• Solo • [Raelia] Granegal, Chapter Four: Strong Stuff

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 Four: Strong Stuff

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Granegal
20th Ashan 720
Continues from here


CHAPTER FOUR, STRONG STUFF

Ashling had made a deal with the animal trainer Hakon Grude. She would use herbs to calm down a couple of troublesome horses. In return, she would get lessons in animal training for her and her disobedient dog Silver. When she came back with the sedative herbs Hakon had gone to the shabby pub tent in the horse market in Raelia. (It was a miserable cloth shelter, open at one side.) When Ashling had tried to catch Hakon’s attention she had instead attracted "Burly". She was now on a surprise date with a giant while her dog Silver was running loose outside.

Ashling would have to cope with what resources she had. It wasn’t much. She had her healer insights about psychology. There was that. She was also a good observer and used to be able to detect many details. A healer often had to do some intelligence to make a correct diagnosis. She wasn't new to figuring things out. The general leadership experience of a competent doctor might help her a bit. Her ability to enduring was good, she told herself.

Other than this she had only her basket with the herbs.

Sedative herbs. They are harmless, but if I can make him take them he may get sleepy ...

“Burly” had put his arm around Ashling’s shoulders. The smell of sweat wasn’t pleasant but as she was a healer she was used to enduring the smells of people. It was not a big deal to her. The physical closeness bothered her more but she didn’t show it. She just listened and sipped on her beer while “Burly” told her more about his greatness.
Then, she put the tankard down and frowned.

“This beer needs more hops,” she said in a critical tone indicating high standards. “It’s washy! But, you know, I’m a healer. I have a lot of herbs here in my basket. They are for medicinal treatments. But, I’m gonna add some of the hops to my beer.”


She crushed a small number of hops in her hand and put a very small pinch of it in her own tankard. Then she tasted the brew. “A lbit better.”
Burly’s massive self-praise had made her conclude that he would want to assert himself if she implied that the beer wasn’t good enough for her. With a big smile at “Burly”, she offered to spice his beer too, to make it more tolerable. The man’s eyes widened a bit but after a brief hesitation, he agreed. Ashling put a pinch of pulverized hops in his tankard. She smiled at him while he took a cautious swig of the beer. “Better, yes?” she suggested. “I’m from the south. We’ve got the best beer there. Got to bring my own beer spices to the pubs of Raelia.”

“Better! The guys here ...” The man gestured at the crowd. “...they don’t know what quality beer is.” He patted her on the shoulder and moved a bit even closer to her. “Glad to see that you have a good taste in beer as well in your company!”

But Ashling was still not content with the beer.”I need a wee bit of catnip too,” she told him. “Oh, and a small whiff of chamomile.” Said and done! She put minimal pinches of the herbs into her beer. They were mild sedative herbs, and she knew that such a small dose wouldn’t affect neither her nor “Burly”. (He hadn’t told her his name or asked about hers. Ashling wanted to leave it that way.)

She tasted the brew and nodded. “It’s beginning to seem like beer. But, these herbs are strong stuff! You aren’t able to drink it, not being a southerner. We’re a bit tougher in the south.”

With this, she put the catnip and chamomile back into the basket. He would have to content himself with weaker, poorer beer than she would drink.

“I’ll try it!” The burly man laughed, but she could hear a streak of aggressivity in his voice. “Give me some of that strong stuff!”

Ashling began to add an extra minimal pinch of catnip to his beer but stopped like she was about to change her mind. “Burly” grabbed her wrist and shook her hand so she dropped an extra big amount of the herb in his beer. “Oh no!” she exclaimed. “You can’t drink it now! It’s too strong!”

“Don’t tell me what to do!” His hand was still around her wrist. The grip wasn’t hard but it was firm. Staring into her eyes, he took his tankard and drank a third of the beer. He didn’t pay heed to Ashling’s attempts to make him abstain.

Nothing happened to him. He grinned at her.

“The other herb too. Add it.” He let go of her wrist so she could carry out the order. “Burly” didn’t listen to her protests. It didn’t bother him that she told him that she was a healer and advised him to not do this.

“Medicinal herbs can even be poisonous in too big doses,” she informed him. “I don’t want to cause you any harm and ...”

“Bah!” He laughed out loud. “Don’t you worry my girl! You and your little flowers ain’t gonna knock me out. Bring it on. Get it done.”

Ashling “gave in” and did as he told her. She dumped a big pinch of crushed chamomile in his tankard. The mild and pleasant fragrance of it spread in the air. The herb leaves swam on the surface of the beer and “Burly” swallowed them all when he drank on more third of the beer.

Again, nothing happened to him! “See?” He gave her a broader grin than ever and his tone was smug.

Ashling nodded. Then she put her hands into the basket, arranging the bunches of hops, catnip and chamomile. She also took the jar of pulverized valerian root and opened the lid. The strong and acrid smell of the dried root was impossible to not notice when you sat as near it as they did. Ashling showed no visible reaction to it. With a fast and sneaky movement, she moved her left hand over her almost untouched tankard of beer. Then she tasted the beer again, closing her eyes. “Aaah!”

“Don’t try and fool me, girl. I saw that! You added something more, “ the man bellowed. “I want it to!”

“What...why...I didn’t add anything to my beer...I swear it by the four great Induks! ”

“Bad for you! Hope they didn’t hear you pipe up, because I can always tell when people are lying.” With this, “Burly” leaned over her and tore the basket from her to investigate the content. He found the open jar with valerian root at once. “Aha! As I thought!” He took the jar and put it on the crate they used as a table.

“Don’t touch it,” said Ashling in the sternest doctor’s tone she had.

It was the tone she used to apply on particularly stubborn patients she needed to subjugate. It took leadership to make some patients follow the ordinations. But, she knew by experience that trying to take command could make certain people refuse to obey. “Burly” seemed to be such a person.

Ashling exploited this insight now.

“It’s a very potent medicinal herb powder. I’m going to use it for treatment of horses. Horse medicine! I know that you are a big and strong man but you aren’t a horse, for Myrkvior’s sake! Give me the jar! ”

“Don’t tell me what to do!” Burly reacted as predicted.

“Give me that jar! Now! I’m a healer and I know what I’m speaking of. You can’t take my horse medicine ingredients and use them on yourself!”

“Burly” huffed. “You used it yourself.”

He held up the jar. While Ashling watched, begging him to not do this, he began to pour up a small amount of the herb powder in his palm. When it looked to be about half of the normal biggest dose for a human she told him to stop. If he would take more he might not survive. she said. That settled it! “Burly” was too drunk and too proud to listen to her. Besides, other pub visitors were listening. “Burly” had a reputation to think of. He doubled the dose! With a defiant stare at her, he dumped the powder in his beer, shook the tankard a bit and emptied it in one long gulp.

Nothing happened! He gave a victorious laugh.

Valerian root was only a sedative, not a poison. Ashling hadn’t been aiming to kill those horses Hakon wanted her to calm down. The herb wouldn’t harm “Burly”. It wouldn’t even knock him out. His senses would work as usual. But, his mind and as well as his body and its reflexes would soon be much calmer than usual. The herb would slow him down. As he had taken a big dose, it was also inevitable that he would also feel drowsy.

A few bits passed by while Ashling ranted at “Burly”. She put the jar of valerian root back into the basket. “Burly” laughed at her and called her an anxious little cute woman. Now, she could see that he was a real man! Ashling didn’t respond. She fussed over the herbs and knocked over her tankard with beer. (There was no floor under the tent so the muddy ground seeped the brew up at once.)

“My beer! ” she exclaimed.

“Don’t worry little one, I’m going to order a new round. “

Having won the argument about the herbs “Burly” was in a benevolent mood. Besides, he felt so relaxed. He didn’t want to be at odds with his intended company for the evening. His mood was so peaceful that he even managed to show patience and wait for his turn in the queue to the beer tap. (He used to bypass the queue.) Now, he waited, calm and nice, until he could order two beers.

When they told him to pay he did it without glaring at the bartender to get a discount. The shocked bartender watched the big man return to the crate were the “grey-ish herb-maiden” sat waiting. “Burly's” movements were slow when he finally put the tankards on the "table". He dropped down on his sitting-crate and for a moment he only sat...still. Ashling watched him. She saw his eyelids go up and down when he began to blink like he was trying hard to stay awake. He nodded...

But, then he straightened up! He locked eyes with her. “I don’t have time for this anymore,” he announced. “Take your herbs and go and do your job, healing horses or whatever you were going to do! I want to sit here and enjoy my beer in peace, without any anxious women fussing over me. That’s all I ask for.”

Saving his face...the kind who will never admit a mistake!

Ashling obliged at once and dashed out from the pub tent with her basket in a firm grip. A quick glance over her shoulder told her that “Burly” might be on the verge of falling asleep. But, nonetheless, he held himself upright. Sheer willpower, she assumed.

The giant wasn’t a problem anymore. But, Hakon Grude, the animal trainer she had come looking for in the pub seemed to have left.

Feeling like she had emerged from a battle as the lone survivor she looked around for Silver. But the dog wasn’t waiting for her. The open place in front of the pub tent was empty. While she had been busy getting out of the pub her dog had disappeared! She called out for him, but no happy little furry friend came running to her.

The feeling of success left her and worry replaced it. It was with a heavy heart she walked back toward the paddocks in search of the elusive Hakon. He had seemed to aim to take care of Silver. She hoped the dog was with Hakon!

word count: 2073
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Re: [Raelia] Granegal, Chapter Four: Strong Stuff

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Ashling:

Knowledge:
Skill:
Deception: Allowing people to lull themselves into feeling invulnerable
Deception: Giving correct advise to make defiant people do mistakes
Deception: Pretending to add one more ingredient to a drink
Deception: Pretending to drink beer
Intelligence: Guessing that an assertive person will object to orders
Medicine: Making sure that people don’t take a too big dose of a herb

Non-Skill:
Melrathi Hops: Sedative herb
Melrathi Catnip: Sedative herb
Melrathi Chamomile: Sedative herb
Melrathi Valerian Root: Sedative herb
Melrathi Valerian Root: Calms and slows people down but doesn’t knock them out
Melrathi Valerian Root: People’s mind works as usual but slower

Loot:
Wealth: -
Injuries: -
Renown: -
Magic XP: -
Skill Review: Appropriate to level.
Points: 10
- - -
Comments: After the last thread, I was wondering how Ashling would deal with her unwelcome suitor. This thread didn’t disappoint. In fact, it was quite entertaining.

Adding sedatives to Burly’s beer was really clever in my opinion.

Burly is an annoying NPC, by the way! He is well-written though!

Enjoy your rewards!
word count: 174

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