4.02 Familiar

[Skyhold, The Gosling]

A few weeks after returning to Skyhold from the great ant extermination, Tamarack was still very much enjoying kicking back and relaxing. She was spending an early evening like she spent many - at the Gosling, enjoying the local ale and loud conversation, of which she contributed the loudest.

"Oy, Chargurt—I'm about to spy the bottom of me mug!" she roared, standing up on a chair.

"Are ye then?" asked the barkeep jovialy, "and what would you have me do about it there lass?"

"Fill 'er up, ye old goat, or it's the business end of me hammer for ye!" she bellowed back, slamming the mug down on the table with a grin.

The barkeep took the flagon and returned in a moment with a refill brimming with suds. "I've narry seen a lass with such a capacity for the mead, even among dwarves, not that you don't get as drunk as the rest but it never stops you." he chuckled a bit at his own observation.

"Stops? Nay—a bit o' the drink just gets me started," she replied, still grinning.

"Aye' ye can say that again, it's one of the reasons I like you so much." he replied with a wink.

Tamarack tugged on his beard flirtatiously, not because she had any intentions but because she just loved being adored. However, her attention soon wandered as her ear picked up on something unusual. The conversation on the far side of the room was suddenly becoming more hushed. She glanced over and noticed the crowds parting for someone she couldn't see.

Curious, Tamarack hopped down from her chair and wandered over. At last she spotted a small blond head.

"Kiana?" she exclaimed.

"Ey thar!" grunted Chargurt, "No younguns in the taproom"

Kiana, coming into view around the bar stopped in her tracks and, cocked her head to the side as though considered what to do to the meddlesome barkeep.

Tamarack caught that look in the child's eyes and recognized it immediately. She had given that look plenty as a youngster, and wondered briefly what damage she might have done to her elders back in Duronil if she'd had the sort of talents Kiana had.

Taking a few gulps of her fresh ale, she tossed a few coppers onto the table and pushed past Chargurt to reach the girl. "Hey, kit—how bout a walk?"

"Yes, that's exactly what I wanted, I've got something to show you" Kiana replied excitedly, "It smells funny in here."

"Sure does," Tam replied quickly. "Let's dash." She urged the youngster toward the door, chuckling, "What nerve ye got, wandering in here, girl! Ye're like to find some trouble."

"I think i could probably handle it" Kiana replied with an impertinent grin.

"No reason to go looking for trouble," Tamarack warned. She realized immediately how hypocritical it was, but it still seemed like the right thing to say to a child. "So what's on yer mind?" she asked as they wandered down the street.

"I found something" Kiana replied slowly.

Tamarack felt a chill crawl up her spine. Found something? She wasn't sure whether to expect a pretty rock or a dead body. "What sort of something?" she wondered, trying not to sound as troubled as she suddenly felt.

"It's a surprise" replied Kiana turning a sharp right toward the old bridge.

The old bridge was generally avoided by most of the villagers, the lack of hand rails and precipitous drop of the side into the maelstrom of the waterfall made it less than popular even though its four foot width was plenty to walk over comfortably.

"It's waiting for us in the market." the child continued.

"It's… waiting," Tam repeated, trying to laugh off the sudden nausea of apprehension washing over her. "Well… the market it is then."

A few footsteps later Kiana stopped just short of the bakery and looked at Tamarack expectantly. "See if you can find it"

"Oy…" Tamarack sighed, turning a circle and keeping her hand nearby the handle of her warhammer. "Kit, I've not the slightest bloody idea what I'm looking for."

Kianna pointed up at the eves of the building where the shadows were fast gathering, there, in a patch perhaps a touch darker than the rest a pair of orange eyes caught the light of a nearby lamp.

Tamarack spotted the glowing gaze and cautiously crept closer. ~Ye gods, please be a cat…~ she thought.

The creature stood up, arched it's back in a feline stretch, and proceeded to walk down the side of the building nonchalantly as though it were level ground. As it moved from the shadows of the roof Tamarack could make out it's form clearly, a creature with an appearance like that of a white tiger but smaller than a newborn kitten of a common housecat.

Tamarack squinted at the little beast. "Well… that's new," she said slowly. "Ehhmm… a cat, is it?"

"It's mother didn't want it" replied Kiana, "I think I should take care of it… make it strong."

Tamarack turned to Kiana thoughtfully. She was beginning to understand what might be happening here. "How did ye know t'was going to be waiting here?" she asked.

"I just know where it is," replied Kiana, "i hadn't really thought about it before but I knew it moved from the outlook a few moments ago and that it was waiting for us to show up."

Tamarack smiled a little. " I think ye've got yourself a true li'l friend there."

"I think it needs a name" replied Kiana, "can you help me pick one?"

Tamarack raised her hands in refusal. "Oh, lassie—I think this is your job, and yours alone. Take some time to find the right one. Maybe it'll help you."

"It doesn't talk" replied Kiana, "It just purrs a bit… I'm really no good with names, I really need your help."

Tamarack scratched her head. "Well… is it a boy or a girl?"

"I'm… not sure…" replied Kiana, "I've looked but it's not really obvious…"

The dwarf suppressed a laugh. "Well… um… I really think perhaps you ought to wait on it. I'm sure you'll learn more aboot it the more time y’spend with it."

"Well I can't very well keep calling it kitty…" she replied.

“All right, all right.” Tamarack tapped her chin thoughtfully. “Well, back where I come from, if we dinnae know what a thing was, we called it a ‘sniglet’.”

Kiana thought for a moment, repeating the name under her breath, "Yes, I think Sniglet would work well, it's a name it can grow into i suppose."

"If y'like," replied Tamarack. "But dinnae feel like you need to keep it on my account."

"I like the name, I just think a "sniglet" might need wings or a tail that can hold things." she replied a twinkle in her eye, "I'm sure i can work something out."

"I'm sure you can," Tamarack said slowly. And she was sure.


by Amanda

by Tim

Posts, Posts by Tamarack, Storyline

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