Surreal motioned them forward, unlocked the door and held it open for her two new friends. The inside of her bar was cleaner than the outside, but all the furniture had taken obvious abuse over the years. Most of the tables had been made from the wood of destroyed pirate ships. There were chips and knots in the wood. The stools were worse. Most of them were lopsided or missing parts of their legs.
For all the mess of the place, it was a stunningly warm and cozy environment. There were candles on every table, and the tables were organized in columns so that one side of the bar was one giant table which could accommodate half of Celesta, and the other had tables split for more privacy. Surreal strode right up behind the bar and begin fiddling with things.
"You can put the brandy on the counter. I'm assuming you both will want a cold lager?"
The instant Nereis entered the bar he felt right at home... since he had been on the road for the past two years, the pubs and bars turned into a parental environment for him. He placed the brandy on the counter then said: "I'll be back soon, I have to find a place for Vasar, I'll take two pints of beer from the start." And as he was about to exit: "And also I would like a cup of boiled water please!" He then stepped out the door.
Vasar was waiting for him at the shady side of the bar, Nereis smiled and looked around for a bucket.He saw one just by the entrance to the Odysey probably placed there for the horses. He took the bucked and filled it with water from a fountain nearby then he placed it in front of the horse. Vasar started drinking slowly.
Nereis reached for the horses sattle and took two small bags which he strapped to his belt. He also took his sword with him. "Wait here and be good!" Nereis said to the steed. Vasar bowed his head as a response.
The young man than made his way back to the bar, just before entering he squeezed the hilt of the sword and started gazing at the clouds. "The air is so different here!" he thought. "Oh... when will I have peace?... hehe..." And with a small smile he entered the bar hoping to find the fresh beer on the counter.
Last Edit: Feb 10, 2009 15:40:19 GMT -5 by Ammodytes
Stacey smiled as she saw the bar and walked inside slowly. She looked around at the abused tables and stools. She could smell the salt in the air and her eyes flickered brighter. She had always liked the smell of the ocean and the smell of salt in a bar was almost better.
She sauntered up to the bar after Surreal and leaned against it, putting her elbows on the edge. "I`ll just have a glass of cold beer, please." She replied.
When Stacey swaggered up to the bar, Surreal had to hide a grin. She loved the girl's spunk and enjoyed that she was so young, yet so perfectly adult about things. As Surreal was pouring the four glasses of her best lager, she gave the girl a pointed look.
"Now you get comfortable in here. I don't want to see any standing on attention, got me? You can put your bag behind the counter and I promise no one will touch it, not even me."
She set a beer in front of the girl, set the two for Nereis at a different bar stool, and took a healthy swallow of her own. The bitter taste was a blessing, and the beer was so cold it almost tasted crisp. She had poured it especially careful today, without the rush of the usual fifty orders to get through. The consistency was, therefore, perfect.
Surreal smiled at Nereis when he came inside and nodded to the two beers. Suddenly she remembered that he had asked for boiled water.
"Ah jeez, forgot the water. Be back in a few."
Surreal exited through a hidden door behind the bar and into the kitchen beyond, where she set the water to boil and waited patiently beside it.
Nereis walked towards the two beautiful pints with a quick pace, he lifted one high and said with a loud voice to be sure that even Surreal heard him from the other room: "Cheers!" Then without a second breath he placed the beer at his lips and started raising the bottom of the glass, slowly at first then faster.
The cold bitter taste renewed his senses, he closed his eyes and fell into the embrace of relief as his great thirst was vanquished. When he opened his eyes the first pint was empty, he placed the glass on the counter then he took a comfortable seat next to Stacey.
His face was all a smile and so he released his hair from the knot it had been tide in. As it unraveled it stretched down his back all the way to his waist. He only released it like this in places he felt really comfortable because in a fight it would get in his way. He straitened it twice with his hands and made sure it didn't get tangled in the chain mail armor.
He then reached for one of the small bags, opened it and brought to the light a small pipe, some tobacco, two small stones and a coiled piece of oiled paper.
"Tell me Stacey..." he said with a calm voice, "do you like it in this busy town?" While he spoke he placed the tobacco in the pipe then with a spark from the two stones, gave fire to the paper which burned slowly, giving him time to ignite the thirsty pipe. He then breathed deeply and with one long exhale brought forth a beautiful grey cloud.
With this his smile grew bigger and his blue eyes gained a small sparkle.
Stacey slowly sat down on the wooden stool. She flipped her light brown hair over her shoulder and picked up her glass, taking a long sip of the cool liquid. She set it down with a smile and wiped her hands on her thick pants. Even though the day was rather hot, she had pants and a jacket on.
She tilted her head towards the man when he spoke to her. "It`s okay, I guess." She replied. Even though it wasn`t exactly true, she had to say something to keep people from finding out who she was.
Stacey took a deep breath, the scent of the sweet smoke stinging her sensitive nose. "Actually, I haven`t been here much longer than you. I just got here this morning, and it was a pleasant surprise to meet Surreal and for her to be so kind." When she said this she smiled sweetly to the woman behind the bar.
It had been a surprise to meet someone so soon and for that person to act so kindly towards her. She wasn`t used to being around so mant warm people, and she was sure that if they knew her true intention then they wouldn`t be so kind.
"So, why don`t you be the one to say your story?" She hinted casually, trying to steer the conversation away from herself.
''Well if I must...'' he said with a laugh. ''Like I said before I am from the north-east, my father is the greatest blacksmith in that area. I set off from home about two years ago, to be honest I lost track of time. Since then I have survived in different ways. Sometimes I hunt, sometimes I sell skins to hunters who then brag that it was they who brought down that animal, once I worked at a bar transporting barrels of ale from one storage chamber to another, that was the worst thing I ever did for money, having the beer on my back and not being able to drink it!'' and he ends the sentence with a loud laughter that fills the empty chambers of the bar.
''The last thing I did was to turn in a thief who had tried to steal Vasar. The poor idiot sneaked up on the horse and tried to grab the rope with which he was tied to the fence. I pity anyone who tries to get close to Vasar without being a friend of mine. The horse raised himself on his back legs and pounded him with one hove on the head, luckily he didn't kill the bastard. When I came out of the Inn I saw him trying to walk away but his legs were shaking, so I put him kindly to sleep with a blow to the back of the head. I turned him in and found out that there was a big reward for him. Hehe! Serves him right! I can't stand thieves! There is nothing worse than taking something that doesn't belong to you. Damn they make me angry!''
His kind face now turned a little grim. He took a deep breath from the pipe, so deep that he choked and started coughing, as he regained his breath the smile returned to his face.
''Damn! Hehe! That hasn't happened in a while!''
He then cleansed his throat with a nice sip of beer.
Surreal had eyed the water for so long she felt it may have been her glare that made it boil. Finally, after forever, it began to boil. She grabbed the saucepan and hurried back in from the kitchen ready to ask what she missed. She heard the last part of what Nereis said instead and frowned. As she set the water in front of him, she contemplated his hatred for thieves. It was a little silly, she thought, since all they did was steal. She understood their need, and as long as they stole from the rich, as she assumed they did, she didn't really care one whit about it. She chugged a bit of her beer, then addressed Nereis.
"You know, thieves probably aren't bad people. Desperation makes people do crazy things. I can't say I've ever known a thief personally, but I'm sure they're respectable people." She laughed a little at this. "They probably don't knock down little girls and boys or steal a mother's last coin."
Her response finished, she drank more beer. Thieves were probably better people than she. They probably didn't feel at home in graves and more than likely didn't get followed by years-dead ravens. The people in the square were probably much more frightened by the idea of their dead returning to life under her control than they were of a thief.
Nereis pulled the cup of hot water closer to him, placed the finished pipe on the table, then he opened the second small bag and revealed about two dozen small bags made from thin paper. Each bag had a long string tied to it. The papers were filled with something and they were of different shades of yellow and grey so Nereis was able to distinguish a certain kind from the lot and placed a single piece in the cup of hot water leaving the string out.
He also listened carefully and waited for Surreal to end her idea, then he answered: ''Yes Miss Surreal, desperate times call for desperate measures, and believe me that in the last two years since I have left my home, I encountered some desperate times! Once I went three days without food as I had run out of money and I wasn't a very good hunter back then. But even so, it would have never even crossed my mind to take something that didn't belong to me. I struggled and in the end I was able to catch a rabbit and end my hunger, I then had a clear conscience and a full stomach!'' he said with a small laugh.
''I know there are some thieves who do this because they are desperate, but I don't give them any respect for that, the ones I do feel sorry for are the young thieves who were taught to do this from a small age. Since they didn't know any other way to get by, perhaps they have a small right to do what they do, but even so, once they reach the age of reason they should try to mend their ways and find a decent way to live!''
He then took a sip of beer and continued:
''My father used to say: ''A person's valour is determined by the number of people who feel good through him.'' What valour can a thief have then? when the only persons who feel good around him are his fellow thieves, while all the other people feel just the loss, pain and anger for the stolen goods.''
He ended his statement with a small sigh, quoting his father brought him old memories from his home.
Snapping out of it he stretched over the table and took a deep breath over the cup of hot water which had now gained a green colour. The smell was minty and sharp.
''Ahh yes!, it is finished!'' he said with a smile.
He took the paper bag out of the cup and then pushed the fresh tea in front of Surreal.
''Here try it! It is a special herb from the north, cures even the toughest flew!'' and he laid back in his chair with a grin.
Last Edit: Feb 13, 2009 11:20:06 GMT -5 by Ammodytes
Surreal listened to everything Nereis said with an ever-deepening scowl. Its easy to be high and mighty when a person's got a choice, but if she got pushed into death magic or stealing, there wasn't much she could do about it. It was obvious that his mind was set, however, and she wasn't going to argue any further. Instead, she sipped on her beer thoughtfully. It would be another few hours before the bar opened for customers, but once it did, Surreal would have to leave her new friends and begin work.
With a sigh she took a heavy gulp of her beer. It was starting to grow warm and melt down the throat instead of sliding. No matter, beer was beer and always a pleasure to drink. Surreal was surprised when Nereis put his miracle-anti-flu-brew in front of her. Was it because she looked sick? Well, she always looked sick, but usually people didn't comment on it or offer her drinks to help. It also looked a little thick. Surreal quickly checked the grimace that wanted to form on her features. She would have to be polite in refusing the drink, but refuse it she must.
"I'm sorry, dear friend, I've got to admit that my stomach is not a fan of new things. I've been living of beer and potatoes for my whole life. I don't want to ruin it now," she forced a grin. "The consequences could be dire."
The door to the bar opened and she stepped in. She hadn’t even realized that the place would be open yet, but had seen the people walk inside so had decided to go in for a drink. Certainly it was early, but she honestly hadn’t secured a job today, she hadn’t wanted one and, most unlike her, gave away the job offered her to another so was free to continue to what she liked, following the instance of her unfortunate assassination the day before.
The now lightly attired woman moved into the tavern and looked around. She was wearing a white shirt and a pair of long pants, tanned leather ones, simple enough for the times, her boots came up over her calves and ended at her knees, a short heal at the back. She carried at her side, her Katana, but that would be the only visible arm she held. Though this place might have had shabby innards, the tables going without good repair and such, it was far brighter and more pleasant a place than the one she spent most her life inside.
“Just what I need.” She mused to herself. “Are you open?” She then asked the woman behind the counter. She nodded in turn to the other occupants in the room, neither of which she knew and stood in the doorway a few moments before stepping in and allowing it to close behind her.
Nereis felt the sudden shift of the air around him. The atmosphere had changed from a calm one and had gained weight and tension. He had been in this situation before,he recognised the signs, the tight body language and the refusal of communication from the two ladies gave him the hint that something he said changed the way this meeting would continue. After all he had just met them and he already started sharing his life's philosophy with them, perhaps he had reached a sensitive spot which would have best been left untouched.
Surreal's refusal and forced grin marked the point in which the young man started feeling uncomfortable, he had seen her smile before when it was honest and now he could see that it was just a mask for a feeling of disgust .
''Tea hardly ever upsets the stomach'' he thought while he started gathering his things. With a swift hand he placed the pipe in his small bag and strapped it to his belt. And while he started gathering his tea collection he spoke with a joyful voice:
''Well I guess it is my time to retire, I don't want to be a weight on your shoulders. The working hours will start soon and I have to start searching for a place to sleep and to take a look around the city, maybe I will find a place where I can be of use. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking the time and the effort to get me out of that terrible heat, and I am most grateful for the beer.''
He stood up reached for his collar and stretched it to the left side. Then he introduced his right hand beneath his armour. The sound of coins betrayed the location of a hidden pocket over his heart where he kept all his money, out of reach for any pickpocket. He extracted ten gold coins, knowing it would be more than enough for the beer and water, and also for the service. He placed them on the table and gave a warm smile to both ladies.
''I wish you both a nice day, perhaps we shall meet again one day, until then... All the best!''
And with a small bow of the head he turned, reached for his sword and started walking towards the door. His steps were long and his eyes were lowered, so that he hardly noticed the new customer that showed up. He paused and took a step to right giving the lady room to pass, then he continued moving forward.
Last Edit: Feb 13, 2009 15:39:39 GMT -5 by Ammodytes
Stacey immediatly stiffened when Nereis spoke of killing the theif. Her father was a proffessional theif, and although theives were generally looked down upon, he was a master at his work. He had teamed up with Stacey`s mother, and assassin, to make a network of theives and assassins, some working as spies as their daughter was.
They had people in every bordering city, and any other town that posed a threat. They worked closely with their royal family, their mission was always secret. Lowerclass members of the large party had barely even looked upon their boss; they would just recieve an assignment from an uperclassmen.
Stacey, being the only child of the two deadly people, worked in the extreme range that few others ever got to before being killed. Her young age didn`t please most of the others, but they didn`t threaten her.
Stacey stared down at her beer while Surreal and Nereis went back and forth, but said nothing. She forced her body to relax, but her eyes were sharp and had changed from their inconspicuous brown to a shady grey. She started to roll the glass between her palms as the man offered Surreal the tea; she herself never took a drink from such a stranger, she had learned better not to when a junior assassin was killed by a glass of wine that had been poisoned.
As Nereis stood to leave, she lifted her head and immediatly noticed the other woman that had suddenly entered.