The Price of Jingle-pants

Goal: Curswoom, “Woo”, wants to convince the city to increase the water ration for her district more hours of each day, but first she’s got to see the proper people at the Pratacalla.

The dark-haired woman at the dark-wooded desk pushed her finger down the list of names until she reached the first one with no mark beside it. “This is your name. Please, make your mark here.”

“I can recognize my own name. Even when you have given me my father’s.” Curswoom ran a line through the mistake wondering if it were purposeful or accidental. Next to it she wrote: Beh Lavi Curswoom instead of Beh Lavi Curswola. She x’d beside it then looked the woman in the eye. “He’s been dead a year now.”

The woman didn’t blink or apologize, but she did smile and look to the guard. On purpose then.

“You won’t get in looking like that,” the guard standing beside the desk said. He was uniformed in the usual palace attire: a white tunic, absurd crimson utility pants, and black boots. He carried both a dagger and a sidearm, but because the Pratacalla was a civic building he did not wear any insignia indicating his rank. He distinctly avoided looking below Curswoom’s shoulders to her body, legs or tail.

Curswoom wore only a corset-like leather plackart to armor her abdomen from arrows. The remainder of her body was uncovered. Bold and scandalous to most people, but common place and obvious to the Beh Lavi. Her people with their long ostrich-like legs were runners. And runners couldn’t be weighed down or constricted by unnecessary clothing. When she whisked the auburn tip of her tail into the edge of his gaze and cracked it’s ropey length on the tiled floor he continued to stare over her shoulder like a blind man missing all the normal interests.

“She called my number. I’m signed in.”

Now he made eye contact. “That just means ‘next’.”

“I can’t afford jingle-pants.” [The truth was she could have worn her father’s.]

“None of you bird-dogs ever could,” he said without malice despite the insulting slang his people often used. Then his tone changed to another one Curswoom recognized quite well. “We can work that out. Come with me.”

The dark-haired woman was already composing the next name on her list as Curswoom followed the guard down the corridor and into a small empty office.

390 words on day 945