The Misfits

Hair Juju of Hissarmau of the Taanmrow

Ah, the hair juju, my hair tokens! The most beloved and the most identifiable of traditions of the feline folk. The tradition is an outgrowth of our culture. We’re a nomadic bunch and moving around a lot precludes the collection of “knick-knacks”. So a tradition of portable “knick-knacks” evolved, combining our own love of object d’art as well as our tendency to memorialize important moments, people or events. I shall explain how one acquires the hair tokens but please bear with me, for we first go into a short segue of the culture of feline folk in general with an emphasis of how my pride, the Taanmrow did things (and will again I vow!).

I was raised as a member of an extended kin group, parented by elder siblings, cousins, aunts and grandfathers as per usual among feline folk. Depending on the tribe, either fraternal or maternal extended kin groups exist. My tribe favored maternal kin grouping though occasional fraternal groups existed.

Only full hunting members of the pride are permitted to begin families. But with a busy set of hunting parents, how do the kits get raised you ask. That is left to the elders—older siblings from previous litters, cousins, and the true elders, the grandparents and great grandparents. Once a kit is weaned, a mutual gravitation eventually occurs where a young kit chooses a primary mentor and vice versa. Sometimes primary mentorship is shared between two elders—an adolescent, but older cousin to teach hunting and field skills and a great grandmother to teach lore, history and wisdom, probably to both youngsters. These elders usually give first hair tokens.

The first token a kit receives is the clan token. Every clan has its own distinct token and one of the earliest things a kit learns is clan identification by token. The Taanmrow’s clan token is a small black stone skull. The skull identifies us as fierce warriors who kill many enemy and feasts at that kill. I received mine from the hands of my beloved cousin, Silsila, when I finally learnt the identifications, the usual time toreceive clan membership.

Outside the clan token, further tokens stem from personal interactions— congratulations on a particularly fine kill, attendance at a trade fair, exchanged between friends or lovers and other things of that nature. Tokens are never heirlooms and are never passed down. One exception has been noted.

The Taanmrow became nearly extinct nearly seven years ago. A group of marauders attacked our settlement late one night, surprising the pride and killing nearly everyone. At the time of the attack, Silsila and I were out in the fields where she was teaching me night tracking. When the attack came, Silsila went into action, ordering me into hiding and rushing back to fight. Being an adolescent of 17, she had been trained to fight from the age of five onward and had been seeing both battle and full-scale hunts since the age of 15.

From where I crouched, I could see the settlement burn and the screams of the dying. An eternity passed and finally dawn began to break. I crawled clear of the cover and walked into hell. I cannot speak for the absolute horror that sweeps over me. The Taanmrow glories in the mass destruction of the enemy and that deadly force had finally been visited on us. It was not so glorious. I found Silsila’s broken body outside our family’s tents, armed with spear still. I sang the songs, took the clear crystal from her still-billowing mane and tied it into my own short ruff before I buried her and the others.

It took a long time.

I have two final tokens. The first is a trade fair piece I found. A crude, mass-produced orange house cat, its saving grace is that it expresses simple good cheer and happiness, lifting my spirits and reminding me of innocence. The second is a golden coin, my first earnings (that I didn’t spend on food or writing materials). An odd off world piece, its inscribed with images of gods and books and mysteriously inscribed with “Mardi Gras”, though the gold is good. I have asked around about this phrase and done some research on it in the Seeker’s Library and have yet to identify what this means.

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Casimir's Journal - Part 5
Knowledge Is Power

11th Ches, 1360 DR (5042 OC)

I have solved the problem of rendering live models. It is simply a matter of sketching or painting between amorous sessions. No small task as this takes immense self control, not just on my part, but also on the part of my enamorata du jour. I tried an experiment in which I attempted to “capture the moment during the moment,” but neither result was quite up to my high standards. Of course, this will not preclude me from further experimentation. One only grows by practice!

A double-edged event occurred this ride as, from one of the girls, I learned the name of the Masq’d Bard: Violetta Lucette d’Arc. She has been here for almost two years, but strictly as a performer in the Bardic Arts. I have been warned that any attentions I may direct toward her will be rebuffed most firmly. Perhaps this is for the best, for if her face equals that of her figure, I may be rendered useless to the many damoiselles dependent upon my charms. I think perhaps that this may only turn to obsession in the future, for the mask and the warning have the makings of a challenge which I most assurredly cannot shirk from. And to add to my exquisite torture, the hue of skin I previously mentioned is definitely not make-up.

Ah. I did say double-edged, did I not? Indeed, as the above information was to be had so easily, albeit from a source whose job depends on being “had so easily,” then whose ears might be learning of my secrets? This may pose a problem. I have only just sewn up the loose end of The Family and the right word to the wrong ear would simply halt my machinations much too early. It would be a slip of the tongue which I would find quite distasteful indeed

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Casimir's Journal - Part 11
Spring Equinox!

19th Ches, 1360 DR (5042 OC)

I have emerged from hiding! There are very few things which interest me enough to distract me from my studies, (both artistic and carnal,) but the celebration of the Spring Equinox would count among a very limited top few. Indeed, this years celebration has been in planning for years. Not the event mind you, but my designs on the hosts daughter, Livinia Vanderboren. A creature so graceful and feminine that eunuchs are said to have made immediate recoveries upon the very sight of her.

Livinia has been known to me in all ways but the carnal for some time now as our parents are quite close. She is one of a small handful of women that would meet Family approval for betrothal and I do believe this thought has crossed the minds of both our parents at one time or another. Indeed the possibility does not cause me great distress except for the prospect of being manacled to one woman, no matter how comely, for the rest of my life. Livinia, however, informed me tonight that she hasn’t the slightest interest in bedding me, pre- or post-matrimonial. I was informed that though she was intrigued by tales of the strength of my ardor, she was also unimpressed with my ability to focus on my prey once my ardor had subsided.

Before I could admonish the dear child for listening to the idle gossip of her peers, her brother Vanth appeared, ruining not only the moment, but the evening as well. Vanth is cut from the same aristocratic cloth as many of my Family and it is precisely this cloth which I strive to avoid being tailored from. He is arrogant, greedy, and at times like this, churlish to the point of embarrassment. After loudly accusing me of violating his dear sister, he wildly struck out at me. Luckily I am quite gifted in certain techniques which easily allowed me to dodge his clumsy attack while at the same time, spinning quickly on my heels, give him the slightest push toward the fountain which Livinia and I were standing beside. Unfortunately, the resulting splash caught both Livinia and I fully, simply dowsing me but causing her gown to become quite transparent. I immediately, and reluctantly, offered her my soggy doublet to conceal herself and we retired to the manor to freshen ourselves.

She apologized profusely for the actions of her brother, but alas, the progress I felt I was making earlier was completely lost. After composing myself and making sure that she was otherwise alright, I returned to the celebration to pay my respects and offer apologies to her parents before returning to Lucille’s. Upon leaving, I caught the stony gaze of Mother whom I had been successfully avoiding all evening. The look on her face was one of which I am quite familiar, but thankfully she was engaged in conversation and I was able to make my exit with no further complication.

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Casimir's Journal - Part 10
Another Learning Curve

18th Ches, 1360 DR (5042 OC)

I have conferred with Midnight, (indeed, another of Lucille’s lovelies,) about the intricacies of leading a dual life and she has been kind enough to grace me with a few pointers. I’m certain that the few golds I have graced her with had no small effect on her willingness. One lesson I have learned is the precaution of making stops along the way to a destination in order to throw any possible agents off my trail. Under Middie’s advice I have been practicing what she terms a “tavern crawl” of sorts, moving from one pub to another, having a drink or two at each and changing in only the darkest or most crowded and boisterous areas. Indeed, crowds make excellent changing rooms for this purpose as one is more easily lost in the writhing mass of bodies. The things one can learn in life if one simply seeks out the correct tutors are simply amazing.

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Casimir's Journal - Part 9
Comforts & Visions

17th Ches, 1360 DR (5042 OC)

It had come to my attention that Kira, another of Lucille’s working girls, was upset that I was asked to paint the mural over the bar. Though I pose as the resident artist here, the title rightly belongs to her as she has lived here longer than I, and in fact, her work graces many of the walls here. I had not thought this would be a problem as she and I have spent an evening or four discussing the Great Masters. Indeed, we have quite different views regarding technique and we both have quite distinctive styles; hers strictly Renaissance. While I do study the period, as every novice artist should, I find myself “drawn,” if you will, to a more modernistic approach which she sees as a trifling fad. However, I have comforted her in the fact that I shall turn down Lucille’s offer. It is much too early in my career for a public debut of my young talent, tempted though I am. I am content, for now, to sell my small sketches to those few patrons who appreciate my particular style.

Earlier this evening I had the pleasure of watching the Masq’d Bard again. From what I have been able to glean from whisper and rumour here at the House, she has only recently taken up the performers mantle, but this seems incredible to me for her voice is most stirring. It is almost as if she can conjure with mere tone and inflection. Indeed, as she sang The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver I could see the scene so clear in my head it was as if had lived it myself. I became the poor boy of the song, suffering in my poverty and surviving simply on the love of my mother. As we all know, this is far from accurate, but still, there I was, watching as my mother wove for me with her song.

Let me tell you, I have tried more than a few strong opiates in my young life and none have ever caused me to lose sight of my own self in favor of pure fantasy. None have ever caused such vivid visions. Indeed, there is something about this mysterious femme-rouge that I cannot divine by myself. I did approach her after the performance to offer my most humble thanks and no few words of appreciation but this was met with a curt “Thank you, sir,” followed by her immediate departure. Honestly, I do love a challenge, but this borders on the impossible. So much the better!

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Casimir's Journal - Part 8
I Am Spent

16th Ches, 1360 DR (5042 OC)

As I suspected, an early dinner was indeed called for as Mirri had hunger only for the physical. I have in fact made good on my promise to Mirri, manifold, and all is forgiven. This entry is also the last vestige of strength left to me. You may use your imaginations and draw your own conclusions.

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Casimir's Journal - Part 7
All Apologies

12th Ches, 1360 DR (5042 OC)

Please forgive the dreadful condition of these few pages. Honeymead is not quite compatible with ink and parchment. Nor was the mug quite compatible with my skull. Allow me to pass on a certain jewel of wisdom I have gleaned from the events of this afternoon: Whores have feelings too. It is within the realm of possibilities that in my quest for a more spectacular orgasm, I may have overlooked the needs of my partner; something I strive keenly never to do. I simply forgot that there are some people in this world, Mirri for example, for whom the pleasures of the flesh are even more important than they are for me. (A fact that I find quite difficult to believe, but a fact nonetheless.)

After tending to my bruised forehead, I sought out Mirri and tended to her bruised ego, promising her my complete and full attention on her next night off, including a fine meal at one of Dragon Rock’s better brasseries. Not surprisingly, my offer was accepted, but she seemed somewhat uninterested in the meal. Ahh well, perhaps I shall have an early dinner in order to bolster my stamina that evening.

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Casimir's Journal - Part 6
A Lesson Learned

12th Ches, 1360 DR (5042 OC)

I have spoken to Lucille about the aforementioned incident and have been reassured that my secrets are safe within this house. She wished me to name the culprit, but I would have none of that. Were I to begin pointing fingers there’s no telling how many sharpened and painted talons would be pointed back in my direction and I am quite satisfied with Lucille’s record of privacy. Indeed, it was one of the reasons I installed myself here in the first place.

Lucille has enquired if I would be interested in painting a mural above her main bar. I suspect this is an offering to assuage my nerves for my skill with a brush, serviceable though it may be, is still in its infancy. At this time I am much more comfortable with charcoal and quill, but I shall endeavor to rise to the occasion.

Speaking of which, I have kept Mirri waiting for me upon the bed and she is now giving me a petulant stare. She is a most athletic lover, but I find her to be even more intense when slightly irritated. I believe that one or two more sentences should be adequate time to bring her passions to the perfect level. I have heard that a watched cauldron never boils, but in the case of women, especially young women, I find this to be quite untrue. Even now I can see the impatience simmering in her eyes as she reaches for her mug of honeymead. I do believe she is ready for

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Casimir's Journal - Part 4
I Am Discovered!

1st Ches, 1360 DR (5042 OC)

Less than two months and I have been discovered! I knew The Family employed only the best and the brightest operatives, but I was sure I had covered my tracks sufficiently to throw them off the trail. It seems I was spotted, pre-disguise, lounging on an upper balcony by one of Mother’s Finest. We live and we learn, eh?

Soon after this, I was summoned to a meeting with Her Grace regarding matters which I would have been foolish to ignore. Business completed, the audience degenerated into a verbal melee concerning my current path. (More to the point, Her Grace threatened to unleash the Orcish Hordes of Cantor Loop if I refused to submit to her will.) Luckily, She bred me well (and a bit too close to her own image) and I was able to use her own twisted brand of logic to gain her half-hearted blessing in my endeavors. I convinced Her that it would be to the benefit of The Family were I to remain at large on Dragon Rock as an agent incognito, seeking out plots and devilments detrimental to our prosperity where they are likely to be hatched.

This is not exactly the flower I expected to bloom when I began planting the seeds of my own garden, but I must confess it allows me some further range in life. No longer must I worry about the interference of Mother’s Finest and I am able to pursue my own path as I see fit. I shall take this as a victory and celebrate appropriately upon my return to Lucille’s.

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Casimir's Journal - Part 3
I Am Enthralled

1st Alturiak, 1360 DR (5042 OC)

It is now one month since my escape from The Family and things progress most agreeably. Indeed, Lucille knew exactly how to solve my little problem. I can now prowl the Rock at will with no fear of attracting attention. Just this morning, in the local market, I crossed paths with an uncle of mine with whom I’ve always been close and to test my new disguise I reached for the same item as he. We argued for posession, shortly, before I apologized profusely for my terrible manners and surrendered the trinket to him. At no time did his face register recognition! This man, who is like a brother to me, was completely deceived! Oh, the miracles of modern wizardry never cease to amaze me!

I celebrated this new step on the road to independence by purchasing no small amount of rounds for Lucilles’ clientele this evening, introducing myself as her new “artist-in-residence.” I was even able to interest enough of the patrons in my work so as to easily pay my bar tab for the night. I wonder if the Captain of the Guard will hang his sketch of Xin-Chao, (a thoroughly delectable creature and an insatiable marathoner in the boudoir,) on the wall of his office next to the crude portrait of his wife and child. (I assume it’s a crude portrait. It may be his family which is crude, making the portrait accurate, in which case I offer my apologies to the portraitist and my condolences to the captain.)

Toward the end of the evening I was completely enthralled by the Masq’d Bard, a performer of great skill and magnificent voice. Though her body was cloaked and her face partially obscured by a mask, (her skin was the color of fresh blood, which I must confess caused my own blood to quicken its pace, though it may in fact have been make-up,) the timbre and range of her voice belied a stirringly raw, earthy sensuality. I pressed Madame Lucille for details but she remained mute on the subject. Indeed, as she pointed out, how would I feel if she suddenly began telling all her residents secrets? On that note, I bade her a good evening and placed a suitable generosity in her palm.

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