Razorback Cliffwalker, still in his “disguise,” finds his way to a small hut, far off the beaten path, on the edge of the desert. He takes a swig from a water skin, his tail lashing with anticipation. His ears swiveling about cautiously, he moves up to the doorway and gives it a quick, staccato knock.

The door doesn’t open, but instead, a small door at the top at eye level opens, and a pair of Demarian eyes shine from within. “Yeah. Whadda ya want?”

“Someone to help round up wild bumblers,” the Cliffwalker rumbles back, his ears canted cautiously forward, “I have been led to believe that you are the best to be had.”

The door opens a bit, the sunlight shining upon an elderly orange tabby Demarian. Elderly, but still in good, well-maintained physical shape from the look of it. “Izzat right? Well, you heard right. Whiptail’s the name. You know who I am, so hows about tellin’ me who you are?”

“My friends call me Razor,” the dark-furred felinoid replies a faint smile showing a glint of his fangs, “And I have some work that may interest you.”

“You got my attention when ya mentioned bumbler herdin’.” Whiptail says. “’bout how many are we talkin’?” he says, opening the door fully and stepping out a bit into the full sunlight.  “Course the most important question is, how much ya payin?’

“We will need something on the order of forty heads,” Razorback says with a nod, “As to pay … I am doing this to help preserve the life of the farmer in need of them. What would you consider fair recompense for your time and effort?”

Whiptail widens an eye at this. “Now, what is this about savin’ a farmer’s life?”

“I do not know if the Coldstar clan is known to you,” the Cliffwalker says, his brow furrowed grimly, “Lady Coldstar has imposed, and consistently raised quotas on the underclassers who work her lands. A Mr. Greenwater is being threatened with death for not being able to pay his tax. Without an increase in his herd, he will face execution.”

Whiptail narrows his eyes. “Ya better believe she’s known to me. Heart of stone, and greedier than fire in dry grass.” he snarls. “Ferget the money, son.” he says, then disappears into his hut. After a few moments, he returns, a hat perched on his head, a coil of heavy rope thrown over his shoulder like a bandolier, and on his hip, an old, but serviceable, pulse pistol. It’d be recognizable as Demarian guard issue, 50 years ago. As he hoists a rucksack over his other shoulder, he steps out, and locks the hut door behind him. “This one’s on tha house.”

The Cliffwalker smiles toothily at his and nods his agreement. “Well met,” he replies, “Now, I have tracked and hunted desert bumblers for years, but as a herdsman, I confess my skills are limited. Tell me what we need, and it shall be done.”

“Patience is the top item.” Whiptail says. “But we’ll need mounts to corral ’em.”

“Mounts can be done,” the Cliffwalker says with a nod, “Will the two of us suffice?”

“The more we can get wranglin’, the better our chances.” Whiptail says. “Tricky critters, them bumblers.”

“To town it is, then,” says Razorback, “And I shall do what I can to let it be known that additional riders are needed.”

“Sounds good ta me. Anything to cut that sand snake down to size.” Whiptail snarls.
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By Brody

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