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Have a drink on me...
Hokur, if ye would be so kind, please put me down,” Maeve’s voice dripped with velvety sweetness.

“Nae. I cannae do that darlin’,” the big mercenary shook his head and tried to keep the riot of the bard’s hair out of his mouth as he spoke. He had one arm wrapped around her waist tightly, pinning her right arm to her side below the elbow as he held her left wrist in his other hand.

Hokur, I realize just because that feller deserves t’eat a bag of dicks beginnin’ with his own nae means I’m the one t’feed it to him. Set me down.” The sweetness was draining from her tone.

The Aral shook his head again, “Nae gonna do that dove, an’ ye knows why. Put it back.” Under nearly any other circumstances having his arms full of Maeve would have been a downright enjoyable experience, but as the situation stood at the moment it was deadly.

“Whate’er d’ye mean? Put what back?” blinking innocence and butterflies replaced the mock sweetness in her tone and were exponentially more menacing.

“Th’ Dodger. Drop it. Just ‘cause I’ve an armful of spittin’ mad wildcat nae means I di’nae notice ye pinched th’ Dodger. Drop it or hand it t’Raylen, them’s yer choices an’ one or th’ other needs t’happen before I’ll leave loose o’ ye.” Hokur felt her tense all the way through her frame and steeled himself for another barrage of kicks against his shins. Spellcaster she may be, but she was stronger than she looked and had enough alcohol in her system to stagger a good-sized city. Raylen had tried to warn him that she was a mean drunk as the fighter stepped into the altercation between her and some jack-a-nape that would likely be dead if he had not. He agreed that the bloke needed a lesson, but somehow he thought his new employer might not appreciate the Captain of his retrieval team being held by some northern clan chief for murder.

Hokur, ye overgrow’d armor rack, Set, Me, Down! Last warnin’,” Maeve gritted through her teeth as the fighter flexed his grip and forced the air out of her lungs.

“Nae lass, I cannae do th-” the bard lashed back with her head in an attempt to smash his nose but he felt it coming and turned his head so he caught blow on his brow and left eye which was enough to make his vision swim for a few heartbeats but he held her fast. A quick shift of his hips kept him from being gelded with his own blade as Maeve reversed her grip on the Dodger. “Settle down lass! We’ll be havin’ none o’ that foolishment now!” he growled through clenched teeth. He hissed at the other two of his new comrades-in-arms, “Bit o’ help here if’n ye nae mind!”

Arcelli shook his head and took a leisurely drink of his ale as Raylen blinked, momentarily unsure of how to assist. Inspiration struck so he muttered a quick prayer and darted a hand in, touching Maeve’s pinioned arm. The wild light of ale-fueled rage cleared from the troubadour’s eyes instantly and she ceased her struggles to hang tense and panting in the fighter’s grip. “That should at least sober her up.”

Hokur put his mouth close to the bard’s ear and whispered so only she could hear, “Aye darlin’, that jake’s earned anythin’ ye cared t’dish him and more, I’ll nae dispute it. But look ‘round ye; ye’re nae in Salpia now – we’re deep in Turnbull lands and this is nae a blood feud ye want t’be startin’, ye’re a Lachlan, an allied clan, so’s it’d go twice-hard fer yer folk. We just come from yer brother’s handfastin’, d’ye really want t’cost him everythin’ he’s nae even had time t’enjoy yet?” Hokur felt some of the tension in the contora’s limbs relax; at least she was listening.

“Now, I’ve nae any love of these ignor’nt, braggart Turnbull bastards me own self but shankin’ one o’ their men at arms in one o’ their own taverns is suicide fer ye, and us, and a parcel o’ headache ye’d ne’er wish t’saddle yer clan with,” he could feel the muscle in her jaw jump against his moustache as she clenched and unclenched her teeth. “Bloody mayhem is th’ onliest thin’ a Turnbull’s any good fer since th’ gods only gifted ‘em with size and nae brains; I’ve served with enough of ‘em t’know. And I’ve broke bread with yer clan so’s I’m nae gonna let ye do somethin’ they’ll regret just because ye got too deep in yer cups.”

Maeve took as deep a breath as Hokur's grip would allow and nodded, “Aye, I did and it was stupid. My ire’s still fresh on one Turnbull in particular but since I cannae take it out on him I was goin’ for next best. Lemme down and we’ll make sure I nae sliced either of us.”
Session: Sail away, sail away, sail away... - Saturday, Jan 19 2013 from 11:00 PM to 7:00 AM
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Tags: Booze , Brawl , Doh!
Epic × 2!
Dear Gavin--Meetings
Dear Gavin,
Recent events, and witnessin a scaldin only a true Aral matron can deliver ta her kin, have served ta remind me that I should probably be writin home more often than I have been. I know I should be addressin this ta Gran, but some of th details of me exploits would only serve ta have her come out lookin fer me so I leave it ta you, brother, ta only tell her enough ta satisfy her and keep me from havin ta deal with her ire.
I was able ta join up a various merchant train headed outta Struthancloch and inta Salp and then another train goin on down ta Lacaerate. It was lucky I was able ta get hooded up with those fellers since, Aral luck not withstandin, a lone traveler on the road these days is easy pickins fer bandits and th like. Anyway, escortin the merchants not only got me safely ta Lacaerate but also put some extra silver in me pocket ta boot. After askin around a bit as ta where a feller could wash th road dust from his throat and mebbe also find some work, I was directed to a place called th Blushing Trull.
Once me eyes had got used ta the dimness inside the Trull I spied a couple a things. Th first was th lack of habitation in th common room, probably because it was mid-afternoon which would still be a wee bit early fer th normal drinkin crowd. Because everyone was still otherwise occupied, I was able ta find a table big enough fer me and my gear—no mean feat since I had just gotten ta town and had nae had th chance ta find lodging, I was still carryin everything I owned. Now I said there wernt that many people in the tavern, but I was able ta spot a pair of Salps sittin at a table that looked ta be more than yer typical dirt scratcher. Th first looked ta be some kind of woodsman due to his garb and the big arsed bow sittin next ta him propped up against th table. At first I thought he was just a lad since he had th tiniest li’l mustache I ever seen on a full grown man. But then I remembered where I was and that everything seems ta be smaller in Salpia so I let it go at that. The other feller at the table looked ta be some kinda cleric because he was doin most of th talkin but not really sayin much if ya know what I mean. Since I was nae in th mood fer preachin, I gave em a wide berth as I made me way to th table in th rear.
I had finished me first pitcher of ale—which by th way would have been only a bit larger than a jack of ale at th Whistlin Axe back in Struthancloch but again, EVERYTHING in Salpia seems ta be smaller—and had ordered me a second when th door opened and in walked an unlikely pair. One was obviously a Salp noble based on his bearing and dress, not ta mention th fact that he was nae covered in shite and goin to a tavern in th middle of th day. His companion was an Aral woman—no mistakin HER for a lass not of age, if ya catch my meanin. She was wearin Lachlan colors, but not in th traditional way so it was a bit hard ta she truly was of that clan. Anyway, once their eyes had adjusted from bein out in th sun, th Salp headed fer the table with th other Salp fellers I mentioned earlier so I figgered this was a planned meetin while she went to th bar fer drinks fer th whole lot. As I was admirin her assets—I’m near certain she did nae mind seein as she had em prominently displayed—she gave me a wink and a nod invitin me ta join her and th three Salps over at their table. Since I get that kinda invitation from th lasses back at th Axe all th time I did nae give it much thought and moved ta join em.
By th time I got over ta their table, th Salps’d managed ta drag another table over ta make a bigger table fer us all ta sit at without sittin on top of each other. Introductions were made all round once we all got resettled. Th woodsman goes by th name Arcelli Cacciatore, th priest’s name is Raylen Lorn, and the other Salp is called Namen Roodle. Master Roodle is apparently some kinda well-known wizard who cured a curse or plague or something like that in Lacaerte a while back. I was nae terribly interested in th details since it had something ta do with drinkin th water which is just silly as far as I’m concerned. As fer th Aral, her name is Maeve and I was right in my guess as ta her bein a Lachlan. We were able ta determine later with th aid of her Auntie Mo that we’re fourth cousins a couple times removed, but I’m gettin ahead of meself. Once we had more ta drink and knew what ta call each other, th purpose of Namen and Maeve bein at th Trull was made clear. He needed different items collected so he could continue his work of makin magic trinkets fer th other rich people of Lacaerte and rather than go out and gather em hisself, he was lookin ta hire a team ta do it fer him. One of th benefits ta this job, other than workin fer a wizard with lots of gold, was that it would keep me from bein pressed inta th Salp military. You know me, Gavin. I’m always ready fer a scrap but on me own terms and not because some sergeant or noble officer is orderin me into it. He told us that we did nae have ta decide right then and there, but invited us ta his mansion fer supper and ta further discuss th details of his offer.
So we all went ta Master Roodle’s mansion, Sottovelo or some such, and was treated to a real, honest ta Cayden, Aral cooked meal. It turns out that Maeve’s Auntie Mo is th cook and let me tell you, she knows her way around a kitchen. And a long wooden spoon which is why I’m writin this letter, but again I’m jumpin ahead in th story. Anyway, let me shorten this story and just say that we all signed on ta Namen’s team and have since been out killin goblins, gnolls, and pretty much anythin else that crosses our path that needs killin. Since we’re gettin ready ta head further south toward th Dran plateau, I need ta close this letter. Tell Gran that I’m doin well and am well looked after by Maeve since us fellers would nae have dry socks if she did nae figger on us needin em. You can also tell her that I’ll try and write more offen in th future, but that I’m headin to th arse end of civilization and may not get th chance fer a while.

Session: Gettin' it Together - Friday, Jun 24 2011 from 11:15 PM to 9:15 AM
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Tags: backstory , Booze , Intro , Recap
Epic × 2!
I've learned t'make bad situations my friend...
Why is it that I ne’er remember that competin’ and holdin’ my own in drinkin’ contests at Grizzard’s leaves me with a hand-knotted rug where my tongue used t’ride? And who-so-ever said ye cannae brew bread has ne’re had the pleasure of samplin’ the holdin’s of Master Thumphammer’s extensive cellars – fer if there’s a body of any ilk, race, creed or color that can brew a stout that’ll put chest on yer chest it’d be that dwarf and fer anyone a little slow on the uptakin’ – that is a compliment. I’m fair certain that I managed to sprain somethin’ in my voice box with the amount of singin’ I did, but as that’s the primary reason I was brought along I consider the evenin’ a right smashin’ success. But I may be gettin’ a bit ahead of myself so’s I’ll back it up a bit…

Namen, knowin’ that the four of us are likely t’be managin’ fetch and carry fer him in town as well as out, thought it were high time we met the majority of the masters merchant of Laescaerta so’s he arranges fer us t’accompany him t’a gatherin’ bein’ hosted at Gamla Wols which fer those of ye nae in the knowin’ is Master Grizzard Thumphammer’s mead hall and meetin’ house. Grizzard is a capital respected dwarf whose opinion and good graces form the only accepted gateway betwixt dwarfish tradesmen’s goods and Salpian gold which is t’say that if a dwarf wants t’do business in Laescaerta he’s got t’keep Master Thumphammer happy and if a Salp wants t’pay a reasonable price fer stunty-made wares he’s in the same boat so’s t’speak. The understandin’, though, is that anyone at Thumphammer’s is an alright sort of feller or lass there’s nae much t’worry on – though the measure of a person can usually be summed up right quick if conversation has been liberally lubricated.

I’ve mentioned singin’ and feats of imbibin’ in a cordially confrontational manner already which goes by way of settin’ up the general mood I was in which is t’say I was in right high spirits both literally and figuratively so’s when Namen comes back from where’re it were that he’d wandered off t’ towin’ a pup of a dwarf (judged by shortness of beard and lack of gray in said pitiable face rug) and a grimace behind his smile fit t’curdle fresh goat milk my guard came up double quick. Says he that this stunty is t’join us on our next outin’ and that if we’ll be so kind as to excuse him he’ll be right back then slips out the opposite door leavin’ said dwarf feller and a slew of questions in our exclusive company.

Raylen, bein’ the learned and amiable feller that he is, hails the dwarf in his own tongue – a garble of garglin’ that I’ve nae learned fer fear it would ruin my singin’ voice fer any proper language – t’which the feller growls back in a tone that a body nae needs words t’understand of sheer cussedness. I may have mentioned before that I’m far from fond of folks what treats others ill fer no other reason than t’vent their own spleen and if I’ve nae mentioned it before y’know now. Havin’ some git throw grumbles on my otherwise lovely evenin’ got my blood up in a hurry so’s I commenced t’skaldin’ this chucklehead in every language my tongue could feather givin’ him a right good taste of his own bitter medicine. I finished up in Salp – which he failed t’see the ass-backwardness of him speakin’ when he wanted no Salp t’speak dwarf – that as it was already decreed that he’d be travelin’ with us he’d be wisest nae t’chaff the only healer likely t’be holdin’ him on the right side of the darkest veil.

I stuck out my arm and offered him a start over t’which he insults me by grabbin’ my hand like I’m some filly-fingered Salp trollop! I yanked my mitt back and grabbed his wrist in a proper grip and gave him a squeeze that made his bones creak tellin’ him t’shake hands like a proper Aral knowin’ full well it’s the same bloody way dwarfs greet each other as we’d been watchin’ it all night and if he’d had half as much smarts as he thought he did he’d have seen Brodie and Fearghus do the same. He hung his handle out there as Bardemer which is about the point I quit payin’ attention t’him as I nae felt like givin’ any more lessons in etiquette but Raylen and Arcelli – who the lil’ bugger insulted as well – chatted on with him a bit but he’d fair well killed the conversation until Namen came back.

I could tell by the jumpin’ of the muscle in our employer’s jaw that he was nae entirely pleased with whate’re it was he was about t’spark on us which nae sat very well with me but he also had that 'cat what drank the cream' look on his face so's I was nae sure what precisely was afoot. Says he that Bardemer’s uncle has agreed that if the whelp joins us he can “ease some of his obligations” which is Salpian for “get his stunty arse out of whate’re sling it’s in” utilizin’ the four of us in Namen's employ. I begin t'see why he's lookin' smug for if'n the paragon of the dwarfish community asks ye a favor, it's fair certain ye be 'arrived' as the Salps call it. Of course, given my state of mind I was slight chaffed because I thought I’d left my days of bairn tendin’ behind me in Aral. Ah well, in fer a copper in for a crown!
Session: Woo! Road Trip!! - Friday, Aug 05 2011 from 11:45 PM to 9:45 AM
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Tags: Booze
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Crinita
Posted by the GM
MonkeyStomping
Letter from Bernardo
Esteemed Father,

I do hope this missive finds you and Mother well and the burden of your respective duties not over-taxing. I last heard of Grandfather a fortnight ago and from the account he is as hearty, hale and sharp as ever which did my heart good. Illia was seen by one of the maids of Sottovelo at market this week and she appears to be in good spirits and happily anticipating the birth of her and Rigolito’s first child with no small measure of joy. I hope to be granted a leave to visit the happy couple after the birth of the child and as Master Roodle is a fair and benevolent employer, if somewhat unorthodox, I feel reasonably certain that my request will be granted as the distance is easily traversable on foot within a day so I would not be away from my duties overlong. I am certain to have more firm plans as the joyous event draws nearer.

In missives past I have mentioned the peculiar complexities of managing a staff which includes an Aral matron of strong will, as if there were any other type, and her daughter. These aforementioned complexities have not become any less convoluted with the addition of the Mrs. Brus’ niece to the household. The young lady is well-behaved enough, for one of her profession, education and background so I was understandably vexed when Mrs. Brus began acting in such an unprofessional manner. I beg your indulgence to allow me to explain the situation.

Miss Lachlan recently graduated from the Royal Salp Academé of Music and the Arts and returned to Sottovelo as a sort of break before she sought out her own situation. The Master of the House enjoys a lively and educated conversationalist and in this capacity Miss Lachlan is quite simply unsurpassed as a partner when she so chooses. Unfortunately she chooses this course of action regardless of the situation at hand and as such can be somewhat underfoot for Master Roodle when he is in a mode of business. It was one of these exchanges that led to Miss Lachlan being hired by Master Roodle to accomplish a task which he could not immediately undertake himself, and for which Mister Nurn was absent, in addition to three other freemen, two countrymen and one Aral. The details of their business is unimportant except for the fact that it kept them away from Sottovelo for three and twenty days which lies at the heart of the complexity.

Mrs. Brus, after the fifteenth day of their absence, began to fret over the safety of Miss Lachlan although the latter is of the age of majority and in a situation which can, to my eyes, only benefit her. After the seventeenth day I noted that Miss Brus, who is perhaps the least prone to gossip maid I have ever known, began speaking with the messengers who brought the mail. By the nineteenth day I noted that any items that came in the post were being delivered to the kitchen through the alley entrance. Mrs. Brus was bribing the entirety of the messenger corps with her, admittedly expert, baking. Master Roodle was deeply involved with research and I thought it best not to disturb him for something I should well be able to handle myself and though I did speak to the local dispatch this usurpation continued until Miss Lachlan arrived, quite unharmed, at Sottovelo with her companions likewise intact. I quite rightly left her to her fate when Mrs. Brus learned of her return although I did rescue her companions after less than an hour of Cook’s diatribe.

I intended to speak with Miss Lachlan and Mrs. Brus the next morning regarding the issue but I did not have an opportunity. It was well past the midnight watch when I heard a knock at my chamber door which turned out to be the upstairs maid. Miss Lachlan had sent her up to request my presence in the library. I was… intrigued to say the very least. I disengaged the night bell, in case Master Roodle needed anything while I was out of my chamber, so the downstairs bell would ring and entered the library with some small amount of trepidation.

What I found was Miss Lachlan and Mrs. Brus, who looked rather more abashed that I thought her able, standing at one of the side tables with what I recognized as a very fine bottle of cognac. Mrs. Brus – and on this point you may think I am exaggerating – curtseyed; and with her head held high and genuine warmth in her voice, begged pardon for her actions with the messengers! On the heels of this shocking behavior from a woman I have never heard utter a syllable of apology to anyone Miss Lachlan, in a very respectable and formal tone, apologized for her inconsiderate behavior in not letting her employer or family know of her safety and asked that I accept the aforementioned bottle of very fine cognac as a token of their shared sentiments of regret.

I am not too proud to say that this revelation of manners quite took me off guard and every scolding thing I had to say immediately vanished from my mind. I could do nothing but accept the apologies and request that if, in the future, there were a similar situation that Mrs. Brus notify me of her concern and I would gladly notify her of any correspondence that bore Miss Lachlan’s hand directly after I delivered said missive to Master Roodle. Mrs. Brus said she would immediately and irrevocably rescind her bribery to the messengers and that any who came to the kitchen door would be turned away to go to the front of the house as is proper. I do not think that my offer over-steps my duties or borders on gossip as Miss Lachlan was Mrs. Brus’ charge until her graduation just a few short months ago.

I will watch very closely, but there seems to have been a slight change in Mrs. Brus’ attitude which may make my duties at Sottovelo somewhat less vexing.

I remain your devoted and respectful son,
Bernardo

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Tags: Booze , NPC PoV
If it weren't for bad luck...
The ability fer Aral luck to overcome that misery that is the general lot of Salps was still underpowered despite the dwindlin’ numbers of our temporary Regular comrades-in-arms as we’d barely thought about stoppin’ t’grab a bit of somethin’ t’eat when someone spots a rustlin’ in some scrub ahead just before a blighted owlbear – yes, I said owlbear and it looks just like what its name implies that bein’ the unholy union of an owl and a bear – pops up out of said scrub. Fur and feathers fluffed out in a display of pure orneriness, as the only attitudinal settin’ these critters have is half-past thrice chaffed, it let out a roarin’ hoot what’s even more frightsome than its appearance and that words nae have the power t’describe adequately.

As we were a’horse and had been ridin’ along I’d my bow, or rather the bow we’d found on the ogres what was of considerable better make than mine so’s I was usin’ it until I got my own, but as I was sayin’ a bow in my hands instead of my harp and havin’ heard from Da exactly how vicious, ferocious, cantankerous and just plain maliciously aggressive these critters were I wasted no time in lettin’ fly an arrow toward the brute. Fortunate fer me they’re nigh on as big as a barn so’s I was actually able t’hit the cussed thin’ as did Raylen, quite a bit more vitally placed I might add, as Fearghus kinda quirked a brow at what was goin’ on and Arcelli slided off of his horse t’get some room t’limber up that big-arse bow of his. What with the Regulars bein’ behind us a bit they’d no notion of what exactly they was walkin’ int’the teeth of… or beak of rather as owlbears nae have teeth but I’m digressin’ me with details.

Raylen an’ I hit again, thank the gods fer small favors when asked politely, and Fearghus must’ve followed the projectiles t’their logical conclusion in the varmint’s carcass which prompted him t’hop off ol’ Favo and sidle critterward as Arcelli gave him cover fire what dinnae hit but kept the critter lookin’ at the ranger instead of the merc. I was a might busy t’turn around and see what the Regulars was contemplatin’ as I was concentratin’ too hard on nae hittin’ Fearghus on my next shot as that big monstrosity charged itself up t’Arcelli and the Aral and took as swipe but I managed nae only t’miss my fellers but also t’hit about the same time Raylen did. Fearghus put up a nice display of defense so’s Arcelli could get some distance t’bring his shots t’bear which left him the only one toe t’toe with the beastie which could’ve been right bad right quick but out of the corner of my eye I caught the movement of the Regulars as the hauled it up t’the fight double quick.

The thin’ musta been lookin’ over Fearghus’ shoulder at the Regulars ‘cause it dinnae even try t’dodge the great swipe our Araldite friend landed direct in its ribs knockin’ a wheezy roar-squawk and a surprised look out of it which was followed in rapid succession by my arrow, another from Arcelli and two bolts from the Regulars as Raylen slung his bow over his saddle horn and prepared t’make those what got cuffed around stay on the right side of the burial mound as the Regulars’ swordsmen had arrived and give a good poke t’the varmint too. With all the bodies surroundin’ the critter I was nae surprised when I missed… I was surprised that every other archer on the field did but it turned out t’be no matter as one of the Regulars landed a good slice and Ermanno did that run up and swipe from crotch t’craw that he’d pulled on the ogre which elicited the self-same result; dead critter.

I was fair surprised, but had the tact nae t’say anythin’ out loud about it mind ye, that we had just as many Regulars at the end of the fight as we did at the beginnin’ and everyone had all of their limbs intact. Says I that as Namen was needin’ giant owl feathers maybe he’d like some big-arsed owlbear feathers too so’s I plucked some of the choice tail feathers fer that purpose before Arcelli had ‘em all yanked and stuck in his hair – I’ll leave my comments on Salpian versus Araldite levels of social sophistication fer another discussion as I have mentioned the subject before and nae want t’beat it int’the ground – and as these critters eschew clothes there was no pockets t’check so’s I hops back up on Canuto and wait patiently fer Fearghus t’lop off the head of the beastie so’s the Regulars can get credit fer it with their major or admiral or what the blast ever it is they call who they answer t’when they’re nae answerin’ t’a captain.

The best part of travelin’ back to Ebete is that the closer we got the less likely we was t’see any maraudin’ beasties and that’s just what happened fer the rest of the three days we trekked it back which suited me right down t’the ground. On about my fourth ale in Ebete it dawned on me that the most dangerous part of my journey has yet t’take place; I’d forgotten t’send word back t’Sottovelo and Auntie Mo so’s it’d been three weeks she’d nae known if I was quick or dead. I knew I was in fer a right-epic skaldin’ when I got back which might just have been why I simply couldnae slake my thirst no matter how many rounds I drank.
Session: Game Three... or Whaddaya mean we need 300 more goblins? - Friday, Jul 22 2011 from 11:30 PM to 9:30 AM
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Tags: Battle , Booze
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