Solo [The Drunken Fish] Fear or Believe

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A lawless town of anarchists, built on the ruins of an ancient mining city. [Lore]

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[The Drunken Fish] Fear or Believe

Postby Dovey on October 8th, 2018, 8:43 pm

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47 Fall, 518 AV
"Speech"
"Others"


Dovey hadn't seen Kynier since their first meeting last season, but the pair of coins he had given her nested safely under her mattress, and the lure of earning more still held her fast. If he returned - if, she reminded herself, when she felt her heart quicken at the thought of those shining discs multiplying - then she would need to have information for him, something concretely useful which wouldn't be obvious to the seasoned spy. If she didn't - well, if she didn't, he would probably go away and never approach her again. And he'd been her only source of mizas since her kidnapping. If she ever wanted more to cross her palm...

The starkness of that thought made her throat close momentarily, and she stiffened her fingers round the handle of the broom she wielded. There had been a bad brawl tonight, glass and ceramic smashed willy-nilly across the tables and the floor, and Manowar had the barmaids on the night shift sweeping up before he would let them go to bed. That wasn't so bad, though, not this time - Dovey had slept well to the sound of yesterday's rain, and had woken in a peal of thunder, wide awake and alert at once. Cleaning was simple, too; the hardest thing was not getting bits of glass stuck in one's flesh, and even there a bit of caution was enough. She could almost have dozed on her feet until the task was done.

But those mizas. That was where her wandering mind kept returning, and the thought of them kept her from letting herself simply drift. Who could tell when her only chance to impress the spy might come? She ought to be prepared.

And she had Cira the bartender right here, for once with no customers occupying her. Cira was always ready with a rumor, and she never skimped on the details; Dovey had seen patrons lean practically over to the other side of the bar, hanging on her every colorful word. Now the bartender was doing nothing but running the same wet cloth over countertop and dishes alike, without the least enthusiasm. Surely she would welcome a distraction - and a chance to share the knowledge she'd stored up with someone who really needed it. Dovey couldn't hope to make sense of any secrets she managed to overhear, if she didn't first acquaint herself with every corner of Sunberth's rumor mill.

She sidled closer to the bar, poking her broom about beneath the stools as though searching for rogue shards from the broken dinnerware - for Manowar might stick his head in at any tick to make sure no one was slacking. "Ah, Cira?" she said, and the freckled bartender's head snapped up.


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Dovey
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[The Drunken Fish] Fear or Believe

Postby Dovey on October 9th, 2018, 12:19 am

Image
47 Fall, 518 AV
"Speech"
"Others"


"What is it, love?" the bartender asked, a smile settling across her face as she laid the dishcloth in her hand down on the countertop.

Cira was more than charming; Dovey could feel her own features smoothing, the corners of her mouth quirking upward in response to the woman's bright look. "I wanted to ask," she said, "if you'd help me understand this city a little better. I know you know everything that goes on." This was less flattery and more polite honesty, though Dovey was sure it wouldn't hurt to let Cira see her knowledge was appreciated.

The bartender abandoned her dishcloth entirely, letting it alone where it lay as she planted her elbows on the counter and propped her chin in her palms. The distraction from her work was clearly welcome; she was making no effort to hide that. "You've asked the right person," she said. "Can't understand half the gossip you hear, can you, love? It takes a time to learn your way 'round Sunberth. But what're you curious about today?"

Dovey was taken a little aback at how completely Cira had comprehended her situation. But she supposed her situation must not be unique to her as a foreigner in Sunberth - well, except perhaps for the added complication of the spy.

But what was she curious about today - or rather, what would help her the most in understanding tavern patrons' conversations? She knew Sunberth was run by criminals; she'd heard the names of the big gangs bandied about. Daggerhands, Sun's Birth, Night Eyes, Vino, Brotherhood. Most everyone she heard mention the gangs seemed to have strong opinions about them, each view running counter to the next. The Daggerhands were the future of the city - or they were a pack of has-been tyrants whose leader was too timid to show his (or her?) face. The Sun's Birth were hairless cowards, or they were just the dose of discipline this godsforsaken city needed if the whole place was going to avoid burning down (the man with that opinion hadn't been a local, and Dovey was fairly certain she'd seen someone stab him in the scuffle that followed his words). Most confusingly, in her time here she'd heard more than one heated discussion on the question of the Night Eyes' very existence - though she hadn't witnessed one of those arguments since early in the fall.

Cira must have her own opinions on the city's gangs, but perhaps she could help Dovey understand the facts - those never seemed to find a place in any patron's impassioned diatribe. "Tell me about the gangs, please," she said, still moving her broom halfheartedly about on the floor.


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[The Drunken Fish] Fear or Believe

Postby Dovey on October 9th, 2018, 2:09 am

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47 Fall, 518 AV
"Speech"
"Others"


Cira blinked. "Well, where do I start?" she said, with a little chuckle. "You know, I don't think a one of them has been quiet this season - they'll be at war in the streets soon enough, the way things are going. Night Eyes are out for blood after their plantation went up in smoke..."

She went on, and Dovey tried to absorb the information as quickly as she could. She'd had no idea where to tell Cira to start, but clearly the other woman hadn't needed any prompting. Her elbows came off the bar, and she gestured dramatically as she spoke.

"The Night Eyes kidnapped, I swear, half the people who amount to anything in this town. You must have heard the talking, start of this season - anyway, people were right nervous at the name Night Eye, after it happened. Some of them came home, some didn't - I hear one man's missus got just his ears back, in a little box on her doorstep. Nothing labeled, but she swore she recognized 'em to be his."

Cira leaned forward conspiratorially. "Know what I think, though? I think it's done them no good. They're hunting for who burned their Pulp plantation - so if they'd found the culprit, I say they'd have made it known. Show how foolish it is to stand against 'em. Which it is! But whoever lit the torch, that fellow's managed to slip their net."

Dovey nodded slowly. Her eyes had grown a touch wide, and her hands were still on the handle of her broom. Kidnapping - and mutilation. No wonder folk had stopped disputing the Night Eyes' existence. Gods, if she was one of those people who amounted to anything, she'd work with all her being to get this city a real ruler! Anything must be better than this unchecked violence.

But she was nobody. And as if to offer her a reminder of that reality, Manowar chose that moment to thump out from the kitchen, his cross eyes fixing at once on Dovey.

He strode toward her, ceramic shards crunching under his boots. "Did I give you that broom to lean on!" he growled. "Lazy little shyke! And you!" He turned on Cira, who straightened her spine and smiled. Still Manowar scowled at her, though perhaps a touch less vehemently than before. "Why're you distractin' Dovey?"

"I was telling her," Cira replied smoothly, "about my foster brother who went and got his hands speared through with glass, and had to go to the Clinic when they got infected. He came out with no hands at all." She gestured at the floor. "Dovey was trying to pick up shards with her fingers. I thought I'd warn her." And she took up the dishcloth, nonchalantly beginning to wipe down the counter again.


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"Common" "Fratava" "Pavi"
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Dovey
One unlucky girl
 
Posts: 263
Words: 216133
Joined roleplay: December 31st, 2016, 10:42 am
Location: Sunberth
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[The Drunken Fish] Fear or Believe

Postby Dovey on October 9th, 2018, 2:37 am

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47 Fall, 518 AV
"Speech"
"Others"


Manowar looked at his employee for a moment, squint-eyed. Then he jerked his head, and his scowl turned to a smirk. "Well, don't let her lose her hands," he said. "Wouldn't be much of a barmaid then!" and he turned away. Dovey bent herself to sweeping vigorously, afraid of what might happen if he looked behind him and saw her still idling. Cira moved the dishcloth in slow circles across the counter, watching Manowar's back. When he passed through the kitchen door and out of view, she smiled down at Dovey.

"You were petrified, love," she said, "weren't you?"

After a moment's hesitation, Dovey nodded. No point denying the obvious: Manowar terrified her.

"You'll have to learn how to manage him," Cira said. She was looking at Dovey with eyes something more thoughtful than their ordinary state. "It's not so hard once you know. Why did I tell him what I told him?"

Dovey cleared her throat. "To stop him getting angry?"

Cira shook her head. "Well - yes, but not what I mean. I told him you'd been going to hurt yourself, because you're his and he wants you in shape to work. And he thinks you're stupid."

Dovey winced.

"He does, love! Look. I'm trying to prove a point." She sighed, shaking out her shoulders. "Tell me a story you could've told him, to keep him off your back."

"Um." Dovey shook her head, not in refusal but in uncertainty. The story about the foster brother stuck in her mind, making it difficult to think of an alternative tale. "I could have told him... that you were - "

"No!" Cira interrupted. "Tell me the story itself, the way you'd tell him."

"All right..." Dovey cleared her throat, imagined Manowar in front of her again, demanding answers. "Cira and I were talking about the best way to clean..." and she remembered Cira's dramatic gestures; she had to account for those. "I almost swept glass into my face. Cira stopped me." That drew from the foster-brother story, but it was the best she could think of on a moment's notice.

"No, convince me!" Cira said, waving an expressive arm. "Make me see it! Show me how shaken you are!"

What? "Cira, why - ?"

"Look." Both hands came down flat on the counter, and Cira gazed sternly into Dovey's eyes. "If you want to shirk with me, I'm more than happy. But you've got to learn to sell a story, Dovey, for your own sake. And for my sake," she added offhandedly, "because I like this job and I can't have you undermining what I tell Father Manowar if I want to keep it."

"I didn't say anything!"

"Doesn't matter what you say," Cira retorted, "matters how you say it. Now. Give me that story with feeling!"


Boxcode credit: Karin Ironyach
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"Common" "Fratava" "Pavi"
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Dovey
One unlucky girl
 
Posts: 263
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Joined roleplay: December 31st, 2016, 10:42 am
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[The Drunken Fish] Fear or Believe

Postby Dovey on October 9th, 2018, 2:59 am

Image
47 Fall, 518 AV
"Speech"
"Others"


"I - all right." Dovey still wasn't quite sure what the use of this was, but she wanted to stay on Cira's good side, and perhaps the older woman foresaw an outcome of the exercise that Dovey could not perceive. But how should she approach her task? Cira had said, sell the story. Show me how shaken you are. She took a fast, deep breath, and thought of how she would feel if she truly had been in danger of sweeping glass shards into her own face - how would that happen in the first place? But no, no time to think of that now. Imagine the situation. Imagine how you'd feel.

"I was sweeping," she began, a trifle stiffly, still feeling awkward about the whole situation. "Glass nearly went into my face!" She widened her eyes at Cira, who she supposed was standing in for the character of Manowar. "Cira stopped me. She wanted to tell me how to sweep so as not to hurt myself, and I didn't want to hurt myself either, so I was listening."

Gods, what a sentence. She didn't think anyone had ever genuinely spoken like that, whether before or after the Valterrian. But Cira gave her an encouraging smile.

"That was better!" she said. "You weren't so completely stiff - you had some sort of emotion in your face. But don't hold back! Wave your arms! Shiver! Try it - " And she stopped speaking, darting a quick, wary glance at the kitchen door. Manowar had shoved his head and shoulders through, giving the effusive bartender a highly suspicious look.

At once Dovey turned her attention to the floor, sweeping vigorously. Beside her Cira took up the dishcloth and began yet again to wipe things down. They would have to finish this later, Dovey guessed - if they ever did - for the foster brother story had evidently not been quite convincing, even if it had gotten Manowar to leave them alone for that particular moment.

Still, she had learned about the Night Eyes. And perhaps Cira had been right to push her into that strange session of practice. Perhaps this method of lying, of selling one's story, would come in useful in the future.

First, though, she'd have to hone the skill considerably.


Boxcode credit: Karin Ironyach
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"Common" "Fratava" "Pavi"
User avatar
Dovey
One unlucky girl
 
Posts: 263
Words: 216133
Joined roleplay: December 31st, 2016, 10:42 am
Location: Sunberth
Race: Human, Mixed
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
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Medals: 1
Mizahar Grader (1)


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