Working Title: Fennec Shifters
Slipping between the shadows, Miranda breathed in the scents on the air. The market was still in full swing and the smells of meats and incense wafted to her along with those of exotic spices and perfumes. She concentrated and pushed beyond them to the scents she sought, the heated musk of people and animals. There, her nose twitched and her delicate fox whiskers brushed the fabric of her veil as she pinpointed what she was looking for, the foreigners who had come to her city; they were unwashed and used perfumes to mask the musk of their bodies. She blew air from her softly from her nose then took a deep breath, careful not to lose them. They were her ticket into the halls of the palace, the one place she had to be that night.
Stalking through the shadows cautiously, Miranda made her way around the market and along the paved road leading towards the palace. She stepped lightly along the paths of hard packed dirt and sand, her As she drew near she pulled her veil tightly to cover her hair and face lest one of the men recognized her. They smiled kindly enough at her; one even offered her a coin thinking she was one of the beggar widows who haunted the streets. She ducked her head and took it; never turn down a chance to make a coin, that’s what her father had always taught her.
“What brings you to this part of the town, Mira?”
She looked around quickly, fearful she had been revealed. Hisa leaned against the door with his arms across his chest, head wrap slightly askew, and a crooked smile on his lips. She tried to ignore the pull of his coffee-colored eyes, he was a master at seductions and sleight of hand. He often used the two talents together to relieve others of valuables, even those of his own kind.
“Bugger off Hisa. I’m busy here and haven’t time for you.”
He gave a deep throaty laugh and shook his head, causing the head wrap to come undone and reveal his blond-streaked brown hair.
“You’re showing Hisa.”
He gave her a poisoned look and shoved the wrap back on, making quick work of the dirty, wrinkled cloth.
“At least my partner’s not locked up in the bloody prison. You’d be best to leave him there to rot. Go in there and you’ll rot too. Course…maybe I should let you.”
The men were getting away and nearly to the palace gates when they crossed that threshold so did her chance. With a hiss at Hisa, she made her way towards the gates, trying to look like a beggar widow and not a girl desperate to save her partner.
“Whoa there missy, this isn’t a place for yer kind. Here, take these coins and find some coffee.”
It was one of the men in the party, she looked up to find blue eyes filled with kindness. She gasped and looked back down, it was Mikail. She prayed fervently he wouldn’t recognize her. Sneaking a look back up at him she found him smiling down at her. She took the coins and slid back into the shadows, there would be no entrance this time.
All she could do was watch as the men entered the gate, leaving her in the dusty shade. A hand stopped her when she would have left to find that suggested coffee. She didn’t need to look back to know who it was, the silver ring on the middle finger told her all she needed to know, Mikail.
“What did you need in there Miranda. Surely you’ve not gotten so bold as to beard the lion in his den?”
“No…Rafik is in there. They caught him with a guard’s wife.”
“The old fool got caught at last, eh?”
She grimaced but nodded, there was no use lying to him. He would have scented the lie on her as quickly as she had scented him and his men in the market.
“I can smell him in there, now that I know it’s him I recognize it.”