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Acies ab Vesania

Tavern of Legend Season 3

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The bartender watched as Fiji lifted the plate and ate the liver. As he listened to the wolfman he walked up and down the bar, serving other patrons coming full circle back to Fiji. He lifted the now empty plate and walked to the kitchen before coming back with a small plate of fries, popping one in his mouth as he set it beside his root beer. "Well I appreciate that you'll listen to what I say but generally what Vaddok says goes along with the rest of the head of staff. So if you're working here, even if you answer to me, I suggest you listen to them too. They can fire both of us." 

He stops and rewinds what he heard to going back to what Fiji said about a minor perk. "You mentioned a minor perk. Are there any other perks? Generally if there's at least one minor perk there's a major one in turn." Slowly he sips his root beer as he looks around the tavern, watching the servers go about and the patrons having fun.

@Ghorroj

Edited by SteamWarden

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Fiji raised his head from the bar and looked at Just Barkeep @SteamWarden levelly.

"I've already told you both perks.  The minor one is that you choose what I call you, whenever you want.  If I had my way, it'd be the major perk too; you do not want me to name you after my favourite things.  It'd be a bit embarrassing to be in the middle of a big dramatic villainous speech, or taking customer's orders, and have me call you 'hambone' or 'mashed potato', or whatever kind of liver that was because it was delicious.  The major perk is that I don't harm anyone in your organisation without being invited to."

He straightened and flexed his broad shoulders.

"There might be one more, but I honestly can't remember it right now," he lied.  "It's nothing important, I'm sure.  Of course, if this were a major contract, you'd get a lot more perks, and I'd be contractually bound to not tell you any of them."  He paused, and his nostrils flared a little.  "Oh, yes.  Either of us can walk away from a minor contract, but if I do that I'll owe you a favour to the value of whatever it is that prompted me to offer the contract in the first place.  Can't do that with a major contract; I'm in it until the death, imprisonment or thwarting of the other party.  My master finds villains fascinating, for some reason."

Fiji smirked, and stood up.

"I'll be over by the door, doing the job we agreed.  Maybe having a big beastman lurking over there and watching everything will be enough to keep people here from getting too rowdy.  Shout if you need anything, Just Barkeep."

And with that, he turned, strode over to the door and leaned against the wall next to it, arms crossed and expression inscrutable, as he waited for trouble.

Edited by Ghorroj

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The bartender listened to the perks Fiji talked about, chuckling a small bit as he imagined being called mashed potato in front of Vaddock. This contract had a lot to it, more than he thought there would be. And the talk of Fiji having a master intrigued him too. Who would be able to control or at the very least tell a massive beastman what to do? Many questions arrived but not much time to ask as a server came by needing a few bottles of booze. Handing the bottles over he listened to Fiji say 'Just Barkeep' and chuckled once again. "Guess I'll get used to more than just Barkeep," he said quietly with a smile.

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The night passed without much incident, aside from a minor scrap between two drunkards who were swiftly tossed bodily out of the front door.  And so...

Time: Morning

Location: Outside

Morning had brought snow.  To be fair, Fiji had been awake for it and had already slept the full three hours that he required, followed by an hour lie-in.  He was definitely getting lazy in his old-age, he'd decided, before his bladder forced him to get up properly.  Just like an old person he'd thought, as he wandered outside of the building to mark his territory properly.  He stood in the otherwise unremarkable and empty back lot, listening to the silent hiss of the snow as it fell around him and being careful not to let the stream hit his own limbs.

He did not want the nickname 'Mister Pissy-Paws' again.  Once was enough.

He'd smirked at the thought and then spent some hours building snowmen on the front lawn, each complete with a chamberpot-helmet (stolen from multiple rooms), a broom spear (stolen from multiple closets, until they ran out) and various trouser-related capes (stolen from various taverngoers and staff while they slept).  He was quite pleased with the resulting army of thirty or so snowmen, who stood with their trouser-capes flapping in the mild breeze and apparently fighting one another.

Satisfied, he turned away, found a snow-covered table to sit on and, back to the snow-army, facing the tavern, snapped his fingers.

There was a flicker of blue light, and two halves of a very surprised bird fell to the ground in a splash of steaming innards.  The wolfman sighed, and snapped his fingers again, and again, and again...

 

@SteamWarden

Edited by Ghorroj

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Alrik pushed open the tavern’s doors, his tattered cloak pulled tightly around his body. The light inside the squat, nondescript building blinded him for a moment, as did the variety of delicious smells emanating from the kitchen at the far end of the room.

How did I get here? Alrik thought, rubbing his eyes as he glanced around the room. Several patrons lounged about at glistening wooden tables. Others hung from rafters positioned several feet in the air, their feet and other appendages dangling over the rest of the bar. 

Alrik felt his stomach grumble. He couldn’t remember the last time he had eaten. He stumbled over to a nearby booth and called over the nearest waitress. 

“Hi there! Welcome to the Tavern of Legend!” The waitress said, green eyes glittering in the yellow candle light that illuminated the room. “I’m Gwen. What can I do for you?” Her voice had a soft accent to it that, try as he might, Alrik just couldn’t place.

“I, uh, can I get whatever smells so amazing?” Alrik grumbled, his hoarse voice quiet in the loud tavern.

“Ah of course!” Gwen replied, her soft, pink lips parting into a smile that revealed shimmering white teeth. “What you’re smelling is Chef Berwater’s Famous Venison Pot Roast! I’ll bring that right out to you!” She spun towards the kitchen, her loose black skirt swirling around her long, pale legs.

Alrik pulled off his cloak and placed it in the booth next to him. It was going to be nice to get some food in his stomach after so long without. Suddenly, a flash of blue light entered the tavern from the window next to Alrik's booth. He glanced outside and watched as a wolfman snapped his fingers repeatedly, a pile of viscera lying in the snow in front of him.

What in the world? Alrik thought, eyeing the beast curiously.

Edited by Currents

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Location: Outside, Near the front window.

klik VMM!

Fiji blinked and the all-too-brief panel of blue flame vanished.  Instead of the razor-edged, nascent portal flicking off at a fraction of lightspeed and eviscerating the local wildlife, this one had stayed put.  He thought about numbers a little more, leaned forward slightly, stuck his tongue out of his mouth a little and snapped his fingers again.

VMM--

He stared, ears flat against his head, as the glowing panel, apparently full of blue flame and floating gently from side to side, wavered and wriggled as it tried its best to keep up with the multiple forces arrayed against it.  His left eye twitched, and a few red capillaries traced their way across the white of his eyel, as the strain of holding and continually updating the calculations purely in his head started to creep up on him.  Finally the panel shattered with a sad little noise.  The pieces flickered, willy-nilly, finally faded into insignificant blue sparks and were gone.

--MMpflegh

"DAMN IT!" he roared, fists striking the table he was sitting on.  The wood broke, splintering easily under its covering of snow, and catapulted the wolfman violently backwards into one of the fighting snowmen he'd built.  He lay there for a time, breathing gently, while the snow sleeted silently down around the pile, and then finally sat up.  He took a deep breath, regretted it instantly, and then looked at the chamberpot that had narrowly missed him.  His muzzle crinkled slightly, to show the very tips of his fangs.

"Whoever cleans those things should be sacked," he muttered, and levered himself onto all-fours.  He shook, snow spraying out of his almost-grey fur, and then stood and trotted, apparently unharmed, to the door of the tavern.  Behind him were a trail of almost-human footprints.

Location: Inside the Tavern

The door shut, leaving the seven-foot-tall, heavily muscled creature on the threshold.  He looked around, and his black whiskers fanned as he spotted someone new @Currents.  Casually, or at least as casually as someone who'd just been yelling outside, he wandered over and sat down at the newcomer's table.  His wet, black nose twitched as he looked this newcomer over.

"If you're planning any trouble, don't.  I'll have to drop you outside and it's pretty cold out there."  He paused.  "Unless you want to help me play 'kick the snowman', anyway.  That'd probably be fine, but I'd better ask Just Barkeep @SteamWarden first."

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The bartender was awake before most of the patrons and even most of the staff. As he served people he saw a new face come in and Fiji's snowman army. The second bit amused him slightly. He watched Fiji sit next to the newcomer and watched him curiously while he served others.

 

Gwen came back from the kitchen walked over to the new patrons table, setting the venison pot roast in front of him. "Here's your meal! Enjoy!" She waited long enough for payment of the meal before nodding, as she goes on to the next customer. @Currents

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Alrik watched in awe as the wolfman screamed furiously, it's paws furiously pounding into the table beneath it. He grinned slightly as the beast fell to the snow, it's chest rising and falling as steam streamed from it's large snout. 

You don't see that everyday, thought Alrik as he turned his attention back to the inside of the Tavern. He noticed the bartender, a large, broad-shouldered man, and nodded at him. Suddenly, the door to the tavern crashed open behind Alrik. He spun around and was met with the sight of all 7-feet of the wolfman, its teeth barred beneath its silvery, blue fur. The beast pounded over to Aldrik and slid into the booth across from him.

"If you're planning any trouble, don't.  I'll have to drop you outside and it's pretty cold out there," The wolfman growled. Alrik felt his dagger, hidden beneath his tattered robes, press against his skin. 

"Unless you want to help me play 'kick the snowman', anyway.  That'd probably be fine, but I'd better ask Just Barkeep first." The wolfman continued, just as Gwen returned with Alrik's food from the kitchen. He thanked the waitress and paid her what little money he had before taking a slice of the venison and stuffing it in his mouth.

Oh wow, he thought. Even better than I expected! Alrik looked up at the wolfman.

"I don't want any trouble, sir." Alrik mumbled between bites of pot roast. "I just arrived here and, from where I come from, you don't see many wolfmen. Especially at taverns."

@Ghorroj

Edited by Currents

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"Wolfman?  What're you-"  Fiji blinked twice rapidly, then his mouth curled up at the corners in a non-threatening smile.  "No.  I'm not a wolfman.  I'm a Ghor."  He held his hand out, palm down and blue-furred back uppermost.  "The trick to telling the difference is to look at the hands and the feet.  Wolfmen generally have pads, like their animal counterparts.  Ghor," he turned his hand over.  Aside from a bit of thickened skin on his palm and the tips of his fingers, and the hooked grey claws on every digit, it looked almost entirely like a human hand.  "Ghor, do not.  It's the same with our feet; we leave footprints that can be mistaken for human by most trackers.  The other main difference is that I was made in a laboratory by a science team funded by a mad emperor.  It's hard to pull the trigger on a plasma-rifle unless you have human-ish fingers."

He watched Alrik's @Currents expression, blue eyes searching carefully for any confusion over words like 'science' or 'plasma-rifle'.  Only a very few planets in a vanishingly-small number of realities were advanced enough for plasma-based weaponry.  Even fewer tended to have technology that could create and maintain portals or wormholes on a commercial basis, but hope sprang eternal.

Abruptly, Fiji noticed that his nose was rapidly twitching and his saliva glands were in overdrive, and wiped his mouth with his furry forearm.

"Excuse me, please.  I'm going to get breakfast before I accidentally steal your food off your plate, run away with it and hide under a table to eat it.  It's amazing how often that happens without me meaning it to."  He stood, checked his hands, in case he was actually holding the plate without meaning to (he wasn't), and added; "My name's Fiji.  Enjoy your stay, or whatever," and he turned away.

Edited by Ghorroj

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"I-I'm sorry for the misunderstanding." Alrik stammered as the Ghor showed him the palm of his hand. It looked almost human, despite the opposite side being covered in coarse fur. The Ghor started talking about 'plasma rifles' and 'triggers', things Alrik hadn't the faintest idea existed. He took another bite of roast.

"My name's Fiji," growled the large Ghor. "Enjoy your stay, or whatever." And with that, the lumbering beast rose from the booth and lumbered away.

What a strange creature. Alrik thought as he finished the roast and sidled out of the booth. Seeing as there aren't many other people here, I may as well stick with him.

"Hey! Fiji!" Alrik said loudly, taking a few quick steps towards the Ghor, his tattered cloak fluttering behind him. "I'm Alrik. Alrik Holt." He stuck out his hand.

"I just got to this strange tavern." Alrik said, gazing around the large room. "How long have you been here?"

@Ghorroj

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A few steps was all it took for Fiji to reach the bar at the back of the main room.  He looked at Just Barkeep @SteamWarden carefully, and nodded respectfully.

"A few people may be missing pairs of trousers.  I honestly blame gnomes myself; tricky little bastards, they are.  They love putting things on snowmen that innocent parties have set up, too."  He waited for some acknowledgement, before continuing; "Sooo...  since it's about breakfast time, and I feel like I'm about halfway through the day already, is there any chance of... something?  Meat is good.  Vital organs are better."

One of his ears swivelled as he heard footsteps, then he glanced behind him at his name being called.  He turned around completely as the young man he'd been talking to approached and stuck out his hand.  The beastman looked at the extended limb for a moment, and then looked up at Alrik's face.

"Don't think I'm being unfriendly.  It's just..." he looked around, and then delicately took a stoneware cup from a display.  He held it in one hand without visibly straining, and the pottery started making little crackling noises.  Cracks visibly appeared on the surface of the cup, spread rapidly to cover the surface in gradually thicker jagged, black lines, and then the entire thing shattered with a sharp 'PLINK'.  The bottom of the cup clattered on the wooden floor, and the blue-furred beastman leaned down to pick it up with the claws of his index and forefingers.  Carefully, he placed this and the larger shards on the counter he had been leaning against and brushed pottery dust off his hands.  "...I'm having a few issues regulating my strength recently.  I'm sure Just Barkeep will have a few choice words for me over that demonstration, too."

His ears flattened suddenly against his head, and his nose twitched.

"So, Alrik Alrik Holt @Currents, did I hear you correctly?  Did you call this tavern 'strange'?"  Those expressive ears of Fiji's rose up halfway from their flattened position.  "When you say strange, do you mean that you were wandering, miles from any human habitation, then you got lost in a strange mist, and suddenly this tavern was there, right in front of you?"  He paused, as if to give the question some dramatic spin. 

"Have you heard of the Fair Folk?  Those strange beings, supposedly responsible for all disappearances?  If what I think is true, then you may be the subject of such a legend among your own people since you likely stumbled through a Katrid Adtea; a Soft Place where realms touch."  Fiji's nostrils flared briefly, making his black nose wobble a little.  "I've been here for about a day, but time here isn't what it should be.  Hours seem mere minutes here; look at a clock, and you'll find barely any time has passed no matter how much you spend doing something.  The weather too; yesterday was very hot, and this morning I enjoyed playing in the snow.  It may be a bubble realm; its physics subject to whims and flights of fancy.  In fact, given the evidence so far, I'm sure of it."

He paused significantly.

"Besides, you smell a shade of paisley, and this place smells closer to a dandelion fractal.  Sure sign of someone recently passing through a sifactdal membrane, that."

Edited by Ghorroj

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The bartender looks at the interaction between Fiji and the newcomer, listening the best he could while he dried off glasses. As the big beastman got the bar and wanting some food. "Well considering Ghallen made a venison pot roast and a lot of it since it's for the tavern, why not try some? It may not be a liver or a kidney but it's still meat. I'll go get you some."

He leaves to the kitchen to get a plate coming back to seeing Fiji break a stoneware cup. In complete shock he stood there before coming to reality, placing the plate of food near Fiji. "Considering this isn't a store so 'you break it you buy it' doesn't apply. However you did just break a stoneware cup that was on display so I'd appreciate it if you cleaned that up. I'll figure out a way to fix it." He paused and motioned to the snowman army. "Also you may blame gnomes but I'm one of the first awake in the tavern. I'll let that slide. It was funny." 

@Ghorroj

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The words of Just Barkeep @SteamWarden had Fiji flinch and look behind him at the man behind the bar.  His slouch turned tense, his pointed ears flattened against his head and his glacier-blue eyes turned large and soulful.  Somehow, his entirely submissive, guilty posture managed to make him look much smaller than his actual seven-foot size.  He raised his hands in front of him, tangled his fingers together, and started his clawed thumbs chasing one another around and around.  If he'd had a tail, no doubt it would have been firmly between his legs.

"Iiii didn't want to break someone's hand accidentally, and that was the nearest thing to give a proper demonstration."  His shiny black nose wobbled and somehow managed to look tearful all by itself.  "All of the things I took to build snowmen is out there too.  Nothing missing at all, I swear."

It must have looked odd to Alrik @Currents to see such a large, apparently fearsome, creature turned into an apologetic bundle of blue fur by nothing more than a stern look from the bartender.

Edited by Ghorroj

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Solomon witnessed Fiji's entirely demeanor change with just a simple scolding. It was kind of adorable to witness a large, scary beast folk turn into an innocent looking creature. Trying not to chuckle as he talked to Fiji. "I understand why you did it. Big beast man can break people and you wanted to demonstrate why you couldn't do something but that cup was supposed to be on display so if you can clean it then I'll find a way to fix it. As for the snowmen I don't mind. Just an innocent game you played. I'm pretty chill when it comes to those kind of things." He paused and slid the plate of venison pot roast closer to Fiji. "Eat. It's not a big deal. It's not like you're in trouble."

@Ghorroj

Edited by SteamWarden

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