Kandar Episode 9 Pretty Dresses and Ugly Scars
A few days had past since the big cookout. Though school was out for spring break, most children had lots of group activities or kept to the various parks in this residential area. The usual traffic of people to and from work with those walking their pets did not change. Life in this neighborhood was moving along the same as always, quietly.
On this morning Tessy walked out of the house with three medium sized black canvas bags strung over her shoulder. She passed through the front yard to the center driveway where she dumped the bags in a heap. After a few moments puller out her holocomm and started sorting through her schedule and correspondence.
She was wearing an ornate cotton dress that matched her beautiful white fur perfectly. The thin lace straps over going over her shoulders, matched lace on the bottom of the skirt, that hung loosely just past her mid thigh. Her hair had small french braids on each side flowing back under her ears, to join into one with a red bow at the center. The ends of the ribbon were woven into the braid dangling downward with the waves and curls of the rest of long white hair, making it stand out dramatically. She wore less jewelry than normal, but more makeup. Her long tail was well brushed, appearing full and lush, as It drifted low close to the ground before curving back up in a “U” shape.
A few short moments later, Sadina came up the driveway dancing and spinning. She was dressed the same as Tessy and carrying two dull gray bags that looked quite large against her small frame. Her makeup was impeccable, done by her older sister of course. Sadina had little patients or aptitude for such things. Dashina had accented her sisters eyes and delicate facial features exceptionally, bringing out her natural beauty. A red ribbon was tied in a large bow just before the poof of fur at the end of her long, sleek, tail she drug on the ground behind her. "Kiki's mom makes such beautiful dresses," she exclaimed spinnings around again before throwing her bags down next to Tessy's.
"Yes she does.” Tessy responded politely. “Now, lift the end of your tail like a lady should and get that bow out of the dirt." Tessy pointed to her own tail as an example. Rolling her eyes at Tessy, Sadina did as instructed.
"My mom has this gift for making things that fit all our body types and make us all look good at the same time," Kiki added walking up the driveway behind Sadina. She was dragging a rather large black duffel bag with some effort. Her tall Leporine ears stood up straight, only after relieving her burden in the growing pile of bags. Cheek kisses all around followed, Kiki was by far the most affectionate one of the group and the foremost flirt. Her fur was short haired, and solid white like Tessy’s. She wore the same white dress as the other two with a larger red ribbon tied around her waist with a huge bow in back just over her fluffy little cotton tail.
Sadina suddenly grabbed on to Kiki’s over abundance of breasts. "By the Goddess! If, these things get any bigger and you will fall over."
Kiki looked down at them with some distress in her soft voice and a little sadness in her large pink eyes "If they get any bigger, I will have to buy all new clothes... AGAIN."
"Those things of hers get any bigger and we will all have to buy new clothes just to get noticed around her," came Madison's voice from behind them. Kiki tilted her head and peered over her shoulder, letting her ears dangle, as she stuck her tongue out at the two approaching Human girl. The sisters, Madison and Megan, were also wearing the same dress. Both had straight bright red hair, emerald green eyes and light skin with a few freckles. Madison the older of the two had her red ribbon tied around her neck as a choker with a small bow in front. She kept her hair feathered back and trimmed just above her C cup breasts she was very proud of. Secretly, she was very jealous of Kiki's. She joked often of Kiki's bussom to throw others off but instead they tended to think she had a thing for Kiki, as did Kiki who played on it often.
"She can have all the attention, I am not wearing anything smaller than I already do." Megan was 5cm shorter than Madison, who stood 170cm tall. Megan had a more athletic build and longer hair, that was braided and tied with a red bow at the small of her back. Though her bust was the same size as her older sister’s, she tried to hide them, wanting recognition for something other than her looks. Much to both of their dismay, Megan was a more popular model. "As always the pale ones are first on the scene" Madison remarked. "Where are all our more colorful cohorts?"
"Boo!" Sylvia, a gray Sciurine Kandar, popped out from behind Megan pulling Julie, a red Vulpine Kandar along by the hand. Sylvia was always in high gear, never slowing down. They were followed by three male Kandar who were carrying their bags. Kitara a Feline Breema, Bobby a black Ursine and Sylvia's little brother, Carl. All three wore similar denim pants and black, treaded straps. Kitara had a on a blue button down shirt that was untucked, Bobby and Carl wore plain black cotton Tee's with the sleeves rolled up. "You know if you girls were not so impatient we would have gotten your bags as well" Carl interjected.
Sylvia and Carl were close to Sadina's height at 127cm and 132cm respectively with a similar petite build. Both of their coats were medium gray peppered with black and brown while the whole front and insides of their limbs down to their elbows and knees were off white. Their ears were smaller than the others rounding off at the top. Sylvia wore the same white dress with her red ribbon tying her hair back at the nap of her neck in a large bow. She spoke seldomly around friends and hardly at all in the company of strangers. Her voice was very high pitched and she was very selfconscious of it.
Julie's reddish brown fur matched her spiky bangs and ponytail, tied with a red ribbon, that was poofed out to match the fullness of her tail. Her breasts and belly were white matching her longer maw, cheeks and the tip of her tail. Her hands and feet looked as if she wore long back gloves and knee socks off setting the white dress dramatically. She had a slender athletic build of 160cm, that she spent many hours maintaining. As cliché as it may be of a fox, she was the trickster of the bunch. Checking her Holocomm she announced to the boys, “the last three ladies are ready. Would you split up to help them with the bags, please?”
“I got Eleanor!” Carl exclaimed darting off as fast as he could.
Kitara looked at Bobby and sighed. “Yeah, yeah, I’ll go get Caroline.”
“Cool, thanks bro,” Bobby said with a sigh of relief. With that, the two left in opposite directions.
Shortly after the boys split off a large, luxury transport arrived stopping on the street in front of Tessy's house. Inside, it was no longer the huge rooms that it was in her great great grandmothers day. The over sized bedroom was converted into three smaller rooms with a stack of three single beds on each side. The large bath had been divided into two separate complete bathrooms. The kitchen and living room remain as they were before to accommodate the comforts of the greater number of occupants it could now hold. The exterior had the seal of the White Queen covering the back half of each side. Though it still remained armored, most of the weapon systems had been removed since the end of the war.
Tessy picked up her bags as the transport came to a stop. "Come on lets go claim our beds," she pronounced half-heartedly. With some murmurs, everyone grabbed their bags and followed her onto the transport. Once on board they quickly filed to the back to claim a bed by placing their bags on it. This was not their first journey together, nor their first time on this transport. Sylvia and Sadina always picked pick top bunks in the same room, both loving to climb, then went to find a comfy seat in the spacious living room.
"Hey Sadina, look at this!” Sylvia declared looking out the large window on the drivers side of the living room. “That Jessie guy has an old style Sandrunner in his garage."
Jumping up from her seat, Sadina peered out the window to study the back of the large off road vehicle. "Lets go check it out while we wait on the others." Smiling with mischief they head for the door.
"Do not go and get those dresses dirty" Tessie called from a room in back.
"We won't," they said in unison.
The two girls headed towards Jessie’s garage to check things out. They quietly tiptoed into the open garage to get a closer look at the Sandrunner. It was facing inwards, all four doors and the rear hatch were closed, but the hood was slightly ajar. Sylvia peered in the window with her hands cupped over her brow to get a better view at the insides. Sadina started tapping on the metal body with a nail, listening to the sound.
Jessie heard the noise from under the Sandrunner, where he was working. When he slide out on a creeper appearing directly at Sylvia and Sadina. "Whose there?" He began. His immediate view straight up both their short dresses. "Ooops," he exclaimed as he shoved himself back under the Sandrunner to come out the other side. "I am really sorry about that. I was not expecting anyone."
The two girls quickly looked at each other and mouth the words 'Don't you dare tell Tessy.' They looked back towards the transport to see Tessy approaching. "Don't worry about it" Sadina assured him.
"I am really sorry ladies," he continued.
"Hush!" Sadina giving him a look as he came into view from around the vehicle
"I hope you won't be mad at me, I didn't..." he kept apologizing.
Sadina looked at Sylvia and uttered under her breath, "shut him up quickly before she gets here."
Before Jessie could utter another word, Sylvia had dashed around to the front of the vehicle to him. She was only chest high to him so he had to reach up with one hand to covered his mouth. The other hand was in front of her and landed on his stomach as she stopped. Out of shear reaction, Jessie grabbed her wrists. "Wow your fast!" he said shocked.
The winced look of pain on her face, made him realizes his grip was to tight for her frail arms. Quickly letting go, he started apologizing again, "Opps, I’m sorry. You just surprised me with your speed." With her wrists free, the one only moved to join the other at his washboard stomach, she only just noticed was bear. Her gaze fell from his eyes to straight ahead, at his naked chest. Her eyes grew wide and she bite her bottom lip as her hands pressed against him. Sadina’s tapping away on various parts of his truck drew his attention. "Wha..." he started but was drawn back to Sylvia as her hands caressed his stomach muscles. He looked down at her, but could not find the words to say anything.
"Get your hands off that filthy thing right now!" Tessy commanded as she strode into the garage. Both Sadina and Sylvia jump back clasping their hands together. "If you get that dress dirty I will be forced to tell our mothers why." Sadina and Sylvia exchange glances wondering who she was fussing at. "Sink! now!wash them!" Tessy points to a shop sink in the corner of the garage.
Jessie is left still shirtless in an awkward moment starring at Tessy,who was starring at him. Just for a moment he lost himself in her eyes again. 'What is it about this girl?' he asked himself. "Um, let me put my shirt on," he managed after a spell. He walked over near the two at the sink and reached up past them to a hook by the stairs, where his shirt was hanging.
While his arms were stuck up in the air and his back to her, Tessy saw what she thought was part of a clan mark on his left shoulder blade. "Wait," the word escaped her lips before she could stop herself. She quickly covered her mouth out of reaction. Jessie froze in place, left arm in the air reaching for the shirt, unsure of what she meant. He looked back over his left shoulder at Tessy. She had her hands clasped over her mouth and a look of surprise in her eyes. This was a common look to Jessie from people that had not seen the horrors of war. Tessy scanned his back again trying to find that partial mark. The element lights of the garage reflected off the scars on his back hiding what she thought she saw. What she did see was lots of criss crossing scars dotted with bullet wounds. Jessie was sure she was stunned at what she saw.
Beside him Sylvia was stealing a look at his abs that were at eye level as she bent over the shop sink, the scars did not even register to her. "Mmmmm" she hummed quietly to herself. Sadina caught her looking and poked Sylvia with her tail. Busted, she bit her bottom lip to keep from making any sound and returned her attention to washing her hands. Sadina giggled at Sylvia as she looked around for something to dry her hands on. "Do you have a towel or something we can dry our hands on, please Sir?" Jessie retrieved the shirt from the hook and handed it to them.
"I was hoping you wouldn't notice them. Its not my best feature," He said as he turned around slowly with his arms out stretched. His upper arms, ribs, chest, back and stomach were covered in more scaring going down past the waist of his pants. Some of the scars even appeared to have been darkened. “Most people are a bit squeamish or out right appalled by them.”
"Who cares about the scars! Where did you get this Sandrunner?" Sadina asked, changing the subject quickly to what she wanted. She may be small, but she learned to be assertive. Jessie, stunned at her lack of the usual disgust he encounter, even to a complete disreguard of them, left him speechless. She walked over and kicked one of the tires "This thing here! It is called a Sandrunner! HELLO! Where did you get it?"
Jessie was happy the subject was changed "Ummm...at an auction."
"Horsefeathers! This one is a military model, they don't sell these to the public," Sadina demanded.
"Salvage auction, in a less... moral standing area. The power plant was shot up, windshield and doors too, and I wont mention what the inside looked like,” he retorted. “If you look at the grill there is several 25mm holes." All three ladies, intrigued, move to the front of the Sandrunner to observe the holes. "I have been rebuilding it. And yes, you are right it's a military issue model. Wolf class, though I have it listed with the DMV as an Eagle Class, Bird of Prey model." Sadina gave him a 'be serious' look. "In the city nobody check to see what you really have, they are happy you are paying your usage fees and stamp your papers, especially if it costs a lot."
"And the serial numbers?" She quizzed.
"Taken from a Bird of Prey on its way to recycling. A little extra money at the title office and nobody is the wiser." He stepped around them to open the drivers door. Reaching in, he hit a button under the dash. Pneumatic cylinders lifted the whole front cover up, including both quarter panels, exposing the engine, suspension, and tires. "I did some research and bought the LZX1800 to replace what was here. I couldn't very well buy what the military had in here, even with my connections and a lot of extra money. This model had a special, limited run engine." Inside the engine compartment was very dirty, with odd pipes and wires running everywhere in no pattern or order. "I got the manual online for the LZX1800, but nothing in this matches up."
"You did this?" Sadina asks dumb founded. She started towards the engine compartment but Tessy grabed her by the tail.
"Oh no you don't,” Tessy protested. “You are not getting that dress dirty, also you have a habit of sticking your tail up in the air when you are happy. Like when you are working on something.” Tessy accented the comment with a stern look and shaking her finger at Sadina. “And, I am willing to bet you do not have bloomers or Kados on, like you should." Sadina responded by quickly brushing down her tail and the back of her dress with her hands. "Come back when we do not have somewhere to be and wearing something you can get dirty."
“I am wearing panties at least,” Sadina muttered under her breath.
"By the Goddess herself!" Came a male voice from behind them. Spinning around they saw Kitara with Caroline, an black on white Ovine girl, that appeared to be sheared close to nude ,or bare flesh. Next to them stood Carl with Eleanor, a young Human girl with short, spiky, blond hair. Both girls were wearing the same dress as Tessie, Sadina and Sylvia. "Dude, thats some awesome ritual scaring you have there. No wonder Donnie recognized you right off as a warrior.” Kitara interjected excitedly. “He can just tell when someone’s been there." Kitara swiftly approached Jessie and extended his hand. Jessie, out of respect for the Breema, met him with a warrior's pass. "You honor me," Kitara replied shocked.
"Nonsense, you are a Breema, you honor me. And, there is nothing ritual about these scars.” Jessie was trying to dismiss the issue as best he could. “I was captured and held captive for a while...a few different times." He looked around as he noticed all of the ladies present were in the same dresses and all had a red ribbon somewhere on them. "Are you ladies in an idol group or something?" He asked seizing any opportunity to try to change the subject.
"IDOL GROUP!?!" Caroline shouted. “Human I will show you these horns are not just for looks." Caroline spouted as she started towards Jessie.
Kitara quickly intervened, grabbing Caroline around the waist and pulling her back away from Jessie. "Easy there sweetie. I know your mad, but its not him you’re mad at." The other ladies present were starring at her with their mouths wide open.
Caroline pushed off Kitara's arm relinquishing her attack on Jessie, as she saw all the stares. "I don't wanna hear it.” He tone lost it’s ferocity to be replaced with remorse and shame. “My stupid little brother got my back last night with the shears, as one of his little jokes. This was the best mom could do to fix it," She spat before storming off to the transport. The Eleanor shrugged and followed Caroline quietly.
"We are a doing volunteer work for the veterans and elderlies of the White Kingdom. The red ribbons are for the blood of the fallen," Tessy offered pointing to her ribbon.
Kitara, happy Caroline left, jumped right back to his subject caring little for the girls drama. "Prisoner or not it looks like ritual scaring to me, complete with ashing of the wounds. Just like a rite of passage that Kandar do or more likely Breema.” Kitara’s ears twitched with his excitement as he spoke. “That’s what I have been studying lately, so it kinda sticks out in my mind. As a Human... to go through a Kandar...naw thats got to be a Breema ritual... says a lot about you dude."
Even though this Breema meant it as a compliment, Jessie was a little disturbed by it. Besides the memories of where those particular scars came from, extensive scarring like his are often used to identify people. And now, everyone was staring at them, save for Sylvia, she didn’t care about them.
Sadina noticed them for the first time, thanks to Kitara. Her attention had been solely on the Sandrunner up to this point. She was not done with him on that subject yet, but there was something she noticed about these scars in question. She squinted at them, slowly approaching Jessie as if she was stalking him on the open plains. At close range she held her tail up near his chest tilting her head to the side. "Murine tails... rats to more specific, given the texture and size of the marks, counting that they will shrink some with healing. That and the rest of the Maurine have long since quit doing anything like this several hundred years ago."
Tessy poked Kitara and pointed at Jessie. "Look at his back," she added.
Jessie knew it was way too late to try to hide them or brush the subject off ay longer, so he obliged and turned around slowly with his arms straight out, letting all of them get a good look. Again, he got this strange feeling as they took interest in them, rather than the more common reaction of disgust. Tessie quietly pointed to the mark on his left shoulder blade. Kitara scratched his chin in thought as he saw the partial mark.
"Wow. That was not your only tenure in brutality I see," Kitara remarked, looking at the many other layers of scars on his back and chest. "Also, umm, how many time have you been shot?"
"Too many," Jessie responded.
"Dude, you know they have this stuff called body armor, right?" Joked Kitara.
"This is what got through level 8 armor. Funny how mad people get when you show up to take back a pump station or a power substation they fought so hard to take. Wasn't always right, but that was my job." Jessie took the chance to add a little more to his background. That comment however, set Kitara back a little visibly. Jessie switched tactics to easy the tension he caused. Power and water were often heated debates at peace talks as everyone wanted control of them. "I don't remember meeting you at the cook out, though I did see a few other Breema. Just how many Breema are here?" Jessie asked, again trying to change the subject.
"Dude, my bad. I’m Kitara, and that guy there,” he pointed to the Sciurine male to his left, “is my bud, Carl. Now to your question, seven, counting Donnie."
"What the...Are you expecting a mass invasion here or something?" Jessie implored.
Tessie and Kitara exchange glances in response to his accusation. "Nothing like that. Donnie is our master. We go where he goes," Kitara offered.
The big horn on the transport sounded stopping all current conversation. "Sorry Jessie, we have to leave now," Tessy offered. She smiled at him wanting to add something, but unsure of what else to say. Inside she was confused with mixed emotions and unanswered questions. There was something about this man she could not define.
Sadina stood in front of Jessie, pointing at the Sandrunner, she told him quiet matter-of-factly, “we are not done talking about that. I will be back.”
Sylvia slide in next to Sadina, smiling, she offered her had to Jessie. “Sylvia Evergreen,” she said trying to keep her very high soprano voice as deep as she could.
“Jessie Dire to you Miss Evergreen,” he responded with a bow.
She curtsied, grabbed Sadina by the wrist and dashed off to the transport nearly dragging Sadina along.
Carl gave Jessie a thumbs up and said “I’m with Kitara, I think its bad ass.” With that he stuck his hands in his pants pockets, turned, and walked off.
Alone again Jessie stared at the Sandrunner. “Between you and these damn scars someone is going to figure out who I am. However, I really didn't expect a couple of young Kandar girls to know anything about you. We did fool the DMV, didn't we?” Jessie shook his head at himself. ‘talking to inanimate object is not a good sign boy.’ He looked around a moment and realized his shirt was missing. “Did that Sylvia steal my shirt?” he asked himself aloud. He looked around again to make sure. “Yeap, sure enough, she did. Well, that makes no sense, it’s way to big for her little frame.” He sighed thinking about thew shirt. “Well, there was nothing in the pockets anyway.”
‘If those girls are going to come back and take a better look at this, I need to removes all her weapons before they do.’ He though long and hard about starting on it now, but just gave up. He turned around and headed up the steps by the sink, to the door that led into the house. He was a bit lost with all that was said here. He would need to work with Jack on some possible background options on the scars and the Sandrunner. In his mind, he drifting back to when and how he acquired the Sandrunner and the scars. ‘What ever we come up with will have to have some truth to it, the Kandar can smell the change in your pheromones when you lie.’
Jack opened the door for Jessie as he reached for the handle. “You know, if...naw, when, Donnie finds out about these scars, and they really are from some Kandar, or more likely, some Breema ritual, it won’t take him long from there to find out who I really am. There are not that many Breema still alive.”
“Do you think Donnie knows the guy who did that to you?” Jack asked.
“The way my luck has been on this run, they are good friends.”