Scurry, scurry, whistle. Scurry, whistle, admire the moonlight. Scurry, scurry, whistle. The bar was almost completely set up for the night before the scurries became the smooth sway of a girl in love. Sway, sway, peanuts down on table three, sway, whistle. The bar was spotless, of course. Every chipped wood table gleamed and every unstable barstool glimmered. One skeletal hand reached behind the counter and pulled up a vase of red roses-the only brightly colored item in the room. The vase was set gently on the corner of the bar. If there could be a personification of satisfaction, those flowers were it.
A regular would recognize the difference. Why go to the trouble of cleaning up an area where people trample mud and fight and puke and lose teeth and bleed? Well, today was the day that none of that was going to happen. Why? Surreal SaDiablo was finally going to stand up to them all. Her 5 foot 4 inches of skinny paleness was drowning in the darkest, drabbest cloak she could find. Her onyx eyes snapped. Her blood red nails tapped. This was a woman with hell on her mind.
As the first few patrons entered, Surreal gave them a glower they'd never forget. They carefully sat down and ate peanuts without spilling a single one. Surreal went behind the bar and leaned down as if to get something, made sure they bought it, then collapsed to the floor in silent giggles. Oh yes. Tonight was the night her bar would stay pristine.
Post by Alfred Gebet on Feb 1, 2009 16:54:49 GMT -5
Father Alfred was in shock. According to the large, obnoxious sign out front with chipped and fading paint, the building was indeed The Odyssey, the bar Alfred most often frequented. But, everything beyond that was just… wrong. Different, he mentally corrected himself. It had only been a week since he had last visited, and everything was already completely different. For starters, despite his close proximity, Alfred could hear no noise coming from the bar. None. The silence was downright eerie for the most raucous bar in the capital. Furthermore, it appeared as though someone had made an effort to clean the exterior of the building, washing away some of what Alfred had considered a perpetual coating of soot, mud and other grime the priest did not want to contemplate. As he took in the shocking changes, a small but enthusiastic grin came over his face. He could not have been happier to see such a bastion of order take up residence in the very heart of the chaotic docks district. He felt it was unlikely that it would stay in this state for very long, and pitied whoever ruined the many hours of labor that must have gone into cleaning the place up. A distinct and righteous feeling told him that they would suffer mightily for it.
He walked forward on the short, uneven cobblestone path that led to the door, the iron cap on the base of his staff ringing out sharply as it struck the stones. He let out a low whistle as he approached the door and got a better look at his surroundings. Even the windows, gaudy, imitation stained glass that they were, had been cleaned of their usual fingerprints and food stains. His grin widened. This would be interesting. Alfred reached for the handle and pushed against the door, expecting the usual resistance caused by a buildup of debris on the floor inside, but was hardly surprised when it gave way easily to his efforts. If someone had gone to so much effort on the outside, he could hardly wait to see the inside.
As the door swung open, Alfred poked his head inside got his first look at the interior, and nearly burst out laughing from joy. The floor was spotless. A layer of uncertain depth of broken peanut shells, mud, blood, spilt alcohol and God only knew what else had covered the floor for as far back as Alfred could remember. And the air was clear! Well, he amended, it was mostly clear of the choking fumes from pipes and the overwhelming odor of cheap perfume which had been the cause of many a ruined night for the priest. Getting a better look, Alfred could see that the tables, chairs and stools, though still bearing the hallmark damage that came with being the property of a bar frequented by sailors, had been polished thoroughly and gleamed in the soft light that filled the room. A vase of brilliantly red roses set off the otherwise drab room quite well. It could even be considered artistic if one were into that sort of thing. Even the patrons, known for their volatile and base natures, seemed subdued into simply enjoying quiet small talk and drinking in moderation. Alfred did not know if one could love a building, but at that moment he was enamored with the changes the property had undergone in so short a time.
Limping inside the threshold, the priest suddenly became aware that something was very, very wrong. I had it right the first time, he thought to himself. Not different. Wrong. He tensed, his hand tightening upon the staff, his eyes quickly roving around the room. His senses told him something dark was in this place; that the cleanliness and order were merely facades forced upon the chaos by the threat of violence and something… more. Fool! I should have realized it sooner. No one could make those sailors behave like that otherwise. To be so easily caught off guard by your ridiculous desire to see things clean and in their proper place!
His eyes alighted upon a small girl standing behind the bar, and his heart stopped. While he couldn’t pinpoint her age, he could tell that she was young, and she would have been attractive save for the appearance of sickliness which even her makeup could not hide from an experienced healer like Alfred. He was amazed, quite frankly, that she was even able to stand. More importantly, however, the air around her seemed to practically glow with dark energy, making the hairs on the back of Alfred’s neck stand on end. She seemed far too young to possess such power, but Alfred’s senses were not lying to him. He was in way over his head. But, he was also intrigued. Who was this girl? Why is she here if she has such power at her disposal?
Unable to simply flee, and hoping that he had not been too obvious in his scrutiny, Alfred gave in to curiosity and limped up to the bar, fighting his desire to run the whole way. Not that I could get away with this leg… he thought to himself with grim humor. As he stood in front of the bar, leaning on his staff, he tried to smile at the girl, but was certain that it appeared hesitant and halfhearted. “Hello, my child. Blessings of God upon your establishment. I’ll take a tankard of your best beer, if you please.” Standing this close to her, Alfred literally shivered as the waves of darkness rolled over him. Oh well… No going back now, he thought to himself.
The whispers were deafening. They echoed around the tavern, building their strength with each bounce off a wall, then hissed from ear to ear with fury. The sailers were the only one that seemed to mind, since Surreal was positively humming in the quiet. Her bar, her life, was beautiful. A grin slipped out before she could remember to stay stern. She glanced around, hoping no one had seen, but a few of the burlier regulars gave her a wink to show that her act was pathetic. She kissed one finger and winked in the universal sign for "shhhh." That finger came away with the sweetest hint of blue lipstick on it.
Her hands were quickly busy once more and she did not notice when an elderly priest limped into her bar. She was so engrossed, in fact, that she dropped the glass in her hands when he requested the best beer she had. Her black eyes looked silly as they widened to true childlike proportions. Twenty four year old necromancers do not get startled! When she finally looked up to meet his eyes, hers drew even wider.
"Can priests drink?" She hadn't meant to say it out loud, hadn't even meant to think it out loud, but the second the question tore itself from her mouth she blushed crimson. One too-thin hand snaked up to cover her mouth.
"I am so sorry. Like, so sorry. I should have never said that. I mean, I shouldn't have thought it. I mean- You know, let me just get that beer for you. On the house."
She scurried to the left of the bar, broken glass crunching beneath her feet. As she filled up the glass she attempted to compose herself. Honestly, Surreal had served vampires, werewolves, werebears for goodness sake! Was it all that startling that a priest would want a drink after a long day? Maybe he had the darkness inside of him too, and this was the only way he could let it out.
She walked calmly back to the priest and offered him her most dazzling smile. "The best lager in the bar, my good sir. Please, enjoy yourself tonight." She set peanuts in front of him and turned around. For the first time since she dropped the glass, she contemplated the floor. She spent hours cleaning the bar, scowling at people, acting a grouch. Her lips twitched into a half-smile. Of course she would be the one to mess it up. With a sigh she bent and began to pick up the shards.