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Mareen meets Mor Natar

After leaving her temporary post at Mako Marith's Blood-Camp where she barely had time to connect with her son, Eight-Two-Sixteen (now named Aroth), Mareen is welcomed to Loanath where the Demon Lord has need of experienced tamers in preparation for secret missions.

But first, she enters Loanath, and is baffled by the energy of its inhabitants. Everything is loud and vibrant, countless beasts roam the street like mere house cats. As she heads towards the Demon Lord's tent, she can feel gazes turning behind her, curious and amused. Mareen's outfit contrasts with the nigh-tribal attires of the city, and her pale skin basically reflects the sunlight around her.
  However, as she reached to touch the tent, she felt a quiver on her shoulder. The small fox had sunk his claws into her pad, completely terrified. Mareen looked at him tenderly, and delicately paced her hand in front of his face, letting him smell her. With utmost care she takes him in her arms and places him into her coat, determined to protect him against whatever awaits in the Lord's abode. She enters the tent, one slow step at a time
 
Inside the tent, she sees another flap of cloth leading deeper in. A strange silence settles as she advances, and a strong smell of wet leather invades her nostrils. Finally, she reaches a lightstone-lit room with a throne of bones at its back. On it sits the giant Demon leading the City of Beast, Mor Natr himself. His face stays impassible as he caresses the beast on his right. And what a beast it was. Far larger than anything Mareen had encountered, even in the deepest forests and on her outskirts into monster-hordes. It growled at her approach, and didn't feel tame in the least, as if it allowed the Demon-Lord to pet him, not the other way around. Mareen breathed in, and out, and approached, holding her fox companion closer to her chest.
  Imediately the beastmotionned to get up, but a little smack on its head immediately flew.   "Don't get the wrong idea, dumbass." reprimanded Mor Natar, disappointed..   Instead of bearing his fang against the physical abuse, the beast looked at its master like a sad puppy gazes on its owner. With great contrast to its demeanor earlier, it showed absolute submission for an instant, then went back to being petted as if nothing occured.   "Come closer." Asked Natar uninterestedly, scratching the mane this time.

  Mareen obeyed. Then showed the letter. The sigil on its front was all the Demon Lord needed to understand the situation. The beast didn't react when Mareen gave the note, though it did snort when a whiff of the fox cuddled in her coat reached its nose.   "Cute fox."   "Thank you Milord."   "You cap it?"   "No. He was a gift Milord."   "You don't talk much. Good." Appreciated the Beastseeker. The great apex Demon took a glance at the files in the letter. Without looking away from them, he asked:   "You from the north east, Potentia, correct?..." he observed   "Yes Milord."

"Not a lot of tamers hail from Potentia."
  "No Milord, not a lot."   "They tell you not to disturb me at noon?"   "They?"   "The townspeople, the guards, someone at least?"   "No Milord."   "They didn't explain how I want to relax in the shade when it's hot outside?"   How the Demon Lord could relax next to a giant fiend who could swallow him whole was pretty disconcerting. "Relax? Well... No Milord."   Mor Natar made a great sigh which, despite him sitting fifteen feet apart, felt like someone was blowing on Mareen from up close. Her Black hair even flew for a moment. An uncomfortable feeling.
"Sender's balls." he said, looking at the ceiling of the tent. "Can't they act civilised and give visitors the ground rules? Urk... This is why Grao says we'll never be a proper City-State."   "I am sorry for bothering you Milord."   "Nah nah. Not bothering. I just hate people. And since you don't speak much can you speak even less and stop with the stupid Milords?" He glanced up. "That's an order if it helps."   "Yes."

Themes

Mareen is feeling lost, being seperated from her love and her child for the second time. Her duties as an experienced monster-tamer is leading her to Loanath, the City of Beasts. It was her old dream to meet such taming enthousiasts. She is telling herself that this will be a dream come true and cheer her up.   This chapter is about expectations coming to face with reality. Mareen's wish is coming true like a student getting into the job they studied so hard to reach, and yet being faced with the problems of the job shatters there preconception. Mareen is skilled to be sure, but not only is her mind not into it because of what happened in recent years, the people of the south-east of the Demon Empire have a very different culture from her. Culture shock, disappointment, and unbalance await her. Though the Demon Lord looks like a down to earth Demon, if a bit odd.
Plot type
Meeting

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