Vesper in general is the biggest city most people who have been there have ever seen, but in the winter it’s even fuller than usual. Tribes come in from Dinosaur Swamp and occasionally from the mountains to the west to trade and then spend the winter spending everything they’ve made on strong drink and various entertainments.
The problem is that they sometimes get rowdy. Ordinarily that’s not a huge problem though the incidence of barfights goes sharply up during the winter months. It’s a lot of spilt drink and broken furniture but it’s manageable most of the time.
And then sometimes it’s not. The ‘fight’ that broke out in the market square had become a small riot and it had become necessary to break them up.
So Hunter parked twenty six feet of angry robotic wolf in the square and told them all to go home.
Oddly enough, they had all listened, but now Hunter is thirsty from all that barking and stepping into what looks like an utterly ruined bar. There doesn’t seem to be a table or a chair in the place that isn’t splintered and the staff are still sweeping up broken glass and mopping the nice ironwood floor. Most of the bottles that used to be behind the bar are… no longer there and the bartender – a young Simvan in a white shirt – looks a bit harried.
“What’s a wolfen have to do to get a drink in here?”
“You could try not barking at the poor staff…” A blonde with great grey wings on her back says from behind the Wolfen. “… Although I confess that I’m impressed how effective your bark truly is…” If she sounds amused, she sort of is. Picking her way across the bar, smiling at the Simvan who looks so harried “Mind if I help ourselves?”
She drops a small bag that ‘clicks’ on the counter as she speaks, reaching for one of the remaining bottles and some glasses.
The Simvan looks inside the bag and nods vigorously.
“Those crystals you bought back from Vanished Point turned a nice little profit.”
“Learn how to reconstruct steins from shards of glass,” Victroria reesponds somewhat ruefully. SHe is making her way through the now empty square with a certain amount of trepidation in her steps. Slow, deep breaths are tkane and carefully exhaled as she travels and finally ends up behind the Wolfen beside the bar.
“This looks… Charming,” Tori starts, shaking her head. “I don’t know what is wrong with some people. Back home if people were this rowdy someone would com by and just…” She brings her hands together and then spreads them, fingers splaying. “Hello again.”The bloodshed drew Wraith to it… though she did her best to restrict herself to helping the more severely-wounded to recover enough to either go home or make it to a medical facility of some sort. Now, the pallid, scarred redhead in the Gothically gloomy armour ambles over to the exterior of the tavern, to peer curiously at the unusual mech parked outside. She’s keeping her hands to herself, but looks interested… until movement and voices prompt her to peek inside, brows arching as she spots a pair of wings. And alcohol being bought. Things are looking up.
Sindri is pretty sure this bar is going to do be ordering -alot- of new stock in the coming days, but he has his Naruni Revolver on full display given that people are in fact, causing riots, right? Still, he’s an easy going man, and wanted nothing to do with it. “Who has the giant wolf out front?” Of course Sindri is curious about that, not drink! Because us pilots gotta stick together and all!
Having been arriving with Victoria, Elpida seems a bit caught off guard by the level of devestation and the presence of so many people she recognizes. Like Wraith, for example. And the winged woman she’s seen before. And the Wolfen.
“…is this sort of thing a frequent occureence?” she asks Victoria, simply by virtue of having been near her in the first place.
“Oh. My. Gosh. How fun was that!!” Squees Maddy gleefully as she enters what is left of the bar. “I managed to kick this giant squiddy thing in the nuts…all three pair!!” She wriggles the fingers of her right hand and seems content. “And nothing broken…except those nuts. Though I wish they hadn’t broken. Now I got all this black stuff over my boot.” Sure enough there is slimy black ink over her right combat boot. “And this guy tried to sneak up behind me and I was all like ‘You want to sneak up then you should bathe’ and he was all like…well…nothing…cause I punched him in the throat.” She looks around at the others with gleeful eyes before pursing her lips in concern. “Why isn’t anyone else excited?”
“I didn’t get to see any of that,” Victoria responds blankly to Maddy, though she is squickly smiling again afterward. To Elpida she replies, “I have no idea, I was actually just asking the same thing…” She blinks a couple times before adding, “I wonder if we can still get that drink…”Wraith trails into the bar behind the others, eavesdropping cheerfully while picking out the familiar faces (and voices) she can spot. Maddy receives an amused grin and a slight head-shake, but for the time being the paranormal scout is content to just lurk and observe the interactions.
“…oh hey, Maddy!” Elpida seems pleased to see her and Wraith to boot, lifting a hand to greet both of them. She pulls her hood down and gives her head shake, which sends her snakes-a stretching and twisting.
Sindri knows Maddy..sort of. Actually he knows the -voice- from a job…also Wraith. He just grins a bit at Wraith. “Wait..is that the pilot of that bot I had to bail out from raiders?” He suddenly asks towards Maddy…also he makes a grimace at her..boot?Hunter glances over Victoria’s way as he moves for the other end of the bar. Since Ardul just bought… everything that’s left he ducks down to find some mugs or steins or something that isn’t broken, retrieves the rest of the booze – which amounts to some wine, some brandy and some imported and rather difficult to find scotch – and starts to pour. At this point folks are welcome to come take what they’d like while the staff works on making the place semi-liveable again.
“Common? No not really. Southerners get a bit rowdy from time to time. Not usually that rowdy though.” He spares a glance for Maddy as she comes in, clearly… thrilled at her good fortune to have been stuck in a massive if short lived brawl.
“Well. Drinks are on the house, it seems. What drinks aren’t on the floor that is.” For himself he gets some of that scotch. Mmmm. Whiskey. Not so easy to get here these days.
Victoria is apparently completely content with something which would double as a decent drain cleaner. She sniffs it before shrugging and taking a long swig, turning to look at everyone in turn. “You know all theese people, Elpie?” She asks, tilting herh ead slightly as she does so. Blue tresses partially obscure the young woman’s face and she gestures with her bottle as she speaks. “Hello, everyone. I’m Victoria.. Don’t mind me… Usually no one wants to drink this stuff anyway.” No one except Tori? Perhaps.
Still behind the bar, Ardul watches the others come in, grey wings flexing slightly and stirring the debris on the floor at her feet. “Well it’s good to see you made it into Vesper.” she says to Tori and Elpida, taking a tumbler and pouring herself a generous amount of the brandy. “I’m Ardul. This is Hunter…” she says of the Wolfen. “I trust no one was injured out there?”
Judging by the way her armour is still gleaming, she missed the melee and she doesn’t seem disappointed in that fact.
“Ooh…I could do with a drink” Maddy claps, adrenaline still running rampant through her veins. “Hey, Hair Net (that’s Elpida). Got any weed?” She skips towards the bar…via Wraith. “Hey Rose! Haven’t seen you for ages! Though you do sort of go invisible and stuff.” Assuming there is a tangible form to hug, Wraith will get a hug. Then off to the bar once more.
“Victoria?” Maddy considers this and then shakes her head. “Nah. You need a better name than that. Can I have a sip?” She grabs the bottle and chugs down a mouthful before handing it back. “Smooth” Maddy squeaks. “That’s what your new name is…Sip.” A wave to Ardul. “Hey, Wing Woman.” And then a nod to Hunter. “Fluffball” she smiles sweetly to the big wolf before grabbing a mug out of the bag. Maddy peers at Sindri. “Don’t know you though.”Never having laid eyes (or ears) upon Sindri outside his armour, Wraith is also rather clueless as to who he might be. But she offers a polite nod to those who notice her… and a smile to both Elpida and Maddy, though she laughs and leans into the hug that she receives from the latter. “I find it to be a useful talent,” she informs the mad mech-pilot, offering her a cheerful grin. Once released, she steps forward to claim a drink. “I don’t think that anyone’s suffered *too* serious lasting harm out there,” she answers Ardul, before raising her booze in toast to the room.
Sindri begins to grin at Maddy’s energy..oh god is it infectious? It -could- be. “Sure you do..I operate that Ulti..we just never met face to face, only Bot to Bot and all.” He says..striding up to the bar..so many new nicknames to remember…if he can’t find an intact glass..pulling right from the bottle oughta work too! “Just like Red would..ahh no. She didn’t ..” He forgot he was doing maintence that day and yelling at people about ..well unloading the thing. “Skoal?” He says about drinking.
“A better name… What do you mean?” Victoria blinks a few times and then slowly shakes her head. “Tori, then.” She shrugs a couple time and settles into watching the chaos go back and forth with wide eyes. Finally she just laughs nad takes a swig of her drink. “Okay then. Did something in particular start all that or was that just the biggest drunken brawl i’ve ever seen?” She blinks but ultimately shrugs.
“She nicknames everyone, it seems,” replies Elpida to Victoria with a low laugh. “She calls me Hair Net, for example,” she adds, giving her shoudlers a shrug before saying, “So, ahh… /what/ happened here, exactly?” She asks, eyebrows lifting. She does have those, at least.“I should hope not.” Hunter’s bot isn’t really fitted for nonleathal crowd control so he was happy that no one had really decided to test whether he wanted to use lethal means. They’re not bad people, the tribesmen. Just… drunk idiots. Or rather idiots when drunk. Which is frequently during these months.
Drinks handed out, Hunter leans back, since there’s no place to sit, and takes a sip as he watches this supremely odd group of people.
“Barfight.” He answers the gorgon. “Big, big, big barfight.”
“Oh…you’re the guy in that little robot” Maddy replies to Sindri. “Shoot…surprised you fit in it.” A gentle nudge to Victoria before she adds, “That’s what she said.” Then back to Sindri. “Thanks for helping my Tits on that mission. I couldn’t hit the side of a barn that day. Which would normally be okay since I don’t usually shoot at barns but I also couldn’t hit those guys with the rocket launchers.” She lifts her mug to Wraith before giving Sindri an odd look. “Skoal? Like a skoal of fish? Okay everyone, we’re toasting fish! Prefer them grilled myself… Wait, it was a drunken brawl?” Maddy seems perturbed about this…for half a second. “Shoot. I thought it was just a party. Lucky I didn’t invite Tess along.”
“Someone probably translated something incorrectly and called anothers mother something nasty.” Ardul takes a sip of the brandy and rests her arms against the bar. “That or someone ordered the wrong drink and … someone took offense. Saw it often enough with the younger guardsman in the castle.”
Which castle is a likely a good question. There isn’t really one around here. But the winged woman has a certain presence about her.
Maddy’s rambling gets an amused snort from the blonde as she observes the others as they talk.
“That’s what she said,” Tori repeats before giving her head a quick shake. Elpida gets a nod and then Tori shrugs and looks down at the bottle of booze she is carrying.. A swig apparently makes eerything better.
“Anyway. No bodies, the booze survived largely intact. The world seems to be a beautiful place!” Hiccup. Hiccup. Vicctoria blinks at the bottle. “…Not this again.”Laughing softly, Wraith (or ‘Red’) shakes her head, grinning at Maddy’s stream of half-consciousness. “Fish!”, she says with a wink to the pilot, before adding, “I’m glad that it got reined in when it did,” she says. “I like Vesper too much to want to see it get messed up.”
Sindri is suddenly paying attention to a comm unit on his belt..it’s alerting him. “Ahh damn..loading completed, I need to go make sure they didn’t jack that up..” He says and looks at Maddy and her odd look. “Skoal also means cheers!” He says as he leaves, snickering..Maddy is to much fun! “We oughta get together again! Rock and roll some raiders again!”
Staring at Maddy for a long moment, Elpida puts a hand to her face and just laughs before she reaches out to take Victoria’s bottle, if she’s allowed. She’s curious to give it a try, in any case.
“Rock and roll!!” Maddy agrees enthusiastically with Sindri, holding up a ‘devil’s horns’ gesture with her right hand for good measure. “Have fun, Barbie” she calls out after him – it’s that long hair of his. “Messed up, Rose?” Maddy looks around at the destruction. “This is an improvement! Do you remember how this place looked before?” Victoria’s hiccups make her giggle. “Can’t handle your drink, Sip?” she winks to the blue-haired girl before nodding sagely to Ardul. “They beered when they should have scotched. Hey! Anyone got some bounties on demons yet?”“…bounties?”, asks Wraith, dragging her gaze back from the departing ‘Barbie’, and her thoughts away from whatever might have prompted Maddy to bestow *that* name on him. “Damn. I’ve been hunting demons up in the mountains for a few weeks now,” she says sheepishly. “Is someone offering bounties on them now?”
Victoria offers up the bottle to Elpida, offering a rueful smile. “I can handle my booze just- hic- fine,” she starts, before shaking her head and laughing. “Damned hic-ic-cipups.” She sighs and takes a deep breath, holding it in, bottle held out.
Elpida can’t help it. She breaks out into laughter as Victoria hicccups and then takes the bottle with a fond smile. “I’m sure you’ll survive just fine. I wouldn’t put it past her for her to be able to drink you under the table, anyway, Maddy,” she nods, solemn.
“…and yes? You didn’t know?” she queries Wraith.
“The city is offering bounties. Take proof to the Armsman Building and they’ll give you Vesper cash” Maddy explains before draining her drink. “Mmm…that was a pretty disgusting drink but it will have to do. Or did.” A grin for Elpida. “I’ll drink anywhere. Under the table. On the table. Hanging upside down after falling from a balcony while wrapped up in curtains…umm…purely hypothetical.” Throwing the mug back in the bag she sighs softly. “I have to go, ladies. See if Tessa wants that second date. I mean, she /is/ my girlfriend but…um…just have to convince her of that. Lovely to see you and meet you. Catch you on the flipside.”
Victoria waves with both hands as Maddy departs, still holding her breath. She is starting to turn red bu the young woman valientl ycontinues. The alcohol smells like it is strong as sin. Probably because it is. Tori didn’t seem to make much of it, of course. Theen again she is currently dying of hiccups.Wraith offers Maddy a somewhat dazed smile and waves, smiling as she shakes her head. “Nope. I started chasing them after they hit Dogwood’s borderlands. I didn’t realise there was an official Vesper bounty.” Looking to Victoria, she arches a brow… but doesn’t interrupt what is evidently a very serious effort.
Reaching over, Elpida attempts to pat Victoria on the back a few times. She’s always heard that helps.
Victoria lets out her breath with a gasp. She spends a couple seconds shaking as she tries to rgain her composure. Over a minute without oxygen can do that. But then she nods triumphantly, with a beatific smile for both Wraith and Elpida. “…perfect. tIt worked.” She rolls her shoulders a bit. “I always hate it when that hap- hic!” Victoria squints now and breathes a heavy sigh. “Maybe if I can get someone to scare me… One of those demons I should be out hunting or osmething.” She blink.“I could arrange a scare,” Wraith/Catriona says dryly. “But I’ve never found that it seems to make people feel better. I’d suggest a drink of water… but after *that* fight, I wouldn’t want to risk much around here. Too much chance of someone having been thrown into it.”
“Eugh. More than likely,” she tells the Wraith, before letting out a yawn and a stretch. She hands the bottle back to Victoria, having managed her swallow well enough without intense hiccups. Maybe it isn’t quite as strong to her. “What’s in that bottle, anyway?” she asks.
“Nearly pure alcohol,” Victoria responds drily, tilting her head. “They didn’t even pretend to flavor it. I think if you heated it up the bottle would explode.” She shrugs and takes another swig. Hic. “Well, I mean. Being scared doesn’t make you- hic- better but it might be the hic-hic-… Oh, for crying out *hic*.”“I can try a scare, if you really want,” Wraith says a little dubiously. “Though I might just wind up freaking you out, or anyone watching. It’s hard to know how people’ll respond.” She pauses slightly, looking from bright blue hair to Elpida’s writhing snakes, then glances down at what she can see of her own blood-red locks.
“I totally woiuld pay good money for this,” says Elpida, “if my money still had value. And I had any left.” She looks amused, giving Tori a little nudge with her hand.
“Okay. Go for it! I won’t blame you. It’s- hic- my own… Fault.” Tori takes a deep breath and turns her attention fullly onto Wraith. Blue eyes watch intently. She looks like an innocent, especially with the blue tresses framing her face. The girl blinks a couple times. “Okay.”“Oh, just give me a minute. I need to go and get something,” Catriona says, offering a wry smile. “Back in a moment.” She raises a hand, turning to head outside…
“She’s gonna manage it,” says Elpdia, firmly. And then she settles in to observe. She does keep a small distance. If she’s startled, she’s not sure how the snakes are gonna take it.
Victoria nods and hen turns to set down the bottle eof alcohol on the nearest table. “Okay,, I should- hic- probably not just wave this around then.” Tori nods a couple times, perhaps to herself.Catriona might not naturally be the most stealthy or unobtrusive of people… but she has a few gifts to assist her in going unnoticed, not least when she’s starting from a point out of the purview of their senses. Consequently, she simply moves out of line of sight, shifts to ghost form to remove her capacity to generate audible footsteps, then activates her mentally-generated defences against being perceived.
The first evident proof of this is provided to Elpida and Victoria when, without any preamble or hint of warning, Elpida sees a somewhat familiar form of black shadow appear right behind Victoria – with one hand of black mist already bursting through the blue-haired druid’s chest, to reach up in front of her face.
Victoria screams initally, looking down at the hand then up at the ceiling nad down again. She’s staring for a seocnd, cheeks white as a sheet. The girl has a surprisingly shrill sccream when she is really startled, piercing and pure. She also has a strong soprano voice that rings when she cries out. She stumbles forward, like hse might fall over… And then she starts to laugh. “That was brilliant!” Seems she’s figured out what the fuss is about at least.
“YAUGH,” says Elpida.
She was expecting it, of course, but she can’t help but startle and shriek anyway. Her snakes rise up and slither and hiss loudly, all kinds of agitated at her shock before, as she calms down, doing much the same.Wraith makes sure she’s fully disengaged from contact with (let alone inside) Victoria, before resolidifying – the process entailing the mass of shadow shrinking somewhat, reducing to her normal size, before colour fades back in (such as their is), then a three-dimensional jigsaw-like pattern of jagged black lines fades out of view and she takes a breath.
“Hi,” she says sheepishly, raising a hand in greeting.
Victroria is grinning and clapping once Cat has reappeared, nodding her head emphatically. “I think I nearly had a heart attack. That was perfect! Thank you!” It seems she recovers from catastrophic fright quickly and right now the girl is taking another deep breath. “Okay… I think it worke.d Thank you!” SHe looks over to see the state of Elpida then, tilting her head slightly as she does.
“She’s pretty amazing, isn’t she?” says Elpida to Victora. “I was thinking of demon hunting with her. It’s dangerous but I already fought three like you saw, so I might as well make some money on top of it. It’s not like I have useful skills.”
The snakes begin to settle slightly.Catriona offers another sheepish smile, then moves to reclaim her drink. “Amazing, huh? Thank you. Sincerely. And I wish I’d known about the bounties. I’ve no idea if it would have made me rich, but it would have been welcome. Though lugging around demon-parts for ‘proof’ might have been… unpleasant. Still… I suspect that both of you can handle yourselves.”
“I seem to be doing alright for myself so far. I’ve run into a few things but nothing that was too dangerous,” Victoria responds, nodding as she turns toward he door. “I think it is time for me to go someplace with, um, chairs. Before I push my luck further at least.” there’s a laugh from Tori and then she stas to move toward the door. “Catch up to me when you can, Elle!” She’ll be gone in seconds if unaccosted.
“…bye?” says Elpida after Victoria, looking after her fondly. “Ahaha,” she says after a moment before turning her gaze back to Cat. “Thanks for helping her.”Catriona raises a hand, waving farewell to Victoria, before looking back to Elpida and cracking a grin. “If you’re serious about demon-hunting, we can see what we can figure out. But perhaps moving somewhere with chairs might be good… once we’re sure that we’ve not been left to pay for everyone’s drinks, that is.”
“HIC! …Bloody hell!” Tori’s voice soon fades out of earshot.
After a fight in the streets is put down, a group of adventurers catch up.
January 16, 2410