• Solo • [Raelia] Granegal, Chapter Three: Jarl of the Pub

20th of Ashan 720

The cities and villages of Melrath are as varied and diverse as they come. The capital of Raelia is the the jewel of this western kingdom, playing host to a merchants, artisans, Aesir priests, as well as a cut throat political landscape dominated by the nobles of Raelia. To the south in the depths of the Myrkvior Forest lies Melrath's second largest, and oldest city, Fensalir. Here people have learned to live alongside spirits and the natural world by maintaining their loyalty to traditions laid down the first Melrathi. To the east lies the small fishing village of Noatun, and to the western mountains rests the Mer city of Verimeer, the brewing town of Alivilda and the alpine village Vormund.
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Ashling
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[Raelia] Granegal, Chapter Three: Jarl of the Pub

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Granegal
20th Ashan 720
Continues from here

CHAPTER THREE: JARL OF THE PUB

Ashling had tried to make her dog Silver show her the way to Adèle. The woman was a mage she had made a desperate deal with in Zida the previous arc. But, the dog hadn’t done as she had told it. Giving up, Ashling had decided to learn more about animal training instead. A girl in a food stall) had recommended her older brother Hakon Grude as a teacher. Ashling had found the man at the horse market. Hakon was only willing to barter. He wanted a service for a service. Ashling could provide herbal treatment for calming down horses with. In return, Hakon would teach her how to train Silver. And so, Ashling had gone to buy the herbs she needed...

A break later, Ashling returned to the horse market. Once again the smell of horses and horse manure filled her nostrils. She would soon get accustomed to it though. It was only the first breaths that made her feel overwhelmed and a bit nauseated. Dumb, as it was only the natural smell of the animals!

She carried a basket full of catnip, chamomile, hops and a jar of valerian root powder. Silver walked beside her. The helpful animal handler’s makeshift collar and leash had made wonders, so far. The dog couldn’t repeat the antics it had given her in the first part of the trial. Silver kept trying to free himself of course. But, he hadn’t succeeded. Yet. Ashlin still felt worried that the collar wouldn't hold much longer. She should have bought a better one when she had been away buying herbs but she had felt like she didn't have time.

Ashling looked around for Hakon Grude. The man was not in sight. After a while, a stable boy told her that Hakon had gone to the pub tent nearby to have something to drink. The work at the horse market was hard and people got thirsty, he said. It made sense. Ashling waited for fifteen bits but Hakon didn’t come back. Finally, she decided to go and look for him at the pub tent. It was already afternoon and she wanted the treatment of the horses done before the evening. The helpful stable boy told her the way to the pub. It was somewhat tricky to find the tent, but Ashling and Silver arrived there after a while.

The place was below a seedy tavern ... it was very shabby and not even attempting to be anything else than an alcohol tap. It had three walls of dirty cloth and a soggy roof of the same rough fabric. The fourth side was open toward the small square outside it. The stench of spilt beer and strong tobacco rivalled the smell of the horses.

Despite this, the place had attracted a crowd and the commerce was intense. It was indeed afternoon! To some that meant that the evening had already begun. The people who frequented the place didn’t seem to care about the lack of high standards. Some sat on crates and used other crates as tables. (The crates were the only pieces of "furniture".) A majority stood up as they hadn’t been there in time to find a free crate.

Those who had been there early enough to get a “seat” were already quite drunk. Some were market visitors to judge from their clothing but there was also a fair share of market workers. One of the latter was Hakon Grude, the man she had an agreement with. The tall and somewhat handsome man sat together with his buddies. All were men in practical work attire and dirty boots.

His group was making more noise than any other patrons. They shouted out to each other in loud voices and their boisterous laughs rolled all over the place.

Ashling was no stranger to Melrathi drinking habits. People were getting drunk. That was natural. If she had been alone she would have walked right in and told Hakon that she was ready to treat the horses. But now, she had Silver to think of. She didn't want to walk into the pub with the dog. He was quite small and people might thread on his paws by mistake. Then again, she didn't want to leave Silver alone either, tied outside.

Instead of walking in, she tried to catch Hakon’s attention by waving at him. It worried her a bit, as her previous experience of waving at men in Raelia was bad. The first time it had gained her the unwished company of a trickster who had made fun of her. The second time she had attracted a stalker who had attacked her. That had in turn opened for the mage Adèle to get a deal with Ashling in return for saving her. Which was the reason Ashling had ended up here at the horse-market, waving again. Waving had been dumb two times. But, Third time lucky they said...right?

Ashling doubted her good luck a bit, but she waved at Hakon all the same. Hakon didn’t see it. Instead, a burly man at the next “table” reacted to her intense waving. A wide smile opened like the gap of a monster in his big beard.

“Burly” got to his feet, his gaze glued to her. Now, when he was standing up she could see that he was a man of extraordinary impressive size. A giant. When he began to walk, the crowd in the tent parted in front of him to let him pass. He pushed those who didn’t pay attention out of his way. Some spilled their beer but nobody complained. Ashling realized that she was in for an unexpected date with a person who wasn't used to be told no. The approaching man seemed like the human parallel of the horse she had taken on to treat. The horse was “Jarl of the Paddock”. All signs pointed to “Burly” being “Jarl of the Pub Tent”.

As she was Melrathi, Ashling wasn’t going to flee when trouble stared into her face. Not that the giant seemed dangerous. He was in a good mood, that much was clear. She clenched her teeth and stood her ground, still waving at the unattentive Hakon Grude. The animal trainer was busy swinging a tankard of beer and singing along in a rowdy tune. Meanwhile, “Burly” of course took her waving as the eager attention of a woman who was unable to resist him. He continued walking toward her. His swagger revealed that a few drinks only served to make him feel more self-assured.

He arrived.

“Greetings, fair maiden!” he bellowed. “Come, I will buy you a beer!”

“Burly” was so loud that it even caught Hakon Grude’s attention. For a moment the animal trainer glanced at them. Ashling met his gaze and tried to lock eyes with him. But, Hakon looked away again like nothing special was happening.

Ashling's thoughts were racing but she smiled at “Burly” as she found it best to not make him feel insulted in public. The psychology of drunk people was no news to a healer. Ashling had treated many injuries people had gained in tavern brawls. Alcohol made some people extra easy to annoy. Give those even the slightest sign of “disrespect” and they might go violent and nasty. She wasn’t going to take any risks with this bearded mountain of muscle.

Her dog Silver had no such qualms. He didn’t know anything about diplomacy and risk mitigation. A dark and menacing growl arose from the quite small dog. Before Ashling had time to stop it Silver sank his teeth in “Burly’s” boot. The man shouted out and shook the dog off wich such power that it sent Silver flying. Now, the frail makeshift collar Ashling had felt so worried about broke. The dog was now free! He retreated a bit so he could bark and growl at “Burly” from a safer distance.

The brief tumult had made the crowd fall silent. It lasted only for a moment. Then the betting began. Would "Burly" kill the annoying dog, yes or no? Ashling noticed that Hakon Grude was looking at her again. She gave him the cold and disdainful eyes such a coward deserved! But, Hakon seemed to have reached the point where alcohol made him the bravest man in the realm. He got to his feet, somewhat unsteady. So did his buddies. “Don’t you dare touch that dog!” he yelled at “Burly”. “I’m not going to watch you abuse an innocent animal!”

A consenting murmur from his buddies supported his words.

But, he didn't say a word about Ashling! Hakon had caused this situation by going to the pub instead of waiting for her at the paddock. Now, she was in trouble but Hakon seemed to only care about saving her dog. Anger rushed through her and made her resolute and reckless. Her smile went a bit too teeth-y to be sweet, but “Burly” didn’t seem to notice or care.

“Leave it to that coward to deal with a small dog,” she said to “Burly”. “Get me that beer!”

It was now a coward’s task to deal with the dog, according to Ashling. “ Burly” wasn’t volunteering for it. Instead, he shouted at Hakon that he wasn't the kind of man who cared about being attacked by a small dog. Then, he hooked arms with her, showing off his skill at picking up women at sight. Now, all could see how popular he was among the ladies! Ashling didn't like his smell of sweat and beer but played along. She guessed that it might be a bad idea to humiliate him in public by rejecting the invitation.

They walked into the tent. “Burly” ordered beers for “him and his lady”. Then he chased other people away from their crates to make room for them. Soon the pair sat there side by side with their big tankards in front of them. “Burly” beamed at Ashling, giving her questionable compliments and bragging about himself. He was a big man. Important fact. If she got what he meant. He had many contacts and good standing in Raelia. He was also successful at business and into the money so she had found the right man. They would have a great time this evening!

At this point, “Burly” decided to make progress. He put his left arm around her shoulders, holding the tankard in his right hand. “Skol!”

Continues here
word count: 1785
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Re: [Raelia] Granegal, Chapter Three: Jarl of the Pub

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Ashling:

Knowledge:
Detection: Detecting a specific person in a crowd
Discipline: Continuing to wave when they don’t notice you at once
Animal Training: Failing to stop your dog from biting
Psychology: Playing on people’s pride
Psychology: Not humiliating a drunk man in public
Endurance: Enduring delays of your plans

Loot:
Wealth: -
Injuries: -
Renown: 5. Ashling and her dog attracted attention.
Magic XP: -
Skill Review: Appropriate to level.
Points: 10
- - -
Comments: I know that I’ve already told you so before, but I really appreciate it that you always post a little summary of what has happened so far at the beginning of your threads. That really makes it easier to figure out what is going on!

I enjoyed the humor in this thread. I couldn’t help but smirk a little when Ashling compared the burly man to the horse she had taken on to treat. Jarl of the Pub Tent, indeed!

He’s an entertaining NPC!

I wonder how Ashling plans on dealing with her unexpected suitor though.

Anyway, enjoy your rewards!


word count: 175

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