An Exciting Afternoon - I

((Town of Osilon, 1208 NE))


V let out a breath, the minty smell of his last Blacksparrow potion wafting from his mouth. As it passed his nose, V made a note in his head.

'Need to visit an alchemist, too. Brew more potions'

He had the ingredients on him, but he doubted any alchemist could make the potion to his exact specifications, especially lacking the recipe. Luckily, he had that much covered. He would, however, need what would amount to an entire lab to brew the thing, or at least a kitchen, and only an alchemist would be willing to brew a homemade recipe for a complete stranger.

Standing, hands on his hips, V took in what he could currently see of the town of Osilon. As he had hoped, it was much bigger, offering much more verticality as far as infrastructure went, and looked significantly less slum-like, though it was far from a capital city.

V made his way into the town, right now he was looking for an inn of sorts, someplace where he could get some food, and perhaps have someone help orient him with a little talk of the town as knowing a bit more about where he currently was beyond a name would likely prove useful tomorrow.

Being a newcomer to this place, and only ever hearing about it as far as it's position on the map, V would have to explore around a bit, get his bearings on his own. He set off, traveling down what seemed to be the main street, looking about at taking in the town's insides. Eventually, the street opened up into a large epicenter of commerce. It was the marketplace.

Aromas of meats and other cooked goods wafted about unrestrained, vendors stood about, loudly declaring their "once-in-a-lifetime" prices on likely fake rugs and clothing made to only look expensive. Small children ran and played, zipping past the vendors, only to receive half-hearted curses, which their short-attention spans quickly pushed from their minds.

"Well then..." V muttered, taking time to fully absorb the scene before him.

Nuros was all quiet, a sort of shantytown where everyone minded their own business, right about now it was clear this place was different. In fact, in seeing the liveliness of the town, V wondered if there might be work to be done, something that would require a man of his particular caliber...

Dismissing the thought, V cut through the loud market place, all the while making notes of the less savory features of the marketplace, an alley to the right where two people seemed to be making a shady deal (though he would not look long enough to draw attention nor figure out who), and up ahead a grizzled looking woman wearing a grey cloak, who seemed rather thug-like in V's opinion. The Elf passed her wordlessly, and she only gave a glance, before her cloak obscured her sight and she continued about her way. Maybe there truly would be fitting work here, but recharging his crossbow was top priority for him.

V approached a lively and well-lit building, eventually finding a sign hanging that read 'pub'. Simplistic and straight to the point. V nodded, as if agreeing with some unspoken sentiment, and entered the building. He took no time to peruse around, immediately finding the bar and taking a seat.

"Not a local, what do you have?"

V eyed the man behind the bar, whom he'd thusly assumed was the bartender. He was a short and stocky man, though a man, his stature perhaps could have been considered dwarf-ish, but not dwarf-like. The man stood at what must have been 5 feet and 8 or so inches. He had a head and face of dark ginger hair, salted with strands of grey mixed in, and yet his features seemed young, lively, almost childlike. He turned and offered V a spry smile.

"Now, most people start with a hello,"

V frowned, resting his cheek on his fist, "Is that right? Well hello, I'd like to know what drinks you have."

The bartender smiled, arms raised to either side, "There we go! The big scary Elf man has manners."

"You treat all of your customers like this?"

The bartender made a swatting gesture as if he'd intended to physically dismiss V's discontent, "Oh you'll get used to it, and then you'll get your drink."

The bartender described to V each of the pub's popular drinks, including his own personal recommendation," Brown Smoke with a splash of Frostfoam Beer and a chili garnish."

V nodded, somewhat impressed at the bartender's delivery of that recipe, it was as if he had been waiting all day to say it to someone. Taking the Elf's nod as a confirmation, the bartender turned and began to mix the drink, "Y'know, we name each of our drinks after esteemed regulars."

Spinning back around moments later, he placed a glass mug before V, and the dark drink was blended beautifully. Deep red dust was held against the edge of the glass by what to V, being a drinker and not a mixer, might as well have been magic. Either way, the drink looked delicious. V raised the glass, looking through into the brown fog within it, "And what's this one called?"

The bartender grinned.

"The Blacksparrow, " He said, before turning away and tending to something on the other side of the counter, seemingly not at all aware of who he had just served this 'Blacksparrow' drink to.

"What... So my f-"

"Your father's been here. Stayed for two weeks."

The bastard knew exactly what he was doing.

"I thought you said regulars?"

"Firstly, I said esteemed regulars. And secondly, your father hit this spot every day, so for those two weeks he was a regular, was he not?"

V leaned absentmindedly against the counter, drink still in hand.

"Gods above, my father's been everywhere..."

"Actually, I don't think he's been to Nuros. Though, that's mostly because it wasn't around thirty years ago."

Looking down at his drink, V turned to the bartender.

"Say, I never paid you for this drink,"

Another dismissing swat, "Don't bother, first drink's on the house."

V chuckled, saying, "Well aren't you just a bundle of hospitality," Before tasting his drink. Brow furrowed approvingly, V savored the taste, before looking back up at the bartender, "So, what did my father do to get a drink named after him?"

"What'd he do?" The bartender asked, as if he hadn't heard the Elf right. Then he sort of stood there for a second, wistfully gazing out of the nearest window. After a short moment, he finally spoke again.

"There was a fire. It was a great inferno, feeding off of the building and burning hotter by the second. Now mind you, the people here weren't well accustomed to magic so we had to resort to plain ol' water and buckets, perhaps some gifted mage or sorcerer could have...I dunno, called forth some sort of great wind or forced rain down from the sky to extinguish the flame or something. But, alas, no such person resided in the town at that point. So, the fire's burning away, and someone lets out a scream, " My son is trapped in that building!" Then you hear other people, "My mother, she can't get out on her own, somebody help her!" You get the gist. Who knows how many people's lives are at risk. Things are starting to look grim, and there's no way any normal person's gonna get all those people out of there in time. And then, he walks up, face dramatically downcast if course. Oruvand Blacksparrow approaches the building, mutters something, and just walks right into the inferno. People are screaming, thinking they just witnessed somebody walk off to their death, but minutes later, the guy comes out with a kid, and then somebody's grandma, then a dog, then a baby, and lastly, a teenager, couldn't have been older than...say, fifteen. Eventually, they manage to put out the fire, everything's burned to a crisp, the property damage was immense, but... no bodies were found in the aftermath. Everyone that was in that building before it went up was out and with their families. And we even looked for Oru after that! They say he had already moved on by then."

V let out a breath as the man's story drew to a close.

"And that was it?"

The bartender nodded.

"That was it."

V slowly shook his head, 'How am I ever going to compete with that man?' He thought.

"So, how long ago did you say that happened?"

"It was about thirty years ago."

V mouthed the words, before looking at the ginger and salt bartender.

"Wait, how old are you? You tell this story like you were there."

"I was. I turned 45 years about a season ago."

V nodded, adding up the numbers as he spoke, "Oh, so you would have been about...about fifteen...just like the teenager in the story."

The bartender nodded knowingly.

"My father told me his half, I just know what happened inside the building. Luckily, I only sustained minor injuries, and none to my face."

V finished his drink as the story concluded, the man had a wizened look on his face as if telling the tale had reminded him of his life. He was quite young, especially to an elf, but at that moment, V thought this Human older and wiser than himself.

V came to his senses; the man's story had so enraptured him that he'd nearly forgotten why he'd come.

"Say, barkeep, I need help finding an enchanter..."

The barkeep smiled at V the way an adult might smile at a misbehaving child.

"Now, most people exchange names before they talk business."

"Ugh, this again? I thought you knew me!"

"I knew your father. I've only heard of you. So go on."

V shook his head, giving the man a joking glare. Perhaps he had grown fond of this strange human over his story.

"I'm called V."

The barkeep stared blankly at him, "V..."

With a sigh, V straightened up and started over.

"My name is Vistlend Blacksparrow, son of Oruvand Blacksparrow."

The barkeep nodded approvingly.

"Then, going by your example, people call me Ply, but I am fully known as Plymouth Gold, son of Bismuth Gold."

V frowned, his face morphed by confusion.

"Am I supposed to know who that is?"

Ply chuckled, "Ha! This is a humble little pub, not a world-famous hostelry, so of course you wouldn't know him, but...your father did, though as far as I know he was never fond of him."

V scoffed, "He must have been quite fond to rescue you, the man's son, from a flaming building, don't you think?"

"Ah," Ply started, "but I don't think your father was that kind of man, one to hold grudges."

V was silent but looked intently at the Human barkeep.

"Not that I know what kind of man he was, I only know what I've heard. But if what I've heard is true, then I know how he became so successful."

"And how is that, barkeep?"

Ply nodded, "Because he was mortal. Might have lived longer than the rest of us, but he was still mortal, still knew he was going to die one day, and rather than shirk from his fate, he faced it. And he found what was the right thing to do, and he kept on doing it. And I'm sure the day he died, he went out happy, if not fulfilled."

V's brows were furrowed, mind so clouded with thought it might have been tangible. It seemed that these strangers, these passersby, knew his father better than he did. But then again, they weren't trying to escape his shadow, they reveled in it. So of course they saw something else. Someone else.

Snapping back up to the barkeep, V straightened his face and sat up, "AHEM, So about that enchanter."

"Ha! No, of course, V."

Letting out one last exhale, V thought he might finally be done here, V was unsure if what had just transpired was exactly a bad experience. What he did know was that he needed to get back to work, even if a fight broke out in the streets, V wouldn't have noticed cooped up in this pub.

"I'm in need of an enchanter, or at least someone of considerable magical skill. Now I know from your story that no one like that was in your town 30 years ago, but would you happen to know anyone like that now?"

Ply scrubbed his seasoned beard, looking about the pub's walls, and then outside the windows as if his eyes might just happen across someone fitting the description.

"Y'know, I'm not too sure I do. Or...actually, maybe I do know someone. It's only that, I don't know how much help he stands to be..."

"It doesn't matter, even if they can only point me in a direction, I need to know."

Ply shrugged, "All right, then. He's an Elf that goes by the name Solandriel. Tall, somewhat spindly, black hair, pale skin....y'know. Last I checked, though, he dealt in potions, not really anything overtly magical, but I can only assume if you seek someone of some magical expertise, an Elf might be the best person to ask."

"Hmm, well where is he?"

"Well, I'm not sure if he's there now, but his dwelling ought to be down the path here right outside. You can't miss his door, it's wooden with vines growing across it. I'll admit, that I never understood. Perhaps he likes to keep things natural?"

V scoffed, "Or he's broke."

Ply smirked and nodded as if to say 'fair enough'.

"Alright, " V announced, finally rising from his seat, "I'll be on my way now. Thanks for the drink, barkeep."

Ply raised his hands, his expression that of humorous confusion, "What happened to calling each other by name?"

V shrugged as he walked out of the door, "And now you know mine, what's the problem?"

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