Kaminda, a young Redguard woman, sighed and leaned her elbows on her knees, berating herself for getting tossed in jail on her first night in town.
She was in Windhelm to resupply on food and repair her armor, but instead of the usual welcome she received in the southern towns of Skyrim, the Nords of Windhelm made it clear they did not like any race but their own.
After about three hours of jeers, slurs, and mean looks, she was fed up with all the racism. So when Kaminda had attempted to purchase herself a sweetroll to celebrate her latest achievement (learning a complete Thu'um shout), and was denied by the stall owner, the Redguard promptly seized the edge of the stall and flipped the whole thing over.
The guards took acceptation to that.
So now the Redguard sat in the two person cell, waiting quietly for her three day sentence to be up.
Down the hall, a heavy door slammed and three pairs of footsteps started towards the cell Kaminda was occupying.
"Stop squirmin', ya freak. I can make this stay very difficult for ya." Kaminda rolled her eyes as she heard one of the guards threaten the prisoner he guided. There was a short scuffle and a grunt, and some sputtered cursing.
A new voice floated towards the cell, surprisingly cheery in the dark atmosphere. "Touché, touché! If you make my stay hard, ill gladly do the same for you! Now, do you have any thing good to eat here? I'm starving!"
"Shut yer gob!"
"Aw, sounds like your having a frustrating time at home. Your boyfriend not offering 'emself up?"
"For Soevengard's sake, Yorik, throw the freak in 'is un. They won't fight!"
Kaminda looked up as the lock to her cell was turned and the door opened. "If I hear any trouble from you two," The first guard growled, grabbing the new prisoner by the back of the back of the neck. "I swear I'll have coats made outta your skins!"
The new prisoner, a woman around Kaminda's age, smiled a smile of sharp teeth. Unlike Kaminda, who had been forced to leave all her equipment with the warden, it appeared that the guards had allowed this woman to keep a bandana over her dark hair. "If you do, don't forget to brush the one from me once and a while. High quality stuff here, and I'd hate for it to go to waste and get all dirty on your Nordic pigskin."
Yorik snarled and shoved the woman in as she laughed, letting her stumble around for a moment before slamming the door in disgust when she turned and stuck her long tongue out at him.
Once the coast was clear, Kaminda waved slightly. "Hello. I'm Kaminda."
The woman looked over to her cellmate and smiled that odd smile again. "Ello. 'M Ketten, call me Ket." There was a pause as she stretched and glanced around the cell. "Whatcha in fer?"
Kaminda let out an embarrassed laugh. "Ah, well...I was mad that Rolff wouldn't sell me a sweetroll, so I flipped his stall because he was nice enough to add a slur in with his refusal." The Redguard rubbed the back of her dark neck, giving Ket a nervous smile. "I was so tired of all the racism here that I just had to do something."
Ket laughed, clapping her hands as her bright, curiously silted eyes sparkled with amusement. "That’s amazing! I'm glad someone finally stood up to the jackass, he really deserved it!" Ket leaned in, looking about before whispering like it was some dark secret, "Did you land a punch on him 'afore they got ya?"
Kaminda shook her head. "No, a guard was right next to me when I did it. No time to jump the poor bastard." Despite her usually calm exterior, Kaminda was Redguard after all- If there was a fight to be had, she would join it.
"Humph. What a shame..." Ket peered around the cell, looking in the darker corners. "Do they have a washbasin in here? I want to wash this Nordic stink out."
Kaminda nodded and pointed her cellmate in the direction of the small tub of water beside the bedrolls. But as the woman crouched down and pulled off her bandana to dip in it the water, Kaminda's eyes nearly popped out of her skull.
"Y-you have a TAIL! And EARS!" The Redguard suddenly blurted out, making the startled Ket jump and whip around. True to Kaminda's word, the two light brown ears flattened against Ket's skull when the woman had scared her, and the tail had bristled comically.
When the words got through Ket's fight or flight instincts and finally made sense, the odd woman looked over her shoulder. She stared at the long, pale brown tail with a bemused expression, watching it swish back and forth lazily. "Yes...yes I do. And you have a nose." The woman looked back at her thunderstruck cellmate with a smirk. "I've got some wicked claws too. Wanna see 'em?"
"How in bloody Oblivion is that possible?!"
Ket's tail began lashing from side to side. Kaminda wasn’t the only one the people of Windhelm had insulted. "I'm a Khajiit, got a problem with it, Redguard?" Ket's lip lifted to reveal her sharp teeth. "You wanna fight about it?"
Kaminda put her hands up with a chuckle. "No, no, no. It just surprised me, is all. You don't exactly look Khajiit with that bandana on and your tail tucked away." The Redguard smiled warmly, her mahogany eyes equally friendly. "Might I ask what type of Khajiit you are? All the Khajiit I’ve seen are nothing like you."
The other woman was taken aback. Most people would call her a freak of nature by now, but this Redguard was apparently very different, very kind. Her scent reminded Ket of the dragons she had fought, that crisp tang of power that tweaked the inside of her nose. Ket cocked her head to the side and her ears went up again, angling toward the Redguard as she found her curiosity piqued. She would have to keep an eye on this one.
"I'm...I'm Dagi-Raht." It was Ket's turn to rub the back of her neck, feeling awkward about telling the other woman her origins. "Our moon phase is pretty rare, so not many of us are around. Those who are in Eleswyr usually stick to the woods too..." bending down again, the Khajiit scooped some water from the basin and rubbed it on her face. "It’s so dark in here so you probably can't see it, but I am covered in fur."
Ket shook herself and rubbed the back of her hand down her face a few times, making sure to rough up the very light bronze fur that covered her face. Grabbing the lantern, Ket sat down next to Kaminda and held the light up close, revealing the odd shadows that the fur created on her angular face. "Check it out. These black markings here, and here, too, those are part of the fur as well. When I wear the bandana they pass off as war paint and I pass off as a very tan Breton." Kaminda reached out tentatively, and Ket laughed. "Here, if you want proof, pull my tail!"
Kaminda shrugged and took the offered appendage. It was warm, and surprisingly soft. Without warning, the Redguard gave the tail a firm yank, making the Khajiit yelp and spring on top of the bench in a crouch. "Sorry. I was really only aiming to see if it was attached." Kaminda laughed as Ket gave her a sour look and rubbed her behind.
"Oh it's attached alright. You Redguards are definitely strong ones."
"It's not always a blessing, I assure you. I tend to forget how strong my blood makes me and it's rather awkward when you disjoint someone's shoulder by accidentally shaking their hand too hard."
A moment later, a guard shoved some food under the door. "About time!" Ket grabbed the tray and set it down on the small, rickety table pushed up against the wall. "Come on, Redguard! Windhelm itself might be full of unpleasant people, but their prison food is the best in all of Skyrim!"
Kaminda switched seats so that she was facing the Dagi-Raht at the table and picked up the small loaf of brown bread on her plate. "You sound like you know your way around the jails." Kaminda joked, ripping the loaf half and dunking it in her stew. "Are you a repeating customer?"
Ket looked up from the stew she was currently eating by lapping at it like a house cat. When Kaminda raised an eyebrow at this, the other woman set down the bowl sheepishly and picked up a spoon. "You have no idea." thumping her chest with a fist, Ket beamed with pride. "I am a professional thief! I've traveled all over Skyrim since I was a kit and have toured all sorts of prisons, dungeons and ruins!"
"What did you steal here?"
To Kaminda's surprise, Ket's face scrunched up and she scratched her head. "Ah, well, bout that...I never really get caught stealing...it's usually...other stuff."
Kaminda paused, spoon halfway to her lips. "Did you try to mount a sheep or something?"
There was a sputtering, choking noise as Ket nearly killed herself with a mouthful of stew. "BLOODY ALKOSH, NO!" Ket pulled a hand down her face, grumbling, "curiosity killed the cat- I like to see what happens if I do odd things. Like climb on top of the keep and dance for crowds, tie a Nord's beard to another's belt while he's passed out drunk, stuff like that. This time, I was stupid enough to Shout at a guard who was telling me to stop."
"You got thrown in jail for an argument?"
Ket chuckled. "Not that kind of shout. Thu'um shout. I'm sure you are familiar with it, you smell like dragon blood." Kaminda suddenly stared wide-eyed at the Dagi-Raht. "What? If you smell like dragon blood, you're either a dragon, which you are obviously not, or you are Dohvahkiin. Am I right?"
Kaminda's mind was immediately filled with questions. The Greybeards had told her that she was the only Dragonborn that had been officially brought to their attention, but they had seemed uneasy when she had asked about any other Dragonborn in Skyrim. If Ket wasn't trained in the Voice and was really able to use the dragon tongue, then shouldn't she have been summoned to High Hrothgar already?
"'Ey, Kami. Quit starin' at me, it's makin’ my fur itch."
Kaminda started and refocused on Ket, who was watching her with a smirk. "Oh, I'm sorry. I wasn't intending to stare."
"Nah, no worries." Ket waved it off. "I get worse looks all the time. You looked like you had something on your mind, so go ahead and spit it out."
The Redguard paused, not wanting to offend the woman. "Well, it's just that...you say you can use the Thu'um, but the Greybeards told me that there were no real Dragonborn besides me in this Era. Have they never summoned you?"
Ket suddenly laughed aloud again, tilting back her chair as she threw her head back and laughed long and hard. Kaminda held her tongue until the Khajiit had calmed down considerably, and then asked, rather frankly, "are you touched in the head?"
Wiping away tears of mirth, Ket shook her head of shaggy brown hair and let out one last chuckle. "No, but I get asked that rather often. To explain why I laughed at the Greybeards, it's because I was kicked out of High Hrothgar after they taught me a few words. You know, the usual Whirlwind Shout and Unrelenting Force."
Kaminda was shocked. The Greybeards were certainly some of the most accepting people she had met in Skyrim. "Why?!"
Ket giggled. "Well, you see, I wanted to get into High Hrothgar at night so I could climb to the top and see the world as it turns. So I picked the lock around midnight, and snuck in only to discover, well..."
The Khajiit could barely contain herself anymore, and started laughing again, managing to spit out, "The old fools were dancing around a chicken with their clothes off like they were young again. And I mean DANCING. Then they saw me and threw the poor chicken at me, nearly made me deaf and Fus Ro Dahed me down the first 200 steps!"
As Ket yowled with laughter, falling off her chair to roll on the floor, Kaminda just sat stock-still.
"Are you telling the truth?" She asked slowly, and when Ket nodded, practically crying because she was laughing so hard, Kaminda out her face in her hands. "They had me catch a chicken for them down in Ivarsted! That poor bird!"
After a good ten more minutes of giggle fits, Ket recovered enough to lie on the hay strewn flood gasping for air. Kaminda had long ago finished her own food and now sat quietly waiting for Ket to fully regain her senses.
"Are you alright?" Kaminda asked, watching her new friend with concern.
"Just fine." Ket wheezed. "How about you?"
The Redguard helped Ket up and sat her down in front of her now cold bowl of stew. "Disturbed, but otherwise alright. Do you always laugh so long?"
Ket shook her head and smiled. "No, only when it involves...chickens. Anyway, I was going to ask when your sentence is up."
"Splendid!" Ket hopped up. "So is mine! Now if you don't mind, I'm going to sleep. Usually if I do, the time somehow just flies by."