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[Great Lakes] A Haunted Man

Discussion in 'UO White Stag Inn' started by Viquire, Oct 31, 2014.

  1. Viquire

    Viquire Crazed Zealot
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    [Part, the First]

    The Rusty Anchor, close on to the Verity Isle bridge in east Trinsic, was just about as empty as a body could want on a Friday night in late October. Close to the sea, and north of the docks, which were busy enough for a port town, it still lacked the exotic patronage of the caravans. And that was just fine by him. Surrounded by locals, his tattered and worn brown robe was the most flamboyant garment in the place, or at least it drew the most sidelong glances, but not enough attention to bring the undesired need to carry conversation with a stranger.

    Behind the bar, Pickle, the proprietor methodically swabbed the inside of a tankard with what had once, in the not too distant past, been a clean towel. His eyes were constantly moving about the room at large, and while there was no scowl on his lips he lacked the robust hospitality common in so many bar keeps. Pickle was a man of business, who just happened to run an inn, and kept a small tavern to ply a weary Captain with sensible grub, and a pint or two, maybe something a bit more exotic if the mood was on them, before bed. The rummies were not booted out immediately, but a welcome was something they would have to find somewhere else. Pickle locked his gaze on the back wall, beyond the shoulder of the vagabond monk, who else would wear such a thing as a burlap robe, and seemed to be considering. Then in five fairly full strides he passed behind the bar for its length, only glancing at its lone occupant in passing towards the unfinished door. A soft but urgent rap, and a quick turn of the handle with his unoccupied hand, the tankard, over the towel, still on his left. Soft but urgent words flowed into the space beyond, Pickle's face now thrust in the gap between door and jamb, and there was a muted reply, and his quick, but not unkind, response before Pickle's face reemerged, and the proprietor leaned against the back bar, expertly missing a pyramid of stemware, and his eyes began roaming the room again. Starting at, and returning frequently to, the area along the back wall that seemed to have been a cause for concern.

    The man in the robe didn't fight the desire any longer. Slowly, he let his scraggly beard brush across the scraggly burlap on his shoulder as his eyes sought whatever it was that demanded the other man's attention. His gaze passed over an odd assortment of small round tables and larger tables made of planks, picnic style, to a the short row of square tables along the outside wall. There, in the middle, a couple, older, maybe a bit more than himself, were seated at supper. Their clothes were plain enough, and though they looked care worn, they wore smiles tonight as they ate and chatted over their plates. Maybe a special occasion of some sort? Nothing appeared to be untoward, but his attention was drawn back behind the bar as the door, which had been left slightly ajar, now opened with a soft creak. Beowolf allowed only his eyes to show the smallest measure of surprise as a young maiden emerged from what looked like a small kitchen, hands brushing the small white apron and pleats of her skirt, before whisking her way past him, just meeting his glance and giving the smallest of smiles in acknowledgement. He nodded a somber reply.

    She had just rounded the corner of the bar and passed out of sight when, against the backdrop of wood and wood oil, old wine and stale ale, and sea salt on the moist air his nose picked out, was that lilac? Coupled with the smell of lye and clean linen it was as close to a breath of fresh air as he figured the place had ever known. Her feet fell quite softly against the wooden floor, and her voice fell gently, in a friendly way, as she addressed the couple across the room from him.

    "And how are your meals?" Soft, a hint of a lilt in the speech. She wasn't a local. The couple was enthusiastic in their appreciation, and that was something for him to remember, maybe for next time. "You know, those mushrooms are fresh, and seemed a good size too! Now, how bout I bring this happy couple another bottle of ... its the local white isn't it, while I refill the water glasses?"

    The lady seemed unsure, but he seemed decided for a little more. A special occasion indeed, her birthday? An anniversary?

    "Of course ya do!" He could hear the expansive smile in the young lady's voice. "Oh to be young again and in love." She sighed, and he was pretty sure he could hear a wink. The couple both laughed, and here came the soft footfalls again towards his side of the room, accompanied this time by the slight clinking of tankards. Round the end of the bar, and an almost empty bottle went on the counter space to the back while she made her way up the bar, almost even with him, and thrust the now empty hand under the solid wooden, worn and polished bar top and produced an earthen pitcher from which she filled the tankards in the other with clear liquid in one long deft motion, passing the stream from one to the other until both were nearly filled without spilling a drop. Satisfied, she began to turn to replace the pitcher and their eyes met again.

    He tried on a small smile of his own. "Not bad." he mused over the rim of his smaller glass.

    She wasn't quite as young as he had thought at first glance, and her eyes just recently so full of concentration, now danced in amusement as she leaned forward at the waist, slowly, to find the pitchers resting place, and the top of her blouse began to fall away from her neck. Her eyes, locked on his, and just a hint of a smile at the corners of her mouth seemed to tease him all the more. "What's that then, love?" She bent, slightly more deeply.

    He tried furiously to concentrate, keeping his eyes locked right on hers, willing his gaze to not wander, until a small grunt from closer to the kitchen door brought him back to his senses. Then he struggled to find the bottles of amber and browinsh liquids along the back wall fascinating, before she did something completely insensible and tried to touch her toes, or he did something even more insensible and fell from his perch. He cleared his throat, took a deeper gulp from his glass than normal, and then rather sheepishly turned his eyes on the now, stock still, proprietor, frozen in mid twist of a mug, and tried to look nonplussed. But his remaining half grin defeated him in this endeavor, and was returned with a, don't you know better, frown that was all business, like Pickle himself. Another small "harumph", from the back of Pickles throat, brought a last spin to the polishing of the tankard at hand, followed by a sharp placement among others like it on the back counter, and a new, goblet this time, found its way onto the towel to begin a spinning process all its own.

    On his left, the maiden behind the bar was now working with a short screw and the cork of a new bottle, her closeness, the return of her scent assailing his nostrils, even with his nose almost covered by his glass, and the amount of movement her upper body was going through as she twisted and pulled alternately conspired to draw his attention back to her.

    On his right, the clink of glass set down on the marble sheet behind the bar was followed by "Morgan, preserve me!" and hurried footsteps, "Here you might cork it again." Pickle's hands were both outstretched and open.

    She never looked up, "No, go on now, I've got this." as the last bit of the cork slid tightly from the neck of the bottle. She whirled on him triumphantly, "See!" The screw, cork still impaled, went quickly to the bar top in front of a slightly wide eyed patron with a nearly empty glass. Her triumphant smile was quickly replaced, with a more courteous one as she turned her attention to him and said, "I'll be right back to see what I can do for you." Quick smile, no teasing this time. And she whirled, with hands full of tankards and the bottle.

    "Now, Jenn." Pickle obviously wanted to sound authoritative.

    She whirled back, skirt billowing, just a tad at the quickness of the motion, "Mr. P., he paid for the drink did he not?" She didn't wait for an answer, "Then He's a customer, just like the others." And she whirled again, leaving "P" a blonde pony tail, and a wide blue bow to subject to his imploring.

    Pickle stood, contemplating the pony tail as it moved away, then turned his eyes towards the ceiling. "Preserve me, please." He scowled as he passed the stranger sitting at his bar, picked up the goblet, and towel, and let himself into the back room, not quite closing the door behind him on his way out.

    *More in part two*
     
    #1 Viquire, Oct 31, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2014
    Lore Denin (GL) and WarderDragon like this.
  2. Viquire

    Viquire Crazed Zealot
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    [Part, the Second]

    There were a few minutes of amiable chatter from behind him, leaving Beowolf to contemplate the emptiness of his glass, and just how badly he wanted to do something about it. Though there was still light outside, it was weakening, and he hadn't intended to stay overnight in Trinsic. The journey towards home and hearth was already guaranteed to be mostly after nightfall, and the last bit would be completely off the road, if not completely off any beaten path. The city guard might give him a curious glance, leaving at such a late hour, but no real trouble. The recent times of turmoil had passed and those who had been the biggest trouble makers had made themselves at home far to the north of the crossroads. They didn't concern him as his journey would not take him anywhere near their current stronghold, as makeshift as it was. He had one bridge to cross heading north, bridges were always a concern of his, based on experiences long past. But he felt no need for concern. The cities now had government, an incentive to keep the roads cleared for trade, and The Realm had a new King.

    If that was, indeed, where you wanted to place your allegiances.

    Beowolf was very unsure about where he wanted to place allegiance. What he was sure of, at this moment, was that the wooden disc under his backside was hard. The saddle, soon to be under his backside, was not much less hard, and the way he was sitting, sort of hunched over and leaning in towards where his elbows rested on the bar top, was not helping him feel comfortable. He really needed to walk and stretch his legs a bit before mounting up. But there was the girl. He wouldn't mind seeing her smile again, and disliked the thought of seeming rude in his own haste to be about his business. Business, that was worth a chuckle. He didn't seem to have much in the way of business anymore, and what little he had, certainly was not pressing.

    He concluded his self discussion with the resolve that he would stay for the smile, politely, but refuse the refill, just as politely, before making his excuses and taking his leave.

    The sound of the voices had changed, and moved a bit closer to the door as well. He tisked at himself into his nearly empty glass, silently regretting turning his attentions inward to wool gathering, and missing this new entrance. Had there been a mirror before, long before, before Pickle owned the place? He thought maybe he remembered there had been, and he wished it was back. He knew a guy that could fit a replacement, if not of glass then maybe polished bronze or even steel. Something to talk to Vulcan about when he saw him next. Beowolf wasn't keen on not knowing. If the proprietor was interested, maybe a replacement could be arranged, even if he had to subsidize a bit himself, anonymously, of course.


    *More of this part to come after finalizing and editing*
     
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  3. Viquire

    Viquire Crazed Zealot
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    [Part, the Third]

    *coming soon*
     
  4. Viquire

    Viquire Crazed Zealot
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    [Part, the Fourth]

    *Coming soon*
     
  5. Viquire

    Viquire Crazed Zealot
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    [Part, the Fifth]

    *Coming Soon*

    Story in five parts, no hard word count. Goaled to be done before the end of RTB, Novemeber 2nd at the latest. If you read, thanks for reading!