The Alraeican Tavern - Part X
Troyen last edited by
A chilly breeze blew in as yet another cloaked figure opened the door. Before he could enter, a loosely fastened wooden sign clattered to the ground, coming to a rest in the dirt outside. Bending down, the figure studied the aged wooden board, time and weather having taken their toll on the once bright paint, boasting about the finest goods in Cademia, from ale and wine to cheese and ribs. The man fondly replaced the sign on the outside wall and entered, shutting the door behind him.
Avatara pulled his hood back, offering him a better view of the dimly lit establishment. It was well past closing hours, almost to daybreak, yet as always, a scattered handful of patrons lay passed out and sleeping inside. For some people, this tavern was their life and their home. Many people had entered this room since its opening over seven years ago, and while some only remained for a brief time, others had spent years of their lives here, before finally moving on.
Avatara slowly made his way to the bar, passing by a sleeping figure at a table who was still clutching the dice she had no doubt been gambling with earlier that day. Avatara paused, something about this table seemed familiar somehow. It wasn't the dice, the last time he had played dice had been years ago, and it was even further back since the last time he had played dice fairly. He stepped back to study the long-haired woman, suddenly intent on discovering the identity of the nagging thing inside him.
She was dressed in traveler's clothes, a brown tunic and long pants with a dark green cloak. A longsword sat sheathed on her belt, partially covered by her cloak. On the opposite side was a fist-sized sack, obscured by the edge of her tunic, but easily spotted by any observer that knew what to look for. Avatara leaned over to properly obscure the sack from early morning thieves. The sack was fairly heavy, she must've been on a winning streak, which meant she'd likely wake up to trouble soon. The oboloi filling the sack made a muffled clink as it shifted, suddenly giving him a familiar vision of a man dropping a heavy bag of oboloi on a table. That's right, this used to be Slayer's favorite table! Avatara smiled, Slayer would always come in with a heavy sack, offering drinks for everyone and telling stories of his latest adventure.
Avatara turned back towards the bar, nearly colliding with a stone column. He grinned, Talos had long since replaced the critical bar supports with stone to lessen the odds of the roof collapsing, ever since that fateful day with theKestrel. Still, numerous scorch marks decorated the interior, each marking some tale involving a mishap with magic, fire, or some other forbidden activity. Reminded of Talos, Avatara's thoughts drifted to the faithful frog which had tried (unsuccessfully) to watch over the precious goods in storage whenever the owner wasn't around. Nobody had ever figured out where the ghost of the frog eventually ended up. His aquarium-cage lay empty against the back wall, next to some bear stains and a discarded cinder block.
Avatara slipped behind the bar and used an old key to quietly open the storeroom door (as quietly as old rusty hinges allow). He looked around the rows of beer kegs and various food crates until his eyes finally settled on a worn lockbox, respectfully sitting in the corner. "Thanks for keeping this safe, old friend," Avatara whispered as he untied and gently replaced the box with a bag of oboloi. He quietly closed and locked the door, and put the iron key on a small hidden nail in the back of the bar.
Returning to the entrance, he took one last look around the tavern. "Thanks for the memories," he said softly as the door closed behind him.
Aster looked around sleepily, after first unsticking his cheek from the bar. Something odd had happened. Either that, or the tavern door had just closed, all by itself. Since it had been closed before, and there was not a breath of wind, he concluded that the door must have been moved by someone.
A quick, surreptitious head count indicated that the number of persons in the bar was unchanged. So someone had obviously come in and left again.
Pleased with this reasoning, Aster went back to sleep again.
Suddenly, the door flew open, startling several sleepers.
In trooped the weary group that had gone the quest of the Tree of Life...
Rapierian observed the peaceful tableau and decided that something had to be done about it.
While Shanadar was busy determining whether or not any assassinations (or some other kind of crime) had happened while he was gone, the necromancer set to work.
Before they parted ways, Silverfish remembered to cordially thank Yomu for giving him a ride away from the scene of the final conflict. Yomu modestly replied that it was nothing to him, but he didn't refuse the small stiletto that Silver gave him as a token of esteem.
Silver watched Rapierian closely, indeed he was so involved in watching Rapierian's progress that he didn't think to alert any of the others, or even to consider his own comfort.
Jehezekel had left the Tavern some time ago, & now lived as the Tenant of Retsy's farm... most of the time.
Silver was so busy watching Rapierian that he didn't notice the golem sneaking up behind him, until it grabbed him and tossed him in the rain barrel...
Sécundus arrived at the tavern exhausted; he went straight to a corner booth and fell asleep with his head on the table. He wasn't sure how much stamina he had left that he could keep going with these adventurers on their quests.
Wizard came to the door a few moments later. He had been keeping to the back of the group for the entire return trip to Cademia. After entering the tavern, Wizard walked straight to the back and headed to his room. He was very weak after his multiple encounters with Altérius and needed to sleep it off.
Wizard hated how old he was beginning to feel. When he was a younger man, he was free. He had total control over body and mind and could have journeyed on hundreds of these quests he now did without a single hour of sleep. But he was, after all, only human, and no matter how many years he pushed his body on, he would still experience gradual weakening such as that he was now feeling. Things change. On the matter of things changing, Satori's sacrifice was still heavy on Wizard's mind. He needed to sleep on that thought as well.
This post has been edited by The Wizard : 29 May 2009 - 01:15 AM
Sputtering, Silver leaped back out of the barrel, & immediately dived back in when the golem tried to use him for its baseball practice. While the golem was still off-balance, Silver shot back out of the barrel & careening over its head he slid across a nearby table wrecking havoc with several games of dice before finally catching his balance & scuttling across the room, the golem in hot pursuit...
Unfortunately for Silver, the dice-players became rather irate when he ruined their game, so they too began chasing him around the Tavern...
Silver dove through the golem's legs, jumped up & clung to Rapierian's head in an attempt to escape the mob...
The golem charged through the mob at Silver and Rapierian.
Rapierian, who had been busy setting Wizard's beard on fire, did not realize what was going on until too late.
The golem hit Silver and sent him, and the necromancer to whom he was clinging, sailing out the door of the Tavern.
Shanadar, having returned from setting the city back into order after his brief absence, entered the Tavern. Although there had been (thankfully) no murders this time around, there were several cases of theft, and a number more of wanton vandalism, so it was understandable that the Enforcer simply ignored the seemingly-typical chaos within the establishment as he entered.
Waltzing up to the bar counter, he sat down on his usual stool and ordered a very strong drink. However, as soon as the ghost-frog barkeep brought it to him, it was smashed in a most uncouth and inconsiderate manner by the loose golem. Turning around to face the perpetrator of this crime most heinous, he noticed Rapierian trying to light The Wizard's beard on fire.
If eyes could throw daggers, the Necromancer would be beyond resurrection, so it was perhaps fortunate for the dark-mage that he got blasted outside the Tavern with Silver by the golem.
This post has been edited by ~vIsitor~ : 14 March 2008 - 04:00 PM
By this time, the fire in Wizard's beard had grown to a raging inferno.
Curiously, he did nothing but stare at the wall blankly.
Aster looked around, noticed the chaos, thought about doing something, and got hit by a flying tankard.
He decided to stay out of the way until it was a little less dangerous.
Wizard was totally exhausted from his earlier adventure and was sound asleep. Something stirred him, though, and his blazing beard was the first thing he noticed.
"FIRE!" Wizard leapt out of his seat in surprise and ran to the bar in search of water. To his dismay, there was no water there. So, he began to run wildly around the tavern, desperately searching for a glass of water to douse his beard. This was not without consequence, however, as Wizard's beard was just long enough to catch everything around him on fire. Within minutes tables, curtains, chairs, and even the floor were all just as flaming as Wizard's beard.
In his scrambles, Wizard managed to bump into the golem and somehow set it on fire. The golem too began to run around the Tavern, setting everything around it on fire.
Rapierian sat up and shook his head.
"Well, that was interesting. Possibly, even fun or boring," the necromancer said. Unfortunately, he now had something of a headache.
Silver had landed some distance away. Rapierian considered draining him and curing his headache but decided that Shanadar and others might get somewhat annoyed if he did. While that might be fun, he didn't think that it was really worth it.
Smelling smoke, the necromancer looked up and noticed the burning tavern.
"HA! I always knew that crazy ol' Wiz goat was an arsonist!" he laughed.
Smiling, he stood up and stepped closer to watch the chaos.
Aster looked around at the conflagration, and reached for his necklace. The molten lump of glass might keep him safe, but then again, it might not.
He looked around the bar for something to put the fire out with. Luckily for the tavern, he did know that alcohol would make the blaze worse, but there didn't seem to be anything else.
In horror, he noticed the flames were getting closer to the huge barrels stored above the counter. Showing amazing foresight, he got up and dashed down to the cellar.
Showing amazing clumsiness , he tripped over Wizard and fell down the stairs.
After Aster tripped over Wizard, the old mage stumbled backwards and crashed out the window. Luckily, he landed in the rain barrel, finally extinguishing his scorched beard.
Rapierian couldn't help but laugh as he watched the events unfold. Wizard was left floundering upside down in the barrel, only his legs, kicking wildly in the air, could be seen. Figuring he could get some amusement out of it, Rapierian decided to tip the barrel over and let Wizard out. He did so.
"YOU!" Wizard screamed as soon as he had scrambled to his feet and looked his rescuer in the face. "I'll kill you with my own hands!" Wizard was old, but he certainly was agile. He went charging after Rapierian, who took off running, with his hands outstretched and ready to strangle someone's neck. He nearly tripped over his own robe every other step because he was so drenched in water.
"Now hold on! This is no way to treat someone who saved you from drowning." Wizard did not agree, and Rapierian ducked just as a bolt of telekinetic energy shot over his head, blowing a large whole in the tavern wall.
Rapierian went running through the hole into the flaming tavern, with Wizard in pursuit.
An hour later...
Tlepolemus glanced at the Tavern warily. He wished that Sacas had not sent him here: he had heard way too many of stories of people meeting grisly demises at this site to feel very confident about entering it.
Sighing, the old man eventually decided he had no choice and cautiously approached the structure. Carefully, he opened the door and breathed a sigh of relief when he saw that the place was relatively empty.
Glancing around, he spotted Wizard and Shanadar seated in a corner talking quietly. Sacas had directed him to speak with either of these two, both of whom had borrowed his boat sometime back in a quest to get some special sword.
Or was it a colored rock? the fisherman thought to himself.
Crossing the room to them, he said, "Sirs, I have been directed to you by Judge Sacas. I have a curious tale to tell and she feels that you and your friends are probably best qualified to deal with it."
Without preamble, he sat down and began to speak.
"A few nights ago, I was out fishing on the banks of Odemia. It is risky at night, but safe enough if you know what you're doing. Anyway, I glanced out across the sea, and I noticed something quite odd. Greenish light was flashing and flaring in the sea at some distance from where I sat. It continued steadily for the next hour or so, vanishing abruptly. At the time, I thought it was just some strange and passing occurrence, but, since then, I have seen it each night for several nights. I told Judge Sacas about it and she told me that several others had already reported seeing the same thing. Fearing some mischief, Sacas, I, and a few others took a boat out during the day to investigate. We got not a mile from shore before being set on by Scylla," he paused and shuddered before continuing. "Fortunately, Sacas was able to drive them back long enough for us to reach shore. The Judge has told me that she was able to detect strong magical waves like nothing she has felt before. She believes that some devilry is at work and sent me to speak to you about it. She earnestly implores you to gather a band and come investigate. The people of Odemia have not the means to handle this."
Suddenly, almost in his ear, laughter exploded behind him.
Tlepolemus shot straight up, almost knocking over the table in the process, and spun around.
Rapierian laughed again.
"So, the little Judge cannot do her duties, can she? So, she sends a poor, old fishermen to beg aid of her betters (I use the term loosely when referring to the ol' Enforcer and Wiz goat). How sad...or humorous! I can't say that I am surprised," he shook his head in mock sadness and then looked at the man and gave him a disconcerting smile. "Quite a tale there. Not been getting much sleep lately? Hallucinating maybe?"
He paused and considered Tlepolemus.
"No, I do believe that what passes for your wits is intact (or at least as much it ever is). Fancy that! Well, it's to be expected...it'd be too easy and boring to get rid of it. I have a potion for that...well, maybe, I had one...I think...maybe not. Would you like one if I make one?"
Still laughing, the necromancer turned his back to the frightened and angry fishermen. Raising his voice, he addressed the others gathered in the Tavern.
"So, should we help these noble, goodhearted, brave, generous, caring citizens? Or should we watch and laugh as they are destroyed in some no doubt hilarious manner?"
Hmm, well, I must admit I was hoping for some kind of response. Ah well, I suppose I shall go ahead and start the TS.
The necromancer was greeted by silence.
Rapierian shrugged, supposing that everyone must have fallen asleep.
He supposed that he might as well go to Odemia. After all, strange events usually afforded one an opportunity to wreak havoc and have fun.
Besides, he figured that some people would head out that way anyway.
Ignoring everyone else, Rapierian strode to the door and headed outside. A number of other people also left the Tavern, planning to go to Odemia and investigate the strange event reported by Tlepolemus.
Little did they realize that their adventure would take them to a much different place...
Pleased that the "silent treatment" had some measure of success against the eternally annoying Necromancer, Shanadar turned to Wizard.
"Huh, if its not one thing, then its another." the Enforcer moaned, somewhat bemused, "Rapierian is likely behind this, but, then again, he's usually behind most everything these days."
"Regrettably" Wizard replied with an annoyed sigh, his still-smoldering beard bearing silent witness to Rapierian's antics.
"I don't know if you want to come along this time, after that ordeal you went though, but it would probably be helpful if you at least questioned Tlepolemus for more details" Shanadar said, before pausing, "As for me, although I do not particularly desire to go on yet another adventure, but it seems I'm left with little recourse."
"Admirable though your dedication be" the wizened old man chastened, "You can hardly expect to be battling the terrors of the sea with a mere stick". The Mage gestured to the Enforcer's (recently confiscated) club.
"True enough I have a tendency to be the group's whipping-boy" Shanadar replied, knocking back the last of his extra-strong Ruffian whiskey, "But this time, I plan to be prepared."
"You'd better hurry up, then." the Wizard retorted, "You've only got a few hours at most before the group leaves for Cademia."
Rising from his chair, the Enforcer cast one last lasting glance at the older adventurer. " I'll be back. "
And with that, he left the Tavern.
Some time later, the burly rent-a-guard returned through the front door, and, true to his word, he was prepared. Scratch that, he was more than prepared; equipped with thick, full-body leather armor, a bladed staff, bombs, lock-picks, heavy boots, knives of every description, and even a loosely-fitting helmet that had obviously been thrown in as an afterthought, the Enforcer was clearly dressed for a full-scale war. Perhaps several.
Either impressed by his display, or worried that the notoriously accident-prone Shanadar was now a potential danger to others, the entire Tavern was stunned into silence.
"Right, its time to go Scylla hunting" the Enforcer remarked giddily, "Everybody ready?"
Nobody dared tell him that the group had left five minutes ago.
(OoC): Sorry, this was a golden oppertunity which I simply could not resist! I'll catch up with the group in the TS soon enough, though.(/OoC)