Solo The Cat-Herd

Dovey wrangles patrons at the Drunken Fish. (Job thread)

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The Cat-Herd

Postby Dovey on July 1st, 2018, 1:57 am

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48 Summer, 518 AV
"Speech"
"Others"


"Petch me, what?"

The massive man glared down at her from his seat at the rickety table. He had a murderous-looking squint, and Dovey wanted nothing more than to back away and leave this problem for someone else. But she'd be in trouble for certain if she did that, and the trouble right in front of her still only existed in potential. She could talk her way through this.

Probably.

"That's the price," she told him, doing her best to affect a sympathetic smile.

"But - petch me!" the man repeated; it seemed to be a favorite phrase. "I've drunk wine in Zeltiva that cost half o' that, if so much! D'ya think I'm made of silver?"

Dovey kept her doubts about the price of wine in Zeltiva to herself, as well as any acerbic comments about two silver mizas not exactly equating to made of the metal. "Sir, I can't change the price. I'm sorry."

The sailor's eyes, defying nature, managed to narrow even further. "I don't like your tone, missy."

Dovey glanced downward, mouth working as she resisted the urge to step back. What was wrong with her tone? She was being completely insincere, that was true, but had it showed blatantly enough for a drunk to notice? Shyke, she had to change approaches. Get on his good side. But what could she do besides flirt with him? - and she wasn't about to do that, she'd seen barmaids rented out to interested men and dragged up to the third floor.

That memory forced a shiver out of her, and the sailor took it as fear of him. "Oh, ya hear me now, eh missy?" His voice softened marginally. "Ya could've listened at first."

Good, his pride was placated, and the immediate crisis - the threat of ending up on the end of his fist - averted for the moment. Now she still had to deal with the, well, the slightly less immediate crisis of getting an unwilling drunk to pay his bill. She thought a tick, mentally flicking through and discarding options. Flirting was right out; she'd tried professional, and it hadn't worked. What else - oh! - he'd seen fear in her, and it had calmed him. Maybe she could use that.

"L-look, sir," she began, relaxing the hold she had on her expression and letting her nerves show more plainly through. Even the quaver in her voice was natural, an unexpected but welcome side effect of attempting to manipulate a belligerent bruiser. "Look. You know bosses, I'm sure."

"Ye-e-e-es?" He eyed her warily.

"Well mine's a real hard one. Father Manowar doesn't like his barmaids coming back with less money than he's owed." The sailor's color rose at this, and Dovey amended hastily: "Than he says he's owed! He - he'll beat me, y'see, and then he'll come after you."

The sailor considered this. His fist flexed subconsciously.

"Now I know you could take him," Dovey went on a little desperately, "but he won't fight fair, he'll bring his bouncers too. So if you could just please give me the silver - I don't want to get beaten, and - "

She paused, hunting her imagination for more arguments to make. The sailor chewed on the inside of his cheek.

"If'n I do," he said suddenly, "you'll top up my mug for me into the bargain?"

Dovey couldn't afford to do anything but nod.

"Then - " and he unknotted his purse strings, digging in the bottom of the little pouch for a few ticks before he fished up a couple of silver mizas. "Here y'are then, missy." He handed her the coins with one hand and his mug with the other. "You're a nice lil girl. Dontcher get hurt now."

"Nossir," Dovey said fervently, and headed off toward the bar.



[Word count: 624]


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The Cat-Herd

Postby Dovey on July 1st, 2018, 3:02 am

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48 Summer, 518 AV
"Speech"
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Holding tight to the silver in her sweaty hand as she was jostled through the packed tavern, Dovey fretted.

She'd gotten the price of a pitcher of wine out of the man, it was true (and gods, if doing it hadn't made her heart beat fast enough to burst!) But this business of topping up his mug, which was nearly empty now - that was going to be a problem. She didn't think the man tending the bar, a stranger to her now since Joe had had his knee shattered last sennight, would just pour a dollop of wine out of the bottle for her no questions asked nor coin expected. And she certainly wasn't going to get that sailor back there to pay up any more than he had already - but if she didn't return with the wine she'd promised him, the volatile drunk might just come after her, and she didn't think anyone around here was greatly invested in rescuing her from gigantic assailants.

So what could she do? How was she going to get that wine?

The flow of the crowd had already carried her more than halfway to the bar. She thought furiously. Was there some way the bartender might be persuaded to give her the wine? She didn't know him, but from his stern demeanor she guessed the answer would be no. Still, she could try - but then if she failed, what next? Would she make the rounds of the tavern and pour dribbles of wine secretly from other patrons' mugs into the one she held?

And with that flippant thought, the beginnings of an idea began to form in her head.

Sure, it was probably petching stupid, and it certainly meant that the risk of being beaten or having a meal taken away was back on the table for her. And if she wanted this plan to work she shouldn't ask the bartender for the wine beforehand or he might get suspicious, which meant not even a chance of an easy way out of this mess. But - well, it probably wasn't her best shot at solving the problem, but it was the best solution she could think of. She'd just have to give it a try.

Pushing forward the rest of the way to the bar, she handed the pair of silvers across to the tender who gave her a nod and went to stow them away. That was taken care of at least. Now to tackle this thing - only who? -

Her eyes ranged up and down the bar, settling on a surly-looking young gent at the end farthest from the bartender. She strolled up to him with her best casual face on, and bent down to murmur in his ear. "Hey, um, I heard the bartender talking shyke about you. Thought you should know."

He swung round and glowered, melting what had passed for a nonchalant look right off Dovey's face. "When?" he growled.

"Just... now..." Petch, he'd never believe her. Her heart hammered. "I think I was wrong actually sorry - " and she turned and darted into the milling crowd, which felt for once like a safe haven to her.

So she'd been right - that had been petching stupid, and of course it hadn't worked. But she still needed to get that wine.



[Word count: 549]


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Dovey
One unlucky girl
 
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The Cat-Herd

Postby Dovey on July 2nd, 2018, 2:02 am

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48 Summer, 518 AV
"Speech"
"Others"


Again her mind turned to the prospect of simply begging the bartender to forget about the need for payment. It was unlikely to work, but doing nothing was even unlikelier, and it looked like her last option...

She approached the bar once more, careful to keep well clear of the man she'd tried to fool - only to discover the bartender was occupied talking down two men sitting together who had gone from drinking amiably to balling up their fists at each other and shouting. Dovey started eagerly forward - perhaps she could sneak behind the bar now and take what she needed - but in the next moment the fight was averted and the bartender straightened back up, undistracted once more.

Shyke. But the episode had given Dovey inspiration; perhaps with some modification, that petching stupid plan could still work. But she had to make her lie more convincing.

She turned to brave the crowd once more, searching for someone who looked tough and needed their drink refilled. That was not such a hard target to locate in this tavern, and she rapidly settled on a fleshy-looking bald fellow who had a more-or-less clear line of sight to the bar. "Can I get you another drink, sir?" she asked him, coming up to the table he occupied alone.

"Yeah, nother ale," he grunted, passing her his mug.

She headed off again, handing over the mug to the bartender and letting him fill it up. No fear or trickery as yet; she'd be back with the price of the drink unless she'd chosen her mark with extraordinary ill luck. She returned to the bald man's side and set down his drink before him.

"What's your name, sir?" she asked him.

He looked up at her. "'S Rat."

Rat. Internally she grimaced. She hoped his mother hadn't called him that.

"Rat. I'd love to get the price of that ale, Rat."

"Yeah, yeah." He dug deep in a pocket, handing over a few coppers.

Dovey took them, and did her best to steady herself as he took a deep draw of his ale. Gods grant that he was drunk enough to fall for this, because she'd already proved tonight that she wasn't a great liar. "Hey, Rat, I just remembered, I heard a guy talking about you earlier." Petch it, she sounded entirely too hesitant. But Rat didn't seem to notice; he only looked at her briefly and nodded.

"He was saying bad things - I don't know if I should tell you."

Now she had his attention. He narrowed his eyes at her, whether in suspicion or in anger at the imaginary insults she couldn't tell. She gulped a breath and went on.

"He said you were a coward. He said you couldn't fight. And he said - um, he said that your mother - "

Rat's chair scraped backward across the floor and suddenly the man was upright, swaying a little with drunkenness. He was much taller than Dovey had anticipated. "Where is 'ee? 'Oo is 'ee?" he growled.

Dovey scuttled back a few steps and pointed at a complete stranger. "There he is. That man right there. At the bar."



[Word count: 525]


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Dovey
One unlucky girl
 
Posts: 258
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Joined roleplay: December 31st, 2016, 10:42 am
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The Cat-Herd

Postby Dovey on July 11th, 2018, 12:03 am

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48 Summer, 518 AV
"Speech"
"Others"


Rat bulled through the crowd, shouldering his way straight through clusters of patrons who didn't move aside fast enough. Scurrying along in the sailor's wake, her heart pounding in her throat, Dovey prayed to whatever god would listen that she hadn't inadvertently triggered a tavern-wide brawl; several of the people stumbling out of Rat's way looked vicious. But no one went after the big man, perhaps not wanting to risk being the only one who chose to face such an opponent, and in a few ticks more Rat brought his mad dash up short at the end of the bar.

Now he stalked down the length of it, patrons glancing guardedly up at him from the drinks they nursed; he ignored them all, eyes fixed on his target. Dovey made herself small where she stood, trying to keep eyes on Rat, his victim, and the bartender all at once. She still held the mug which that first sailor had demanded she refill; now she clutched it in both hands, one finger nervously tracing the imperfections in its surface. I have to time this right, exactly right. If the bartender caught her stealing wine, she doubted he'd believe that she didn't want it for herself - and even if he did, that probably wouldn't save her from punishment. Manowar ran a tight ship, for his slaves if not for his customers.

Now Rat had reached his target. In an instant the smaller man's shirt collar was clutched in one meaty hand, and the bald sailor was snarling down into his face. "Wha' didcha say abou' m' mother!"Dovey saw spit fly from his mouth as he spoke; his words were slurred and broken now both with drunkenness and with rage.

The stranger shot to his feet, the color draining from his face as he stared up at his unexpected adversary. He scrabbled at the hand which held his shirt. "Nothin'!" he cried. "I don' know your mum! Lemme go!"

"No chance, ya little toad!" Rat swung his fist; somebody hooted from one of the tavern tables. Rat's target ducked, impressively quickly, managing to catch the fist on his brow rather than straight across the nose where Rat had aimed. The smaller man reeled from the blow while Rat winced and shook out his hand, but the man quickly gathered himself and struck back - hard.

The bartender had been watching the brewing fight from his place a little ways down the bar. Now he set the glass he had been cleaning onto the counter and strode the few steps over to the tussling men. "Take it - hey! Can you take it somewhere else?" He leaned across the bar, staying just out of range of any stray fists. "I'm serving people here!"

Dovey didn't wait to see more of the altercation. She slipped behind the bar, crouching, trying to stay out of sight of the patrons. There, on a low shelf only a few feet before her, sat a squat little bottle of wine.

[Word count: 500]


Boxcode credit: Karin Ironyach
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"Common" "Fratava" "Pavi"
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Dovey
One unlucky girl
 
Posts: 258
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The Cat-Herd

Postby Dovey on August 9th, 2018, 2:41 am

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48 Summer, 518 AV
"Speech"
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Dovey made her way forward crouched on her knees, using one hand for balance while the other clutched the sailor's mug. Incompatible demands for speed and stealth warred within her, making her movements disconnected and jerky. The bottle was within reach; one hand left the dusty floor and snatched it up by the neck, drawing back with desperate swiftness to cradle her prize against her wildly beating heart. The bartender was still busy shouting at the two combatants, but if he turned he would surely spot her at once.

She put her back to the bar, shuffling toward it until she felt the wood against her spine. Here she could no longer see even the heads and shoulders of the patrons, and she hoped none of them would be able to see her. She set down the mug, trying not to let it clack on the floorboards, and snugged the bottle between her knees. The end of the cork stuck out a little, puffed up in a way that made Dovey think of swollen fingers; her own fingers scrabbled for purchase on the stiff material for several ticks before her untrimmed nails dug into the sides of the cork and she tugged upwards. Nothing seemed to happen, except that her fingertips began to sting.

She kept pulling. The noise of the tavern swelled behind her, grating on her already fragile nerves, and she grimaced as she worked to open the bottle. People must be very worked up about Rat's fight. Was the bartender still distracted? Yes, he was, a quick glance told her, but how long would that last? If it wasn't for this stubborn cork - and almost as she thought it, the cork began to slide upwards.

It came slowly for the first tick or two, but before she expected it or had a chance to soften her pull, the cylinder rushed upward and out of the mouth of the bottle with a pop. Motion drew her anxious gaze as the bartender startled and began to turn.

Instinctively Dovey dropped the cork and began to scuttle away, grabbing the mug from the floor with one hand and carrying the wine in the other. From the other side of the bar she heard a shout of "HEY! PETCHER!" loud enough to break through the general din. She cowered, realizing only after a moment that the shout could not have been for her - that was not the bartender's voice. But surely he would have seen her now that she had let herself freeze in place -

So why didn't he shout? Why did no hand grab the scruff of her neck? She looked back over her shoulder.

The bartender had been hauled across the countertop. His legs kicked at the air, boots coming dangerously close to the shelves of alcohol behind the bar, as he struggled with an assailant Dovey couldn't see from her place crouched on the floor. He screamed something in reply to his attacker, but the barmaid couldn't make out the words. "Petch you! You look at me when I talk to you!" bellowed the other voice, cutting once more through the tavern's noise.

Dovey didn't wait to hear more. Setting down the mug again, she slopped a generous quantity of wine in with the remains of the sailor's previous serving. Then she returned for the cork, pushed it far enough into the bottle's mouth that it wouldn't fall, and shoved the bottle back onto its shelf. Snatching up the full mug and spilling a bit of its contents in her haste, she darted out from behind the bar -

and into a scene of chaos.

[Word count: 606]


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Dovey
One unlucky girl
 
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The Cat-Herd

Postby Dovey on August 9th, 2018, 2:44 am

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48 Summer, 518 AV
"Speech"
"Others"


Rat and his foe were still locked in combat, weaving between barstools and patrons alike as they kicked and clawed viciously at each other. A man with a face like a bulldog tugged at Rat ineffectually, striking weak blows now and then but dancing away in fear when the bald man looked likely to turn.

Near the trio, the bartender struggled like a landed fish against the enormous man who had hauled him over the bar and who was now beating him assiduously. As Dovey watched, frozen, a trio of women ran up behind the man and clawed him away from his victim by the hair. The bartender slid down from the bar; unsteady from his injuries, he immediately pitched sideways into another knot of brawlers and vanished from the barmaid's sight.

Dovey ducked behind the bar, bewildered and terrified. The fighting was all around her. How was she going to find a way past it without catching a stray fist? Was the man who wanted the wine even in the place where she had left him? Petch it, what if he had joined the brawl?

She had just gone through with an absolutely idiotic plan, scrambled around on her knees like a madwoman, heart pounding fit to kill her, and somehow managed not to be caught out yet - and now she was expected to make her way through this? Did the gods hate her? She wanted to sit down and cry - but she couldn't stay here. The bartender might come back and see her with a cup of wine, and then expect her to return with a customer's money for it.

She just had to squeeze past the fighters. No one would hurt her; they all had better targets. (She pushed away from the bar and started forward, closing the scant distance between her and the wild crowds.) She'd found herself in an all-out riot before, and that had turned out fine. This would be the same. She didn't have to fear.

A man crashed to the floor like a felled tree not two steps in front of Dovey; she nearly tripped, but caught her balance as she stared down at him. Getting to his feet, he noticed her gaze and gave her a saucy wink before diving back into the brawl.

She kept moving. She had expected to find the edge of the free-for-all relatively quickly, beyond which patrons would be enjoying their drinks in relative peace as usual, but soon she was surrounded by brawlers with no peaceful area of the tavern in sight. A stray elbow caught her hard in the side; she gasped and jerked sideways, spilling a goodly amount of wine to the floor.

She had come within sight of that sailor's table now, but there was no sign of him - and still no peaceful part of the tavern. The brawl must have consumed the whole place. All around was furious combat, the fighters totally unconcerned for the safety of the little barmaid in their midst. Shouting filled her ears. Where could she go?

The staircase! She could see it looming dark and rickety above the crowd, empty so far of brawlers. She turned, slipping between a pair of wrestlers as they separated, forcing her way past a woman holding someone in a headlock, darting through the midst of a cluster of combatants as they separated for an instant. She nearly tripped up the first step; more wine sloshed from the cup. It was nowhere near full anymore, but she had not thought she would have to shove her way through a brawl, and there was no way anyhow she could find the sailor in this - or he find her, unless he saw her there, sitting down on the sixth stair.

That last possibility was why she did not discard the wine, the evidence of her theft. At least she would have something left to appease the man, should he appear. She sat there, out of the way of the fight, scanning the crowd with the cup balanced between her palms. When at last the violence began to wane, wounded folk trudging out the door into the grey beginnings of dawn, she set the cup neatly down at the edge of the step, and padded up to the second floor.

Her shift was over. She slipped through the door to her dormitory, shut it conscientiously behind her, and let herself fall boneless to her threadbare mattress. Her whole body shivered for a moment, shaking out the fear and drudgery of the night as far as it could, and then she was dead asleep.

[Word count: 769]


Boxcode credit: Karin Ironyach
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"Common" "Fratava" "Pavi"
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Dovey
One unlucky girl
 
Posts: 258
Words: 211281
Joined roleplay: December 31st, 2016, 10:42 am
Location: Sunberth
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The Cat-Herd

Postby Kynier on August 23rd, 2018, 1:40 am

Grades!


Skill Rewards
  • Negotiation +1
  • Observation +5
  • Planning +3
  • Stealth +2
  • Subterfuge +3

Lores Learned
  • Negotiation: Feigning fear to convince a customer
  • Subterfuge: Using specifics when lying
  • Wine Bottles: Corks are difficult to remove
  • Self: Don’t have to fear all-out riots

Interesting to watch a decent plan fall to utter ruin. If you have an questions or concerns about your grade please feel free to PM me.
Sometimes the only way to win is by relinquishing a superior position.

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