First tale of the night

JP with Bandorchu, Omni, and LucianNepreen

Greyriver Steading

Alexis chuckled, rolling her eyes a bit at the honorific. Though, spoken in jest it wasn’t nearly as uncomfortable as when meant in earnest. She smiled warmly at the ‘jungle man’, happy to see him - and everyone else really - in such high spirits.

“Well, then I shall provide of course. What kind of tale would my esteemed audience enjoy? Folklore? Slice of life? Something in between?”

As the cork popped out of the bottle of ‘forgetfulness’ with a satisfying squeak and plonk, Voah’s grin widened. She poured a bit into her cup. It was a fine Salarian red wine from Selkis.

“Pehaps a memory that’s always stayed with you. One that helped shape the incredible woman we know, Gatana,” she suggested, lifting her cup to her lips.

“Ah, and do try to keep it light-hearted, darling.” she added in playful pretend pout and a wink.

“Well, I don’t know about ‘shaping’ but if you prefer something light-hearted…”

Alexis offered with a shrug. Mercenary tales by trade tended to be more on the bloody side after all, but yeah, every once in a while things could be a little less serious.

“That one time I was on my way back to my band from an errant. So there I was, merrily hiking through the woods, when I heard loud cursing from the side. Few moments later, that guy stepped out in front of me. In his birthday suit.”

That certainly had been a memorable first impression.

“After the first bouts of awkwardness had been overcome, guy spun me a story how he was a mercenary, too, and he had been hired by a forager to guard her while she was was gathering some supplies. And apparently that woman had seduced him, then knocked him out somehow and made off with all his money and equipment, leaving him butt naked at the side of the road to add insult to injury.

So he asked me to help him find that thief and get his stuff back.”

Man, that must have been… 7 or 8 years ago? Lucky for him, even her younger self wasn’t easily fazed.

“We went back to their last camp and tracked that woman’s trail from there. Didn’t really feel like she was trying to be sneaky, it was easy to follow. We found her new camp pretty quickly. And she was there, sorting herbs and the like calm as a cucumber. Already seemed a little off to me for a supposed thief.”

Tarmen took another swig of his bottle, rather enjoying the light burn it had compared to Ekero's brew. He felt that he knew the end of Alexis's story, having heard many like it, but as always he couldn't wait for the conclusion. He realized he didn't have much knowledge on her past, which also counted true for everyone else. It made the story all the more enticing, getting a window into the life of Alexis Greyriver.

“So the moment they catch sight of each other, they start screaming bloody murder. Bloke’s still fully naked, by the way. And I am standing there, wondering what it actually is I am being made witness of. Finally the woman takes enough of a breather to explain her side of the story. Which is, yes, she hired him for protection, no, she made no moves on him. In fact he was taking liberties to a point where she drugged him with one of her concoctions and took his stuff to teach him a lesson in manners.”

Even now the mercenary couldn’t help but shake her head at her recollection of events.

“Well, she DID throw him his clothes and pouches while she was speaking, and context clues from the previous shouting match led me to believe that her version of events might have been a smidgeon closer to the truth. But the situation presenting itself now was as thus: she wasn’t giving him his weapon back. However, she was going to leave it in the next village for him to collect. She was still pretty pissed, both at the guy getting handsy and her having to cut her foraging short. Guy on the other hand kept loudly demanding his weapon back NOW - still not bothering to put his clothes on, actually - ‘cause it’s his, his livelihood and an heirloom to boot, and he is getting madder and more aggressive by the second.”

Alexis took a swig of her tea before she continued.

“Now I was in a mind to leave those two knuckleheads to sort out their own mess. But… with either party’s track record, I had a bad hunch this might not end well if I did.”

And while this was one of many situations where she could very much understand the stance of minding one’s own business, younger her had not been able to bring herself to just walk away. She suspected current her might not have been able to either, despite everything.

“So I gave it a thought and made the herbalist a deal. I offered to take over guard duties from the guy. With that weapon as payment.”

The herbalist had been caught by surprise by that. Both of them probably.

“A bit of back and forth later she reluctantly agrees and actually hands over the axe.”

Looking back, Alexis wondered why she, Iona was her name she remembered now, did go along with this relatively easily. After all the Garrahn had been a random stranger, too, albeit her equipment would have marked her as a fighter at least.

“So I turn to the guy and tell him I’ll give him his weapon back if he puts his clothes on and walks the opposite way. Suggest both of them should make use of the vastness of those beautiful lands to never cross paths again.”

He did have a bit more to curse about after that, but she felt that she might have knocked him out of his hot rage with that twist enough to make him realise it was a good time to cut his losses.

“Bit of complaining later he takes the deal and scampers off, cursing all the way. I add two days to my journey to keep up my end of the deal and get quite an earful for that back with the band, but herbalist is actually decent company when she isn’t spitting mad, so I’d say it could have been worse.”

She concluded with a lopsided smile.

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