• Solo • 1.7 The Final Offer Part One [North O.P.] (Graded)

5th of Vhalar 719

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Llyr Llywelyn
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Posts: 1927
Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2019 12:24 am
Race: Mortal Born
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1.7 The Final Offer Part One [North O.P.] (Graded)

North Outer Perimeter
5th of Vhalar, Arc 719

On the northside outer perimeter of Etzos, the meeting took place in a wide common room of a tavern known simply as Melinda’s. Though large enough to house several tables of varied shape, and large staircases that led to a couple upper floors, it had an undeniable cozy atmosphere. Melinda’s didn’t have girls for sale, nor were conmen or dealers able to linger in the shadowed corners. By Etzori standards, it was a respectable establishment without the grimy filth often found in the southside.

Along old wooden beams, lanterns hung down and kept a warm but dim glow over the tables. Smoke veiled a great portion of the quaint tavern, wafting from pipes, from cigarettes, from cigars, and from incense burners. It clung to the air and stuck to the polished cherry wood of the tables. Narrow candles flickered in holders, two for each table, and a thick scent of stewing meat could be caught past all the tobacco and herbal blends. Clinks of glasses and the pour of drinks continued every several trills. A constant stream of thirsty folk came in from the darkening afternoon. They gathered at the increasingly crowded U-shaped counter where a couple humans tended the bar.

Llyr, or better referred to as Llywelyn by this crowd, settled at a round table located to at one of the two available corners. He kept his back to the wall, without leaving room for anyone or anything to get behind him. The lanky blond crossed his arms and observed the crowd. It wasn’t just humans, he noted. He saw some biqaj and even a couple Eidisi. Some redheads dotted along the counter, and he made note of a few unusual eye colors and markings that likely made Etzos a difficult place to live for the bearers. Even he found himself wondering if the visuals were supernatural-related or something else.

He felt glad that he’d kept his ring of paradigm on. Llyr still felt immense gratitude toward Spring Hale for her finding it for him. He didn’t have to consider his halo, nor his wings. He didn’t even have to think about his eyes or the various tics that he’d started to identify as being from his sparks rather than himself. For all purposes, he was himself again - before he’d turned to magic, before his soul had given itself over - he was a normal young man once more.

Well, normal might have been the wrong word for it.

Lochlann O’ Ruanaidh approached with a tray of glasses and a couple bottles. He set the tray down, then slid into the seat to the left of Llyr. It was the position closest to a turn in the wall that led to the rest of the tavern. Lochlann twisted the cap off one of the bottles, then poured dull black liquor into a glass. He set it in front of Llyr and said, “That’ll give yeh some hair on that chest of yer’s.”

Llyr scoffed. “I have hair on my chest.”

“…Real hair, not this fuzz.” Lochlann gestured at Llyr’s jaw, but he didn’t get close enough to touch. “I know good Etzori gals that got more hair on them than youse do.”

The fair blond rolled his eyes. He lifted the glass and sniffed the liquor. “This smells strong.”

“That it is.”

“I don’t want strong drink for this,” insisted Llyr. “Don’t they have any tea here?”

Lochlann snorted, and shook his head. He waved at a man who’d walked through the front door and then leaned in to murmur at Llyr, “Listen, you’ll want these drinks on offer. You don’t got to drink from it more than once, to join in, but you get anything weaker and they aren’t gonna start off with respecting yeh like they should.”

Llyr hummed lowly, then nodded in agreement. He sat up straighter when he noticed Madam Miller behind the man who Lochlann had waved to. The biqaj fixed his hair some, then asked, “How do I look?”

The older Etzori cocked an eyebrow, then glanced over the simple but well-fitted dark gray attire that Llyr wore. He shrugged. “Better than me?”

“That’ll have to do,” admitted Llyr in a slight teasing tone. He moved to stand but Lochlann stepped on his foot before he managed. He took the silent cue and remained seated instead.

Welcomes rippled through the patrons at the counter, and other tables, while Madam Miller walked past with the older gentleman. She waved at a few, then shook her head, and smiled while she approached the round table. The man with her took hold of a chair and offered it to her. She sat with a slow exhale, then took off her woven shawl to lay it over the back of the chair. Lochlann poured her a drink of the black liquor and set the glass in front of her.

“Evening,” greeted Llyr. He glanced at the stranger who sat beside Miller.

Before anyone else got to it, the stout man reached over with a hand offered to shake. He looked like a port trader with the layers of strung beads around his neck and the fringe on his tunic and vest. The mop of curly graying hair, thick beard, and calloused hands added to the possible profession. “Name’s Snorri. Snorri Steingrímr.”

Llyr accepted the hand, shook it, and politely returned the introduction. “Llyr Llywelyn.”

“Aye, I know who you are. Miller’s been talking about you non-stop past couple of trials. Llywelyn this, Llywelyn that. Llywelyn picked some radishes. Llywelyn combed nits from an orphan’s hair.” Snorri grinned, roughly settled back in the chair, then nodded to Lochlann when another filled glass got set in front of him. He picked it up and added, “Lest that’s another Llywelyn. Could be getting it mixed up.”

“I thought you left town, Snorri,” interjected Lochlann. He finally poured himself a glass.

“Me?! No, no!” Snorri patted the hand of Madam Miller. “Could never leave my dear Sonja alone with you Etzori ruffians.”

Lochlann nodded as if he conceded to the point made. He raised his glass and Snorri met it with a clink. Madam Miller raised her glass. Llyr realized what was happening and he hurriedly picked up his glass too. He met the introductory toast, then sipped at the liquid while he watched the older trio.

All three knocked back their drinks without hesitation, nor leaving a droplet behind. Nervous, he considered to follow along and do the same. As the liquor hit his tongue, he realized it tasted as strong as it smelled. He couldn’t get past a gulp as he started to cough from the burn.

The three merrily laughed at his coughs. Snorri reached over and patted a hand to Llyr’s back.

“Told ya it’d put hair on yer chest,” exclaimed Lochlann with a leering grin.

“I resent that,” said Madam Miller cooly. “My chest is mostly smooth and I drink one a trial.”

Lochlann lowered his gaze and nodded, “Yes’m. Didn’t mean to offend.”

“Oh sure you didn’t. You’re a perfect young lad, you are, O’no.”

The grin returned to the man. He picked up the bottle and poured them fresh servings.

They fell into simple conversation, which Llyr mostly observed while he listened to Miller and Lochlann discuss the names of people he didn’t know and speak about events he had little understanding of. There was trouble along the eastside, between the north residents and the south residents. Too many power vacuums left behind by the consequence of Lisirra’s assault, now almost everyone was scrounging for control before the army fully returned home after Rharkos and got caught up in the mix. Miller sounded sympathetic toward this, mentioning more than once a familiarity to certain names involved. Lochlann held a different sort of familiarity, often accompanied by a crack of his knuckles or a menacing glare.

Snorri had gone mostly quiet, settled with his own bottle of beer, and his arms tightly crossed. Occasionally, the bearded man looked at Llyr and wrinkled his nose as if in taunt of a child. Across the way, a pair of minstrels had arrived with a guitar and tambourine. Some of the patrons had cleared aside a couple tables to make room on the floor for dancing. They swung each other about by the elbows. Women who wore dresses had their skirts flare up by how swiftly they skipped between partners and the men spun around to catch them.

“I thought you said this place was quiet,” mentioned Llyr to Lochlann, having to raise his voice slightly.

“It is,” insisted Lochlann. “You ain’t never been to the other taverns. Music’s the least of your concerns when you got hollering and fights and whores in heat.”

“O’ Ruanaidh, you watch your tongue,” snapped Madam Miller.

“Sorry, housemother,” he played along, looking as if she’d smacked him upside the head. She laughed, then he laughed with her.

Llyr moved his posture on his seat, feeling a tad light-headed from the drink still, and he took out his smoke-tin. He collected a cigarette, then offered the others. Snorri accepted one with a nod, then broke open the paper to dump the contents into a small pipe he took out from his tunic’s vest. He struck a match and lit it in a flare of embers.

“So, I don’t mean to interrupt,” he attempted while Lochlann had gotten distracted with a gulp of liquor and Miller glanced over to watch younger folk dance. “But we’re here because you’ve considered my offer, yes?”

She didn’t so much as look over at him but waved a hand and said, “Yes, yes. Do you know how to dance, Llywelyn?”

“Dance? I… Not like that,” he answered. He dragged tobacco smoke into his lungs and tracked a woman with a great mess of long curly hair that bounced about while she switched between partners.

“I would have liked to have seen that,” she mentioned and turned back to look at him with a simple smile. “Young people are meant to be nimble, and it’s a tragedy when they don’t make use of their youth. You should try. When in Etzos, do as the Etzori do.”

“Now come off, Sonja. You’re plenty nimble still,” mentioned Snorri. She gave him a look, and didn’t have to say a word. Snorri shifted his crossed arms, and looked aside.

She said, “Matter is, I have given what you said some more thought. I’m willing to accept, provided you keep your word about the wage and make good on three-quarters the amount upfront for the arc to come. Also, Snorri will be joining with me.”

“Oh?” said Llyr. His dark brows shot up in surprise. He looked closer at the trader-looking man. “I can’t say I’m familiar with his experience?”

“If he’s not there, I won’t be there either. Is that experience enough for you?” Miller fixed her gaze onto the biqaj.

Llyr considered this, but before he could answer, he noticed a familiar figure walk through the door. He lifted somewhat and then stood entirely, no matter how Lochlann made an odd sound like a choked dog. The young mage said, “Right, yes, we’ll talk about that. But first… pardon me, please.”

He walked around the table and quickly headed to where Emeline Holt stood at the entrance.
word count: 1957
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Re: 1.7 The Final Offer Part One [North O.P.]






Etiquette: When in Etzos, do as the Etzori do.
Intelligence: Offhand conversations can lend insight into local affairs.
Logistics: Arranging a meeting at a mutual haunt between contacts.
Tactics: Carefully selecting a table by tactical location.
Tactics: Sitting with your back to the wall.
Tactics: Keep your bruiser positioned to block your weak point.







Comments: Meetings in darkened corners of clubs like this always make me feel nervous. Dunno why, but you mixed the sense of menace with frivolity of just having drinks with people well.

Sorry about the lateness of my review. Enjoy the points?

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