Kridina dropped lightly off the small boat to land easily on padded feet. Her strength and agility were obvious and she moved with a grace that would have immediately caught the eye of any she came across. Her nose tested the air, nostrils flaring, for the scent of unwelcome company. The sea side town smelled surprisingly fresh, and she inhaled with deep satisfaction. Casually, she slung her heavy bag over her right shoulder and made her way across the creaking, damp boards of the pier.
The occasional murmur or stare as she passed by was something she took in stride. She stopped worrying months ago over what others thought of her. Her people were not unheard of, but having golden stripes among the black ones were such a rarity, none would have seen them in recent generations.Their curiosity was no match for her own, however. An accident last year, she was told, had stolen her memories. Everything before was a void. And not just a blank slate. There was a hole within her so full of emptiness it was painful. At first, it felt endless and unbearable. Now? It was merely an ache. Something she just lived with.
As the slosh of water against the bumping boats began to be overtaken by the squawks of goods-men and townspeople, Kridina confidently made her way through the throng that filled the wide, sand-packed street leading from the piers. The day was already well in hand with the sun quickly fleeing towards the first true heat of day. Her tail tucked close to prevent it’s inevitable crushing, she turned at an intersection that held the promise of suitable lodging and food.
Good food, she surmised as her eyes darted quickly about and her sensitive nose sniffed with appreciation. As she explored the area, she found it neat, clean, and in excellent repair. Unusual for a town that should have found it’s trade in mostly fishing. Not that this was the first time she came across a place well maintained, but it usually spelled trouble. Exactly the type she excelled in dealing with. She found herself before one particular tavern, and she knew she had found her next temporary home.
Satisfied with her discovery, the fierce looking tigress slid through the swinging doors into the welcome coolness of the tavern. The sign had declared it “The Tigress’ Den” and she had been unable to withstand that call. An amused smile flitted across her face, causing the golden stripes of her body to glimmer for the barest moment. So quickly did both the smile and glow fade, not a single patron would have thought it more than the lingering brightness of the shifting sun through a swiftly closing door.
Except, one did.