Writer's comment : Ah, a silly story I had planned but never finished. I'm glad I finally did get back to it, though, since it worked out quite well. Chaos is afoot! Thanks go to Silrana for letting me use the Cricket-bit.
A nice, relaxed evening
"I raise ten..." Mazzy Fentan told the Drow sitting face-to-face with her, while mulling over the hand of cards she had been dealt and tossed some more coins on the table. The Five Flagon's Inn was packed with all manner of patrons, but most noticeably with dockworkers. Jan had been sitting at the bar the last time she looked, but that was quite some time ago.
"I'll see your ten... and raise twenty," Viconia replied absentmindedly and threw thirty coins on the table as well, before staring blankly at her own hand again.
Mazzy fumed inside. This Drow was simply too hard to read sometimes. Now did that blank stare mean that she has a winning hand or not? 'Unless... She knows I think a blank stare means a losing hand, so she uses it to bluff me when she has a winning hand! But then again, she might actually have a winning hand and is trying to throw me off balance by making me think she has nothing. Or maybe...' But Mazzy cut off that train of thought... 'Dammit, this Drow is making my head hurt!' Mazzy thought wryly.
"Are you going to make your move before my hair turns yellow?" Viconia asked sarcastically.
"Let's see, 'em!" Mazzy tried, hoping she had made the right decision...
Viconia chuckled for a moment and then carefully lay her cards on the table. "Three swords... Two roses," she taunted.
"SON OF A..." Mazzy yelled as she threw her cards in the air. "Okay, Drow," she began. "I KNOW you must be cheating somehow..."
"Perhaps you are simply a sore loser, diminutive one?" Viconia chuckled. She managed to confuse the poor halfling so much and taking her money had been so easy that she almost felt sorry for her... Almost...
No... No she did not feel sorry for her at all and smiled wickedly again...
"We shouldn't even be playing cards, now!" Mazzy said pensively. "We were supposed to watch Nalia!"
"There she is!" Viconia pointed to the bar, without even looking.
"We were supposed to watch her, AND keep her away from alcohol, Drow!" Mazzy retorted.
"Why do you persist on calling me, Drow? I am not constantly referring to you as Halfling!" Viconia snarled.
"Is that so, Drow? Well, then, Drow, if the Drow is so sensitive about being called a Drow, then maybe the Drow should stop calling me, diminutive. Don't you think so, Drow?" Mazzy retorted.
"No," was Viconia's simple reply. "Shorty..."
Just as Mazzy was about to explode in anger, a very, very, very tipsy Nalia staggered over to the two 'friends' and, without warning, wrapped her arms around Viconia from behind...
"Ahhhh, Viseconia... You'se issss my besthestst buddy in the whoooolllle world!" Nalia slurred, while Viconia desperately tried to avoid Nalia's pungent alcohol-ridded breath... and miserably failed...
"Nalia, you know I respect you as a friend," Viconia blatantly lied, "but if you do not remove yourself, I will carve out your lungs with a rusty bread-knife..."
Nalia seemed to mull over this statement for a while, but then a grin from ear to ear crossed her young face. "Ah... I lovesssh you'se too!" she replied.
"And Mazzee" Nalia slurred as she picked her new victim. "Mazzy, Wazzy, Fuzzy, Wuzzy. Wuzzy, Fuzzy, Wazzy, Mazzy!" she kept repeating while she pulled Mazzy to her bosom and ran her knuckles over the top of her head, suffering loud indignant protests from the halfling in question.
"Do you realize how hard it is getting to tell people I know you?!" Viconia yelled. "It's bad enough that those males in the corner are constantly leering at me, but now I must suffer this indignity as well?" Viconia shot a look at the five males at the table in the corner... Unfortunately, they were still there, and they were still looking at her with their lustful stares.
But in the meantime, Nalia had noticed her new victim : Karis, who had just entered the Inn, with the supplied he had bought at the Adventurer's Mart.
"Ah, Itsssss yoouuuu!" Nalia slurred, while staring at him angrily. "Everybody's always kissin' your assssssshhh... Well, I'm not afraidsh to tellss you, you're a..."
Nalia looked confused for a moment and put her finger in her mouth. "Hmmm... I forgotsssh what I was gonna ssaysh..."
"Jerk?" Viconia offered.
"I love you too, Viconia." Karis said with a smile while his Drow lover grinned at him.
"OH, YESSJJJ, Jerk!" Nalia yelled. "Takes thfattt, Isaeas! Yourss mother wassss a hamster, and your ffffatthher an eeelephant!" she slurred, made a fist and swung at Karis' jaw... Nalia missed by a mile, however, twirled around and fell to the floor with a thud.
"Isaea?" Karis shook his head.
"Don't take it personally, ssinsrig," Viconia chuckled. "She's been pestering all the males in the room and is calling them 'Isaea' or 'Puke-swine'..."
"I thought I asked you three to keep Nalia off the wagon? You know what happened in Delosar's Inn..." Karis cringed as he remembered the terrible fight Nalia had caused after badmouthing all the patrons... Again, he briefly wondered where this naive girl had learned such foul language. The resulting fight had caused them to be banned from the Den for life...
"I tried, but you know how she gets, Kary," Jan chuckled. "She can't drink just one cup!"
"Oy, OY!" Nalia yelled from the floor. "I'se finded a golder! Woohoo!"
"Something for you donate to the poor, no doubt..." Viconia replied sarcastically.
Nalia, however, looked at Viconia as if she had gone insane. "Ah, screw the poorss, I needs another Drinkie-Poo!"
Karis sighed. "How did you let her get into this mess?"
"Don't look at me!" Mazzy said. "It was Jan's turn to keep an eye on her!"
"Well, I was!"Jan said indignantly. "I only took a short break to tell my neighbor on the next stool about my auntie Molly, who had been in a turnip-induced coma for thirty years and woke up uttering the famous word : 'Where's my footpowder?!'. She had an obsession about having clean feet, you see. Used to soak her feet in hot footbaths to relax, but one day, uncle Scratchy was experimenting with magical acids to clean his collection of animals made out of the remains of rusted armors. He used to live next to a temple of Helm, you see, and there were plenty of left-overs all the time... Anyway, Uncle Scratchy has stored his acid in auntie Molly's footbath and totally forgot about when Ma brought home some 'Underwood's-Sensable-Entirely-Legal-Endeavour-Swifty-and-with Style (U.S.E.L.E.S.S.)'-cleaning solvent. Unfortunately, the entire town was alerted to uncle Scratchy's oversight, when auntie Molly screamed her lungs out. Apparently, the acid had dissolved her feet, but left the bones!"
"How awful!" Mazzy said and covered her mouth with a hand.
"Oh, not really!" Jan chuckled. "She was quite happy about it! Her feet had never been cleaner! Unfortunately, it made running from griffins a tad more difficult than usual... Poor auntie Molly. We only had the bones of her feet to bury. We think the griffin who nabbed her sold the rest of her bones to a company which makes toothpicks..."
Mazzy, who has been been using a toothpick for hours to dig out the remains of the Turkey leg she had eaten for supper, quickly dropped the offending object to the floor.
"How does the turnip-induced coma fit in?" Karis asked.
"Ey?" Jan said. "Oh, my neighbor asked that too! But that all happened before that. She crossed the street without looking twice and my uncle McLaren accidentally drove over her with his turnipwagon. And when he spun around the corner (the turnips had to be delivered in time, of course) half of the turnips rolled off the wagon and landed squarely on top of auntie Molly, it did!"
"I can see how you can lose track of Nalia's this way," Karis grimaced. "Well, what's done is done. Let's get her to her room so she can sleep it off!"
Then, out of the blood, Nalia started to sing on the top of her longs, making all occupants of the bar cringe in pain.
"ISSSSAAAAEEEAAAA!" she sung. "You smell like puke! You stink like a monnnnnnkey! You act like a dweeeebbbbbb!"
"Oh, no," Viconia cringed.
"ISSSSAAAAEEEAAAA!" she continued unfettered. "You can sit on a spearrrr! You can swwwwim in some cowwwwdungggg! You can get mauled by a bearrrrrr! And I wwwwwilllll waaaaatttttttcchhhhhhhh and LAUGH!"
"Definitely time to get her to her room," Mazzy said, still covering her ears and noticing Samuel Thunderburp pleading for help.
Then, it started... Viconia, still chuckling at the swirling Nalia, backed a little too close to the table with the three male sailors that had been eyeing her the whole evening. One of the toothless, smelly dockworkers grinned at his mates and made his move. His hand shot out... and landed squarely on top of one of the Drow's shapely buttocks.
All time stopped... A snarl laced with impossible amounts of hatred, loathing and disgust crossed over Viconia's beautiful face, making her appear as a demon from the very depths of the abyss as the male squeezed his 'prize' a little for good measure. She turned around and shot the offending male a look of pure evil.
The man, oblivious to his soon to be held funeral, motioned to the stairs leading to the upper rooms. "Hows about it, sweetey?" he dared to ask with a toothy grin.
A sound of feral anger escaped from Viconia's mouth as a column of roaring flame shot down over the table. The men, two of them on fire, backed away from the table in fear. Doing that, they bumped into several other dockworkers and knocked the beer right out of their hands. Angry words were exchanged, some mothers were insulted, some manhoods questioned, and before too long, the docksworkers were fighting.
"Hey! Watch it!" An already irate Mazzy shouted as one of the dockworkers bumped into her.
"Step aside, Tiny!" the dockworker shouted.
"Tiny?!" Mazzy snarled. "TINY!!!! I'll show you, 'tiny'!" Immediately, Mazzy slammed her fist into the dockworker's gut. "You can call me 'cute'," she said while she punched him in the gut again, this time with her other fist. "You can all me 'shorty'. You can even call me 'furry foot'. But you MAY NOT CALL ME 'TINY'!!!!" Her finishing move was a swift uppercut as the man bend over to cradle his gut. He flew backwards and crashing into a table of several patrons who had wished to remain outside the conflict, but now unwillingly became part of it.
The barfight spread like wildfire. And soon, curses were shouted, fists were launched and furniture was being thrown all over the place. The Five Flagons Inn had turned into a raging pandemonium of gratuitous violence. Everyone was fighting with everyone without a single sense of rhyme or reason.
'Karis, this is your life,' the half-elf sarcastically thought to himself as he regarded the chaotic combat in front of him. Over the noises of combat, Karis was trying to calm down the crowds. "STOP FIGHTING!" he tried. "LET'S ALL TRY TO KEEP OUR COOL BEFORE ANYONE GETS HURT OR..." He would never finish that sentence, as one of the patrons slammed a table over his head.
Groaning, Karis noticed he had fallen to the floor. He noticed Nalia, who had apparently falling asleep. She lay in a fetal position under a mounted table on the side of the bar, her snores clearly audible, even over the loud barfight. Then, he noticed the man who had fondled his lover trying to sneak out the door! Immediately, he stood up, ran through the crowd, and without warning, slammed his fist into the disgusting dockworker's face, and while the man was spitting out the remained of his teeth, Karis kicked him in the groin for good measure. "You fondled the wrong woman, brute!" he snarled while the disgusting man was lying on the floor crying like a baby.
Meanwhile, Mazzy was having the time of her life! Years of frustration were being vented as she punched out men who would have called her a 'good-for-nothing-hobbit' under normal circumstances. Without fear, she jumped on the back of the strongest looking man and held on for dear life as the pommeled the man's back of the head with a flurry of punches. Then, she jumped off the man's back and kicked another dockworker in the face during while in mid-air, giggling like a schoolgirl.
"Well, this is a fine turn of events!" Jan told one of the halfling waiters as they avoided the crowd of fighters. "I remember a barfight quite similar in, ooooh, was it 1325? Or maybe 1324? No, come to think of it, it was 2656! Help me remember never to step in one of those blue policeboxes ever again. Before you know it, you're being chased by a driving stageprop mumbling 'EXTERMINATE' over and over again... Anyway, I was having a night on the town with my future great-great-great grandchildren and here we stepped into the 'Warp Factor'-saloon (lovely place by the sea, by the way) and we run into a batch of Derro dwarves... Well, one thing led to another, some mothers were insulted, some rotten turnips were thrown, and soon we were in the bar-fight to end all barfights! A whole month it lasted, including all the turnip-breaks, of course... Then, when it was time to go home, I step into that policebox again and I end up in a big black place called Moredoors, I think. There was this huge army fighting a guy named Sauros, or something, and then this big armored guy wearing a shiny ring steps up and starts slaughtering the army. So, just when he was about to kill one of the fallen humans, I throw a rotten turnip in his face and while the big guy has his eyes filled with goop, the knight chops his fingers off and takes the ring! Talk about stealing from the battlefield! Pity I couldn't get my hands on that shiny ring, though. It sure looked... precious."
"Arvoreen," the halfling waiter groaned. "Kill me, now..."
Viconia was enjoying herself as well, casting 'Hold person' on attackers and then pushing them back into the raging crowd, and sometimes launching errant lightning bolts in between the fighting mob. "Say," she asked Samuel Thunderburp as he was calmly cleaning some mugs behind the bar. "Aren't you worried about the violent destruction of your inn?"
"Nah," Sam replied. "This happens every end of the tenday when the dockworkers get paid. Their bosses reimburse me for the broken stuff, so all I have to worry about is the mess afterwards...
But then, as the fight continued, it stopped as quickly as it had started.
"WILL YOU NASTY MEN BE QUIET!!!!!!" was shouted from the top of the stairs. "MY HAMSTER IS TRYING TO SLEEP!!!! NOW MAKE NICE AND BE QUIET OR I WILL BRING MY BOOT UP YOUR BUTTOCKS SO HARD YOU WILL ALL NEED PANTS THAT WILL REACH THE BACK OF YOUR NECKS!!!!"
Utter silence, save the loud chirping of the nearby crickets outside, fell as the combatants stared at the hulking Rashemite and assessed his ability to make true of his threat. Quietly, everyone walked back to what was left of their tables...
"See, Boo?" Minsc told his friend, while he stepped up the stairs again. "They are nice people. Come on, I will tuck you in nicely..."
"Okay!" Sam cried over the crowd. "Who'll clean up?"
Not surprisingly, everyone left the inn as quickly as possible, until Karis' party were the only ones left in the room.
"Well, Mazzy?" Karis asked as he picked up one of the chairs.
"Ermm, Karis," Viconia asked shyly while rubbing his chest slightly. "I thought we would perform... another activity tonight..."
"I... remember," Karis smiled. "But this mess..."
In response, Viconia lent forward and started to nibble softly on Karis' earlobe.
"... C-can wait," Karis stammered. "S-sorry, Mazzy," he said while the Drow led him up the stairs to their room. Viconia shot Mazzy a last wicked grin and a wink before disappearing out of sight.
'Figures...' Mazzy thought. She knew Karis loved Viconia deeply, but once again wondered what Karis saw in her. 'Heh, I wonder what their kids will be like,' she wondered. "Well, no matter," she muttered. "Come on, Jan, we'll clean up..." she said, then looked around. "Jan? JAN?!" she called, but there was no reply. "Oh, fiddlesticks!"
Karis woke up in the middle of the night and the first thing he felt was the warmth of his lover lying next to him. He mused how peaceful she looked when she was asleep... so calm... so fragile. He carefully embraced her, as to not wake her and pulled her a little closer to him.
He placed a hand under her delicately pointed ear as he cuddled her a little. Normally, her ears were covered by her long silken hair, save for the ebony tips, emerging from the white silk like islands in the ocean.
How much he wanted to escape this mess. These thoughts had been plaguing him a couple of days now. Perhaps after he had rescued Imoen, he would ask her to join him to escape to a place faraway from the sword coast, where they could live out their lives in relative peace. Damn adventure, damn the intrigue, damn the prophecies... damn the blood!. How much he'd love to get away from it all and leave it a distant memory. But he knew he never could... And he would miss his friends, as well as the life he led... Adventure was a double-sided coin, like Viconia had told him. Some things you would prefer to leave behind, while you would desperately want to hang on to others...
Instead, he held Viconia a little tighter before dozing off again.
"Awake already?" Viconia asked as Nalia walked down the stairs and joined her friend at the breakfast table.
"Did they catch the elephant that stepped on my head last night?" Nalia asked while rubbing her head.
"No," Viconia said. "It was last seen fleeing towards Trademeet..."
"Ermm, Viconia?" Nalia asked. "You're my friend, right?"
"It depends," Viconia muttered. "If you need money, I will disavow any knowledge of you."
"You would... tell me..." Nalia stammered, "If I did something embarrassing... Stuff unbecoming a lady, I mean..."
"Well," Viconia grinned wickedly, deciding to have some fun. "There was that table-top dance during the height of your drunken state."
"T-t-tabletop-dance?" Nalia stammered.
"Yes," Viconia chuckled. "Unfortunately, we could not reach you quick enough to prevent you from taking off your top and... moving rhythmically."
"Oh, GODS!" Nalia squealed and covered her face in shame.
"And then, after the barfight started, you slipped up the stairs with three elven sailors..." Viconia grinned.
"T-three..." Nalia stammered in disbelief. "Did... did anyone notice... I mean, could anyone tell..."
"Well, the throes of passion coming from your mouth could be heard over the battle, so I figure everyone has heard it. Including that reporter from the 'Amnian Gutter' that was in the crowd," Viconia chuckled. "Sure you don't have any Drowish blood in your bloodline somewhere?"
"Oh, THE SCANDAL!" Nalia shouted and ran back to her room.
"That wasn't very nice," Karis said as he stepped from the kitchen and hugged his lover from behind.
"Oh, she'll find out the truth soon enough," Viconia chuckled. "But it'll be a long time before she touches a drink again! Saves us a lot of trouble..."
"You know," Karis murmured in his lover's ear, "I would have brought you breakfast in bed..."
"Hmmm," Viconia purred and chuckled. "It's nice to have a personal slave again... Tell me, Karis. Would you cater to my every need?"
"Every single one..." Karis whispered. "I love you... I want you to be happy."
"That is good to know," she chuckled. "Maybe next time, I shall let you pamper me, then... For now, let us be one the road again..."
"Next time, then," Karis said and kissed his lover on the lips.
8. A nice, relaxed evening
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