Hiya! Of course, immediately after I promise to pick up the posting pace, I skip a week. Computer games are not to blame this time but a weekend trip. Still, bad! Bad, bad, bad! I finally decided on the layout. Should have been obvious now that I look back on it. I’m very happy with the objects and characters I’ve set up for interaction. Be assured, everything is mentioned for a reason. The conversation between Ilya and Cael was a little awkward and will probably have to be fixed later, but the general idea is there. I think that’s it for my notes today. Thank you for reading!
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A relaxing wave of heated air enveloped them, but Cael held Ilya closer as they stepped into what looked to be another lobby area. The space was dimly lit by faux antique lamps sitting precariously on short pillars throughout the room. To her left, Ilya saw overstuffed couches and large cushions for lounging. A handful of men sat in the shadows while other cat-like figures reclined against them, no doubt purring compliments and propositions. Most of the light came from the bar that had been added along the back wall. The stools lined against it stood empty; and the single bartender, a clean shaven, pale young man with bored expression, barely glanced up from the newspaper he was reading.
To her right, Ilya could see that the clerk’s window was still there and occupied by yet another stout, older woman. Her face wasn’t just pale, but pure white with ruddy cheeks that had a gritty look to it, and Ilya realized it had been caked with cream and powder. The woman divided her attention between the room and a kampdator sitting on her counter.
“Where did she go?” Cael whispered. He was looking about unsuccessfully as Alberich approached them dragging along the folded bike.
“Perhaps we interrupted a previous engagement.” He nodded toward the dark hallway opposite them. There were two dark halls leading out of the lobby. One to the right of the bar just ahead of them, and the other on the right beyond the clerks window; each guarded by a large Moungren man.
“Nonsense, she must be here somewhere.” Cael pulled Ilya around with him as he continued to look.
Her eyes met with one of the cat-like figures and gasped as the face was illuminated by a nearby lamp.
“Do you see her?”
“She’s a woman!” Ilya hissed.
“What is she doing in here?”
The woman frowned at Ilya’s excitement and turned back to the man on the couch next to her.
“Ilya, keep your voice down.”
“The prostitute is a woman!”
“Ilya. Ilya!” Cael grabbed her by both shoulders and knelt down until his face was even with hers. “You need to calm down and focus.”
“How can she be wasted like this? She’s ruining herself.”
“Look, most of the… people who work here are going to be women.”
Ilya coughed and her mouth hung open in shock.
“We can discuss all of this later, all right? But for now, you need to be quiet and stop drawing attention to yourself. Everywhere we go you draw attention to yourself.”
Something in Cael’s tone stopped her short. She closed her mouth, having forgotten what she was going to say.
“Do you understand me?”
He stared at her for a moment before sighing. “Good, thank you.”
He stood again and turned to Alberich. “We need to find Mari. What do you suggest?”
Alberich eyed a reclining figure among the cushions in the corner. “I suggest we wait until she is ready for us.”
Now that Ilya’s eyes had adjusted to this new light, she could see it was another woman; pale, but not white like the clerk or bartender. She was another race altogether that Ilya had not encountered before. Her hair was black, like Ilyas, but straight and thick, it hung heavily about her shoulders and cascaded around her body. The woman seemed almost as small as Ilya but with more boyish features, and less curves. Her face was so smooth and her eyes so wide and dark, it was like looking at a mask. The woman smiled coyly as she became aware of Alberich’s attention and called him over with the curl of one finger.
“Yes,” Alberich breathed, “I do believe this is the best course of action.”