First Contact

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Copper Town, on the northern fringes of Black Clans territory, was a free town where many different types of Fisted came to trade without worrying about racial differences.  It huddled on the southern fringes of the great central Noranda plains, wind-whipped and almost drifted under by the heavy northern snows.  But beneath its sheath of ice and snow, Copper Town's heart beat loudly and hotly.

The heavily cloaked figure made its careful way across the thronging central street, packed with Fisted of many races, including Kanid, Pumor, Tigris and Ryon.  Tall and powerful warriors walked side by side with shorter, stockier merchants and muscular males mixed equally with lithe and dangerous females as the life's blood of Copper Town rushed through its arteries despite the cold and the wind.  For the Fisted had evolved in the cold of the Long Winter, with fur to cover their skin.  To them this was spring!

But the Fisted weren't fools.  Enough exposure to the bone-numbing cold could harm them as well.  So they too wore heavy clothing, though not as much as the dark-cloaked figure that worked its way through them.  Their hooded coats and tunics often left the face bare and their leather gloves were thin to allow their hands to easily work either tools or weapons.  Peace may dwell in Copper Town, but it was uneasy at best.

The cloaked figure passed between two massive Ryon merchants arguing loudly in the Ryon tongue about the price of a wagonload of coal, to approach the first of many public houses.  They didn't even look at it as it went by them, being too small to warrant notice.  But the figure didn't take any chances and quickly headed to the public house, on the bottom floor of a three-story inn.

Inns were as common as lice in Copper Town, the two forming almost a symbiotic relationship.  And every one of them had a public house where food and drink were served for a decent price.  The one the figure now slipped towards was one of the medium-sized establishments of its kind in town.  Hopefully here it would find what it was looking for.

The figure paused at the public house's swinging door for a moment, as if caught by indecision as the wind whipped around its heavy cloak.  And then it stepped inside, pausing again just inside the threshold to let its eyes adjust to the interior's relative dimness.

Immediately it was assailed by the smell of wet fur and leather, burning wood and stale beer, mixed with smoke streaming from the laboring fire in the far corner.  But it ignored the thick smell and quickly proceeded to the long counter that sat along the room's southern wall.  Here drinks were served from wooden kegs and food was ordered.  A small kitchen in a secondary room prepared the simple fare and it was brought back to the counter where the customers could pick it up.

It was as the figure reached the counter's near end that two massive Tigris warriors abruptly stood from their nearby table and turned directly into its path.  They hadn't seen the much smaller figure and bore down on it as they strode forward, intent on their low, murmured conversation.

Designed by research scientists consumed with illusions of their own power and ability in Earth's dim past, all the Fisted races resembled humans in several very basic ways.  This wasn't so much because the human body was the most efficient form for the jobs the Fisted were being designed for.  Rather, it was more because the scientists wished to play God and make something in their own image.  And so the Fisted were given the bipedal form belonging to Humanity.

That meant these two huge Tigris warriors had the characteristic broad shoulders and narrow hipped build of a human male, only much, much larger.  The nearest warrior, average for his people, stood almost two and a half metres tall.  The broadsword that was strapped to his back was equally as large.  But the feline face, striped black and tan with white accents was anything but human, possessing the dangerous lines and form belonging to long dead hunting cat stock.

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