Karavossian Breakfast

A JP by Tahjerius, LSP, and Ender

((Osilon, Karavoss))

"So, uh" V started, already mounting an attempt to try and clear up the brewing unease in the air. He glanced at Lafayette, he wasn't sure if his red-haired companion could feel it, and he appeared to be rather friendly with this man as well. It seemed that he was a regular around here by the way the local militia had recognized him, which, as a foreigner, told V almost nothing. Had it really been only a day since he had encountered Solandriel in that alley and kicked this whole thing off?

But back to the present, and the strange, giant man looking at him like a slab of meat, which wasn't an entirely undesirable experience honestly, but unnerving nevertheless.

"It sounds like you two know each other, want to introduce me, Laf?" V said, pivoting as he moved, removing himself from the man's grasp with deft, and proceeding to walk backward as he gave the man a smile, all the while studying his features.

“Lafayette not Laf, please.” he said, "V, Asher. Asher, V.” Lafayette said, gesturing to each one.

“Asher Willowbranch.” Asher corrected. “You need the full name. Otherwise, I might get confused with another Asher,” he said with a gentleman’s bow.

“Asher, no one calls you that,” Lafayette said.

“They do till they know me.” Asher said, “And the guards or my mom when they are really mad.” he added with a laugh.

V nodded, observing that the giant at least had a heartwarming side, and he seemed to get along with Lafayette rather well. Hopefully, that would help alleviate the feeling he was getting in his gut. That, and maybe the ale.

"So, surely there was some story on how you two met, right? If the way I met him was any indication, that is," V grinned, raising his eyebrows expectantly.

Asher chose to take this question. “Oh we met in lock up.” he said. “I was taken in for being ‘too drunk’” Asher said in a sarcastic tone “and Lafayette beat some guard’s punk kid for harassing his tall green friend.” Asher shrugged. “Couldn’t hold him though, guard wasn’t high ranking enough, and the head guard master guy had enough of the kid himself and figured it was well deserved so he cut Lafayette loose.”

“Someone had to do it,” Lafayette replied. “And V, you’ve seen Shel. If she just punched a normal guy who never worked a day in his life she'd kill them.”

V raised his hands in a playfully defensive gesture, "Hey, I'm sure he deserved it, no need to justify."

The swarthy elf turned, seeing that they were now steps away from the Golden Oak, which V assumed was the go-to food-and-drink spot for this part of Osilon.

"Here we are?" V said, stepping forward and pushing the tavern doors open, the sounds of incessant chatter subsequently erupting through. The tavern was decently full, as usual this time of morning, many consumed the breakfast seafood and drink the eatery offered almost ritually before their day truly started. V was honestly quite surprised, the place looking quite different from how it did when he had visited it not long ago.

"Is it always this full in the mornings?"

“Depends,” Asher said, “Not so much on calmer days. Must mean a ship or two is coming in today,” he noted. “Means I might get some work. Three lucky finds in one day? Now all I need to do is find a free bottle of booze and someone warm to share my bed tonight and I’ll consider this a sign that I’ve got a guardian angel.”

“Well, that’s the dream, isn’t it,” V chimed in, the soft smile and dismissive tone a rapid-fire attempt to try and stem the seemingly growing tension that seemed to be growing within the small group.

Asher, much to V’s relief, then leaned over to Lafayette with a sly grin. "Hey, don't look now, but that guy is totally checking you out.”

Frowning, Lafayette turned to see who Asher was talking about and saw the man, dressed in common but neat clothes, and quite notable, baring fair, almost pale skin, snow-white hair, and piercing blood-red eyes. Sitting at a table in the very far side of the room, he appeared to be reading into some parchment and minding his own business, yet still managed to lock eyes with Lafayette for a split second before the people moving about cut the Merovingian's line of sight.

“You know him from somewhere?” V asked.

Lafayette was about to say no he didn't, yet his instincts were telling him something else, and he learned a long time ago to trust them. Dangerous people tended to be able to sense other dangerous people, so that might have just been it. Kalena was a case in point when he met her back in the day. He could tell she was far more than she appeared. And vice versa. This guy was almost as hard to pin down. He wasn't with the City Watch unless he was a special undercover officer of some kind, and if so he and V might have been made. But there were rumours of a secret diplomatic meeting supposed to take place in Osilon, which accounted for the increased number of guards around the city. The guy could be with one of the foreign delegations, maybe part of a security detail.

“He's kind of hot, if you're into intense, fallen angel types,” Asher said, who was an excellent reader of people.

“He’s all yours then Asher.” Lafayette said, turning his attention back to his meal, not watching his eye line for any movement from the man across the room.

V let out a small sputter of laughter, before suddenly turning to the Firbolg, wide-eyed, “Why don’t you go talk to him? Real mysterious type like him, maybe he’s the one you’ve been looking for, ” he said, finishing in a playful tone.

Asher tilted his head slightly, scratching his chiseled stubbled chin. “Nah.” he said casually but bluntly. “Not my type.” he turned to his new friend. “Too serious looking.” Asher matched the facial expression. “I like them more bubbly, and cuter.”

“You mean submissive? Well yeah, he doesn’t look the type.”

The crimson-eyed man looked up from the map-like parchment to meet Asher’s gaze, eyebrows raising almost as if to ask, ‘What?’, tilting his head inquisitively. He looked as if he were pondering his next steps, the whole world apparently a chess game to him. He looked back down to his parchment, a small smile playing on his lips, and a matter of moments later, he made his move, rolling the paper up and gripping it, before standing from his seat and strolling over in the group's direction.

"Oh, his ears must have been burning," Asher laughed, “Either that or he wants to make the first move.”

“You always know how to attract trouble, Asher.” Lafayette said.
The man approached the table, noticing a fourth, empty seat, or rather, looking at it as if he had only just noticed it.

“Room for one more?” He spoke, his voice unexpectedly charismatic and rather confident as he took the seat without an answer. In spite of the commanding aspects within his tone, he still managed a layer of tantalizing mystery. To one inexperienced in the social game, there was something frightening yet oh-so irresistible about this man. To the well acquainted, he was good at this. To him it required a nearly unconscious level of effort. His eyes shifted from one man to the next.

Elf. Arms crossed. Uncomfortable. Weak link.

Human. Remotely unnerved. Appears perfectly casual.

Firbolg. Very charismatic. Hiding something, like me.

He then leaned back in his chair, his glances appearing just quick, equal flicks in each man’s direction.

The Brute didn’t say anything about a Firbolg…

The crimson-eyed man rested his arms on the back of his chair, foot out to balance his leaning posture in the chair. It represented his position perfectly. He was an outsider, distant, but open. And, as in all things, someone who leaves their guard down is either extremely stupid, or extremely good at what they do.

“So, are we looking to get into trouble? Or just perusing the olio?”

’Did he just compare us to meat?’ V thought, suddenly alarmed.

“I’m not looking for trouble.” Asher responded. “I’m looking to finish my breakfast before it gets cold and congealed so if you’ll pardon my rudeness of eating while you talk."

“You seemed busy with whatever it was you were working on over there.” Lafayette chimed in, after all, the man's attention did initially seem to be directed at him, “So what made you decide to come over here and sit with a bunch of strangers?”

“No need to be rude Red.” Asher said, “He’s just sitting and can sit till he is rude, but I doubt he will be. Ain’t that right?’ Asher asked Ponce. “Or are you the trouble you think we’re looking for?”

"Not at all," Ponce said, his voice becoming rosy sweet, "The fact of the matter is that I have a proposal. I don't intend to hide that I have come here specifically for you." He said, looking at the Merovignian, "Or your compatriots, to be more precise. I have been made aware that you are in the presence of an old acquaintance of mine. Brooding, mysterious, shadowy, you might know him,"

Lafayette thought for a moment. “Nope, that doesn’t ring any bells.” Lafayette said with genuineness. “Maybe you were told wrong,” he added, “I’ve never met anyone brooding. Well no one alive. Used to know a guy. Jealous type, who couldn’t get the girl so he spent his free time polishing his armor. That is not a euphemism, man was obsessed with his armor being like a mirror. Now that guy was brooding.”

"Interesting. Well, whether or not you remember him at this moment, I know that you've spoken to him, and I know what you intend to do. My proposal is that, assuming you all actually go there, you allow me to travel with you to the Endless Dark."

He stopped, pools of red flickering over to the Firbolg for a moment before shifting back over to Lafayette.

"I usually prefer not to be so blunt, but this is imperative for me."

'So stop wasting my time,' It seemed like he wanted to say next. V's brows furrowed a bit, looking between the strange man and his Merovingian friend. Whatever he had detected from Asher before, what this guy was giving off was worse tenfold.

“I don’t have any idea what you are talking about.” Lafayette said, “Endless Dark? What’s the Endless Dark? If it’s so imperative for you maybe being less vague about your intentions wouldn’t be a bad idea.”

“Sounds like a bad drug trip.” Asher chimed in. “Knew a guy who mixed up the feel-good mushrooms with the feel-bad mushrooms. Went blind.”

As the men discussed among themselves, a lone woman entered the tavern, not looking the best of conditions. She seemed to be in a daze of some kind, blood dripping from her hands. Her gushing hands gripped a wicked-looking black box, decorated with horn-like spikes, red infernal and elvish symbols painted on the charcoal black. She took a seat at their table, trying to catch her breath, her amber hair covering half of her battered face. To her side, the white bandages began to turn red, signaling the reopening of a wound.

She looked up from the box, seeing V and Asher, she spoke in a soft tone, "Sorry, I d-didn't see you fellas. I should leave... leave you alone." She was exhausted and wasn't in the best of conditions, yet she attempted to get up from her seat to leave.

Before she could stand back on her shaky feet Lafayette gently put a hand on her shoulder keeping her in her seat “non mon pauvre reste et repose-toi” he said.

"I'm sorry? I-I don't understand. I don’t understand... that language, I'm a n-native." Her eyes looked a bit glazed over, she was barely conscious, due to the blood loss of whatever battle she walked away from.

Lafayette took his cup of water and held it out to the woman. “Drink.” he insisted, “Drink, tell me what happened and we can see about getting you some help.”

The woman struggled to stay awake, "Attacked at h-home. Ch-church of Sarnia, after the box. Nearly k-killed me, they... followed me. Can't let them... have the box." The wicked box within her sliced hands quietly made the sounds of a gentle heartbeat.

Lafayette sighed, “Whatever happened to the craziest thing I’d ever done was save a necromancer from a weird warehouse…” he thought. “Ok...so Church Knights…” Lafayette said. “We need to get you patched up.”

She gently nodded, too weak to respond. If it wasn't for the fact she was death gripping the strange box, which was now covered in blood, she could be considered unconscious or dead.

"Gentle now. Hey Lafayette," V turned to Lafayette, "we taking her back to… uh, the hut?"

All of a sudden the snow-haired man rose from his seat.

"Just one second, gentlemen."

Ponce then dropped to a crouch beside the young woman, reaching a hand out to her.
"Hello," He started slowly, his crimson eyes suddenly shifting into a calming baby blue as the woman looked over his way.

"I need you to calm down and be still, okay? I'm going to help you."

Ponce looked the woman in her eyes, holding her focus as he reached out and gingerly placed this hands on either side of her head. With a pulse of energy, he began to reach into her weakened mind to try and ascertain what exactly had happened. She was so out of it, she probably wouldn't even notice that her memories were being tapped into. Ponce's eyes flickered about as he flew through her mind, absorbing all he could without taking too long or doing much damage. This carried on for a few more seconds before the sorcerer finally pulled back from her memories and went to work on the actual healing process. He tapped into another part of her mind, slowing her heartbeat and ceasing her bleeding. On the outside, nothing had really changed, but now the woman would retain her consciousness for a bit longer and much less blood would be lost in the long run, meaning she'd recover that much faster.

"Okay, I'm done." Ponce said, standing once more. He looked over everyone at the table once more, before resting his gaze on Lafayette.

"I understand your wariness of me, and I'm not saying it's misplaced. However, I possess skills that could be majorly beneficial to you in that place. So play dumb if you want," He shrugged, before moving around the table and toward the other side of the room.

"But, should you reconsider, I'll be here. Come find me." With the same cheery smile he led with, Ponce gave the group one last look before turning and returning to his table, already unfurling the parchment from earlier. Looking across the paneled paper, Ponce chuckled, the antics of one otherworldly talking fat cat somehow cracking the sorcerer up.

Lafayette rubbed his eyes. “I’m so tired of all this…I’ve lost my appetite.” he grumbled. “It’s just one thing after another. I’m just about done with all these strangers thinking I’m going to keep doing things that nearly kill me for free, or that I’m just going to stick my neck out for everyone that asks.”

“You two seem awful on edge.” Asher chimed in as he slid Lafayette’s unfinished plate his way.. “Any chance I can get some context? So I can at least follow and be an alibi if needed.”

“Our foolishly overly noble friend here,” Lafayette pointed to V, “Wants to rescue someone who means little to either of us, and the task couldn't be any more dangerous. We would also have to place our faith in someone we have every reason to distrust. And now someone maybe even less trustworthy comes along offering their help for some ulterior reason, and I think V is thinking we should accept this offer."

"I'm not thinking anything Lafayette, I'm not going to pretend that I bought any of what that guy said either. I just… want to do the right thing? I just can't be… presented with an opportunity to help someone and just be like, 'Nah, I'm good,' like you can, because that isn't what my fa-" V stopped with almost a croak, an expression of emotion and anger on his face as he turned away from his also completely untouched plate.

There was a moment of silence between the two, and it seemed no one else felt it was their place to talk. Asher finally spoke, letting out an exasperated whistle.

“Wow...that’s heavy.” he thought a moment. “I’d say you should just do what you feel is the most right for the most people.”

The woman slowly came to, she shook her head. She noticed the men following her hadn't entered the tavern yet, "Thank the Fair Lady." She listened to the discussion before her, the box responded with a few gentle thumps. "You should do what you believe is right. Follow your heart on decisions like these. They can be difficult for the mind to decide." She paused for a moment, "Sorry, this isn't my part to be in this discussion." She grew a bit worried that the others would hear the thumps, however the mage who touched her was a bigger issue, did he see what was within the box? Was he one who would destroy it or try to use it?

"That's what I intend to do," V said, somewhat coldly, as he stood.

"We need to bring her to our place, Lafayette. Even with what that sorcerer did, she won't make it long by herself. Soon as she's healed we'll make her leave."

“At the very least we can take her to Prespa.” Lafayette said, “Firstly MY place, not OUR place once you start paying rent we can change that distinction, secondly I don’t have much space left for people to sleep, besides the floor.” he added. “My home is turning into an accident ward," Lafayette grumbled”

< Prev : Orgin of the Crimson Eye Next > : Caravan to Ohamet