Completed Rivalries

Things get heated at the Rear

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Considered one of the most mysterious cities in Mizahar, Alvadas is called The City of Illusions. It is the home of Ionu and the notorious Inverted. This city sits on one of the main crossroads through The Region of Kalea.


Postby Ambrosia Alar on July 14th, 2017, 1:29 pm


The 70th of Summer, 517 AV

The night was busy, but it was barely beginning at the Stallion’s Rear. Syna’s light had dipped over the horizon not half a bell earlier, and Ambrosia had been fortunate enough to be able to see some of Zintila’s stars the one time she had walked an already plastered customer out. She had taken his key, felt its pull, and started him in the right direction but had little confidence he’d actually make it there. Chances were he’d pass out not far away and sleep off his stupor on Alvadas’ pleasant summer night streets. Back inside, Ambrosia met a wall of people. There was hardly any standing room left which meant there was next to no space left for Ambrosia to navigate through to get people their drinks.

Two groups of laborers had shown up a bell before sunset. One was from the Port and headed by Eli. The handsome, boisterous man and most of his pals were regulars at the Rear. It was a rare night that Eli wasn’t there, and whenever he was, he brought friends. The other lot were construction workers who had been demolishing a house when Alvadas’ shifting streets had moved the Rear across the street from them. Taking it as a sign of good luck and an omen of providence, the men abandoned their work and flooded into the tavern. The two groups were taking up a fair amount of space, and what room they weren’t occupying was filled in by solitary drinkers, a few couples, and various small groups of comrades.

Ambrosia wasn’t about to complain about their presence. Hard workers made for the very best customers, because they cared about only one thing. Getting drunk to forget how weary they were. They were all big men which meant they had to put away a good many drinks before they got to that point which meant Ambrosia hadn’t stopped moving to serve people. Still, she couldn’t complain and neither could the business. Money was flowing into the place like the night air through the open door, and Ambrosia’s pockets already had a fair amount of small coins from overly generous, drunken tippers.

Sliding a glass of wine across the bar to a woman who seemed particularly smitten with her date, Ambrosia took the coins from the man in question who happily covered the drink. The woman was a pretty, little thing- short but without a doubt she was drawing the most attention of anyone there. Already, her date had had to fend off advances from four separate men, and Ambrosia had seen looks from other men that said they were jealous or considering trying their luck with stealing her away.

A sudden ruckus began at the table with the construction workers as they pounded on the table in unison and started up a chant that started soft but quickly escalated until they were all shouting. “Degtine! Degtine! Degtine! Degtine! Degtine!”

“I’ll be right over.” Ambrosia's yell was muffled by their shouting, and she knew they wouldn’t stop until they got what they wanted. As quickly as she could, she grabbed a bottle of the Denvali liquor, placed it in the center of a tray, and stacked shot glasses around it three-high closest to the bottle down to one-high at the periphery, creating a tiered effect with the degtine at its pinnacle. Most in the bar probably wouldn’t notice, but for those who did, the effort would show the Rear had a touch of class. Picking up the tray with both hands, Ambrosia weaved her way through the sea of people. There were some barmaids she had seen who could handle a tray with one arm, but Ambrosia lacked the strength, the balance, and the confidence to try it. She preferred keeping the floor clear of shards of glass.

Someone caught her arm gently as she passed his table. “I’ll take a shot, miss.”

Even the slight jostle of her arm almost caused her to spill the tray, but Ambrosia managed to keep everything upright by tipping the tray the opposite direction. The motion was almost too much, and though the bottle leaned precariously, it came back to rest where it should be. Ambrosia flashed a quick smile and, in a half-shout so as to be heard, told the man, “I’ll come back to you, love. They’re not gonna shut up until I get this to them.”

The man returned her smile with an understanding one of his own, so Ambrosia continued on. Regardless of his response, she would have seen to the drunken workers first, but it was better to keep everyone happy if she could. A few ticks to offer an explanation and a smile was well worth the happiness of her customers.

When Ambrosia finally reached the construction workers’ table, their chant erupted into a victorious shout of “Degtine!” and smiles and laughter swept through them at the arrival of the coveted liquor. The Rear was the only place in Alvadas that sold the stuff. The original owners, Seven and Victor, had carried it, and Cade had been wise enough to continue that tradition when he bought the bar. When Denval had been destroyed, the art of degtine didn’t die with it, and Cade had been smart enough to realize that. He tracked down groups of Denvali refugees and made contacts and contracts with those who knew how to distill the alcohol. The Rear’s supplies never ran dry.

One of the workers recognized Ambrosia and gave another cry just as elated as the first. “Ambrosia!”

He didn’t come in often enough that Ambrosia would call him a regular, but he frequented enough that she recognized him. Bandon. She started setting out shot glasses. “Bandon, love, it’s been too long. How are you? How many drinks for you all tonight?”

Drinking was all that was on any of their minds, so her first question went ignored. “Two each. On me.”

This brought a cheer of “Bandon!” from all of his buddies as Ambrosia finished setting out the shot glasses. She filled them to the brim. The tavern wasn’t going to lose any money by being generous with the drinks. If anything, it would just mean their customers would be more likely to return. As she finished pouring the drinks, she took the coins Bandon handed her and made her way back to the bar, stopping several times to fill a shot for various customers including the man who had stopped her earlier.

Once behind the bar, she returned to the couple. The young woman had already finished her glass of wine. If the glass wasn’t evidence enough, the deepening blush in her cheeks was.
Last edited by Ambrosia Alar on February 10th, 2018, 4:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Ambrosia Alar on August 2nd, 2017, 10:14 pm

Ambrosia slid the empty glass toward herself and held it up questioningly when the woman looked her way. “Can I get you another, love?”

The woman beamed a smile that rivaled Ambrosia’s, and suddenly, she felt inadequate. When the customer opened her mouth, the words spilled out like warm honey, and Ambrosia tried not to sink in on herself. “Are you trying to get me drunk?”

Despite the sudden feeling of incompetence, there was something in the combination of the woman’s voice and smile that was both disarming and calming. As infectious as the other woman’s happiness was, Ambrosia couldn’t help but return it.

“Of course, I am,” she responded, throwing in a not-so-subtle wink. The other young woman’s blush deepened even more before Ambrosia could go on. “It’s kind of my job.”

The woman laughed at this and nodded. “I’ll take another.”

As Ambrosia filled the woman’s glass with the deep scarlet wine, she chatted idly with her. “What’s your name, love?”

“Love has a nice ring to it, at least when you say it.” That statement caught Ambrosia off guard, and it was her turn to blush. There was a satisfied smile on the woman’s face when she saw it. “But Winnie’ll do just fine.”

With the glass now filled, Ambrosia slid it across to Winnie. “So, Winnie, does every date you go on get as sabotaged by jealous men as this one?”

The smile left Winnie’s face. She was obviously not pleased about the interruptions to her night. “Yes. Usually I don’t mind so much, because the gentlemen I tend to find aren’t so interesting. But this one’s different.” Winnie looked at her date, and her smile returned as bright as ever. “Paul’s unique.”

Ambrosia disagreed, but that was probably just because she found Winnie so stunning. Paul’s face had a hard set to it. Ambrosia imagined if he let it be a bit gentler, his face could even be considered pleasant. That was when she realized he had to put on the gruff appearance to keep the other men at bay. Then, she came to the realization that she was stealing even more of their precious time with her selfish curiosity.

Two men started to approach Winnie, and Paul caught sight of them both. Knowing he could only dissuade one, he picked the one who looked more determined and stepped into his path. That left the other an unimpeded opening, and he took it. His name and his face were familiar to Ambrosia. Zekariah was part of Eli’s group, but Winnie’s beauty had been enough to distract him from his current company. He’d been having the lager, so Ambrosia began to pour him one as he slid up next to Winnie. She looked to her date for help, saw him preoccupied with the other man, and turned back to Zekariah, resigned to the fact she’d have to tolerate him or fend off his advances on her own for a bit.

Zekariah opened his mouth to deliver his very best pickup line but stumbled over the first word. He tried again to no avail and, giving up, finally went with the most elegant thing he could muster. “Hello.”

Even with her back toward them, Ambrosia could hear Winnie’s smooth voice harden. “Good evening.”

“What are you doing here?” It was meant to be an icebreaker of a question, but with as flustered as he was with his own ineptitude with words, it came out as an aggressive challenge.

Winnie’s voice remained cold. “I’m trying to enjoy my date.”

Zekariah cast a glance in each direction. “I don’t see him lurking about. You sure there’s a man? You don’t have to play shy, you know?”

Winnie wanted to snap. She wanted to break down and cry. She wanted to say something clever. She wanted to do something, anything, but couldn’t. She was too flustered. Instead, she shot Ambrosia a pleading glance as the barmaid turned back with Zekariah’s drink.

Ambrosia slammed his mug on the bar top hard enough that both he and Winnie jumped, as well as a few other nearby patrons. “Here’s your lager, Zek. Now pay for it and petch off.”

Zekariah glared at her for her interruption. “Why?”

Ambrosia returned his glare. “Because she ain’t yours. And because I said so.”

Zek looked ready for a lengthy argument, but Ambrosia didn’t mind. The angrier he got at her and the more words he wasted on her, the less time he’d spend harassing Winnie.

“What are you gonna do, Ambrosia, if I decide I wanna stay right here?”

“I’ll kick you out of the Rear.”

Unimpressed with Ambrosia’s threat, Zekariah smirked. “As if you could.”

That was a challenge. Ambrosia preferred being amiable. She preferred to handle things in non-confrontational ways, but sometimes, people were too drunk for that. Sometimes, fierce and firm was the only way they understood things. Locking her narrowed eyes with Zek’s, she kept her voice light and lilting as she called out loudly to the man behind the bar with her. “Cade?”

“Yup?” The man’s voice carried easily over the general hubbub of the full tavern.

“If I decide to kick someone out of the tavern, do I have your permission?”

“Of course. I trust your judgment. You know I back the decisions you make.” The tavern keeper stopped in the middle of what he was doing and turned to Ambrosia. His voice took on a threatening tone when he realized what Ambrosia had been asking. “Why? Is someone trying to cause trouble?”

Turning to him and seeing his squared shoulders, set jaw, and general readiness to fight, Ambrosia beamed her sweetest smile to calm him. “No. Sorry. Just a hypothetical. Everyone loves our bar. They wouldn’t risk doing something so dumb it might get them booted.”

“You sure?”

“Yes.” Ambrosia turned back to Zek and smiled. It wasn’t her usual pleasant one; it wasn’t even pretty. This was a victorious smile, smug and full of pride. She didn’t have to say anything else. Zek slapped some coins on the bar top and swiped his drink, spilling some in the process before sulking off to join his friends. Picking up the coins, Ambrosia made a mental note that he had underpaid. She didn’t mind too much. It was a small price to pay for Winnie’s peace.

Pulling a wet bar towel from a nearby rack, Ambrosia wiped up the spilt beer and dropped the towel into a bucket of soapy water. With as many messes as were being made, the clean up tonight wasn’t going to be fun.

When Ambrosia finally brought her attention back to Winnie, she found the young woman smiling at her. Gone were the tears that had been forming. Smoothness returned to Winnie’s voice over the first few words she spoke. “It’s nice to see chivalry’s not dead. You’re my heroine. Thank you, Ambrosia.”

“Any time, love.”

Paul returned and placed his arm around Winnie’s waist. “Is everything alright?”

“Yes. Ambrosia was looking after me.” Winnie placed a gentle, lingering kiss on his lips, and in that moment, Paul became the rival of every man in the bar, every man who saw, at least. Ambrosia herself envied the two. Her for her beauty and him that he had her.
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Postby Ambrosia Alar on August 20th, 2017, 2:29 pm

There was no time for Ambrosia to ponder the couple for long as another rush of drink orders swarmed the bar. Two bottles of degtine and four bottles of wine were drained before Ambrosia knew it, and she tried to do some brief math in her head to make sure they had been paid enough. She forgot to carry a few ones and miscounted the money twice before she finally gave up and assumed the pretty pile of money before her was adequate. Catching up three bottles in each hand, she walked them over to a wooden box behind the bar and set each one into its own, separate partition. She never knew where they went. Cade always took care of them the following day which made Ambrosia wonder when the man ever found time to sleep. As for the bottles, Ambrosia imagined they went to be washed and reused and made a mental note to find out one of these days.

As she turned back to the bar, a familiar face took the seat next to Winnie. Ambrosia couldn’t help the way her face lit up when she saw him.

“Cordon, love, where have you been all night?”

He met her smile and jubilance with a glare. “I was trying to get up to the bar. What’s with this mess tonight? There’s no room at all. I thought Cade said when he bought this place that he’d keep it running smooth.”

Ambrosia refused to let his gruff nature drag her happy mood down. Glares were just Cordon’s regular greeting to the world and could mean he was happy just as much as they could mean he was angry or displeased. Pouring a lager, Ambrosia pushed it in front of him. “It is running smoothly. You barely made it up to the bar and you already have your lager.”

“Who said I wanted the lager?”

“Your beautiful happy face did.”

“Cordon!” Winnie’s exclamation brought both their attention to the short, young woman, but before Cordon could even turn, Winnie was already throwing her arms around his shoulders and hugging him tight. It was Paul’s turn to burn with jealousy. “You should smile more.”

Cordon shook his head. “That’d just confuse people.”

Ambrosia smiled, mostly because it was true, but Winnie continued to defend her. “Well, just because you think you’re confusing, doesn’t mean you get to pick on my new favorite person. I bet the lager’s exactly what you wanted.”

Shrugging, Cordon picked up the mug and took a sip. “It is. So why’s Ambrosia your new favorite person?” He drained half the mug as he listened to her answer.

Winnie beamed that smile that made Ambrosia wilt a little. “She’s been protecting me from overly confident men. Plus, she’s pretty.”

Ambrosia swore the woman said things like that just to watch her blush. She could feel the warmth rising in her cheeks that was sure to bring a subtle reddening with it.

Cordon nodded. “Yes, she is. And don’t you worry about the men bothering you. I’ll keep them away.”

Winnie placed a kiss on his cheek. “Thank you. Maybe I’ll finally be able to enjoy my date.”


Winnie remembered Paul and put a hand on his elbow as she introduced him to Cordon. “Oh, yes. Meet my other favorite person. This is Paul.”

Sizing up the young man with his usual glare, Cordon gave the man a cool handshake. “You’re a lucky, lucky man, Paul. Don’t forget that. There’s a lot of us who care deeply about Winnie.”

Winnie punched Cordon’s shoulder playfully. “Don’t threaten him yet. You don’t even know him.”

Cordon shrugged. “I don’t want to miss my chance. If he sticks around long enough for me to get to know, that means he’s a good man and a keeper, and I’ll have missed my opportunity to threaten him.”

Everyone laughed, and Cordon was soon put to work steering away would be suitors. Another shout for degtine went up from the table of construction workers. The word degtine was nonexistent among the myriad of slurred attempts, but Ambrosia got the point from their excessive enthusiasm. This time, she piled two bottles and a group of shot glasses on to a tray. She was certain she could empty both bottles before making it back to the bar.

When she made it to the workers’ table, every single man present drunkenly insisted it was his turn to buy this round. Though they were all good-natured men, the argument began to get heated. Seeing fists begin to clench, Ambrosia quickly headed off any fight.

“Tell you what, boys. Why don’t every one of you buy a round right now? That way, everybody gets to buy drinks.”

An explosion of victorious cheers, half of them “Ambrosia” and half of them “degtine”, went up from the men in such a muddled confusion that the resulting word sounded nothing like either. Ambrosia caught one man changing his shout halfway through. Taking their joy as unanimous agreement, Ambrosia set seven shot glasses in front of each of them and filled them to the brim. She’d have to watch them carefully. Adding too much alcohol to the mix could turn good men belligerent, and they had already been ready to fight each other for the chance to be generous. Still, these were jovial men, and Ambrosia gave them the benefit of the doubt. Besides, every single one of them happily paid for the round they had been so eager to buy.
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Postby Ambrosia Alar on September 16th, 2017, 5:21 am

With the construction workers seen to, Ambrosia was about to start asking nearby people if they wanted any degtine, but then someone caught her eye. The man was Simon, a regular if there ever was one. There was nothing remarkable about him, and Ambrosia would probably have overlooked him except he had been nursing the same beer all night. That in itself was normal on occasion from some people but not Simon. He was the drunk man’s sage. Though he wasn’t a large man, Simon had the tolerance of four men three times his size. The man could down two bottles of degtine and support a drunk on either side all the way home without as much as a stumble. Young men had been coming to Simon for years to learn the art of drinking, and despite his many disciples, none ever came close to matching him. So a one-drink night was an odd and terrifying thing when it came from him.

He was only the next table over from the workers, so Ambrosia stepped up next to him. “Simon, if you take that beer any slower, it’s gonna start refilling itself.”

Simon nodded and glared down into his quarter-full mug. “That’d be nice.”

Holding up the bottle of degtine, Ambrosia tilted it toward him. “How about something harder?”

Simon shook his head. “I wish, but I’m broke, Ambrosia. I could barely afford the beer.”

That might have been the saddest story Ambrosia had heard all day, maybe in her entire life. That alcohol should be unattainable sounded like the chiefest of sins a society could commit against its people. Sure, there were things that were more necessary- food, water, shelter- but there was little that Ambrosia knew that could be as coveted as liquor. It was truly one of the saddest things, but Ambrosia was pretty sure she had an answer.

Turning back to the table of workers, she caught them before they had decided what their first round was going to be a toast to. “Boys.” She gave them her most heart-broken face. Ambrosia without a smile was one thing, but when her optimism wasn’t enough to overpower sadness, the result was something between devastating and soul wrenching.

Everyone at the table quieted immediately, and concern swept over Bandon’s face. “What’s wrong, Ambrosia?”

She reached back and set her arm on Simon’s shoulder. “Simon can’t afford to drink tonight.”

At this point, the drunk workers just needed something to shout joyfully, something to toast. They burst into a collective chorus of “Simon” and one of them grabbed the back of Simon’s chair and pulled both the chair and man over to their table. The man was the biggest of the group and pulled Simon’s weight around with ease.

He offered to buy Simon’s first drink, and every other of the workers quickly insisted they get the next one. So soon Simon had seven shots in front of him.

The man who had pulled Simon over held up a shot and exclaimed loudly, “To Simon!”

Everybody repeated the toast and downed their shot. Someone clapped Simon on the shoulder and struck up a conversation as if they were old friends. Alcohol could do some wonderful things. The drinking guru looked odd amidst their group. Simon was a thin, scrappy man, nothing like these broad men meant for heavy labor, but they, in their drunken wisdom, treated him like some sacred brother. Satisfied that they had all the drinks they needed, Ambrosia was about to leave when one of them caught her arm.

“Ambrosia.” Her name came out a garbled mess, but she found it endearing when alcohol was the cause of the mispronunciation. “Stay. Have a drink with us.”

Throwing him a mock frown, she sighed. “I wish I could. Do you think I can afford that stuff?”

His face fell, only to brighten a moment later. “I’ll buy you a drink.”

This immediately brought another flood of men demanding to be the one to buy the drink, and once more, hands started to curl into fists.

“Boys, boys, boys.” Ambrosia interjected quickly. “Let’s use our brains for this. There’s got to be a way to keep everyone happy.”

This calmed them as they tried to get their alcohol-muddled minds to focus. One’s eyes widened as an idea burgeoned slowly. Ambrosia let a patient smile spread across her face as she waited for the words to make it to his lips. “We could all buy her a drink.”

As they began to cheer in agreement, Ambrosia cut off their elation. “Woah, woah, boys. Only one drink tonight.”

“Oh come on, Ambrosia.” Bandon was putting in his two mizas. “I’m sure you can handle more than that.”

“Of course, I can. I could drink you all under the table.” That was a lie, but Ambrosia was no lightweight. “But I still have to be sober to serve everyone else drinks. I’ll tell you what, though. If you seven keep coming back, each time you do, I’ll let one of you buy me a shot. Deal?”

Simon spoke for all of them. “Deal. And I get the first one since I might not be here with you gentlemen next time.”

Bandon cocked an eyebrow. “I thought you were broke?”

Simon nodded. “I am. Lend me some money, so I can buy our favorite person a drink.”

Everyone at the table dissolved into laughter. Bandon handed the coins to Simon who handed them to Ambrosia who poured herself a drink. This time, they drank to Ambrosia, and the young barmaid joined them in cheering her own name. As the degtine hit the back of her throat, it brought the familiar burn and urge to cough. No matter how often she drank the stuff, Ambrosia never got used to it, so she did as she always did and suppressed the needs to cough by slamming the shot glass down on the table before any of the others could do the same with theirs. Aside from the burn, the degtine left a pleasant aftertaste of exotic spices that lingered long after the alcohol was gone.

Eli piped up loudly from a few tables over. “It looks like Bandon is trying to buy himself friends now.”

Nobody ever seemed to take the lighthearted jests seriously in the Rear. A friendly rivalry existed between the two groups of laborers, as each was convinced they were better and worked harder than the other.

Bandon returned the jest. “At least I have friends.”

Eli gestured to the three tables his drinking buddies were sitting at. “What do you call these?”

“Them?” Bandon only considered them a moment before dismissing them with a wave of his hand. “They’re too dumb to count.”

This brought a small explosion of angry comments from the dockworkers, most of them too unoriginal to come up with anything better than “Petch off, Bandon.” Ambrosia left them to their bickering. It wouldn’t end any time soon, and while they were arguing, they’d be too distracted to buy drinks. Instead, Ambrosia made her way back to the bar, hoping to catch Winnie again before the beauty and her date called it a night.
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Postby Ambrosia Alar on October 5th, 2017, 4:08 pm

Winnie was leaning up against Paul’s shoulder with her eyes closed while he was busy in conversation with Cordon about one of Winnie’s latest attempted suitors. When Ambrosia cleared her throat, Winnie’s eyes blossomed open. Since the last time Ambrosia had seen Winnie, her blush had deepened, and her motions were slow as she reached for her glass and held it up.

“I think I’ll have another.”

Ambrosia shook her head, still smiling at her new friend. “I think you’ve had enough.”

Putting on a pout that only made her more adorable, Winnie sat up and leaned forward. “Ambrosia, are you cutting me off? Are you really gonna end my fun? I thought you were my friend.”

“Yes, I’m cutting you off, but only because I like you. I’m making sure you’re sober enough to enjoy your entire night.” Ambrosia indicated Paul with a flick of her eyes. “Especially once you go home.”

A shocked, disgusted look came over Winnie’s face. “Ambrosia.” It took her a couple of moments to find her words, whether due to the effects of anger or alcohol, Ambrosia couldn’t tell. “I’m not that kind of girl.”

Ambrosia was at a loss for words. It wasn’t often that Ambrosia misread someone this badly and even less often that any of them got this angry over it Words tried to form a coherent sentence in her mind but crumbled into stammers when she actually tried to speak them. If there was one thing that Ambrosia didn’t want from tonight, it was to have a new friend hate her. She made one last attempt at an apology. “I- I didn’t mean-”

Winnie smiled and started laughing. “You should see your face.”

A little laugh of relief let itself free from Ambrosia’s mouth. Her smile returned. “Winnie, you brat. I really thought you were angry.”

“At you? How could I possibly?” A touch of her serious demeanor returned. “Though I’m really not that kind of girl.” A sly smile tugged at the corners of her mouth and eyes. “Not on the first date at least.”

Ambrosia slid over a bottle of wine. “Another then?”

Shaking her head and laying it back against Paul’s shoulder, Winnie closed her eyes. “No. You were right. I’ve had enough.”

“You just take it easy then, love.”

Winnie didn’t open her eyes, but a soft, sleepy sort of smile emerged. “Love has a nice ring to it.”

Cordon ordered another beer for Paul and himself, and as Ambrosia filled their mugs, she listened to the various conversations that were taking place all around the slowly emptying tavern. Her focus eventually kept coming back to the two groups of workers. It had been a while since the two were in the bar at the same time, and the rivalry between them had only brewed stronger since they had last seen each other. Eli kept trying to get a rise out of Bandon.

“Hey, Bandon, are you still hanging out with those friends you bought?”

“Yes, indeed, Eli, but at least I don’t have to pay for the company of women.”

Eli’s penchant for prostitutes and whores was a well-known fact, and Bandon’s jab struck a nerve. Laughter burst out from nearly everyone who heard, Eli’s friends included. Ambrosia wasn’t about to interfere. Eli had brought this on himself. It took her a moment to get the smirk on her face to transform back into her regular smile.

Eli was pissed at being turned into the butt of a joke and, in his anger, overstepped. “At least my sister doesn’t count herself as one those whores.”

“Shit.” Ambrosia dropped both mugs, not bothering to wait and see what mess they had made. Two shot glasses and a bottle of degtine were in her hands, and she was swinging her legs over and sliding off the bar before anyone could move. Normally, she would have not been so quick or coordinated, but panic did some amazing things to the body. Ambrosia made it to Bandon’s side just after he stood up and turned toward Eli. She beamed a smile and held up the shot glasses and liquor. “Have a drink with me, Bandon?”

Not wanting to hurt Ambrosia but wanting to get to Eli, the big man tried to step around her. “I’m gonna kick his ass.”

That was the thing about friendly rivalries. Sometimes, the friendly part got lost.

Sidestepping back into his path, Ambrosia held up the bottle again while placing a hand against his chest to stop him. She pouted. “You really gonna skip out on a drink with me?”

Bandon looked down at her, perplexed as to how he could get by her. She could tell by the focus of his eyes that the haze of alcohol was clouding his judgment. He was stumped as to why she kept stopping him. “Did you hear what he called my sister?”

Seeing how it was getting her nowhere, Ambrosia dropped her smile and fake pout and adopted a serious tone. “I did, and I was going to go shut him up. I know it’s a terrible thing to ask of you, but I want you to be the better man and let me handle this. Have a drink with me, and when we’re done, I’ll do exactly that. I’ll shut him up.” She held up the bottle one last time. “Please.”

Bandon sighed, glared one last time in Eli’s direction, then nodded to Ambrosia. Sitting down, he pushed a chair out for Ambrosia. As she took the seat, she set the two shot glasses between them and filled his to the brim. Wrapping her hand around hers so he couldn’t see its contents, she only filled it a third. It was an old barmaid’s trick that a girl who was a barmaid before Ambrosia had shown her, a simple way to drink with customers without getting hammered.

She held up the drink. “To your sister, one of the most beautiful people I know.”

It was true. Bandon’s sister had only been in a few times, but she was the kind of person one didn’t forget. A radiant beauty, she didn’t use only her looks to garner the attention of everyone. Her vibrant personality always left the place cheerier for her having been there.

Bandon held up his shot glass in agreement. “To Manda.”

The two took their shots, and Ambrosia filled his shot glass again before excusing herself to stop Eli from making a bigger mess than he already had.
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Ambrosia Alar
"The kid's got smiles for days."
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Postby Ambrosia Alar on October 15th, 2017, 5:14 pm

Wandering through the much reduced crowd, Ambrosia politely excused herself from taking orders with promises to return as soon as she could. A few customers seemed annoyed with not being seen to right away, so Ambrosia flashed them her best apologetic smile, lacing it with the slightest hint of guilt. That seemed to do the trick. When they saw they had made her feel this way, their own guilt sparked, and many of them dropped the frustration in their eyes and returned her smile.

One man held up a hand in a gesture that told her not to worry. “No rush, miss. Take your time.”

Ambrosia let the guilt deepen and her smile falter. She didn’t need to say anything.

The man excused her completely with a reassuring wave of his hand. “Never mind. I’ll just go up to the bar. Cordon can help me. Don’t worry yourself.”

She almost felt bad for making him feel guilty. Almost. Ambrosia did hear the man’s date mutter something about that just being an excuse to check out the pretty new girl. Though she knew that wasn’t his reason, Ambrosia wouldn’t have blamed him if it was. Winnie was hard to ignore.

Once she made it to Eli’s table, she stepped up to him, cutting the distance so no one would hear their interaction. When he smiled like he had won some fight, she glared at him. Grabbing his arm, she pulled him aside.

“What’d I do now, Ambrosia?”

“It’s what you’re about to do,” she hissed. “You’re dangerously close to starting a fight in our bar.” That was an observation she had made over her years in the Rear. Give the customers a sense of partial ownership of the place, and they’d treat it with respect, treat it like home. “You know that’s something we don’t want.”

We. Our. That was another valuable observation. Include them as part of a greater whole, as part of one’s own group. Give them a sense of belonging, and they’d give you their trust and respect.

Eli frowned and shook his head. “I didn’t mean to. I just didn’t like being made a fool of. That made me lose my head.”

“I know, but you put yourself in that position.”

Eli just nodded. He didn’t bother saying anything. He didn’t need to.

Ambrosia smiled and placed a hand on his arm, giving it a comforting squeeze. “It’s alright. Just keep your head now, and everything’ll be alright. I smoothed things over with Bandon.”

“Thanks, Ambrosia. You’re a miracle worker.”

“Only the very best.” She winked at him and kissed his cheek. That sealed the deal. He wasn’t about to go and disappoint her now.

Ambrosia quickly made her way back to the bar to see to Cordon and Paul’s drinks, but as she slipped back behind the bar, she saw that their drinks had already been filled. Cade was cleaning a mug while he talked to the two.

Cade nudged her with his elbow. It was a congratulatory gesture and a fond one. “Nicely done, Ambrosia. I missed that one.”

Ambrosia leaned up against his shoulder, smelled the warm scent of degtine on his breath when he turned toward her, and knew he had been enjoying shots with someone. That was why he had missed it. She said as much. “Somebody has to pay attention when you’re taking shots. You know I don’t like fights in our bar.” Turning back to where she had been filling the beers, she saw Cade hadn’t yet made it to cleaning up the mess she had left. “Cover the bar, please. I gotta clean up this mess.”

The first thing Ambrosia did was to clear the floor and counter of anything that didn’t need to be there, tossing the two mugs into a bin full of water and other mugs waiting to be washed and using an already dirty bar towel to wipe up the majority of the mess she had left. Dumping the handful of dirty bar towels into the bucket of soapy water, she sighed. The messes tonight were going to be awful to clean up. Wringing out one of the cleaner bar towels, she wiped the counter down several times over until it seemed there was no beer residue left. Despite that, she knew the counter’d be a sticky mess by the end of the night. The bar towel dropped into the bucket with a sad splash, and as Ambrosia rejoined Cordon, Paul, and Winnie, Cade snuck off to find whoever he had been doing shots with.

It didn’t take long for Ambrosia to get flooded by all the customers she had promised to return to and had not. Though she was sure most were annoyed with her, none of them let it show. For her part, Ambrosia served them their drinks quickly with her ever-present smile and a slight discount. The imbalance in the amount they ought to have brought in and what they actually brought in would come out of any tips she managed to bring in, but keeping their customers happy was more than worth losing a few extra coins for.

Everything was going so well that Ambrosia should have seen it coming, but she didn’t. By the time she did see anything, it was too late, and there was a line of seven people waiting for their drinks between her and the trouble anyhow. One of Eli’s comrades was walking up to the bar, but he was taking the scenic route to get there, one that took him past Bandon’s table. As he passed by, the man made a moaning sound in his best impression of Bandon’s sister. Bandon lost it. In one fluid motion, he stood, knocked his chair over backwards, spun, and dealt a blow to the side of the man’s head. The man’s body hit the floor, and in a single moment, the entire bar dissolved into chaos.

Winnie started at the sound of fist striking flesh. Several people, in their fear and drunken stupor, struck out at the nearest person; for most of them, it was a friend. For those who didn’t hit the closest person, they were ready to fight and found someone they either had a bone to pick with or someone they just didn’t like the look of.

Ambrosia’s first instinct was to get her friends to safety. Unfortunately for her, that was most everyone in the bar, and most everyone she liked was pitted against someone else she liked. Paul had placed himself between Winnie and the rest of the bar, but she still wasn’t safe. Holding out her hands, Ambrosia waited for Winnie to take them before she half-guided, half-dragged the other woman over the bar. Then, the fists really started to fly.
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Ambrosia Alar
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Postby Ambrosia Alar on November 3rd, 2017, 3:49 am

It was easy to see that the construction workers were easily outnumbered, but that didn’t stop them from fighting. They were big men, and though the dock workers were strong, they weren’t close to as big as Bandon and his boys. They would try to hold their own against the greater numbers, and none of them was ashamed to take a beating, as long as they put up a fight.

Besides, Simon had sided with them, having been taken in as one of them, and he was a scrappy, little man. Though his strength was in drinking and he was worth a dozen men in a drinking contest, he was still worth a good four men in a fight. Already, two men lay at his feet, limp as dead fish, felled by sharp, succinct punches they could barely see coming. The man was in his element. Half-drunk, he was still quicker than anyone in the room.

The construction workers had lost two from their group as well, though neither had been felled by fists. The first had passed out before the fight had started, and the other had tripped over the legs of his chair and, in his drunken state, couldn’t figure out how to get his feet back under him. With two down on either side, it was a pretty evenly matched six against twenty. And, of course, there were all the other people who chose no side in the quarrel who still wanted a piece of the action.

Someone who was looking for his piece of the action was Zek. Seeing that Paul was distracted by the general brawl that was breaking out, Zek targeted Winnie’s date, every man’s rival, and started to sneak up on him by slinking along the wall. When he was out of Paul’s vision, Zek charged at the man from the side. Paul had no chance; he couldn’t see the smaller man coming. Leaning over the bar, Ambrosia stretched out and caught Paul by the collar of his shirt. With one, swift tug, she dragged him out of the path of Zek’s impending fist. As Paul stumbled back against the bar, Zek’s momentum sent his fist crashing into Cordon’s shoulder.

Cordon was an unmoving wall. There was no jerk of his body, no shifting of his feet to keep his balance. The only motion from the man was the quick twitch of his arm to keep his beer from spilling. Petrified by what he had done, Zek tried to sputter out an apology, but same as before, his words failed him. Swinging his free arm around, Cordon caught Zek by the front of his shirt, dragged him close, and sized up the little man. Not considering him to be worth his time, Cordon’s scowling expression didn’t change as he shoved the man out into the din.

Together, Ambrosia and Winnie pulled Paul to safety behind the bar. Ambrosia grasped for Cordon, but the man had already stepped out of her reach. Ambling over to a chair against the wall, Cordon kept one eye on the nearby brawlers as he took a gulp of his drink. Ambrosia’s eyes went back to the rest of the people and watched in dismay. A lot of damage was being done to the furniture and other wares in the Rear. Stools had been knocked over, and a couple legs of one chair had been snapped. The drinking vessels were being thrown about, turned into weapons in this sudden battlefield. The mugs were weathering through the fight just fine. Most were made of wood, a few of metal, and just tended to bounce off whatever they hit, skulls included. The wine glasses and shot glasses weren’t managing as well. The sound of shattering glass could be heard despite all the commotion.

Someone swiped a glass off the bar and flung it across the room. Angrily, Ambrosia slid over the bar top. She knew it was a terrible idea, but she was livid. She recognized the man as he turned back and swiped another glass off the bar; it was one of Eli’s mates, Peter. Curling her fingers around her thumb to make a fist, she jabbed it straight out at him, catching his shoulder. It wasn’t a hard punch, she knew, but she shook her hand as pain shot through her thumb. Peter looked at her in confusion, the punch being enough to get his attention but not enough to hurt him.

Ambrosia glared at him. “Stop breaking my shit.” There were times when she got a little overly possessive of the Rear. Most days, Cade let it slide.

In a moment, Peter forgot he was in the middle of a fight. “Sorry, Ambrosia. That’s not the way you punch someone, by the way.” He grabbed her hand and curled her fingers down into her palm, wrapping her thumb under them, not inside them. “If you punch someone the way you just punched me, you could break your thumb. Then, who’d-”

A body cannoned into him from the side, knocking him to the ground, and his assailant pummeled him mercilessly. Ignoring the two, Ambrosia glanced quickly about. Cade was by the front door, shoving three brawlers through it and out into the street. Several of the construction workers had moved into a corner, so the dock workers could only come at them a few at a time. That was all and well and good. Ambrosia just didn’t want them to hurt her tavern anymore.

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Ambrosia Alar
"The kid's got smiles for days."
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Postby Ambrosia Alar on November 9th, 2017, 5:56 am

Somebody nearby took a staggering blow and stumbled past Ambrosia into the bar. Blood was pouring out of his nose, but he didn’t seem to notice. There was anger in his eyes but not the shock of pain. All he was concerned about, rather than himself, was hurting whoever had done this to him. As he threw himself back into the fray, Ambrosia was realizing just how bad of an idea jumping over the bar had been. While Winnie, Paul, and Cade watched the fight from the edges, Cade was busy pulling two men apart and shoving them out the door. Another of Bandon’s group had fallen victim to the furniture while three more of Eli’s group had met Simon’s fists and were getting reacquainted with the ground. Everyone else seemed pretty evenly matched.

Ambrosia was about to hop back over the bar counter to safety when she saw another person flinging glasses across the room at anybody he could. She knew her choice was dumb, knew it the instant she took a step toward him, but she was mad and couldn’t help herself. Closing the short distance between them with a few rapid strides and forming the fist Peter had showed her, Ambrosia lashed out at the man. Last time, her strike hadn’t done anything more than get attention. This time, she let the momentum of her steps carry her into him and twisted her body into the blow. The result was much stronger than the previous punch and hurt her a little less. Pleased with herself, Ambrosia forgot to be careful.

Stunned by the sudden blow to the back of his shoulder, the man, one of Eli’s bunch that Ambrosia didn’t recognize, dropped the two glasses in his hands and spun on Ambrosia, throwing a vicious haymaker at his unknown assailant. A moment before the fist connected with her face, it dawned on Ambrosia that she ought to duck. She tried to do just that, but it was far too late. She had hardly dropped a fraction of an inch when the fist connected with the side of her head with a crack, just above her left eye. There was a brief moment following the punch while her body was being thrown to the ground that she didn’t feel any pain, but then it came roaring into her skull, seemingly in conjunction with her hitting the floor. She didn’t go unconscious, but she wished she had. Anything would be better than this. Her head swam, and no direction seemed to be up.

As soon as people saw what had happened, loyalties changed immediately. It was no longer construction workers versus dock workers, us against them. It was everyone against him, against the man who had hit her. Chivalry wasn’t dead, but Ambrosia couldn’t really bring herself to care at the moment. Her ears were ringing now, and the room hadn’t yet decided to stop spinning. Three men seemed to hit the man at once, two of them being part of the same group he’d come in with, and continued to clobber him until he was out on the street. That had taken the fight out of everyone.

In another moment, Ambrosia felt a warm, smooth hand on the side of her face that wasn’t injured. As gently as it could, the hand placed a pressure that forced Ambrosia to look up. When she did finally manage to follow the guidance of the hand and open her eyes, Ambrosia found Winnie looking at her face in concern. Winnie winced at what she saw.

“That looks bad.” With that, Winnie stood and hurried off somewhere.

Around Ambrosia, the Rear was uncharacteristically silent. Supporting herself on one hand and her knees, she held the other hand gingerly to her temple, wincing at the contact. Her fingertips were warm, and when she pulled them away, there was a light amount of blood on them. Curling in on herself, Ambrosia let her head sink down to the floor and rest on it Never seeing the light of day, the floor was cool and seemed to be the only comfort she could draw from anything in her still spinning world. With every beat of her heart, her head throbbed.

A second, stronger pair of hands lifted her up, and Cordon’s voice came to her. “Let’s get you up and into a chair.”

Ambrosia didn’t think that was a good idea, but she didn’t resist him. She was pretty sure she couldn’t even if she wanted to.

His hand on the side of her face lifted her head up. “Open your eyes. I gotta see how they look.”

With the room still spinning the way it was, Ambrosia didn’t want to open her eyes and said so with a shake of her head. Cordon’s hand didn’t move, so she growled a brief “no” at him.

Something about Cordon gave him an air that said he was not a man to be told no. Leaving his hand where it was, Cordon let the tone of his voice slip from demanding to concerned. “I need to make sure you’re fine, Ambrosia. Please.”

Sighing, Ambrosia opened her eyes to be greeted by Cordon’s scowling face carefully appraising hers. It was nice to see that some things never changed. Despite whatever concern he had for her, his trademark scowl hadn’t left his face. She attempted to smile but winced and stopped as that scrunched her eyes and brought more pain. “You should smile more,” she muttered.

Cordon only seemed to glare more and shook his head. “This is nothing to smile about. That looks bad.”

Having cleared the last of the customers who were still looking for a fight, Cade wandered over to see what damage had been done to his bar and his employee. “Hey, Cordon. How’s she look?”

“Not good. I can tell you that much.”

As was his and Ambrosia’s way with most bad things, Cade laughed it off as nothing. “I’m sure it’s not that bad.” He stopped in front of Ambrosia to see and grimaced, cursing softly. “Well, shit, kid. That looks bad.”

Ambrosia glared at the two. “Thanks. I’m glad that’s been well-established.”

“Don’t listen to them,” Winnie reassured her as she walked back over and took a seat to Ambrosia’s left. “Don’t get me wrong. It looks bad, and it is. But you’ll recover, and the bruise will fade after a week or two.” Ambrosia’s beautiful, new friend held a clean, soaked bar towel up to her temple. The barmaid winced but didn’t draw away from it as she knew she needed their help. “We need to get you home.”

Eli jumped forward, eager to help as he felt at least partly responsible for causing this mess. “I’ll take her home.”

“No, you won’t,” Ambrosia snapped angrily. The throbbing in her head was doing her attitude no favors. “This is your fault.”

It wasn’t the fairest accusation. While he had played a major role in the build up to the fight, he hadn’t instigated it, and the only person to blame for her being in harm’s way was Ambrosia herself, if she cared to admit it. She didn’t.

Eli’s face fell. “I’m sorry, Ambrosia. I didn’t mean for it to end up like this.”

“Well, it did.” She wasn’t going to let him get away with a simple apology. “If you’re really sorry, you’ll help clean up this mess.” She raised her voice, so everyone in the bar could hear. “In fact, either you help clean up or you get out of our tavern.”

At that announcement, a few people took that as their cue to leave, but most stayed behind. As regulars, they felt a sense of belonging and a sense of responsibility when it came to the Rear. A bustle slowly built as everyone went to work trying to clean up the place while dealing with the several unconscious bodies.

“You’ve got to be more careful.” Cade was using his fatherly voice, the one that chastised while trying not to sound like that was exactly what it was doing. “You can’t put yourself in danger like that, Ambrosia. I need you around here. You really should do home though. And take tomorrow off. You need to recover.”

Cordon helped her stand and offered his elbow. “I’ll make sure she gets home safe.”

Taking his elbow, Ambrosia held the cool rag over her eye to try to reduce the pain. As she and Cordon stepped out into the street, Winnie and Paul slipped out with them and joined Ambrosia on her way home. With her head still ringing and spinning, Ambrosia missed most of the conversation the four of them had; even her own contributions, she had forgotten in a few chimes. Still, she was thankful for Cordon’s stability and Winnie’s honey-smooth voice. With that combination, Ambrosia was practically asleep standing up when they arrived at the door to her home.

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Ambrosia Alar
"The kid's got smiles for days."
Posts: 136
Words: 165211
Joined roleplay: September 28th, 2014, 2:54 pm
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Postby Madeira Craven on November 30th, 2017, 3:23 am

Grades Awarded!

Don't forget to edit/delete your grade request!

Ambrosia Alar

  • Juggling: 1xp
  • Negotiation: 5xp
  • Persuasion : 5xp
  • Tactics: 4xp
  • Observation: 5xp
  • Organization: 3xp
  • Socialization: 5xp
  • Flirting: 3xp
  • Intimidation: 2xp
  • Mathmatics: 2xp
  • Rhetoric: 4xp
  • Acting: 3xp
  • Subterfuge: 1xp
  • Cleaning: 2xp
  • Brawling: 2xp
  • Leadership: 2xp

  • Stallion's Rear patron: Eli
  • Stallion's Rear patron: Brandon
  • Charisma: diffusing volitile social situations
  • Stallion's Rear patron: Winnie
  • Cade: Stallion's Rear owner
  • Stallion's Rear patron: Cordon
  • Stallion's Rear patron: Simon
  • Negotiation: keeping everyone happy
  • Lore of the art of handling your liquor
  • Tactics: distraction
  • Lore of friendly rivalries
  • Brawling: how to throw a punch

Awards & Retribution
-Light Concussion: symptoms include migraines and a sensitivity to light that will clear up within 4 to 7 days.

Nobody on this site writes dialouge like you do. It's snappy and intelligent and oh so very real. All your NPCs have unique personality beyond simply being a vheicle for conversation with your PC. And Ambrosia herself is charming and witty and a joy to follow. With all this together what could have easily been a dry, boring job thread is instead turned into a clever character drama that I've now read multiple times. Well done on Ambrosia's first graded thread!

And questions or concerns give me a shout. :)
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Madeira Craven
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