Closed [The Drunken Fish]A Bottle Brewed[Caspian]

Moritz and Caspian meet again at the Drunken Fish...

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[The Drunken Fish]A Bottle Brewed[Caspian]

Postby Moritz Craven on November 4th, 2022, 2:18 am

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Letting out a sigh, Moritz headed along through the Drunken Fish. Being one of the first places he had found after arriving in Sunberth - partly due to it being just off the docks- Moritz had ended up staying there. The owner while a Sunberthian seemed trustworthy enough... At least to those in his good graces. If you were a paying customer you got what you paid for. If you were renting a room you had some degree of safety and privacy, or else you would deal with him. And if you worked there, then messing with you was messing with him and so he dealt with it just as harshly or perhaps worse than messing with a paying patron.

Moritz, both renting a room there and working here as a cook filled several of those qualifications, and so Father Manowar looked out for Moritz. While such a thing would be the minimum expected in many cities, in Sunberth it was actually a bit outside the norm. With that in mind, Moritz felt he was a bit lucky to have ended up there. At some point he wanted to move out, get a better paying job and find a better place to live... But till then, this place by Sunberth standards at least was good.

There was also the bartender working there, but Moritz did not see as much of her nor know her as well. Waving to her as he headed past and back into the kitchen, Moritz began his work. It was still a bit early, but even then there were a few sailors drinking at the bar. When Moritz was not working in the kitchen Father Manowar would generally be running it, though his cooking focused more on quantity than quality. This was yet again a sign of Sunberth, and so was well within expectations. Most people seemed happy enough if the food did not make them sick, and filled their belly. Moritz liked to think he was better than that, though in the end he was still forced to work on cheap but filling fare.

Today he was planning a soup, something simple that the patrons could soak their hard bread in. Though what would be in it was the real question, as Moritz began to appraise the ingredients to be found.

In the end all he found from searching was a few potato, a carrot, and some fish. Being brought in by fishermen right off the docks this was the freshest thing of all and the most plentifully brought in. Having lived and worked as a cook in Syka Moritz at least knew how to prepare fish, and began making preparations for the meal. First things first he began descaling all of them one by one, using the side of his knife, and worked his way through the pile before moving on to other steps and other things.

Eventually more patrons would come in and it would get busier as people came to eat, but in the meantime Moritz did his prep work for the dish of the day.

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[The Drunken Fish]A Bottle Brewed[Caspian]

Postby Caspian on November 4th, 2022, 6:15 pm

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“But petch that guy, you know what I mean?”

Caspian polishes off his diatribe by throwing back the rest of his tankard. It’s early evening at the Drunken Fish, and the yet modest number of patrons that are gathered so far aren’t enough to drown him out. This earns him more than one glance in his direction, some apprehensive, others intrigued. The apprehensive ones tend to be the newcomers and tourists; those intrigued are usually denizens of the city, wondering if his brashness means drunkenness, and if said drunkenness leans towards being excessive, and subsequently whether that spells him as an easy mark. They’re not totally wrong, the vultures, the ones hoping he’s the kind who can be cornered for his wallet once he heads off alone for a piss. Sobriety in the technical sense of the word isn’t something that can be applied to him. He’s still got enough of his wits about him, but admittedly, finishing off a full tankard of ale on a near-empty stomach is enough to fill his head with a light buzz, and egg on any negative feelings he may be harboring at the slightest provocation.

And those negative feelings stem from someone who had entered just ten minutes prior, and is now sitting at the far end of the bar.

“Wait, but what did that guy do to you?”

Caspian swivels his attention away from the person he’s been silently scowling at to fix his captive audience – a blustery woman in her late 30s who’s two shots ahead of him – with a quizzical expression. “It’s not what he did to me, it’s that he tried to pick up my sister,” he explains, as if it should have been obvious all along. “Petch. Never mind.”

“Suit yourself,” the woman grumbles, turning away and back to her own drink.

Tomorrow night, some ten blocks inland, there’s going to be a mud fight. It’s exactly what it sounds like – two grown people fighting in and with mud – and for whatever reason, one of Taaldros’ cronies, Skipper or Scrapper or whatever he calls himself, is very taken with the idea of participating. The problem is Donnie, who’s the man sitting alone at the end of the bar. The tournament had a finite number of spots open. Donnie is scheduled to participate, while Scripper is not.

And Taaldros, being Caspian’s stepfather, had seen it within his purview to make solving this problem this week’s assignment.

The easier answer is to slit Donnie’s throat. It’s a thick one, wrinkled and sunburned and rather greasy above the collar. But that’s never really been Caspian’s style, and besides, murder can be quite messy.

There are other ways to keep someone incapacitated.

And with it being near dinnertime – and having just overheard the man order some soup to go along with his ale from the bartender - Caspian has an idea of how he might carry it out.

“Watch my seat, will you?” he says to the woman, who grumbles again, though not entirely maliciously, and waves him off. Feigning as if he’s heading to the washroom, he makes for the back of the tavern, ducking beneath the outstretched arm of a laborer just off shift, entertaining his cohort with a raunchy anecdote, and sidling around old rheumy-eyed regulars coughing into their handkerchiefs.

No one’s watching, and instead of taking the door on the right he slips into the one on the left, finding himself in the kitchen.

There are three scrap buckets under various counters, and he peers into one casually. A lot of it are the soggy, darkened ends of greens, slivers and peels off spuds, fish bones, and then –

Yes. Visible even in dim lighting is a hunk of raw chicken, gleaming and scattered with maggots.
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[The Drunken Fish]A Bottle Brewed[Caspian]

Postby Moritz Craven on November 5th, 2022, 11:26 am

While there were only a few real employees, Moritz had been forced to get used to the other people working there. Namely slaves... The idea of slavery was wrong to Moritz, having been raised in a city where it was forbidden, but here it was quite common. Still from what he had seen they were treated decently enough... At least compared to what he had seen from others in the city and how they treated those who were owned as possessions.

He could not say they were treated entirely humanely, but still there was quite a few clear examples of those treated worse. If nothing else if they grew exhausted or were hurt they were allowed to rest and heal, whereas he had seen some places where they pushed them to breaking. That had not taken long to see, basically as soon as he got off on the docks.

Beginning his work in earnest Moritz began preparing the food, focusing on the fish. Once he was done scraping off the scales into the refuse bins which would be hauled out later, he began cutting them. Taking off the head, stripping at the gills, the tail, and then working his blade along the side to make a fillet... It was all things he had done back in Syka, which basically required labor to clean and cut the fish. Well that and some clean water to get the blood and gunk out.

While Moritz had checked most of the kitchen before his work checking the refuse had not really been a priority. Besides he knew it would not be long before one of the laborers came by and emptied them, and so besides a quick glance to make sure it wasn't filled with rats or such he did not look too closely at the other bins.

Silently the Kelvic continued at his work, checking things over. As he was dealing in large quantities of food for many people he did each step of the process on all of the fish, before going on to the next step on each. That way he could get into the rhythm of a single task and complete it overall, before moving on to the next new step on each fish in turn. It did not take long before the fish were removed of their heads, tails, gills, scales, and washed out, before being further stripped and filleted.

With that done Moritz finally let his mind wander from his task he had been focused on, and he glanced across the room to find... Some guy there. Glaring a bit more closely he saw it was not any of the workers, and he seemed to be poking his nose about looking inside of things.

A bit annoyed some random guy was in his kitchen Moritz strode over, glaring with his best not quite so intimidating glare while still holding his knife he had used to cut up the fish. He could not think of many reasons for a random guy to be in his kitchen, but most of them were not good.

"Hey, what the petch are you doing in here! This is my kitchen, you don't just come walking in without asking! I don't come walking into your workplace, so don't come barging into mine! Now get out before I call the owner! "

As Moritz yelled, repeating some of the type of things he had seen said owner do albeit a bit calmed down and nicer, he eyed the man a bit more closely. Seeing him he seemed vaguely familiar, but he did not immediately recall where from. He himself was more or less the same in appearance as he had been for ages, at least once he had finished growing. Of course even if his features had aged a bit, his distinct eyes and hair were usually enough to cue anyone into remembering him.

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[The Drunken Fish]A Bottle Brewed[Caspian]

Postby Caspian on November 6th, 2022, 6:29 pm

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Workplace?

As if a person like him could ever be confined to a singular space or time.

But it doesn’t entirely surprise him, to be accosted now - yes, accosted, for though he’s well aware he’s loitering somewhere he has no authorization, it still rather offends him that someone could be so brash as to walk up without introducing themselves and simply start -

Moritz?”

Forgetting the bins and the sickly sweet smell of rot for a moment, Caspian remembers with a jolt the person standing across from him, from a faraway place and time.

“Hey, it’s me, Caspian. Remember? From the Outpost, and the glass alley,” he finds himself blurting out before he can stop himself. Which perhaps hadn’t been the cleverest decision; hardly a decision at all, his impulse uttering the words for him without any thought or preamble. The feeling that had spurred him is a conflicting one. But it had felt good, surprisingly, to see someone from an old life - how many of those has he had now? - and in particular, a person with whom he had no deep-seated resentment nor quarrel.

It occurs to him now how different he must look to Moritz now, compared to when they had met. It hasn’t been terribly long since then, in the grand scheme of things - maybe just a year or two? A mess of memories flit by - and as an adult, two years makes minimal difference to his actual features. But he recalls, with an sad twist in his gut, how flamboyantly he had dressed those days. How gleefully and triumphantly, and most important of all, freely. But appearing so ostentatiously in a place like Sunberth had no sense at all, and since his return he’s toned it all down, stuck to dark grays and black and even quit tousling his hair up quite so spikily. He hasn’t entirely given up his eyeliner, though, the gold and black, though to draw less attention he does limit how thickly he draws it on. It irks Taalviel to see him cling to the last bits of it; she’s endlessly frustrated with him, though she means well. But it’s a concession he demands the world make for him, as if with just that bit of makeup he can hold on to who he wants to be.

“What in the world are you doing here, pal? Don’t tell me you work here?” Caspian’s eyes rove up and down Moritz’s appearance, taking in the knife. “Wait a second -“ Frowning, he scans the rest of the kitchen, voice dropping to a hiss. He’s well aware that more than zero of the tavern’s employees are indentured, or worse. Funny how a city whose touts its freedom so readily claps many of its citizens in chains. “This is, like, by choice, right? Because if it isn’t, Moritz, I swear to petch, just let me know who to talk to, and I’ll break you the hell out.”

Another rather abrupt declaration from him, one he can’t help. But it means a lot to him, the fact that this person is someone with whom he’s shared a caper and no ill will. In his experience, people like that don’t come by often.
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[The Drunken Fish]A Bottle Brewed[Caspian]

Postby Moritz Craven on November 6th, 2022, 10:33 pm

While Moritz was a bit annoyed that someone was snooping, he was more annoyed that someone was snooping where he was working. That was something he took personal, since for him his work was quite personal. It had his name attached to it, as the person who cooked it. And while he might make some of the simpler and cheaper dishes as requested... He did not want some person interfering with, messing with, or otherwise bothering him by being about without asking. Now if he had known they were coming, and they had asked, then he would not be so annoyed.

Even in Syka if someone had done such a thing he would have been annoyed, and that was without any implied nefarious intent going on. However the same thing happening in Sunberth, something nefarious was almost guaranteed.

His train of thought was only thrown off when the man said his name, not too unlikely that someone would know the cooks name, but more unlikely when he then went on to mention a past encounter that vaguely rung a bell. Moritz tried to concentrate and recall him meeting some guy named Caspian, but was fairly certain it was not anyone in Syka... And not anyone he had met since coming to Sunberth... When he mentioned the Outpost and... No most of the other details dd not remind him of anything... But with the name, the place, and enough details he did recall, he finally remembered meeting the man. Even then he had found him a bit suspicious, though he did not recall if the man had come from Sunberth then or elsewhere...

Remembering back he recalled there had been some kind of search... Or investigation... And Caspian had been trying to find a lady who had been taken or in the end they found out run away... Honestly though, Moritz thought to himself, the tale alone did not make Moritz trust the man. It indicated he knew him, but trust was a bit further away.

When the man then began to show some genuine concern, or at least acted like he did- Moritz was not the best at telling which - it did make him think a bit further. Most Sunberthians would not think overly much about slavery, which seemed to further prove to reason the logic that like Moritz Caspian was not a Sunberth native. That seemed to be another point in his favor, though not quite enough points to bring him to openly and fully trust him. A small point or step, not a full one even.

Letting out a sigh and then a somewhat derisive noise at the idea of him being enslaved, Moritz eyed the man once more. Still when he did talk it was in the same deadpan voice as the last time they met, not making it entirely clear if he was joking or not, except in a few places were he clearly over emphasized something to show his sarcasm. If nothing else Moritz had gained a bit of humor since last they had met, or at least a basic understanding of sarcasm after being forced to lie for a season.

"Yes, I do work here, I'm a cook. Thus me being in the kitchen. With a cooking knife. Preparing food. Didn't you investigate things? I feel like someone who does that should have been able to figure some of that out from the cues around the room, without me having to tell them. Or did none of those things give it away, I did think I was properly appearing cook like..."

"I work here, I'm not a slave. I ended up coming to Sunberth for personal reasons, and honestly the owner here is one of the few half decent people I met, at least by Sunberth standards he's a pinnacle of uprightness... So I'm staying here in a room and working as a cook for now. For money, which I am paid. I mean Sunberth buildings being what it is, I don't think escaping would be all that hard if I wasn't, but running away isn't my goal here. And if it was, I'd just make an exit. Literally if needed."

Eyeing the structure, Moritz did not like to thin what would be left if he made a sincere attempt to bust out. Likely not only would the window or opening be broken out, but a chunk of the wall with it for his charge.

"I might see about something in another season or so, once I figure out what other jobs I'm suited for, but for now this keeps the money coming in and gives me a chance to get my bearings."

Pausing for a moment Moritz considered putting down the knife, but then recalled the reason he had been yelling before.

"But hey! You still haven't answered my question. What are you doing here? What are you doing in my kitchen!? I don't let anyone come poking around when I'm making food, and here you come strolling in looking in stuff while I'm focused on cooking. Do I need to put a bell on the door or something? What do you want?"

While the man did not seem entirely bad, and seemed at least on the face concerned for Moritz, he still was not going to just let him skip by things. That being said he did not lie, but what he had said certainly was not the entire truth. He had come here for personal reasons, but telling others about that... Well, that was something he had to think about, and not something he would do to someone he did not completely and fully trust.

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[The Drunken Fish]A Bottle Brewed[Caspian]

Postby Caspian on November 7th, 2022, 6:33 pm

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Anyone else might have offended him, the way Moritz had responded, but it’s very much in line with the stodgy mannerisms he recalls from when they had originally met. The familiarity of it, despite its overall lack of warmth, still has him grinning.

“Investigate? Sure, that’s the polite term for snooping around. I rather appreciate the generosity. Not necessarily my line of work these days, though.” He lets the ambiguity hang in the air between them, but ever the curious type, he can’t help but press, “Personal reasons? So am I! What kind? I did tell you I was from here, didn’t I?” The Outpost – it’s faint, but in his memories he can almost smell it. He thinks back to the sand-strewn alleys, broken pottery, palms and gossamer scarves billowing in the wind, but the full details of their first conversation, he can’t quite remember. “Well, sort of. I wasn’t born here, but I was… hmm, let’s call it adopted.”

Reflexively, he eyes the knife in Moritz’s hand again, though the smile on his face lingers. “You ought to be careful where you point that thing,” he says, excessively pleasantly, as if the youngling is brandishing a bouquet of daisies at his face instead. Someone ought to teach the kid some sense; while it might not be enough to provoke Caspian, there are plenty who wouldn’t take very kindly to the gesture. “A stranger might think you mean to take out their eye. Good thing we aren’t, hmm?” Although – if Moritz is that confident about being able to resist any form of captivity or arrest, perhaps he very well could hold his own if a situation did arise.

It’s of no surprise when Moritz returns again to his questioning Caspian’s reasons for trespassing. “What do I want?” he repeats. The same as Moritz, funnily enough, which is to carry out what he’s been employed to do, then be on his way. This is a bit of juncture he’ll need to sort through, though. One of the overarching qualities he had picked up about Moritz was that he was quite the upstanding citizen – though compared to someone like Caspian and his stepfather, that’s quite easy to say. But simple reasoning tells him Moritz likely wouldn’t want to go along with the scheme to get rid of Donnie, even if it is just a very temporary day or two. Like a physician and their moral code, Moritz find it severely reprehensible as a cook to intentionally give someone a fun bout of food poisoning.

Does he lie, then?

He remembers the gruff, rather tipsy woman he’d been entertaining at the bar just minutes before.
“My female companion out at the bar was here just the other night, and whatever meal you were serving that day, apparently, was utterly divine. She didn’t get the chance to thank you that day, but she’d like to now. Possibly she wants to ask you as to your availability for house calls. She has a birthday coming up.”

If he can get Moritz to leave the kitchen for even a minute, he can accomplish precisely what he’d come here to do.
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[The Drunken Fish]A Bottle Brewed[Caspian]

Postby Moritz Craven on November 8th, 2022, 3:03 pm

Moritz eyed the man closely, wondering on his words. From what he said he was no longer in the same line of work as he had been before, though that left to question what the mans current job was. Besides the obvious of wandering into random kitchens and bothering the cook, though he supposed that did not really pay as a job... Moritz smiled to himself for a moment as he made the joke within his own head, before focusing his mind back at the task at hand.

"Well whatever you call it. Seemed like you were looking into things before. Uh... Some kind of missing person thing, whatever you call it. Though what are you doing now then for a living? I'm assuming you haven't come into a great deal of wealth and decided to retire in Sunbeth so... You must be doing something or other."

As for Caspian's next words, digging into Moritz own ambiguous statement of personal reasons being why he had come, Moritz was not surprised when the man asked for more detail. Despite him just saying it was personal, implying he did not want to go into it...

Though as the Kelvic thought on it, he realized someone prone to digging into things might be useful for finding out some things, such as the truth of the letter and surrounding details.

Turning to the mentioned knife Moritz pondered it for a moment, moving it about in the air for a few seconds.

"Oh I'm very careful where I put it, but when someone barges into my kitchen and starts snooping, I tend to get on the defensive. And I reserve the right to menacingly hold a knife until I find myself satisfied, and to if needed use said knife on something other than a fish. So if needed I will oh so carefully stick this into a not so nice place. Like say an intruder who seems up to something. Just as an example, for clarity's sake. Since surely I would have no need to do such with you. I'm sure if you ask the owner he would back up those rights of mine. He'd probably even encourage them."

Tapping the flat of the blade against his shoulder for emphasis Moritz eyed the man and tried to imbue as much menace as he could, at least for a few moments, before moving on. Though he was unsure how effective it had really been.

Focusing his mind Moritz did something he did not do too often, focusing an extra sense he had gained a few seasons prior. Namely being able to eye someone and appraise correctly their combat abilities. Sensing him he felt the mans combat power from within, and compared it to his own. And found... Not much. The man either had similar combat abilities to Moritz, or perhaps less. Either way Moritz was not super afraid of the man coming at him in a fight.

Eying the man he glared again when he repeated his words back at him, rather than responding. For some reason Moritz was sure that was not something an honest man about to speak the truth would do. Not unless he had been speaking unclearly. But since both of them were speaking common clearly enough, and there were no distractions around them, that seemed unlikely. And Caspian had shown no signs before of being hard of hearing, not until Moritz had brought up a seemingly simple question which he seemed to be evading. He had spent enough time questioning people to pick up on such things. Though that was likely in part due to Moritz habit of turning almost any conversation into a interrogation session.

When he finally did answer it was to say he was coming here on behalf of a third party... One who wanted to see him. Moritz however was growing more suspicious of Caspian, and did not think it was a good idea to follow along with what he said... He had already proven he was prone to deception and lying. He seemed decent, but was still quite clearly a liar, and someone Moritz only vaguely trusted in a certain set of circumstances.

"Well then you can tell your friend at the bar thank you, but I am working. So I cannot go wandering around to greet random people who liked some thing I did. If she wants to talk to me, she can do it after I finish my shift. Or talk to the owner. I'm sure he would love to hear such things."

Here Moritz paused, before rolling his eyes across the room to settle on Caspian before he changed his line of speaking.

"Though, a thought. If you were looking for the cook, that does not explain why you were nosing around the garbage or things. I mean, its not like you thought the cook was hiding in there. I'm a person, a decent sized one, so normally a person would just come right to me if that was what they were here for, and get my attention. Rather than say... Sneaking about and trying to avoid me noticing them, and only responding once I noticed them in turn. Seems more like something someone who had no interest in me would do, rather than someone seeking me as the cook out..."

Having pointedly poked at the faulty logic of Caspian's statment Moritz eyed the man some more, smiling a bit but more at his own words than the mans. He doubted the woman was really so enamored by his cooking. He was a decent cook, but not great, and working with the materials at hand he was probably not even making as good dishes as he had back in Syka.

"You know, I said I was here for personal reasons... But honestly, I'm not so sure I can trust you with it. I mean not when you look me right in the face and clearly are lying about things, like why you are in here. Which is too bad, since a nosy person might have been just what I needed regarding my personal stuff. But, ah, well, too bad. Maybe I can find some other person to trust with my personal business."

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[The Drunken Fish]A Bottle Brewed[Caspian]

Postby Caspian on November 8th, 2022, 10:33 pm

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“’Reserve the right to…’” Caspian laughs. “Oh, yes, that’s very Sunberthian of you after all, for a transplant. I suppose you’ll do alright here.” The scowl – grimace – profound silent grumble? – Moritz attempts to treat him to does very little; the overall effect is someone effete, though he doesn’t think his pointing this out will do much in the way of fostering goodwill.

Baiting Moritz with the idea of someone who wanted to shower him with praise had not been a sure bet; it takes Caspian no small amount of willpower to keep himself from openly rolling his eyes when Moritz demonstrates that he apparently isn’t someone who would get anything out of it. A rare thing indeed. And a powerful thing. There aren’t many, Caspian would say, who genuinely live independently of what others think.

But as to the question of why he was poking around in the trash.

“Forgive me, I suppose I get morbidly curious about what goes on in backrooms,” he replies. And lets his mouth run: “You can’t be too sure of the quality of ingredients around here. Just the other day they stuck yet another baker in the pillories for filling his loaves with sawdust and cobwebs. Yes, sawdust and cobwebs, mixed right into the dough for added weight, because he wanted to cut down on his expenses for flour. I’ve been to this tavern and had many a meal over the course of my years, and more than once spent the night spewing half my guts in the outhouse. I was a lot younger then, but as evidenced by you, the cooks and times have changed. But I did always wonder what it was that they threw in that made me green to the gills.”

At Moritz’s caginess regarding his reasons for being in the city, Caspian shrugs good-naturedly. “To each their own.”

It’s rather hot back here, with the steam rising and all the noise and clatter, and he’d prefer not to linger too much longer than necessary. He’s feeling the ale he’d tossed back earlier, and the telltale signs of a slight pink flush across the bridge of his nose. Further on the in the kitchen he notices the stout iron kettle hanging over a fire – presumably where a soup might go, said soup that Donnie had ordered and would be expecting soon.

“Speaking of,” he continues, mulling his options over, now that it’s been made clear flattery isn’t a currency Moritz trades in, “I am here for a very specific reason. And the thing is, Moritz, it’s quite hard to talk about, even though it’s the truth. Funny how that works, yes? But the problem is, depending on who hears it, it could become quite dangerous for me.” He’s dropped his voice and is leaning in, just ever so slightly, not enough to suggest to Moritz that he’s intent on violating any personal radius – only a minute unit of distance towards him to emphasize that what he’s about to say should stay between them and them alone. “I’m quite glad to have run into you, actually. There aren’t many friendly faces in this city, and it isn’t always the case that you’re happy to see a familiar one either. But you – well, I think you’re quite alright, you know? If you can keep this between us…” He pauses slightly for dramatic effect, casts his eyes downward, then up again at Moritz. “I’m here to stop a bad man, a very bad one, from hurting someone tomorrow. If you knew someone was going to cause a lot of damage and grief to another person, wouldn’t you want to do something about it? Especially if it was well within your means to do so?”
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[The Drunken Fish]A Bottle Brewed[Caspian]

Postby Moritz Craven on November 9th, 2022, 1:56 am

Unsure how to take the mans words, in the end the Kelvic assumed what was said was meant as a compliment and shrugged in response. Saying he would be able to fit in... Because he was not afraid to wield a knife at some person barging into a room with him... It was certainly, the Kelvic felt, an odd bit of praise. Perhaps one of the odder bits, but honestly not the oddest.

"I'm not just gonna stand around to get walked over. Or lay around, whatever. I don't think that has changed since I came here. Though maybe there are... No definitely there are, more people here trying to do said walking over. "

When the man tried to explain away his poking around in the trash Moritz could not help it, he let out a audible snort of derision. He could not help thinking to himself, "Really? Thats, what he is going with?" He was unsure what would have been a good way to explain things away, or if there even was one, but he did not think that was one. When Moritz next spoke it was with a thick layer of sarcasm most anyone could pick up on.

"Right, because that makes total sense... You were worried about quality. And safety. And how good the food was. And so logically, rather than looking at say the ingredients I am working in. Or the work surfaces. Or say, the food I am working on and preparing... You thought first, lets see what refuse there is, the leftover bits, stuff that has been chucked for going bad, that is a good place to start rather than anything that is going to be eaten."

With a smile on his face at how over the top he was being, Moritz shook his head. Not in an angry way, but more of one finding how ridiculous the mans words were funny.

"First you say how good my food was... Now your suspicious of bad acting on my part and snooping around... Either I'm making tasty trash, or tasty food, seems a bit insulting, and rather opposite from what you said before... Caspian... If your gonna try to lie to me, at least put in some effort. I mean, really, you expected me to believe that? I'd prefer you just be honest and come what it may, but come on man. That was honestly a bit sad. A bit funny at how bad it was. But sad. Do people actually believe stuff like that when you say it? I mean I know Sunberth isn't exactly the biggest center of reasoning but come on... People follow that along blindly? If that normally works... Or you assumed that was going to... I think you may be a bit off your game so to speak. You should really find some better people to talk to, or your gonna end up like a blade left out in the ocean. Rusty and useless for anything but the meanest use."

Moritz had made a rather obvious attempt at baiting Caspian into making things clear, but the more he spoke the more clear it became he had no interest in being honest. He had tried to offer his interest in Moritz personal business, at least to someone who was being honest with him... But sadly the man had not latched onto this and if anything seemed to ignore it. Clearly his tactics at getting info out of people still needed work, and were at times a bit too obvious.

However when Caspian next spoke his tone had changed a bit, and he spoke on truth... Or at least claimed to be speaking a hard truth... Moritz listened to what he said all the same, but questioned it just like he did everything he heard. Just like he had his own mother when she said stuff as facts when he was but a season old... Which had not gone well... But he had persevered, and still tried to get at the truth. From listening it seemed some of what the man said might be true... But at the same time he was certain if nothing else he told him a stilted viewpoint of things. Not the truth, but Caspians truth or version of it he was willing to divulge... Which was a very different thing.

"You know the funny thing about lies... The more you tell, the harder it is to trust you when you do decide to tell the truth. I've always viewed... Well no in more reason times I have believed, which before then was not what I believed... I have viewed lies like a blade. If used when needed there is nothing wrong, and good can be done. But if used flippantly, then people assume you will use it again without cause. And they will see you as someone always holding a knife. And just like a knife, lies can be used for good or ill. Its all in your intent. But as intents go, its hard to know what someones really is. And seeing how you lie so much, your intent is even murkier..."

The irony was not lost on Moritz as he held up his kitchen knife, setting it aside. In truth he knew a bit about using small blades, but felt more confident in using his hands and feet and body to fight, and so would rather come at things empty handed if the need arose. If nothing else the action increased Moritz confidence, which was odd since it was normally the opposite of the reaction someone had when putting down a weapon.

Sighting and looking up, but still keeping his awareness on Caspian should he move.... Moritz shook his head and returned his gaze to the human. He spoke with a flat expression and tone, almost like he was a bit sad or removed from things, but oddly calm about it all.

"I have no plan to divulge anything you say here, unless it interferes with me and mine. That being said... That does not mean I am inherently on your side. From all you have said, and while I don't think you are an entirely bad person... I also don't really trust you much more than an average person. A bit more, but not much. And only in certain cases. And honestly, I don't think this is one of those cases. You say someone is a bad man. But bad in what sense? Bad to you? Bad to everyone? How can I trust what you say?"

Time, for a moment, was felt in Moritz chest. His neck. His hands. His feet. Time passing. Life and death passing. It had not been that long, only earlier that season, when some dramatic events had happened. And yet, he felt oddly detached from them, even though he felt like he should be upset by them. Instead he just thought about them calmly and rationally, remembering them but not being overly affected by it. His earlier tone of neutralness was cut off, and replaced by one that was much more intense.

"You say they are bad... But if they are so bad, what are you doing back here? Honestly, I have seen bad people. And I have seen things needing doing. And I have even done them. But I question your intent to do something about it, along with what you describe as bad, if you are back here. Have you killed a man Caspian? Have you watched as the life leaked from their body? If someone needs killing, then kill them. If not... Then how bad are they? Or are they even bad? Taking a life is a serious thing. Its not something I take on easily. But it is also not something I balk from if the need arises. Not anymore... Do you have that in your Caspian? Have you killed? Would you kill? Are you read to be killed? Now? Today?"

Oddly enough while his words were intense and at times pointed they did not seem to carry any inherent threat. More like Moritz was just honestly asking a question, and speaking what he considered truth.

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[The Drunken Fish]A Bottle Brewed[Caspian]

Postby Caspian on November 9th, 2022, 11:57 pm

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“Now, hold on a second,” Caspian says, “I don’t believe I said I thought your food was good? I said my companion tonight did. Frankly, I was surprised that was her verdict, and that she had given it to me with that level of enthusiasm. Because as previously stated, I can only say that my experiences here were lukewarm at best. As for looking in the bins rather than what you’ve got on the counters, the second you braise and throw sauce on something, it all turns out the same color, sawdust and cobwebs and actual meat and all. Presumably what you’ve got in the bins is the unadulterated truth.”

And he might have continued along this string of thought, for better or for worse, but Moritz sets down the knife and takes on a new stance.

This is certainly some kind of development from the Moritz he had once known.

At Moritz’s last line of questioning, Caspian leans casually against the stack of crates beside him. Inspects his nails. Because it’s all a bit much, to tell the truth, and he hadn’t quite seen this coming; being presented in this moment with new information – said information being Moritz’s increasingly defensive behavior – has him reassessing the situation as a whole. He’d rather not find himself on the other end of a knife still reeking of fish guts, nor pummeled in the back of a tavern that had once given him runs so bad he’d had to throw away the pair of trousers he’d been wearing. He’s not exactly nervous about this; something still about Moritz bears an intensity, but of earnestness, a quality he can’t say he’s known of many others.

“Funny, you remind me of my stepfather,” he replies blithely. “Such were also his strategies for parenting, if you could call it that. And of course I’ve killed someone, you nit, I just told you I grew up here. Gold star to anyone in this city who comes out of it without that particular blemish on their soul.”

He could go into it further, but that’s a box he prefers keeping shut on ordinary nights.

“It’s interesting you jump straight to the death sentence for this man. He’s bad, yes. How many points of evidence do you need? I can tell you he’s blinded eyes, broken bones; once he held a man in a puddle after a heavy rain for so long that the man drowned. And, still, I’d rather not kill him if I can avoid it. It’s a weighty thing to have on one’s mind, even if we might come to the conclusion that such a person deserved it. It takes a piece out of you. And the thing is, I don’t know how many pieces I have…” He trails off. “Ah, my stepfather would like you, I think! So straightforward is the world of Moritz.”

He considers Moritz for a moment.

“I could certainly kill this person. That day could yet come. But what I’d like to do, right now, is feed him something so rank – not obviously so, of course – that he spends the next 36 hours spewing from both ends. He has an opportunity to hurt many people tomorrow in an unarmed combat tournament, and I happen to know he has a sadistic streak. Referees and bells, never mind any rules mean nothing to him. This is for the sake of the many over the few.”

It’s not the whole truth about why he’s doing it –his father’s cronie wanting to participate in Donnie’s place – but nothing he’s said about the scenario is a lie.

“What have you been up to since I last saw you?”

Carefully he watches for Moritz’s reaction, and in his mind is approximately how many paces it is to evacuate.
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