction with him soon enough.

Noa took her seat and Ne made sure to bump Roland out of the way as soon as possible so that they could sit down with a huff at Noa’s side. The tiger’s pale eyes bore daggers right at Roland, whiskers twitching for a moment. Noa was oblivious to this, whether because she was blind or if it was on purpose.

I’m not very good at dancing, and even if I could see where I was moving, I probably would not be a good dancer to begin with.” Noa said easily, removing the sanshin from her back to set it down next to her, and then pulled out her pipe from the inside of her robe. She didn’t light it, but held it delicately between her fingers and then looked in the direction of Roland’s voice.

You’re bold. You don’t even know my name.” She said wryly, that impish smile coming back to play as she seemed to lean forward. “Or perhaps you’re short on coin and hoping to use some charm to get you a room for the night?” A slight tease as a possibility such as that didn’t really make sense to Noa. At least, if that suggestion were true then it would be the first time someone would have tried something like that.

Men usually didn’t go after a woman who was blind. At least, not genuinely, in her experience. Not at first.

Noa.” The woman said lightly, now leaning back into her chair. She fully expected for him to give her his name back.

Roland Grayson
 
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Comments to be made. Comments to all of her words. Was enough of a distraction to keep him from heading over to pay for that room.

"Good. Bad. Dancing is about holding each other close while you enjoy some prancing about. I'm more keen to that than how good of a dancer you are."

Roland took the moment to set his bag and long weapons down. Bag into chair. Weapons leaning against it. Not the only sort of set up in the tavern room. Noa might not be aware of that given her visual prowess but he certainly had noted it.

A soft squeak of a meow barely came from his bag. The little Princess had not enjoyed the motion it seemed.

"Been called bold before. Been called plenty of unsavory things too. Names are nice, but don't need to know your name to enjoy your company. One that has been pleasant so far. How could I not be interested with a lass like you around?"

He smiled knowing it was fruitless. It was for him. A bit of a reminder he was having fun here. She was proving rather skilled with her tongue so far. Made him wonder if that skill translated into other areas as well....

"Roland." He finished making sure his things sat secure. "Now if you will excuse me Noa, I need to get our room for the night reserved before some undeserving drunkard and his spear polishing buddy beat us to it."

And with that he went off to find the one in charge of booking.

Noa
 

Noa

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Noa had always been light on her feet, in a sense, although she wasn’t prepared to tell her secret. The comment about dancing though did cause her to quirk a brow in curiosity. Holding one another close? Well that did require no skill, but she couldn’t help but picture a teenage couple in the midst of puppy love doing something so silly.

When Roland left, a large huff left Ne’s muzzle and the tiger butted it’s head against Noa’s arm, careful to avoid harming the sanshin.

Of course you don’t like him, you don’t like any man,” Noa teased her friend. Another huff and then a sneeze. “Perhaps I’ll ask him what’s in his bag then. But I won’t go through the man’s things the moment his back is turned. I am a knight, I need to follow some of the principles.” She said sternly, causing Ne to give a low rumble of a growl before resting their chin on the top of the table looking dejected.

As Roland came to the desk, the owner’s wife— or perhaps eldest daughter— was there, warily eyeing the blind knight and her tiger.

“Animals need to stay outside,” she said firmly, “or else people would be bringing their horses in here as well. It’s the rules.” She placed her hands onto her hips, staring up at Roland as fiercely as any woman could, venom clear in her eyes.

Roland Grayson
 
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What Roland walked into was an angry woman. Not the first time. Not the last. He had lost count how often when he was counting. The reason for her ire was his choice in companion and her choice in her companion. Made this a little tricky. Not like he could argue against the rule as he had been in taverns before that did allow animals. Horse and donkey shit was annoying to step around. People been stabbed when it was stepped in. Sensible rule to have. One he was going to have to break.

The man smiled to her. "Careful lass. Give a man a look like that and you might take his heart away."

A wink. Was going to frustrate her. He just knew it. Still did it.

"Your no animals rule makes sense. But could you make an exception just this once? Noa is blind and she needs her cat to help her get around. Also keeps unsavory types away. Types I'm sure a lovely lass such as yourself is familiar with."


Roland was lying. He didn't know why she kept the big cat around. But it was a good sounding story. Stranger things happened every day. Who was to say a big cat couldn't be trained to be a guide and guard for a blind woman?

"Please? I'm willing to pay double. Even sleep in the stable myself."

While Roland was trying to get them a single room, his bag had started to move around. Little noises and scratching sounds could be heard within.

Noa
 
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Noa

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The woman balked at Roland openly when he winked at her, soon growing red in the cheeks and becoming flustered. Roland may have been to this woman an annoying patron, but he was a handsome patron. Tall and broad shouldered with a nice face, it was hard for the woman not to admit that he was a breath of fresh air compared to the usual men that frequented this tavern. Yet, his looks wouldn’t win the argument, nor would his smooth words.

Money on the other hand…

“Triple and I’ll allow it. Fifteen coppers for one room and one room only.” The woman said, beginning to pull out a key. “Any issues, a single person complains about that beast doing anything…” she paused, searching for a word. “Doing anything bad, then you’re both out and without a refund. You can expect the entire town will know of you two and no one would house either of ya.” She finished, looking rather proud of herself.

Noa, unable to hear the conversation Roland had with the woman and also unable to see it, was more than content to sit by herself. She could eavesdrop on other conversations, pick up little bits of info here and there about certain things. Something about a Judith cheating on her husband after only a few months of marriage, an accusation against Liam for purposely not keeping his fences neat so his livestock could wreck havoc in his neighbor, and other nonsensical things.

There was one thing that did catch her attention though. A sound much closer to her, and much more frequent. She couldn’t exactly place what it was, but she could deduce enough. Something alive was in Roland’s bag. A cat? A rat? Something else entirely? For all she knew it could have been a pine marten or a rabbit or a ferret.

Not opening it. It’s rude, Ne. We can respect—“ Ne growled and Noa frowned slightly. “And how do you know it’s cat and that it’s suffocating? That’s rather dramatic of you.” A slight shrug came from the knight though as she considered it. Cats were known to be rather dramatic things, especially when they were displeased. Perhaps Ne was right. “You’re looking for a little snack, aren’t you?” Noa teased instead, knowing just how to get under her friend’s abundance of fur and skin.

Roland Grayson
 
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A single room for triple the price. Sounded like a rough deal, but the price of only fifteen coppers didn't reflect it. Perhaps to farmers, fishermen, and dock workers that fueled the town's economy it was. It would be a steep and hefty one. But for Roland it wasn't such a bad deal. Rich merchants in the Reach liked to pay well for good swords on those occasions they needed them and he was fresh off one of those jobs.

Roland could afford it and it gave him an excuse of only having the one room. Not his fault! Such a shame it only had one bed. Guess they were going to have to share it now. Especially with that big cat taking up the floor.

He pulled out his coin purse and began to set out each copper piece one at a time onto the counter and sliding it over to her before the next. One might call it annoying if they wished him to begone. One might call it a bit of fun if they did not.

"Three times then for a single room, and a tip for the pretty lady's generosity."

If he wanted to find work or get information later best he spend a little extra now (hopefully) making friends.

Once that was all done, he gave the lass another wink then headed back to his companion. Time to share the good news.... Well good news for him. The cats might disagree.

When Roland returned, he did so with a pint in each hand. Local ale pinched right off the tray from the serving wench as she past by. A laugh and "start me a tab" was his only apology.

One pint was set in front of Noa. The scent of a rich ale with hints of walnut would find their way to sharp noses. The brewer was very good at their job.

"Good news Noa. I got us a room. Only one left. Took it right out from under some rich trader passing through. His coins might have been gold, but my tongue was silver."

Roland smiled at his own statement. She couldn't see it. The action was purely for himself.

"Even talked them down on the price. Three times less than they were asking. But your cat has to be on their best behavior." He sat himself down and then leaned over closer to her during a short pause. "But we don't."

A smirk was on his lips. An action for any would be eavesdropper to enjoy. The words however were entirely for the blind woman. A part of their little game.

His bag moved a bit and a meow like sound might just barely be heard. Roland leaned away from Noa so he would fuss with his bag. He puffed it out and popped the top of it. An act of rummaging through it was made but he was really just widening out the space. Couldn't let his little Princess be too uncomfortable now.

Noa
 
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Noa

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The woman at the front who had been dealing with Roland had a look of utter shock on her face, quite surprised that number one, her hitching up prices had actually worked, and that on top of it he had added extra coin. Without saying anything she was quick to grab each coin and place it securely in a spot that only women would know about. Sliding him the key to their room and looking the other way and ignoring the tiger in the room, the woman would keep true to her word. Although she had inwardly promised herself that she wouldn’t do a thing extra for the two newcomers in the town.

Noa, ever the patient knight, looked towards the sound of Roland’s voice, her milky eyes a few inches off from where his eyes would be. Her gaze then somewhat maneuvered over to the pint that had been sent before her. Gingerly, she reached out towards it, her expression easy going as her fingers searched to find the handle. The moment she did she would grasp it and bring it to her full lips, taking a few large swigs and then setting it down on the table.

Now, aren’t I a lucky gal?” She said, leaning forward as was only natural when one was flirting with another. “A man with a skilled tongue, which I’m sure you know is every woman’s fantasy, and then one who is a gentleman as well.” She tapped at the large wooden cup that held her ale. “And we’ll even be sharing a bed.” Letting the words hang in the air for a moment, drawing out her pause as long as possible before speaking again. “Because I am most definitely not sleeping on the floor. Fairer sex and all, you know how it is.

And contrary to the point she was making she lifted the mug up once again to drink fully from it. Despite her pale complexion her cheeks weren’t even pink, and the sly look on her face foretold of the feats she could muster when it came to drinking her own weight. Ne nevertheless still growled slightly at their master’s antics and Noa rolled her eyes in accordance.

So. Roland,” Noa said once she had placed her mug back on the table, only half of the ale remaining. “What’s in the bag? My partner here seems to think that you’ve cat-napped someone.

Roland Grayson
 
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The words that came from this blind woman. She was a temptress if ever he had met one. Despite her inability to see his reaction, the man had a wicked smirk on his lips. Oh the fun they would have if their little game continued on like this. Not that he minded if it ended early. For most the goal was to make it all the way to their finish. For him the goal was just to enjoy the fun of getting there, even if that meant they never did actually get there. He could always just spin a little tale in which they did once they departed after all.

But the more important topic at hand was her comment about the content of his bag. No point hiding her seeing as all of them would be sharing a room soon.

"I would never. Tis my little Princess that I serve. She hates noisy crowds. Just sometimes her keep is a little full and she needs a bit of fresh air."

As if on some kind of dramatic cue, a little white head popped out of the top of the bag. A low meow was followed by his hand upon the head. Several gentle rubs until a steady purr was produced.

As the tavern wench walked by, Roland got her attention with some clicks and polite words. "I would like a pitcher of water and two empty bowls please. One big and one small."

After a look between him and Ne, obviously because of the request about the small bowl, he just smiled to her. "I like to pretend I'm one of those far Easterners and drink out of it. Ale doesn't taste right so I use water. Gets me a few laughs and sometimes a few coins."

A wink followed it up. Clearly he was getting drinks for the cats but his current story in present company wasn't the most tasteful choice. But he wasn't looking to be tasteful just having a bit of fun.

Noa
 
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Noa

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Noa brought an elbow up on the sturdy wood of the table to lean her cheek into a cradling hand, looking in Roland’s direction but not quite looking at him. Her milky eyes stared blankly ahead and only the movement of her dark brows or the pull and push of her lips could tell her mood. Right now, she was utterly bemused by this man’s comments, and rather appreciative now of his help from earlier. He was a kindred spirit, she realized, after all, he had a feline friend of his own as well.

It made her loosen up, her shoulders slightly slacking into soft, shallow peaks that accentuated the long curve of her pale neck. Large lotus tattoos could be seen from the slight parting of her robes, the petals more clear and the pattern becoming evident, an array of color decorating her fair skin all the way down to the side of her chest. Prominent collar bones were cast in shadow as she tilted her head at Roland’s request to the barmaid.

Ne’s albino ears were pulled back as the tiger regarded Roland with a narrowed look, icy blue eyes openly glaring at the man. It’s long white whiskers twitched, the feline about to part it’s jaws as a low growl was barely forming in it’s throat. But Ne was more than just some beast, than just some seeing-eye for Noa. It was clear that a thought process had taken place, and the growl was cut off, jaws setting down firmly although Ne’s tail was swishing back and forth in irritation.

Don’t mind my friend, he’s an old fart.” A huff was the only reply, and Noa’s lips pulled up even further to reveal pearly white teeth, a devious smile that did little to distract from the scars over her face and body. “He says thank you for the water. I promise.” She lied, which caused the tiger to huff once again. “Sorry, he actually said ‘thank you very much, I appreciate it oh-so much.’” Now this comment did provoke a soft growl from the albino beast and a mellifluous chuckle escaped through Noa’s mouth, eyes crinkling up ebulliently.

Describe your furry friend to me, Roland. And yourself while you’re at it. Please?” Noa asked, gaze flickering over to where she had heard the meow from earlier but looking far too low and slightly too much to the right.

Roland Grayson