Most everything was prepared for her delicate ritual of curse removal. The bumbling idiot Magnus had just dropped off her father's gauntlets, and she had placed them neatly near her mother's belongings. Both Gala and Magnus had been insufferable to deal with, and Thokk was pleased to know she no longer had need to call of them. Not now, and not ever. Her parents' memory could die with them for all she cared.
Raki had been busy keeping up with Thokk's directions throughout the day. Phew! Preparing for a ritual was tough work, and the leopardess wasn't entirely certain about what everything meant. Then again, it wasn't her place to be knowledgeable in the Stormborn's gods or their ways. Her mistress knew what she was doing, and that was good enough! Tired from the day's work, but still earnest to please, Raki jogged up to Mistress Thokk's den, several leather bags and satchels swinging against her side. They were difficult to lift and carry, and needed to be done with care, but it was worth it!
How good it would feel to rake her claws against the old furs and grind the carved bone runes into dust, but it was not time yet. She still needed her final component, and that would have to wait until tomorrow. It was dark now, and it would likely take her all day to track down the most suitable specimen for the job. What the ritual required from this component was no secret to the young priestess, but she’d do anything to be rid of this horrible curse. And that apparently included sleeping with strange men and destroying her mother’s old crafts- a small price to pay to ensure a more independent future. She snorted. Right. As ‘independent’ as the pride would allow her. Still, it was better than nothing; and, it she would be able to further manipulate the system if need be.
Raki briefly wondered if Thokk had gone to sleep without her knowing, and gave a mental sigh. She had been gone a long while, and her mistress had seemed tired. Stepping inside, her eyes adjusting to the deep gloom of the den opposed to the open night, Raki saw her mistress standing off to the side and was delighted by the fact. Covering the distance between them with the ease, the hefty leopardess approached in such a manner it seemed that her steps literally bounced in anticipation. She was certain to make her mistress happy this night! ”Mistress Thokk? I have found the herbs you required, as well as the bone fragments”, she spoke softly, panting slightly from the effort of moving her bags and satchels. ”I’ve also acquired some choice meat for your meal tonight. It’ll only take a little while to prepare-".
”Is that what took you so long?” she hissed through parted teeth. Raki was a fine thrall with an excellent demeanor for servitude, but she was still just a lowly servant. When she got too excited, as she was now, Thokk liked to remind her of this. In truth, the thought of Raki’s culinary flare brought delight to the priestess, but she remained uncaring to the matter. She hardly even glanced over in Raki’s direction, and merely settled for an agitated flick of her tail. Going through the motions of the passive-aggressive mistress to ensure a truly obedient thrall remained so. ”Prepare the meal, but leave me the components”, she finally instructed, setting herself down near the amassed pile of belongings.
Oh dear... Raki’s ears folded back submissively as she flinched at Thokk’s subtle display of displeasure. Raki had never felt the weight of claws or teeth against her pelt, and she worked very hard to make sure she never gave her mistress reason to do so! ”Yes mistress, I am sorry,” she bowed her head deeply despite Thokk not paying her any attention. Without further interruption Raki did as she was told. Displacing several satchels near the lioness, the clink of bones betraying their contents, Raki quickly jogged off to ‘her’ corner of the den. Well, it wasn’t really hers per-say, but its the corner she used to prepare her culinary creations. It was a neat space, cleaned regularly as she did not wish her mistress to dine on dirty, sticky furs. She spared a few worried glances in Thokk’s direction, hoping she had not invoked the lioness’ wrath, before getting down to work.
Her sweet Raki. The leopardess was predictable and easy to manipulate into the right behaviors, which left Thokk with more time to work. Honestly, she didn’t know what the appeal of breaking a fresh caught thrall brought to most of the pride. They were untrustworthy, and thus undeserving of her time. Busying herself with organizing all the herbs and bone fragments into component piles, Thokk found herself winding down from the business of the day. It had been stressful, and it was good to be able to relax in her own den. She couldn’t imagine doing that with a less adoring thrall that would glare daggers at her from the shadows. She supposed many of her pride learned to live with it, but Thokk preferred being spoiled with the minimal effort of doing so.
From her reamining satchels and packs Raki removed the gathered materials she would use to win back her mistress' favor. It had been tough work to collect it all along with Thokk's required items, but Raki had done it! Upon a large, smooth rock she placed the choice meats and spread them out neatly among themselves. It had taken some bargaining with other thralls, and some hunting of her own, but at least the Stormborn kept diverse herds of prey beasts to choose from. Tonight's dinner included the succulent haunch of a young pig- which had cost Raki a good deal of one of her own kills to bargain it away from a fellow thrall- as well as the heart and liver of a gazelle. The gazelle had been her own kill, and save for those tender bits it had been traded away. Coupled with a quick catch of a hare, it was quite the haul! The leopardess wasted no time in getting to work in preparing the meal, peppering the meats with sweet berries and the juice of honeycomb, as well as skinning the rabbit and removing its undesirable bits: paws, ears, and such. Finally the meal was completed!
She was satisfied. The items required for the ritual were all accounted for, and aside from the detestable company earlier in the day it had been a profitable venture. Out of the corner of her eye she watched Raki work, pleased that her thrall was so attentive to her work. She could eat and then get as much sleep as the night would allow. It would not be long, as she would need to seek out the final component come morning's light. It was a daunting task, and she was not looking forward to waking in the morning. As Raki finished up Thokk rose to her paws slid over to the stone her thrall worked at. With a single glance in her direction the leopard was backing away from the table, awaiting further instruction. Thokk took her time to look over the arrangement with curiosity. Raki had a strange habit of flavoring meats, and Thokk was more than pleased to keep this talent to herself. "You may go", she spoke off-handedly, quietly.
But most importantly, not displeased! Raki bowed deeply, nearly groveling as she backed further away to gather her things. She would need to clean her satchels and packs before she went off to sleep, otherwise they would be took sticky to use over and over again. With a sweep of her tail and her body low to the ground, the leopard quietly slipped out of her mistress' den, leaving the priestess to eat and think in peace. It was good that she had not upset Thokk terribly, and she counted herself among the most blessed of the pride's thralls to have such a wonderful master. Truly, Raki was content with her lot in life, and could not imagine anything else more fulfilling.
(Word Count: 1363)
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