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Meeting the Locals/A Night at Swally's Swamp Bar

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It was a quiet night at Swally's. Bard sat by the window, gently strumming his lute as the salt sea breeze caressed his stubble-stained cheeks. He inhaled deeply, there was something so familiar and comforting in the sounds and smells of the sea. Just then a server approached. "Fill 'er up for ya love?" The server gestured to his nearly empty pint of ale. Bard tilted his head aside, and gave a deep squinty-eyed grin. "That has to be the most beautiful thing anyone has ever said to me...yes, another would be most appreciated." Just as the server turned to fill his pint he slid the coin of tips which hung at her side.

Gingerly tossing in his hand the light feel spelled a not so active night for the young woman. Just then, Bard stood and stepped quickly to her, "Beg pardon, you dropped this. One would think better next time to keep coins closer to her person." Her thanks were met with a smile that, were it any more staged, he'd compliment it with a dance number. It wasn't a second guess or guilt which made him return the coin, it was simply too light to make any effort seem worth the swipe. Looking over the patrons, or lack there of, he would take up his seat at the window once more and strum his lute gently. This time, a tune began to form. Without request, a song was to be had.

A hungry feeling, came o'er me stealing
And the mice were squealing in my prison cell
And the auld triangle, went jingle jangle
All along the banks of the Royal Canal

To begin the morning, a screw was bawling
Get up you bowsie, and clean up your cell
And the auld triangle, went jingle jangle
All along the banks of the Royal Canal

The lags were sleeping, humpy Gussy was creeping
As I lay there weeping for my girl Sal
And the auld triangle, went jingle jangle
All along the banks of the Royal Canal

Up in the female prison, there are seventy five women
'Tis among them I wish I did dwell
Then the auld triangle, could go jingle jangle
All along the banks of the Royal Canal
All along the banks of the Royal Canal

The last bit garnered some laughter as the pint made it's to his table. "So lads...another?" He asked his audience, small as it may be, it was an audience none the less. Their cheer would bring a grin as he strummed another tune. Such was this night of meeting the locals.

Edited by ButAHumbleBard

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Bela pushed the door to the bar open. Swally's, the sign had said. Not that she really cared about the place; she cared more about what was to find in it. 

She took a quick look around, noticed a few people scattered in the room and a man sitting with a lute, then headed straight to the bar. She took off her long leather coat while walking, hanging it casually across the left arm. The bartender opened his mouth, perhaps to greet her or ask what she wanted, but she interrupted him before he got the chance.

"Rum." She pulled out a small purse that clinked when she shook it. When he returned with a glass and filled it up, she gave him a wide smile and placed a stack of coins on the desk. "Keep 'em coming." She raised the glass to her lips and emptied it in one drag. The bartender filled it up for her once more, and she sighed with pleasure. 

"That ought to buy me a room, too, aye?" She placed a few more coins on top of the others. He swept them down to the palm of his hand. She noted where he put them, in a small sack hanging from his belt. She planned on having both that and then some by the time she left tomorrow.

After placing herself on a barstool, she looked around the room again. She turned her attention to the man with the lute, hoping he intended on playing again. 'And he ain't bad to look at, either,' she thought with a grin.

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The clink-clink of coins caused his keen ears to twitch. Truly a magical sound, nothing could match such an enchanting song to the ears not even Bard's own strums, which he held to the highest regard unsurprisingly. 

"And so lads, ladies for this next course I encourage you to do as I, and find yourself a partner." Bard stood as he strummed away, standing from his seat and cut off the server who had previously had given his ale with a devilish grin when he saw how feverishly red she had become. "This next song is a bit of a cautionary tale..." Bard warned as his fingers kept a catchy pace on the strings, boots tapped away to a beat easy to clap to. Hips swayed side to side as the strings kept their steady pace as he began. 

Don't fall in love with me darlin', I'm a rambler
Though you are the sweetest sweetheart in this world
It's all for your sake dear that I'm leavin'
So, don't give your heart to a rambler, little girl

 
Well I handed you a lie and now I'm sorry
You're just a little sweeter than the rest
Believe me when I say I don't want to hurt you
Or do anything to spoil your happiness
Don't fall in love with me darlin', I'm a rambler
Though you are the sweetest sweetheart in this world
It's all for your sake dear that I'm leavin'
So, don't give your heart to a rambler, little girl
 
Don't fall in love with me darlin', I'm a rambler
Though you are the sweetest sweetheart in this world
It's all for your sake dear that I'm leavin'
So, don't give your heart to a rambler, little girl
Yeah, don't you give your heart to a rambler, little girl
 
Battling early shyness the server laughed before swaying the music and accompanying clapping. Bard, ever the showman spun about before leaning toward a drunkard's ale and drinking his remaining ale and planting a kiss on his furrowed brow moving back to the dancing server before the tune would end just as Bard planted himself on a seat on the stool at Bela's side where he greeted her with a smile before taking a much needed breath. 
 
Without looking back toward the tender and missing much of a beat he called out. "Pint of ale. On her." A hand was offered after his generous claim to have Bela pay for his drink. In his own mind, he viewed it as a favor for the young lass, surely she would be appreciative. "Traben".
Edited by ButAHumbleBard

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Bela laughed excitedly at the sound of the tune, staying put while observing the dancers. The bar wasn't very full, but the people were in high spirits. She suspected that the singing lute-player had something to do with it.

When he sat down next to her and ordered something on her, she raised an eyebrow with a teasing smile. She took his hand and shook it firmly. "Bela." She held his hand for a moment longer than necessary and leaned in closer to him. "A real gentleman, aye?" Her voice was low and soft. Then she leaned back, let go of his hand and laughed when the bartender with the ale, expecting his payment.

"He's a big boy. He can damn well pay for his own ale." She let her fingers run over the small purse of her own coins, narrowed her eyes at the stranger. She knew a thief when she saw one; hell, she was one. She let the purse slide down in her shirt for safekeeping in her breast-holder. She would surely notice if he tried to swipe it from there. She let the rum swirl around in the glass before emptying that one, too. The bartender filled it up for her, and she nodded as a thank you.

Edited by Tia Dalma

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"Last of a dying breed I'm afraid." Bard replied with a smirk, looking at his ale and the tender before giving shrug. "Just add it up." He remarked in terms of a tab he was accumulating. The tender seemed hesitant as the tab Bard was already racking up since his arrival.

He eyed the coin purse and offered a lingering stare before looking back up to Bela. "Where many have ventured and few have returned..." Bard quipped before showing his hand to clarify the observation. "...hands I mean. I fancy keeping mine." 

He laughed before taking a long pull of the ale. "Local or passing through?" Eyes scanned the bar. Bard had the look of a man always thinking, planning. While not someone of vast strength, his mind was a machine that never ceased. 

Edited by ButAHumbleBard

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Bela shook her head a bit with a laugh. She imagined this man to be quite the charmer and found herself momentarily appreciating the fact that she spent most of her time in the company of men. She wasn't as easy winning over as a farmer's daughter, she guessed. She played with one of the pearls that was weaved into her red hair while observing him. He had a look on his face as if he was scheming.

"Passing through. I belong on the water, not on land." She narrowed her eyes a bit, though still smiling; trying to figure him out. "And you?" The fact that he had a tab and the rather annoyed look on the bartender's face made it seem like he was a local. But then again - why would someone like him choose to settle down here? Thieving was best in the larger cities, especially if you were a pocket thief. She knew it from experience. 

"Ye don't seem like the kind o' man who would stay here permanently," she added with a little, mischievous smile, her green eyes glimmering with curiosity. 

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"Haven't quite figured that part out yet..." His voice trailed off a bit because he wasn't quite sure if rooting himself was the best idea.

"Though the smell of salt, piss, and other excreting fumes from the body we best not ask about, does give a certain feeling..."

Just as timing would have it the tender had belched, unaware of his remark. 

"I stand corrected." 

Just then Bard placed his lute on the counter and motioned for the tender. As he approached he would lean forward and begin whispering to into his ear.

The tender's face went sickly pale, sweat beaded his perfectly bald head offering an almost awe-inspiring sheen. 

The tender would clear his throat and stepped away from the counter, just as Bard stepped off his stool. 

"Coming?" 

One hand swayed toward Bela as an offer. The other, which held the lute aimed toward the door. 

"I'm afraid time is scarce and will only allow for yes or no." 

Edited by ButAHumbleBard

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Bela watched his quiet conversation with the bartender with narrow eyes and a little smile on her lips, a puzzled look on her face. If nothing else, this lute-playing thief didn't seem to lead a boring life. She raised an eyebrow in slight surprise when he offered her his hand. Her curiosity got the best of her. 'This could be interesting...' She quickly emptied her glass, feeling the pleasant buzzing of the rum run through her veins.

"S'pose it's a yes, then." She took his hand and jumped down on the floor. He was tall, she noted when looking up at him. Bela enjoyed staying where the fun was; and she had an idea that the fun would leave with him. 

"Better be worth it. I paid for that rum," she added while moving towards the door with grin.

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Bard pushed his way out the bar, releasing Bela's hand as he swung the lute over his shoulder. His steps, brisk as he moved quickly toward the back of the bar, where the tender had waited. "I'm terribly sorry if it wasn't clear from inside...but i'm robbing this gentleman and his establishment." A sheepish grin was given just as from the interior of his vest, a pistol was drawn. The flintlock was good for a single shot, so had a situation has arisen he would certainly make it count. 

"So if you would be so kind as to hand me the contents of today's earnings, as well as the key to the storage in the back, there is but one more trinket I will require."

Despite the situation at hand Bard was indearingly polite, though it mattered not to the tender as the barrel of the pistol rested on his forehead. His hands shaken as the bag of earnings was given. Bard used his free hand to clip the bag to the belt which latched firmly to his waist. 

"You understand since you've seen my face this brings us to an unfortunate circumstance. Clumsiness on my part, perhaps a little bravado given my present company...but you understand."

The tender, elder in age pleaded for his life as he had also given Bard the key to the storage room. He appeared almost insulted at the accusation.

"I'm no monster sir...but I'm not stupid either. I will return, on this day at the end of every month. I expect a greater audience for my performances, and I expect to collect more than what has been given tonight. If I detect any indication that you have somehow spoken of this incident to anyone, you will see a monster indeed."

The tender nodded, his eyes to the ground. Bard looked at Bela quickly shaking his head and stifling a laugh. He knew he wasn't a monster, and couldn't recall a life he had taken. Hell, he's only ever shot at empty bottles, maybe a scarecrow...but he never missed, and that's all that counted. 

Theatrics were part of the deal. He'd play a song and dance, put the fear of God into a patron foolish enough to hire him, and collect "royalties" from said location until he grew bored.

"Madam please, if you would be so kind as to tie up this good man. Please be gentle."

It was then the pistol would be aimed at Bela. 

"Please understand I find you completely entrancing, but I simply can not take a chance...for the time being." 

With the pistol he would gesture toward her chest and give a slight motion, revealing why he brought her. 

"Would you also be so kind as to give me what it is you placed in there. I wouldn't think of being so bold as to reach for it."

He was in fact a gentleman. Patiently he waited, though slight movement from the tender caused him to slip a dagger from his hip holster.

"Please don't."

Tender froze just as Bard looked back at Bela.

Edited by ButAHumbleBard

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Bela followed the whole charade with no big reaction; merely a small smile on her lips as if she found the situation entertaining, and her eyebrows slightly raised. She raised them further when he pointed his gun towards her instead. So this was why he brought her out here. 'Son of a bitch,' she thought, but her expression remained unmoved. If anything, the corner of her mouth curled up to an even wider smile. 

"Ye do know what I do for a living, aye, mate? I assure you... That -" She nodded towards the pistol in his hand "- is a mistake." She shook her head and laughed; the sort of reaction you would have when a child was doing something naughty, but not overly serious. Her hands rested casually by on her belt where her dagger was, though without touching it. 

"What do ye want me to tie him up with, then?"

'Stalling. This situation... needs stalling. And rum. Why the fuck did I leave the rum in there?' She took a few nonchalant steps towards the bartender, thus bringing her closer to Bard as well. She figured she might had a chance at disarming him if she got close enough... She was half elvish, after all, and thereby faster than humans. And she had no intention of giving him her own money - rather take her share of the bartender's. Some of what was in that bag was hers, after all. 'I do hope I don't have to hurt him too bad, though,' she thought with a slight smirk, overly confident that she could if she wanted to.

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Bard thought for a moment before he gave a chuckle. "Well...this is quite embarrassing. Hey..." he would give the tender a nudge with the tip of his boot. "...rope, have any rope?"

He still appeared shaken at the ordeal unwilling to answer. Bard's eyes scanned about the area before simply clubbed the man on the top of the head with the hilt of his blade keeping the pistol aimed at Bela.

The tender now lay face down on the ground with a muffled snore signalling he was unconscious.

"I'm normally better prepared for these situations but you know...debts to pay, things to see, money to steal...it gets a bit overwhelming when you are a one man operation."

Again he motioned to her chest. "If you would be so kind. If you are what I think you are, there should certainly be more of you around...which there isn't, and while I don't doubt you are quite capable with that blade there...i doubt you could dodge a shot from this pistol fast enough to use that thing with any effectiveness."

Bard would glance back again toward the storage room outback as something definitely seemed of interest back there. Taking his attention away from Bela for the briefest of seconds.

 

Edited by ButAHumbleBard

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Bela watched Bard carefully, casually moving just a bit closer, pretending to want to get nearer the bartender. And then he was distracted.

She acted quickly, reflexes impeccable, when she first swung her leg high enough to kick his wrist - making sure to do so from the left towards the right so that, if he accidentally pulled the trigger, he would shoot past her and not at her. 

When the pistol fell to the ground, she first hit him in the face to bring him out of balance, then pulled her dagger and pressed it not against his throat - he was taller than her and the position could bring her at a disadvantage - but instead between his legs. She tilted her head a bit and smiled up at him.

"Now... I'mma get that pistol. I'd advice ye to stay perfectly still." She crouched down, keeping the dagger in the same position, leaned over and picked up the pistol with her other hand. When she had slowly stood up again, she planted the barrel of the gun right on his chest, ensuring that it would blow his heart out if she shot. She released the pressure from his groin, put the dagger back in its scabbard in her belt without breaking eye contact or the position of the pistol. She smirked about the almost intimate position they were in when she used her now free hand to unclip the bag of the bartender's earnings from his belt. 

"S'pose that's what ye get for bein' a gentleman, love." She took a few steps back. "And if this's what ye were guessin' for me to be... In a pirate's world, it's every man for 'imself. Don't need any more than meself." 

She placed the bag for safekeeping in the same place that she kept the rest of her coins. Rolling the pistol around her finger, she bowed, then threw it before his feet. "The rest's yours. Don't be pullin' any tricks on me again, or I will have to gut you like a fish, mate."

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“Tch, taverns, bars, whatever you want to call them. The are pigsties for common folk. They bring in nothing but gossip and criminals.” The young woman said, standing across the path leading to the building, clearly labeled “Swally's Swamp Bar”. It was dreadful, but the girl supposed it may be better than a night out in the swamp.

 

"Anzo. Follow. You may need to squeeze a bit to make it through the door, but if you go through sideways and crouch, you should probably fit, if not, you’re quite good at fixing things, just bust through the doorframe and patch it up afterwards” The girl said, putting her hands on her hips and beginning to walk towards the establishment, the rider's crop on her hip dangling as she did so, a strange thing to have given she didn’t appear to have a horse.

 

”Of course Lady Aurora.” A Throaty voice growled behind her, a jangle of clattering accompanying it. Anzo stood up to his full massive height, beginning to walk with his master, although he remained almost exactly 3 feet behind her, close enough to defend her if need be, but far enough for her to not feel herself imposed on.

 

As she got closer, she could hear a ruckus coming from Behindthe building, causing her to sigh. [color=#800080]Nothing but trouble…”[/color] She thought to herself, putting a hand up to her face and drawing her crop, bending it slightly in her hands.

 

”Whatever scum is causing this will be thoroughly disciplined for causing this hinderance to my comfort. Be prepared Anzo, it seems there are some troublemakers in there, as usual. Be prepared to dish out some pain if need be.” Aurora finished, turning away from the door and heading around to the back.

 

”Who dare disrupt the order of this establishment which was to be graced by my presence!” She called out, taking a few steps around the corner and looking at the two individuals, allowing Anzo to maneuver his way through the door, still having to crouch slightly to fit, his height of 8’1 often causing difficulties indoors. His presence was enough to send the bar keeper reeling in fear, as a massive armored skeleton often did. However, this did not bother Aurora in the slightest, first impressions were everything, and this was a first impression that demonstrated power.

 

”A caper followed by betrayal, how pitiful you creatures are. You should be honored that you will be thwarted by Duchessa Aurora Agnese Camptomb II!” she said, pointing at them with another flick of her crop, the tip of which seemed to be glimmering slightly with black, red, and white particles.

 

With a flick of her crop, the air in between the two perpetrators erupted, not with a blast of element or force, but with a loud crack of sound. At point blank, this spell could cause someone's eardrums to blow out, but at the range they were, and the skill level she was, it would only daze them and set them off balance. That was all she needed however, as she move to the side, allowing Anzo to move forward.

 

Despite his armor, his armaments were rather lacking at the moment, only a rough wooden tower shield, clearly made out of someone's fence, although thick enough to provide a good amount of protection. In his right hand, was a large club, approximately 5’3 feet in length made out of an old tree, carved into a smoother, more rounded shape, ending with a heavy bludgeoning end. While rough, these weapons were not ones that need necessarily to be in impeccable quality, as their sheer size was what gave them effectiveness.

 

Anzo’s bones clattered as he moved, slowly but surely towards the two troublemakers, who were likely to have recovered from the shock of the blast by now. With another flourish, a spectral hand appeared, wrapping itself around the pistol, freezing it until it was useless. Finally, one last movement caused 2 sets of skeletal hands to raise from the floor, grabbing the pairs ankles.

 

With a chilling moan, Anzo swung the heavy club in a horizontal arc towards the two, aiming to hit the ground where the man's feet were. He was given silent instructions through the link he shared with his master that these two were not to be killed, only immobilized enough that Aurora could discipline them with that crop of hers.

 

If this rough, flailing blow was dodged however, it would take a good bit for the Death knight to move it into position for another swing at them.


 

Edited by Demonicmuffin

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Bard you damn fool. Bloody distracted like a fool...

He thought to himself as one moment he was at an advantage, than he was on his back in a somewhat pressing position. "Tis a curse I'm afraid." He responded the being a gentleman. "Though, from the looks of things...can't say this is all too bad a position to be in, given the circumstances." As she unclipped his bounty for the day he couldn't help but grin. "You think this is the first time a woman held me in this position and took my hard-earned coin? Perhaps, less said about that the better actually..." His voice trailed off as he looked to the side and saw the rather petite looking girl addressing them. A mound of dirt had been clasped in his hands, meant for Bela's eyes for Bard was not beyond blinding a woman with dirt. He would never strike a woman...but you know desperate times. 

"It's not what it looks like." He quickly explained before feeling the hands clasp ankles. "Oh dear..." He felt the shadow of the towering presence lumbering toward him as Bard was forced to think quickly before he lost his legs, which just wouldn't do. How else would he lure the weak hearted women of the lands if not with his dance...or so he thought in these brief moments. When maming was to be expected, even then his mind wandered. 

Think you fool!

As the massive weapon was swung down he sprung forward, rolling and snapping the wrists which held him, and knocking over Bela in the process and landing in a compromising position. Though this came at the price of his lute being crushed as the club had just missed crushing his valuable stems. "Let's strike an accord. Keep the money, I keep this key, we part our merry way all friendly-like." He would begin to move back up to his feet before halting mid way. "Before I run from this demon-wielding child shredding all sense of bravado I might've garnered, let me just say this was...fun."

He grinned and without wasting any movement, stood and looked at the creature and young for a moment before turning and make a hasty exit. 

Bard had every intention of running indeed with or without his new acquaintance. He hadn't the strength to even think of knocking over that behemoth.

Edited by ButAHumbleBard

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Bela was about to respond with something that absolutely would have been clever when they were interrupted by someone. She was about to look when something hit them... Blasted at them, rather. 

"What the fuck!" She probably screamed, losing her hearing for a moment. There was still a squeaking, howling sound for her inner ear, but she could hear somewhat normally after a few minutes. And then Bard pulled her down with him. She lied there for a moment, short of breath as the wind had been knocked out of her. When she heard his suggestion, she nodded with a slightly dizzy grin. Then he ran off. She sent a look in the direction of the skeleton-monster and muttered: "Hell no!" 

She jumped to her feet, staggered a bit, but managed to run after him, though not as quickly. She didn't really have a plan - she'd got her money, he'd got his price, but... well, he probably knew this area better than her, and she didn't plan on sticking around with the magician and her beast. Running after Bard seemed like her best option at the moment. Besides - he seemed like the type of man who might as well be a pirate, and thus he might turn out to be good company - or she could manage to trick him. And he had said that making her acquaintance was fun, right?

What was the worst that could happen?

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