This is pretty important to Tale's plot. If you want to keep up with her and make any sense of the craziness then read this =P Even though, at this point, it really won't make much sense...
Castle City had been her favorite haunt.
The thought came unbidden into Talethiar's head. It didn't even make sense, and she didn't know where it came from. A split second after she had snatched it out of thin air, it dissolved and she forgot that it had ever entered her subconscious mind. She was sleeping.
Around her, everything breathed the very word liveliness. The crowd's voice in the market square rose above their very heads in a gentle humming noise as voices upon voices blent together and melded into each other. People with particularly loud voices selling their wares strove to make themselves heard to who ever would listen. Stalls were scattered everywhere but a good number of people seemed to know where they were going – they seemed to have a mindset about them that said we're buying just what we need, and then we're leaving!
A young boy with a head afire with red hair dodged out of his sister's reach and ran squealing down a side alley, arms outstretched. He suddenly halted, however, in the middle instead of running through to where the other side opened into a different street. He looked over to the side and leaned forward.
“Hey, there's a girl sleeping here! Haha!” He laughed, pointing. His finger was inches away from her face. He considered poking her viciously and had stretched his finger a quarter of an inch away from her eye when he chanced a glance behind him. “Oop!” He yelped and withdrew his finger. “She's still chasing me!” He took off, dodging around his sister and diving back into the crowd. Laughing but still exasperated, the girl went after him, delving into the people.
Tale shifted slightly in her sleep. She was balanced precariously on top of a barrel, her legs strewn over several stacked crates and her arm trailing on the ground. Apparently, she was comfortable. Sounds of a busy noon day trickled into her dreams, disrupting them as she slowly became aware of reality. A thin thought sat fragilely on her mind as she thought vaguely that the sounds were much different than the ones she woke up to in Gerudo City. Of course, she didn't usually get up past noon.
Castle City was their favorite haunt.
Talethiar woke with a start. The barrel underneath her tipped over, bringing Tale, six crates, old milk bottles, and a stray cat with it. Tale yelped and the cat calmly landed on his feet and wandered away. Tale chose to stay on the ground and look at the wreck around her.
“Well, that was fun.” She said, grimacing. One leg was still suspended by a crate, the other crushed by another crate with several milk jugs smashed underneath. Tale could see the blood slowly oozing out and staining the cobbled stone beneath her. The barrel had rolled up against her side and her arm was thrown awkwardly on top of it. Struggling to pick herself up, Tale kicked the crate off her leg and pulled herself into a sitting position.
“Last time I do that. I'd rather sleep on a roof.”
Not bothering to fix anything in the alley, Tale limped out onto the main street and circled around the market square, keeping close to the houses and leaving the carnage of smashed crates and broken glass behind her.
She headed directly towards a side street. It hung off the market square and had less people milling about it; not only that, it held one of the only persons that would tolerate her. The stop front in question was more of a house and was two places down the street. The door was painted bright red and got reasonable traffic; Tale, however, was the only one who could get what she needed for free. The old lady inside had taken a shine to her, apparently.
Tale took the few steps up the path to the front of the shop and paused only to carefully knock the sign sideways. It announced “Herbal Remedies and Magic Healing” in thin, spidery paint brush strokes. Tale opened the door and a small bell rang. Inside was a small foyer and a room to the left draped in maroon hangings. Against the far wall was a large floor-to-ceiling window that faced the market square. A tiny sign propped up against a chair read “Please wait.” Tale ignored it and passed into the next room through more maroon curtains, leaving two customers waiting in over stuffed chairs and a sofa (a horrible yellow that clashed with the maroon).
“Hey, lady, I need a little help again.” Tale's voice sounded rude, but that was who she was.
The woman in question was good eighty years old. She was sitting on a cushioned stool, spindly legged tables all around her filled with things from tea pots and wine glasses to miniature trees, healing supplies, and more maroon draperies. The old lady was leaned over one of the tables, monotonously mixing a small vial. She paused in her stirring to look up, and the liquid inside turned into a solid black substance and the vial cracked. She put it down and set her arms akimbo, staring accusingly.
“What'd you do this time, eh? You break something stealing some trinket, or get another infected cut because you tried to escape a bakery after you accidently set it on fire and cut your arm open a roof top you slipped off?”
Tale grimaced. I've got to stop telling her all this stuff, she thought.
“No, no. I was straight this time, I promise. I just fell off some barrels and crushed my leg,” Tale said, holding out her arms and waving her hands.
The old lady sighed. She picked up her stool and hobbled to another table. Sitting down, she dropped three fiery leaves into a glass and poured tea into it. It turned a dreadful muddy color and she quaffed it all.
“Aw, c'mon, gramma, fix me up, would you? I need breakfast.”
The lady glanced over at her, glass still in hand.
“What's that? Eh? Who's a granny, eh?”
Tale sighed and rolled her eyes. “Drahetha. Drahetha. C'mon, please?” Drahetha was also not only the only person who would tolerate her or do anything for free for her, but also the only person Tale would beg in front of.
Drahetha scooted off her stool pushed it underneath Tale. Falling onto it, Tale held her leg out, grinning. The old woman hobbled about the room, gathering bandages and ointments and oils and leaves. When she shuffled back to Tale, she dumped it all on the floor. More than once Tale had wondered if Drahetha was reliable; she dumped almost everything on the floor once or twice before she used it, whether on accident or on purpose. She also grabbed about a ton of supplies but only used two or three of what she picked up. Tale wondered if that was supposed to make her look like she was better at her job than she was.
Drahetha mumbled under her breath as she worked. She soaked a cloth in a foul smelling liquid and wiped the blood off Tale's leg, revealing the source cuts. She slathered a yellow pus-looking ointment all over them and wrapped it up. Tale wrinkled her nose.
“Why does all this stuff have to smell like dung? Can't you put perfume in it or something?”
“Nah. Bad smelling remedies make them seem more likely to work. Everyone secretly doubts flowery smelling things.” Drahetha straightened up and stole the stool from under Tale without even telling her she was done. Barely catching herself on the curtain behind her, Tale regained her balance and examined her wrappings.
“Anyway, I'm glad you came. It seems this cat was looking for you.” Drahetha said, setting the stool down and pointing under a table. A thin, lanky looking black cat wandered out from underneath it and stared at Tale with intense, ice blue eyes. Talethiar glanced at it.
“Huh? C'mon, I don't want some mangy ol' cat. Can I go?” She always asked permission to leave, or Drahetha got annoyed with her for stalking out with out asking or a thank you.
“Suit yourself,” The woman said. She was already trying to repair the cracked vial.
“Thanks, gramma.” Tale ducked out of the back room and passed back through the waiting room. The cat followed her.
Outside Drahetha's shop, Talethiar noted that someone had straightened the sign. Giving it a tip to make it crooked again, she limped slightly out of the side street and walked straight into the market. It would be harder to steal something without being able to run or jump around, but this would have to do. Maybe it was the world saying she needed to lay back a little.
Casually swiping a sticky roll from a stall erected in advertisement of the bakery two streets away, Tale munched into it and gazed around, looking for anything that caught her eye. She felt like stealing a hat. Why don't any of the hat shops have stalls? She squeezed between two gossiping woman and headed towards where she knew a stall selling stuffed rolls would be. The black cat followed silently behind, weaving in between people's legs. Nobody seemed to notice him.
Talethiar approached the roll stall and crossed her arms, waiting for the right opportunity. The stall was fairly popular, but most woman wrapped their rolls up carefully after they were purchased, and children stuffed them into their mouths as soon as they got their hands on them. The moment came with a young man bought six rolls. He looked nervous as he counted out his rupees; Tale wondered it he wasn't too good at socializing. He carefully stacked them into his arm and tucked his bag of rupees away. Tale didn't loose any moments when she saw them and stepped forward just in time. As the man stepped backwards and began to turn around to leave, he stepped right into Tale. He gave a start and juggled his rolls; two fell on the ground.
“Ah? Um... excuse me...”
“Hey. Watch it. What're you falling into me for?” Tale's voice was rude and annoyed. She could be a good actor in the best of times.
“Um... I'm... very sorry,” The man mumbled. “I – I assure you, I didn't mean to...”
“Oh yeah?” Tale said, her voice heavy with sarcasm. “Right. Make it up to me, then.”
“Uh...? Pardon me? Make it... up?”
“Yeah. How 'bout... you give me those four rolls to prove you're sorry.” It was fairly simple. The man she had picked seemed very nervous and obviously wasn't quite sure how to deal with society. Tale could tell just by looking him that he wasn't going to walk away without meeting her demands.
“Um... well... I - - guess... it was my fault... I really am sorry... you can... take these...”
Tale grinned and grabbed the rolls from his arms, two in each hand. Balancing them into the crook of her own arm, she belt down and picked up the two rolls he had dropped. They were speckled with dirt and the meat and cheese filling was falling out of one. Tale thrust them at the man's chest.
“You take these.”
The man, confused and startled, automatically raised a hand to catch the rolls before Tale let go. They fell into his hand and he stared at the sad two little rolls. Tale walked away.
Already munching on one of the stuffed rolls, Tale was satisfied she had gotten breakfast. She was walking toward where a barrel was standing outside a shop front, and she had already decided that she wasn't going to steal anything else that day and she was actually going to let her leg heal – for once.
Perching on the barrel, Tale crossed her ankles and set the two rolls in her lap, one roll half way to her mouth. The chewed on it happily, satisfied that she had managed to get breakfast without too much hustle. For her, anyway. But she wasn't too worried about the man.
“Actually, I guess this is lunch,” Tale said out loud as she picked up her second to last roll and considered it. “Breakfast for me, though.” She took a large bite and looked around. She knew she oughtn't to, because she would only see something she would like to steal, but she couldn't help herself. The first thing her eyes locked on, however, was the black cat sitting at her feet and staring at her intently.
“Augh, seriously? Did you follow me? Go away, you dumb cat!” Tale said, kicking out her foot. She caught it in his under belly, he he only settled himself down again without even blinking.
How 'bout pond scum, then?
What..? Another unbidden thought sprang into Tale's head and she suddenly remembered the other two she had experienced while she had barely been sleeping. Castle City... her... their... pond scum? Tale lifted her gaze from the cat and stared into space, her thoughts totally unfocused on the world around her. Where were these words coming from? They don't have anything to do with me. They aren't things that I remember. What...
Tale suddenly came back to reality and shook her head angrily, her blonde hair snapping around her head. “Goddesses, it's those visions!” She glared down at the cat, taking out her frustration on it.
“Stop staring at me, okay? What do you want?” She had completely abandoned her “breakfast”. A roll and a half sat on her lap as the thoughts of her seeing took up her mind. She hated them. She didn't know what they meant, they were confusing, didn't make an sense, caused her waves of nausea, and as far as she could tell, had nothing to do with her.
The black cat lept lightly onto the crate that was right next to her barrel. Only now did Tale notice that a small chain was hanging from his mouth. It was silver and very thin. Tale suddenly forgot her anger and uncurled her fist.
“Eh? That looks like...”
The cat with ice-blue eyes dropped it into her hand. It was slightly wet. Talethiar held it up to her nose so she could see it better.
“Like... the earrings... mother and my sister wear.” She narrowed her eyes. “But why does this stupid cat have it? Mother never bothered giving me one, even though she did explain what they were all about. Our life span...” She grabbed the tip of it and dangled it in front of her eyes suspiciously.
“Seriously, what the heck?” She turned her gaze back at the cat. “Why do you have this? Mother wouldn't bother sending me one if she didn't want to give it in person. Besides, only crazy old ladies would deliver something by cat...”
“...Wait a second! That old woman isn't playing some kind of lame joke, is she? What were you doing at Drahetha's place, eh?”
The cat blinked at her, then jumped off the crate and padded silently away. Tale sighed.
“Yeah, like I expected you to say anything, anyway.”
None the less, she hooked the chain into her ear.