[Drunken Fish] Caution: Ice (Shakune)

Shakune seeks out Glen Fiddich with an interesting business proposal.

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[Drunken Fish] Caution: Ice (Shakune)

Postby Glen Fiddich on January 18th, 2015, 2:10 pm

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50th Winter, 514
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Glen was done with winter. Sure, they were barely half-way through the length it was supposed to be, but enough was enough, and fifty days was petching plenty.

What was even the point of it, anyway? What was so wonderful about the rest of the world that Morwen couldn't just stay in Avanthal all year? Why leave every few hundred days, just to make everything cold, and miserable, and inconvenience everyone? Oh sure, so snow and ice was pretty and all, just like the goddess herself was supposed to be, right until it killed you in the most horrible way imaginable. Most people said that drowning was the worst way to go, but those people were idiots. Okay so sure, if you weren't lucky enough to have Laviku's blessing dancing across your skin, the oceans could be pretty deadly, but which was worse: a few minutes of suffering as your lungs filled with water and slowly suffocated you, or hours of numb, shivering discomfort as your body slowly began to stop working piece by piece, subjected to cold so deadly that it literally bit away parts of you, until finally you expired all frozen and barely recognisable?

Cold could even burn you. Like fire, except the opposite. How was that even fair? There was already a god of burning and misery and whatever else it was that Ivak was responsible for, but no, petching Morwen needs to get in on that too, apparently. Petch Syna as well, with her sunburn, and her buggering off for the season, barely even bothering to show up during the winter days, and hardly putting in an effort to keep things warm when she did. Petch the both of them. Beautiful ladies making his life miserable, same as ever.

Glen scowled as he stirred the ladle in the steaming cauldron, agitating the contents. Hot ale and hot cider were the order of the day. Sure, the process cooked off most of the alcohol, but warm was the priority on days like these. Get a man warm first, then fill him full of booze so he won't feel the cold so bad when the ventures out into it again. A few herbs and spices had been thrown in as well; a bit unnecessary, given the undiscerning tastes of the patrons who usually ventured into the Drunken Fish, but at least the place smelt something other than god-awful for a change, and that wasn't nothing.

Glen sighed and scowled, hoisting the ladle out of the boiling booze and hitching it onto a convenient hook suspended above, letting the liquid residue drip back into the cauldron instead of leaving slimy pools across whatever surface it might otherwise have been left on. He had a face that was naturally suited to scowling, and one could be forgiven for assuming that nothing was wrong. Anyone who knew Glen however was aware of how different this scowl was: not his usual baseline of irritation, but rather a warning that any misplaced words would likely end in an extremely painful manner for he who uttered them.

He glanced over the bar, absently wiping his hands on a rag, gaze settling on where Frith was bravely guarding the tavern's fire. The fact that his eyes were closed and he appeared to be sleeping was a ruse; a ruse that Frith was extremely committed to maintaining, granted, but Glen was sure that the instant danger threatened - particularly if that danger somehow involved stray food that had been foolishly left unattended - the little terrier would leap into action and save them from it.

The air shifted as the door swung open, an insidious gust of cold racing in to disturb the tavern's carefully cultivated warmth. Glen's arms folded across his chest, his scowl squarely aimed at the new arrival. Their continued wellbeing would depend heavily on how much dithering they engaged in, and how quickly they shut the petching door.
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[Drunken Fish] Caution: Ice (Shakune)

Postby Shakune on January 18th, 2015, 3:57 pm

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For once it was not a package that Shakune had come to the Drunken Fish armed with, but a name. More specifically, it was the name of a man who would apparently be of some use to her. Whilst she usually disliked involving third parties in her business dealings - parties who could gobble up her profit or make ridiculous demands such as she provide fine wines to celebrate their agreement - this time it was unavoidable.

And it was all due to the petching winter and the petching ice. These were things that Shakune disliked not just because half of her heritage existed in a land where winter and ice could not exist, but because they were a bloody nuisance. The days were shorter, meaning that deliveries had to be packed into the three or four bells of the day where Shakune would be able to actually see whom she was delivering goods to. Similarly, more customers expected her to make deliveries at night and in the small hours of the morning, when the temperatures were at their lowest and the chances of freezing to death, the highest.

It was also much more difficult in the winter for Shakune to make her way home after drinking heavily. The snow blanketed uneven cobbles, dead bodies and other things that could trip her up. But this complaint, she felt, could be rectified in some way other than praying for the spring to come.

She pushed the door to the tavern open, stepped inside and carried in the ice-cold air in with her. Several darkened faced turned towards the black-eyed half-breed in response, most grunting moodily at the hazardous conditions outside. As the last surviving snow flakes settled on her hair and coat before melting, Shakune slammed the door behind her, successfully conquering winter once again. Several voices rose up to greet her, voices of companions, clients and even the odd lover, but Shakune raised her hand to reject the offers to buy her a drink. "I'm on business, lads." she said mournfully, pouting her lips.

Her attention turned to the bar, and Shakune strode over in order to get a better view of the male behind it. The individual she was looking for was apparently a Svefra - the race of her paternal people, and the culture Shakune most envied. She had unfortunately taken after her mother, with her black eyes, copper skin and long legs. Her paternal people would reject her because of her eyes, and Laviku would never pay her close attention either. She had spent several of her younger years at sea mourning this fact, but old wounds rarely healed.

She continued to inspect the male closely, even as she leant against the bar, and the last remaining inches of subtly of who had captured her attention dissolved completely. Blue eyes, pale complexion, and blonde hair: All characteristics of both the Svefra people and the male she was looking for. But Shakune was savvy; she would not blunder into offering this man a job without being completely sure that he was who she hoped him to be.

Decision made, Shakune's mind switched from business to pleasure. A sultry eyebrow raised and her black eyes began to inspect the male's general physique and rugged looks. A coy smile crept to her lips as explicit thoughts and images flickered through her head. Well, even if we don't do business together, I'll find something for us to do.

Finally, after chimes of silent speculation, she spoke. But it was not out of professionalism with which Shakune planned her introduction:"What do you think of sex in alleyways? Desperate, or fun?" A casual hand flickered over her shoulder, as if her opening line had been nothing more than a comment about the cold, "not in weather like this, obviously."
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[Drunken Fish] Caution: Ice (Shakune)

Postby Glen Fiddich on January 18th, 2015, 10:10 pm

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Glen raised an eyebrow, slowly. It was something he had seen an old associate do, many times over, and on the features of the often surly knight of Sylir it had managed to radiate a strange aura, not just of the scathing disapproval that the knight clearly had for you, but also of the regret and embarrassment he clearly felt you should feel towards yourself. Glen had been on the receiving end of such glances often enough for the expression to have burned itself into his memory; but it was one thing to recall it perfectly, and another entirely to replicate it with success.

He looked the new arrival up and down. It was an appraisal of her, but not in a manner relevant to her apparent proposition. The Glen of old had never wasted time on being choosy in such matters; but the Glen of new had become selective to a singular extreme, and this woman was quite decidedly not her. The soulless eyes were an interesting touch though, and for a brief moment it surprised him that the heart-stealing harpy of his affections didn't have a pair of her own; they'd certainly have suited her, all things considered.

No: it was most definitely his upstairs brain that scrutinised the new arrival, hoping to see past the first impressions and discern the motives behind her unexpectedly forward opening gambit. Such propositions from women - and men, for that matter - towards someone in his line of work were hardly uncommon, though usually there was significantly more alcohol in them than there appeared to be in this demon-eyed woman. There were the women who charged for such things too; in classier establishments they danced around the issue, lured you in under the false belief that your charm was getting you somewhere, and then smacked you with the price tag in a precision effort to batter your self esteem into parting you from your coin in search of solace. In a dive like this though, with rooms on the storeys above that charged by the hour, and it's own cadre of women of ill repute, such propositions were usually this level of blunt. Her familiarity with the other patrons certainly made that a possibility, too, but she was young and healthy and not objectionable to look at; a woman like her had no business charging rates that the men in this part of town could afford.

An enigma then. Miss Mystery.

"That depends on the woman," he replied at last, his words chosen carefully, managing to seem neutral enough on the surface, but with a faint edge of scathing wit lurking belief. "Is she fun, or -"

A faint smile tugged at his lips.

"- just desperate?"
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[Drunken Fish] Caution: Ice (Shakune)

Postby Shakune on January 20th, 2015, 3:15 pm

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His response earnt an honest smile from Shakune. So, he was a man who made sure he had all the variables before making a decison, even one as questionable as a quickie in the shadows. This was good; if he was indeed the individual she was looking for, he would be a smart business companion.

But how should she approach the task of proposing her business deal to him? Sunberth was filled with men and women who were all too quick to agree to a deal that they could never complete, only in it for the profit. Shakune refused to let herself be scammed, but how? She considered this, before speaking again:

"I look for a Svefra. Where might I find one?"

Her Fratava was poorly pronounced, tinted by her otherwise Common accent. But there was something else, as well, which made her speaking the language of seafarers odd. Her entire appearance - copper skin, dark hair, black eyes - spoke of the desert and sand. The very fact she had casually slipped into an entirely different language, and one that did not exist in the sands, was... peculiar, to say the least.

Again she smiled, clearly pleased with herself and her quick thinking. All Svefra spoke Fratava as far as she knew, but relatively few non-Svefra did. If the gentleman was who she hoped he was, he would at least understand her question if not respond in the same language. It was a sure way to eliminate him if he was a non-svefra.

As she waited for his response, Shakune repeated the name she was hopefully about to hear in her mind: Glen Fiddich, Glen Fiddich, Glen Fiddich. It certainly did not sound like a traditional Svefra name, but it was common practise for people to shed one name in favour of another. Perhaps he was avoiding someone, or something -- or maybe he simply had a peculiar surname for his people. At least he had a last name, she considered evenly as she tapped her fingertips on the bar patiently.
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[Drunken Fish] Caution: Ice (Shakune)

Postby Glen Fiddich on January 20th, 2015, 4:37 pm

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"At sea would be a good place to start."

It was his father's sarcasm that emerged, and he silently cursed himself for the speed at which it had sparked; not for a dislike of sarcasm mind you, merely a matter of dismay at any resemblance to that insufferable man. No matter how many leagues Glen travelled, the man's influence was apparently still looming over him.

"If you are in search of a specific Svefra of course, then you have found the only one in the Drunken Fish with an ounce of sobriety to him."

Though it wasn't the kind of answer that the woman was no doubt looking for, it was the kind of answer she deserved, and about all the answer Glen was inclined to give. He had little patience for surprises and mysteries, or for people who deliberately concealed things as part of some elaborate game, without sharing the rules with everyone else involved. Speaking to him in Fratava? Blunt swerves in subject? Glen was being tested, played, and his tolerance for that was low. Games had a time and a place, and this was neither.

He let out a slow, impatient sigh. "This is a tavern, Miss Enigma, and they do not pay me to stand here and solve riddles. If you plan to keep speaking in puzzles, I suggest you put some coin in my hand quite promptly. The choice is yours if a drink ends up in your hand in return."
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[Drunken Fish] Caution: Ice (Shakune)

Postby Shakune on January 20th, 2015, 6:05 pm

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She was frustrating him.

The realisation earned yet another smirk from Shakune. She was a woman who was remarkably unfazed by the opinion of others, assuming that her means were justified by the end product. And her business accolade, and that all-important profit, was worth the irritation of any person in her blackened eyes.

That said, she did not wholly like the illusion of herself that she had created; Miss Enigma, he had called her. Shakune was quite the opposite; blunt almost to a fault, not seeing the point of mystery and games in usual conversation. But again, her usual honesty was being inhibited by the need to keep her business safe and secure. These were hard times, and hard times equated to desperation.

"If only I was I sea." She retorted bluntly, hands opening in an act of cleansing herself of any more mystery. Whilst there would be no longer any enigmatic prose to her speech, she was not about to apologise for her previous statements and questions. Oh no, Shakune was far too stubborn for such politeness. "But I lack a boat. Which is the reason I am here sober and not drunkenly fondling green-eyes over there." Her head gestured towards the dark haired man she had smiled at earlier, and his eyes - which were admittedly a lovely shade of grass green - darted away from her backside to the seat opposite him in sudden humiliation.

She returned her attention to the moody Svefra before her - a future pet name for him, perhaps? "I'm looking for a boat to take me out of sea. Not far, but there's a cargo ship that can't get into the dock because of the ice. There's a package there that I need to collect and deliver to a client."

Although she had already spilled the beans on her business proposal, Shakune hesitated. The matter of pay would surely follow if he was tempted by her offer, but the savvy courier guessed that this guy might need more convicting than most. "It pays well, but the exact figure is to be negotiated. My client would like the package delivered before tomorrow, so I suggest you make up your mind quickly."
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[Drunken Fish] Caution: Ice (Shakune)

Postby Glen Fiddich on January 20th, 2015, 9:06 pm

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There it was then: the sudden burst of clarity that made Glen wish the mystery was still firmly in place. This wasn't some vestige of his past come back to make rough with him; not some reconnaissance meant to lure him away from the bar and into the kind of ambush tussle that his fists had been itching for. This wasn't some women inspired by a friend to hit on the handsome Svefra behind the bar, amusing as it would be to find out what Saidra would do to her if she tried. It was some glorified delivery girl who was less interested in his ass and more in his assets; someone in need of services that he, out of this tavern full of sailors, was somehow the best choice for.

That tugged his brow into a furrow. He'd hardly been keeping a tally, but he was almost certain that he was not the only Svefra in Sunberth; probably not even the only Svefra in this tavern, for that matter. Granted, his casinor was hardly a secret, and the fact that he owned a ship of his own perhaps put him in a better position to help than other sailors might be, but this Enigma was awful confident in herself, and in how tempted he was likely to be by the prospect. What had people told her to make her think such a thing?

That you're restless and reckless, he mused. He would certainly have to be, to agree to a job like that. Sunberth's harbour had been viscously assaulted by the winter, vast sheets and great hulking boulders of ice turning the sheltered bay into a perilous maze from which most ships could not escape. Those that remained frozen in port had emptied their crews into the Fish and other taverns; those awaiting entry from the outside were faced with an unenviable gamble, to sit off the coast and hope the ice would thaw before long, or make the voyage to Sahova and try their luck there.

A casinor though? Such a small and nimble ship might not fare so badly; might be able to weave amongst the ice, and wouldn't have the kind of weight that would make an encounter with an iceberg so devastating. Laviku willing, it might not be impossible.

Glen let out a slow sigh. Damn his restless agitation; his judgement was impaired enough without boredom driving him towards further stupidity. It was too late though: a challenge had presented itself, an Glen's stubborn desire to evade cowardice would refuse to let him back down.

"Just how much of this to be negotiated is likely to be in my hand by the end of this?" he countered, managing to inject a defensive edge into his words. Just because she had him hooked didn't mean he wouldn't make her work a little to reel him in.
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[Drunken Fish] Caution: Ice (Shakune)

Postby Shakune on January 21st, 2015, 9:02 am

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He's going to refuse Shakune panicked as she watched the Svefra consider her offer with an even black gaze, he's going to refuse and I'll lose my client.

She could afford losing the odd one or two customers, of course, but this specific man in question was a merchant, with frequent expensive requirements. His wage made the difference between Shakune living close to the breadline and her having spare money left over at the end of the season. Even with paying someone to take her out to the stranded cargo boat, she could still make a hefty profit.

His drawn out sigh, followed by the question of what he would make out of the deal, finally stopped her heart pattering. Now it was business talk, something that Shakune was more familiar with that relying on other people.

The matter of payment was always fragile, but in this instance it was even more so. Ultimately she needed him; he was the one with the power to say no and blight her chances of making any money. She would need to offer him a decent sum, but at the same time she still needed to hit that all-important profit.

She could be delivering other goods right now. Couriers were common in Sunberth, but few others were willing risk breaking their necks on the snow and ice for the sake of business. Someone always needed something delivering or collecting: give Shakune half a day, and she'd discover at least one or two such jobs that paid well. If she was going to spend the next few bells focused on this one task, it needed to be worth her time.

"I'm being paid fifteen mizas for the job." A lie: her wages were actually slightly more, but until their bartering became desperate she would not reveal this fact. "I'll offer you six. Any damage to your boat will be dealt with by my client directly - he promised as much when he asked that I go out to the cargo ship."

She hoped that the final addition to her proposal would tempt him further. Her offer of payment was not a bad one per se, but there was always the possibility of negotiation - so long as it was a quick deal that was made. Time of was the essence here. "I can't really afford to pay you higher than that." She hoped her voice sounded earnest, "and once we get on the cargo ship, there might be the chance of picking up other goods to deliver to the mainland, so more profit." She allowed this possibility to settle in the air before she continued, "If that's the case, I'll offer you exactly half of whatever I make. There's a chance to make serious miza here."
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[Drunken Fish] Caution: Ice (Shakune)

Postby Glen Fiddich on January 21st, 2015, 3:17 pm

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Glen fought hard to keep his eyebrows under control. Six mizas out of fifteen was a percentage that his ineptitude at mathematics couldn't even begin to calculate, but it sounded like a decent proportion. It translated to two days of work for him, which was not nothing; but what it translated to in terms of her was proof of how important his help was. The offer of half of any additional profits proved it. Were he a shrewd negotiator, he might have taken advantage of that, twisted the situation to milk as much personal profit from it as he could. A shrewd negotiator Glen was not, however; worse, that damned Knight of Sylir that he'd run with in the old days had managed to implant some tiny sliver of morality in him, and that overrode his better judgement. It wasn't just his services that were required, it was his help. Curse the Old Bear for making damsels in distress an irresistible weakness.

"I have about a bell to go on my shift," he explained, trying to make himself sound grudging and reluctant, and doing a not unreasonable job at it. "If you can muster the patience to wait that long, we have ourselves an agreement."

His eyes glanced over her shoulder briefly, settling on the patron who was still attempting to covertly stare at Enigma's curves. "Feel free to drunkenly fondle green-eyes in the meantime," he added with a grunt, echoing her earlier words.

He fell silent, his eyes reconsidering the woman in front of him, no longer a mere patron and now a business partner. She was not unpleasant to look at, as most of the man-drunks helpfully demonstrated; and she seemed acutely aware of it, comfortable with using it to her advantage. That was something to be aware of, and to consciously look out for. She was cautious too, and thoughtful; Glen liked that, not only because it was shrewd, and a beneficial trait for a business partner, but also because it potentially picked up some of the slack that his own reckless behaviour could often neglect. When push came to shove, she dropped the air of mystery and had answered plain; if she kept that up, they'd get along just fine, though Glen couldn't help wondering if there was more at play than he was aware. Delivering a package for a client sounded innocent enough, but Glen had got up to enough carefully worded immoral behaviour over the years to know that simple words could easily mask complex and nefarious truths. Moral or amoral made little difference to him in the grand scheme of things; but he'd need to be vigilant in case any undisclosed details surfaced to make things messier than they purported to be. Better to be the one who swings first and deal with a problem without a scratch than the other way around, and all that.

"You got a name to go along with this deal?" he asked, one last sigh escaping, though with less force behind it this time. "Or am I going to have to keep making them up for you?"
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[Drunken Fish] Caution: Ice (Shakune)

Postby Shakune on January 21st, 2015, 6:13 pm

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Relief swept over the courier. He would help her, thank the gods.

But then some other emotion arose from the pit of her stomach. She would be at sea again, if only to travel for a mile or so. The last time she had been on a ship was when she arrived at Sunberth, two years ago. She had arrived aboard the Lady Luck, a ship whose captain was the man Shakune had attached the meaning of 'father' to for several years. He was of no blood relation to her, but having taken her under his wing when she was nothing but a scrawny girl, she loved him all the same.

The old man - Pa Salt, as Shakune and everyone else knew him by - had died after their arrival to Sunberth, having taken himself away from the mainland to greet Dira on his own terms. She had been utterly distraught, captured by bereavement in a way that Shakune had never expected possible. The disbandment of the ship's crew in light of Pa Salt's death had furthered her grief, and had temporarily made Shakune vow to never set foot on a boat again.

When she glanced behind her to the green-eyed man again, she felt none of that excited curiosity that she had done before. Now she felt nervous, and subsequently annoyed at how pathetic she was being. It had been two years -- what was she scared of? "Don't mind if I do." She said numbly to the Svefra's offer of flirting with the stranger. She flashed a strange smile, one that was meant to mask her sudden anxiety but would most likely only exacerbate it.

Shakune chewed the inside of her mouth, her mind busy with hectic memories and lessons. What if she had completely forgotten how to function on a boat, how to be of some use on board?

Only one way to find out.

With a shake, she dropped all pessimistic thoughts and focused on the immediate task. Her new business partner had a bell left of his job: that was no big problem. Shakune could happily entertain herself - and some of the other patrons - in that short space of time. Perhaps a few tankards of ale would give her the courage she was apparently otherwise lacking.

"Oh, yes." She replied eventually, almost surprised that she had not yet offered her name to her new business contact. With an extension of her hand, she nodded to him, "Shakune. But you still make up names for me if you like. I've heard them all before." Another smile -- but time a genuine one that creased her black eyes. Gesturing behind her, Shakune suggested: "I'll wait around there until you've finished." She turned to leave the bar, but paused. "Oh- and I'll have an ale, please."
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