Postby Serrus » Tue Mar 24, 2015 5:05 am

It was by the fifth song he'd forgotten the steel he'd crossed with the highwaywoman, and he didn't know how much ale he'd drunk, nor how much stout and mead after that, and the hurdy-gurdy stung his ears like a wasp, while every bellow of laughter from the masses surrounding him battered his ears like clambering gongs and cymbals, and he drank more until he could stand no more and only sit, and the thatched roof of the old ale sink hung above like clouds that spun on tapestries and strings, and the earthen floor fell away to be an invisible sky that his chair floated upon.

He didn't hear the men beside him talk of whores and Thessilane and bloodletting and the smell of a woman's thigh, didn't hear them asking him questions about travels south and north or the goings on in the woods or what the army was going to do about the monster in the forest. He drank more ale until it stained his beard and ran down his leather brigandine, pushed away a woman reaching to sit on his lap, and drank more, until the men's laughter was a sweet taste of honey in his mouth and the shouts of fracas played a melody of caves in his ears. Drink after drink he washed himself away with, to hide them, the voices, the words, the words that battered the side of his head like an ice pick, and the headache that came from was not eased with every drink he took.

Think of summat else. Think of her, think of the sun, think of home, of Gilead, of—

Little Wolf. Do you know me?

The words pounded his head like an ice pick, and the room spun again, and he heard not the voices at his table nor his own incessant mutterings, or feel the hand that clasped the side of his head that pounded like a kettle drum, thum-thum, thum-thum.

Forget her, she's nothing to your now. Never was.

A cottage through a forest, lined with snow, and from it she stood, dark of hair and eyes, and from the threshold she watched him, the horse moving along, and each thud of the hoof was a heartbeat, and he saw her looking back at him, with tears that would not fall from eyes that would not blink.

Forget her, she's nothing to you now.
Nothing to you now....

His head swam and pounded.

Little Wolf. Do you know me?

A forest? We never lived in no fucking forest, we lived on a field, outside Gilead, in the north. In the north, in the Grange, weren't no bloody forest we lived in.

"Forget Derry," said a man somewhere. "Waste of bloody time."

"Well there's fuck all we can do with that thing in the woods eatin' everybody, is there? I say we forget this town and head north."

"Trae Kelsa?"

"Yeah, get us a ship and forget this place."

"Belcaw's got his cock wrapped around the Warden's pinky, he's not going anywhere," a man said somewhere else, but he sounded so far away.

The room swam, his head pounded, and he saw the footpath, and saw the cottage, and she was standing there – not in a cottage, at a fire. A great fire… and the people danced and sang, danced and sang, and she was weeping. But the tears would not fall, and her eyes would not blink.

Daddy. I want to go home.

Her black hair was burning, and the smoke masked her face, and the flames ate her whole and she screamed.

"She du'nt have fucking black hair!" he snarled. "It was blonde. Like the sun, s'why we gave 'er that fucking name."

"Who?" a man asked.

"Rhian," he answered.

"Who the hell is Rhian?"

"Forget 'im, Anash, he's been three sheets to the wind for hours now," said the man who sounded far away. "Surpised he ain't passed out."

They danced and sang, danced and sang, his name a word, the word a prayer, and he could not see him in the flames, could not see whom they sung for, but she stood there on the fires, and she burned, and she cried out his name, but that wasn't his name.. it was never his name…

His eyes watered, and his head swam.

Little Wolf, do you know me?

I knew another Wolf. His skull is upon the Gate.

And how will I know you, if you do not know yourself?

She said his name, said it when his lips met hers, said it under the tree where the vines were tied, end to end, upon each hand, where they sang songs and spoke of The Old Ways, and she smelt of rose and cinnamon, and she called him that name, but that wasn't his name…

Little Wolf, do you know me?

"That's not my fucking name!" he hollered, and the men about him laughed, and he felt his world spin, and blood came from his nose, and suddenly his knees hurt.

"Fuck's sake, Belcaw," the man across the trees grumbled. "Somebody get him up."

"Search me. I ain't goin' near that."

No. No, we married in the Crossroads, and there was the Priest, he said the words, made me say the words.

She's not your daughter. Not anymore. You must do the deed. Kill her. She's dead to you.

Daddy. I want to go home. It tickles, Daddy.

Forget her, she's nothing to you now. Never was.

The fire burned her in the great pyre, it burned her in the hearth, and she cried and screamed, but tears would not fall, tears would not fall from eyes that would not blink. The door opened, the trees parted, and she would not stop screaming as her gown burned. And the mother leant over the other, the man who'd spawned the girl that was not his, and her voice stung like a viper.

"Fuck ye' t' the hells! Bastard! Devil-spawn! I curse you! Every breath, I curse you and your pissant breath. You ain't my blood, an' ye can't 'ave her, neither. Feck off an' leave us! Go!"

He felt his hands sting, his knees hurt, and men shouted at him from every which way, but he could not see them, all he could see was the snow in the forest in winter, and the great pyre, and the men in robes who danced and sang, danced and sang, like children dancing in the circle, and he felt the dagger in his fingers, and it's hilt was cold as the ice that dusted it.

Ye feckin' sell-sword! Ye weak-willed little gutter-snipe! Finish… Finish this!

She's not your daughter anymore. Kill her. Kill her now. She's dead to you.

"It wun't fuckin' in t'winter when I killed her an' that whore of a mother!" he shouted.

Little Wolf, do you know me?

"Shut thee marth, fuckin' witch! Shut thee bloody marth 'fore I kill thi!"

He felt hands squeezing his arms, and he felt the cold hilt of the dagger as it slit across her throat, and he kicked her in the fire, and she screamed, while men from places far away bickered over his carcass, and the worlds spun, and the dragon circled, and the oak tree burned.

"What's wrong with him? Man's lost his wits."

"Just blind, is all. Stop fuckin' standing there and help me, you Lothie dog!"

"I don't get paid to carry around some Granger prick who can't handle his ale."

"Anash, I swear to bloody God-"

"Alright, fine!"

He heard more shouts, more voices, and his nose felt wet and cold. His knees hurt, and he knew then his boots had filled with water, and he heard someone sobbing, a distant voice, and the name was said over and over and over, a pathetic broken rhyme.

Rhian… Rhian... Rhian….

"Put him up here, by the bench. No, not that way, ya shit! Keep him on his side… Fuck, that'll do." He heard a man panting, and another laughing.

"Glad I won't be him in the morning."

"Fuck's sake, Belcaw…"

Their voices faded away, and he felt a coldness in his side, and the taste of blood and dirt upon his lips. And he slept where he lay, where they had left him by a pile of hay and horeshit outside the Floating Dragon.
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Re: Inebriated

Postby highawaywoman » Tue Mar 24, 2015 5:10 pm

The one-eye led the blonde brigand down a tight alley-way; trash and human refuse lined the sides of the uneven cobble-stoned street. All the while Blort talked. Endlessly, the man talked. As much as Ailova tried to ignore him? Blort was hard-pressed to be ignored. Money, future heists, the Red Being, trade, politics - and of course women. No wonder the fecker was so thirsty! The two shortly rounded a narrow bend, bringing them both to the front entrance of the Floating Dragon; Blort's preferred watering hole.

"Hah! Look, Old and Homely! They're already tossin' out the drunks!" Blort chortled at the supine form that laid in the straw and horseshite. Tonight the patch was on the right eye, but the left one gleamed with suppressed amusement as he pointed to the downed form of one Serrus Belcaw.

"Shut yer gab, Blort. I ken that one." Well. This was an interesting twist. Here was the very sell-sword that'd beat her in the temple and rendered her senseless so recently.

"You know him? What company you keep! I'm gettin' a drink!" Blort stormed ahead of Ailova, pushing himself into the raucous gaming hell. The highwaywoman, however? She remained still, eyeing the drunken prostrate figure. Part of her wished to rob him blind. Steal his weapons and leave him naked in the streets. Sadly, she woudnae. She couldnae. Serrus hadn't taken her blade or outwardly struck against her where it hurt. As Gloria had reminded her? The man may have a semblance of wayward honor.

"Feck. I could kill 'im so easily. Slit 'is throat and be doone with 'im. Or, even better? I coulda leave 'im fer the next blackguard 'o do jus' that." The words were uttered to herself. No one minded Ailova as the night-dwellers flitted about the streets.

It would have been a coward's kill, if she'd felled him here and now. As much as he angered her - insulted her - and her horse? Ailova was no backstabber. Gloria insisted he was not completely evil. And. Ailova ken the powers drink had on a mortal's tongue. It could make a saint curse on a high holy day.

Blort chose that time to peek back out the door, looking for his drinking companion, "What the fuck are you doin', Old and Homely?!"

"I'm gonna move 'im froom 'ere. Surely, he'll be robbed or killt if left 'ere." Ailova would not draw her rapier or her booted dagger. Instead? The highwaywoman went to bended knee, pulling at the sell-sword's arm to move it about her strong shoulders as she would try and heave him upwards.

Blort snorted, "Who the fuck cares? He's drunk. At least he'll die happy!"

Ailova ignored the one-eye and persisted in her efforts. If she was successful? She'd move him to the stables where his horse was housed close-by. There, she would place the man in front of the rouncey's stall. The highwaywoman would slump against the wall a few stalls down, taking a deep swig from her flask. This was truly a mistake.
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Re: Inebriated

Postby Serrus » Wed Mar 25, 2015 4:13 am

One would wonder the nature of Belcaw's drinking partners, that they felt it best to simply dump the raving drunk outdoors in the streets to be robbed blind and murdered. Perhaps it was a mutual understanding between the motley group of cutthroats - you slit my throat and I'll slit yours. Or perhaps it was just a common thing that happened in this side of town, if you got drunk you gambled your life every night. How many times had the highwaywoman drunken her own self into a stupor and staggered down a dark alley in a corner or a kennel for the night, after all?

She would find carrying him a nigh impossible task, for he was fully armoured and armed, and even without that, the man was wiry as much as he was burly and stood six feet. Dragging him by an arm or by the boots after some exhaustive attempts would prove a much more practical method, until she'd find a place for him near the ruddy stalls that were the best form of stable the Floating Dragon had to offer.

She would find the man is not completely lost, words stammering every so often, and she would find him making a feeble struggle while being dragged, only to murmur phrases that sounded as estranged to her as they sounded bizarre. And a name said among them all, a name she would not know. Rhian.

When she lowers him against the blue roan's stall, a familiar nicker comes to her ears, and a shuffling of hooves from the loose tether where the animal had been kept. Normally he kept the stallion in a rented stable just outside town near the soldier encampment, but tonight had seen him on errands at both sides of the town, and so he'd brought transportation with him. The stallion's head peers over the stall wall, nickering again. Ears swivel back and forth, nose flaring to pick up Ailova's scent, a scent it was beginning to familiarize itself with. Then it turns its attentions to Serrus, nickering a third time, ears swishing back and forth. This one it knew well, and it knew the smell of the firewater well, and knew exactly what to do when the two legged master fell down.

It shifts on hooves, moving foward, and butts it's head against Serrus with a notable thunk. The action only has the man leaning to the side, and the rouncey finds the action needs repeating, coughing out a brief whinny before butting the man in the chest again. It procures the same result, nothing, and its attentions turn briefly to Ailova, as if the animal was confused. This usually worked, after all, why not this time around? Ears flick upward, before the head turns around, and it thunks it's nose against the side of the man's head, nickering again.

"Fuck off y'bloody' shit," the man slurs, slinking back to wall while a feeble hand swats the horse away. "Nowt any grain while dawn." The rouncey merely lets out a snort and stamps a hoof, but it lays off with the head butting, head swinging back up, head turning side on to watch its master and the other woman cautiously.

She would hear his breathing, heavy, and could smell the stink of ale on his breath.

"You ever get married?" he asks her, in a voice that sounds like he's more sleeping than making an enquiry.
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Re: Inebriated

Postby highawaywoman » Thu Mar 26, 2015 12:27 am

The highwaywoman had hoped that Belcaw would sleep till the morning, giving her time to sort out the right words to utter to him upon his awakening. Ailova had no such luck. The rouncey was persistent in it's ministrations, trying desperately to rouse him with several knocks to the sell-sword's body. When the horse's soft eyes turned to her blinking in the dim stable light, Ailova shrugged in reply.

Hells. This was truly madness. Rescue the sod whom she'd sworn she hated but a day ago? At the very least? She should have robbed him, lightening him of his purse and sword.

The man had been mostly incoherent in his drunken mutterings - but a name had come spilling from his lips like a mug of whiskey knocked over. Rhian. Who the bleedin' 'ells was that? A hoor? A long lost companion? Kin? Another sip was taken from her flask as she glanced askance to where Serrus grumbled at the horse, admonishing him with his typical good cheer.

"You ever get married?"

"Me? Marrriet?" A sharp bark of laughter escaped the brigand, "Nae. I 'ad a lover once. He-he was lioke me." Discomfort marred her brow with creases; oh, that was a memory better left buried with the rest of her dead. Gareth. Taken too young. Strung up by his neck, eyes bulging as he pissed himself on the gallows. They'd drawn him up till he'd almost passed out from lack of air - then thrown him back down to the wooden floor. The drawing and quartering came next. The crowd had cheered, begging for more blood. And Ailova watched it all. She owed him that. She couldn't free him, but she was there - praying for it to end soon. And she watched, never looking away.

"Ye were though, aye? I rememb'r ye mentioned a daught'r oonce." With Belcaw's penchant for whores, the daughter could very well be a bastard, but she doubted that now. His soft drunken question made her feel he had been once sealed to another.

"Wos that Rhian?"
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Re: Inebriated

Postby Serrus » Thu Mar 26, 2015 3:07 pm

His head swam about in a rushing torrent, a rocking boat, and her words came to him in a dream, a far away dream, her voice echoed across a field, where a girl stood upon a threshold, peering out of the black smoke, and the hooves went thump-thump, thump,thump, thump-thump.

"Rhian was... Rhian... she was... was m'daughter."

With some amazing feet of drunken coordination, he finds rolls foward, finding his feet. The sky spins like a top, and the ground falls away, piece by piece. A hand reaches for the stomach, and the man wretches, and wretches again, fingerless gloves scraping the side of the stable for support.

"Not that... that you'd fuckin' understand... daft bint..."

Hand clasp at the side of stallion, which stirs and spooks at little, hooves shifting, and the two turn around a few times, the man unable to find stirrup, the horse nickering in frustated protest at it's master's lack of focus. A grunt, a stagger, and he finds himself saddled, albeit wrong, leaning down the horse's neck.

"Ssssaint Arsssuth's cock," the man swears, before leaning forward. "Ssshould've left me there..." he mutters to the highwaywoman. "Left me fore them urchins an' their daggers." A turn of dark eyes to her, lost in the soused dream. "I know I'dve done the same." And he leans foward, clicking his tounge to the horse. "C'mon, you."

The stallion snorts, then leads the sellsword out the stables, west towards The Hollows. It knew the way home, after all.
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