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December 30, 2010 / Bika

[RP] ALL the Drinks.

Hammaryn asked Veldarin out for drinks followed by drunken sparring. Surely the world is coming to an end.

It’s quite a long post. Don’t be afraid.

Authors: Hammy & Me

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He’d been sure she would hit him for those two brief kisses, one on each cheek. Her skin, chapped pink from countless hours spent in the elements, smelled like soap. Instead she blushed. It was an oddly satisfying reaction that made it impossible not to grin for the rest of that evening.

Now as he combed his clean, damp chestnut hair and tied it at the nape of his neck, he wondered if she would show. Veldarin knew there was a good chance she’d have second thoughts and stand him up at the bar; for that reason he had a small paperback tucked into his pocket so he would have something to do if he were to spend the evening alone.

The scruff on his chin was getting long. He debated for the umpteenth time whether he ought to skip shaving and simply grow a beard; for the umpteenth time, he lathered up and ran a razor over his face.

He stared at the clothes stacked neatly in the miniature closet, then shrugged and put on something comfortable. Would she wear a dress, or even care if he bothered to dress up? He decided it was better not to try too hard. Hammaryn wasn’t impressed by fancy clothes and troublesome things like manners or social status. It was one of the reasons he liked her. Manufacturing a polished facade was just the sort of deception he loathed among the supposed social elite, and might only succeed in driving her away.

Not that he was in any hurry to court her or anyone else. He was young and life stretched ahead of him like some fascinating scroll waiting to be written. It was a romantic notion his mother, nearly a full millennium younger than her late husband, was unable to comprehend. Breathtakingly pushy, she would no doubt disapprove of the young paladin her only child had chosen to spend the evening with, and of what she would consider to be a positively agonizing slowness of pursuit.

Veldarin checked his reflection in the mirror, breathed into his palm, and decided that his mother was the last thing he wanted to think about on this fine evening. He pushed her out of his mind. The lady was a product of both her past and upbringing and there was little to be done about it; Hammaryn on the other hand was a refreshing soul, and relatively tolerant of his various eccentricities.

The door clicked shut behind him as he stepped into the hall. While he had business in Orgrimmar he rented a room built into one of the winding back alleys. It was impossibly small and perpetually dark, but it was clean, and as far as the orcish capital went that was really all he could have asked for. Just up the street, the evening bonfires went up outside the tavern and lit the red dirtpack road.

Much of the city was post-fire construction and the bars were no exception. There were at least three Veldarin knew of in the city, nearly identical in structure and design, hexagonal behemoths of thick, dark timbers hewn from the spoils of Ashenvale and bound in iron. In spite of what Veldarin privately-and with some amusement-thought of as orcish fortification chic, the interior was warm and welcoming as long as you didn’t mind the smell.

A few torches and thick candles lit the smokey wood-paneled lobby where a nominally clothed orc sat on a crate with her legs crossed, waiting to rent upstairs rooms and occasional serving girls to the Horde’s varied clientele. He passed her with a nod and went into the tavern proper, where skulls, skins and weaponry served as functional decor. The backlit shelves above the bar were lined with hundreds of pretty colored bottles of booze and improvised bottle lamps that burned oil precariously close to the flammable liquors.

Veldarin was impressed by the resourcefulness of those reused liquor bottles filled with refined tallow. In Silvermoon, they’d simply throw the glass bottles away once the liquor was drained, choosing to rely on arcane energies to keep their spaces lit. He looked around at the low tables and the hides that served as seating. Hammaryn wasn’t there yet, but that was all right. In his opinion, a gentleman should be early. While he waited, he checked the loft for a private table.

Hammaryn walked in several minutes later wearing grey linen pants, a dark blue work shirt, and a nervous expression.  Her hair was freshly washed and brushed, but she was otherwise without adornment, having forsaken Dir’s advice to wear a dress or put on makeup.  She scanned the bar for a minute then walked up to the bartender and ordered a glass of firewater, which she downed in one gulp.  Then she ordered another.

Veldarin spoke right behind her. He sounded amused. “Getting a head start?”

Hammaryn took a swig from her new glass of firewater without missing a beat.  “Nothing wrong with that.”

“There’s a quiet table above, but we can sit at the bar if you’d rather be close to the bartender.” The troll paused mid-pour to give them a wink and pushed a glass in Veldarin’s direction. It was full of pungent house brew that smelled like a medicinal tonic his mother used to give him when he was sick. “Er… thank you.”

“Upstairs is fine.”  Hammaryn turned to the bartender.  “I want a new drink every fifteen minutes.”

“Same fi you?” asked the bartender. Veldarin blinked.

“Ah… no, I believe half that will more than suffice, thank you.” The booze was already starting to warm him up, settling in his belly like a ball of molten iron. “This way,” he continued, and went ahead without waiting for her to lead. He was pretty sure the concept of ladies first was neither required nor welcome in the brunette’s presence.

Hammaryn followed behind him, sitting down on the floor in front of the first table she saw.  She took another large chug of firewater.

“How is Lotheolan? I haven’t seen him in a while,” he said, settling onto the furs and putting his mostly-full drink on the table. The book stayed in his pocket. It would be rude to sit and read instead of giving her his full attention, no matter her stance on matters of etiquette.

Hammaryn shrugged and looked at Veldarin expectantly.  “He’s fine.”

“Does he still have that overfed blob of a cat?” He took a sip from the glass. Ugh, it was awful.

“Thing is a pain in the ass.  It doesn’t do anything.”

“Sure it does. It eats the parts of the cookies the priest doesn’t like.” Veldarin scratched his chin. “Surprised the old man isn’t rounder than he is, really.”

“That must be why the Priest keeps the cat; Father Lotheolan isn’t as fat as Fabrio.  When we get Fabrio a new desk, we ought to get him a cat too.”

“It might be wise to let him choose one, though it can’t be hard to find a breeder. They’re all over Eversong,” he said, and sipped absently at his terrible drink. “I wonder if he’d still be paranoid about his desk, even if it were replaced.”

“Depends on if Dorri’tow and Keltyr got near it again.”  She took a swig of firewater.  “So basically he’ll always be paranoid about it.”

“Getting a new desk is probably pointless, then. A cat is probably safe, though.”

“I don’t like cats.”

“Neither do I.” Veldarin leaned back against the wall, since a comfortable chair-back in Orgrimmar was out of the question, and debated putting his feet up on the table.

“Well what else could we get him?”

Veldarin grinned. “How about a book?”

Hammaryn rolled her eyes and downed the last of the firewater in her glass.  “Where the hell is my new drink.”

“It hasn’t been fifteen minutes yet,” he said, and put his half-finished glass on the table again. “He’ll be up soon, I’m sure.”

Hammaryn picked up Veldarin’s glass and took a swig.

He raised an eyebrow. “You can have the rest, but be warned it’s rather revolting.”

“It’s the same thing I was drinking.  It’s fine.”

“I may try something different. Like tea.” The corner of his book was digging uncomfortably into his leg so he dug around in his pocket to retrieve it, and tossed it on the table.

“Tea? No tea at dis bar, elf boy,” said the troll sent to bring fresh drinks, one for each of them.

Hammaryn smiled at Veldarin and pushed his glass towards him.  “Drink.”

Making no move to reach for the glass, Veldarin looked first at Hammaryn, then down at the drink with his arms folded across his chest. “What’s in it for me?”

“I can’t teach you how to fight drunk if you won’t get drunk.”

“Is there a single blessed thing on the face of Azeroth that will make this swill taste better, or should I stop stalling and drink it?” He knew it was inevitable, and the grin on his face made that abundantly clear.

“Chug it.”  She smiled again and leaned in over the table.  “Do it fast.”

He gave her his best long-suffering sigh and lifted the glass. “To the company of pretty girls, then,” he said, and tipped it all down in one excruciating gulp.

Hammaryn slid Veldarin her glass.  “Don’t call me pretty.”

“I don’t lie.” The second glass went down a little more easily than the first. He suddenly understood exactly what was meant by the term ‘liquid courage’.

“I don’t care if you lie or not.  I don’t like it.”  She turned around and cupped a hand to her mouth.  “Bartender!”

“You know, Hammaryn. It’s not fair to demand I get drunk and then deny me the right to tell you what I think.” His grin was feral and he had to concentrate quite hard to keep from slurring his words.

She turned back around to face him, folding her hands in front of her.  She’d had more to drink than Veldarin yet didn’t seem to show it at all.  “I didn’t demand anything.  You agreed to it.”

“I didn’t realize it would be quite so unpleas–” he paused as the troll returned with another pair of glasses and set them before him. “–so unpleasant. Thank you, whatever your name is. Perhaps you could stir a bit of sugar into the next one.” Slamming down another drink with a grimace, he tried to find the actual Hammaryn among the three or four that danced in front of his eyes. “I’m pretty sure I’m drunk now.”

“I’m pretty sure that you are too.”  She slammed back her drink.

“Does that mean I can stop?” He found himself scooting closer to his companion.

“I don’t know, can you?”

“Drinking? You have no idea how capable I am of never drinking that nasty stuff again,” he said, and checked to make sure his glass was fully empty. Meanwhile, his arm crept up of its own accord and parked itself elbow-first on her closest shoulder.

Hammaryn’s whole body stiffened.  “You’re touching me.”

Veldarin narrowed his eyes at the truant elbow. “So it seems.”

“I guess it’s not so bad.”  Hammaryn’s eyes widened and she drummed her fingers on the table.  “Where is the bartender.  He’s slow.”

“You make an excellent armrest,” he slurred in his most complimentary tone, and thumped his boot on the floor. By his own admittedly drunken calculations, the barkeep should be stationed just below their table on the loft above.

“What are you doing?”

“Summoning him.” On cue, the troll arrived with an entire bottle of liquor and set it on the table with a smile that was barely tolerant.

“Dat’s gwon be up-front.”

Veldarin tossed a handful of coins from his pocket onto the bar. His days of counting out coppers for a single mug of sweet honeymead were behind him, but not by much; he hoped it was enough.

Hammaryn dug into her own pocket and slapped a ten gold piece down on the table.  “That’ll cover the next one too.”  The troll picked up the coins, grunted at her, and walked back downstairs.  Hammaryn picked up the bottle and refilled Veldarin’s glass, then took a large swig straight from the bottle.

“You smell fantastic,” announced Veldarin as he reached for the cup. “I think perhaps I should– shouldn’t have anymore.” With that, he tossed down another drink.

“I probably smell like booze and soap.”

“Yes, like that. It’s very nice.” He hiccuped. “So, when are we going to fight? And will I only fight one of you, or do I have to wrestle all five or six or however many you are right now?”

Hammaryn snorted.  “Just one.”  She tucked an arm under his shoulder, lifting Veldarin to his feet, and picked up the bottle in her other hand.  “Come on.”

“You’re very strong,” he said admiringly, and followed with one arm draped over her shoulder for balance.

She started directing him down the stairs, taking each one slowly and methodically.  “It’s easy to carry people when they want to be carried.  If you didn’t, you could make yourself like a rock right now and I wouldn’t be able to do a thing.”

“Well, if I did that you’d be very cross with me and I wouldn’t get a kiss,” he said matter-of-factly, and managed to get off the last step without toppling over.

“How do you think you’ll kiss me with blurred vision?”

“It will have to be the other way around.” He nodded. “Where are we going to spar? In the alley? I admit, I don’t know if I can find my way to the target dummies at this point.”

“We’ll spar at your place.”  She paused outside the doorway of the bar, taking another sip of firewater from the bottle.  “Which way?”

He waved vaguely toward the southwest and lurched in that direction, taking her along with him. “It’s a little place, we may have to do it on the bluffs above. Or in the street I suppose would be safer, since it’s not so far to fall.”

“In the street in front of your house, then.”  She tightened her grip around his chest, pulling him upright.  “Is this the first time you’ve ever been drunk?”

“Oh yes. It never does anyone any good to overindulge unless you are in trusted company–I would be married seven times over if I drank at my mother’s parties–hic!”

Hammaryn frowned.  “Really?”

He laughed. “That’s how they get you,” he said. “My childhood friends went that way, one after the other. At least, all the ones with noble blood.”

Her frown didn’t lessen.  “I find that odd.”

“Everyone wants to marry up, and if liquor helps accomplish that goal they’ll take it.” He shrugged and almost fell down.

Hammaryn snorted and pulled him upright again.  “But you don’t want to get married.”

“I have too much to do. Like learning how to fight drunk, and how to hold my liquor, and read all the books in the world. I want to see everything and everywhere.”

“You’ll be seeing darkness soon enough.”  Hammaryn shrugged.  “Or your own vomit.  Are we almost there?”

“Oh. Uhhh.” He squinted up at the alley walls. The one to their left looked promising. “I think that one, maybe. Are we going to fight now? I’m ready,” he said.

“Inside first.”  She leaned towards the entryway.

The main entrance opened up to a dingy, barren lobby and branched off into a hallway in either direction. He hobbled down the right-hand corridor and fumbled for the key in his pocket. “Last door on the left, that’s me,” he said in a singsong baritone, and failed to insert the key into the lock seven times in a row.

Hammaryn snatched the key out of his hand, stuck it into the lock, and slammed open the door. There wasn’t much to see in the cramped, dark room, just an unused cot against the wall and a pile of furs and blankets in the corner that she could only assume was a makeshift bed. It looked more comfortable than the cot, anyway. A small table on the opposite wall with a mirror over it was stacked with books, trinkets and a shave kit.

“It’s dark in here,” Veldarin drawled, and dragged Hammaryn with him to the lamp half-buried under papers and artifacts. “Got a match around here somewhere…”

She cut him off.  “I’ll do it.  Go sit on the bed.”

“But then you won’t be propping me up. When are we going to fight?” He leaned heavily against her, both arms wrapped around the girl in a drunken embrace as he watched the world spin like a gyroscope. It was both fascinating and awful.

Hammaryn led him over to the bed, giving him a light shove so that he landed ass-first on the pile of furs.  Her hands glowed briefly in the dark, then she picked up the matches and struck one, lighting a candle stub.  “Do you have any water?”

“Water is good. I like water.”

“Yeah, I know.  Where is it?”

“In the thing.” Veldarin burrowed into his nest of furs and blankets face-first and sighed. The world continued to spin, but it was a relief to lie down. He wanted to sleep, but it felt like he was forgetting something. Oh, right. “When are we gonna fight?”

Hammaryn sighed and walked over to the pile of furs.  She sat down next to Veldarin.  “Can’t mages conjure water or something?”

“I’m a fighter, not a sissy skirt-wearin’–” He paused for a moment to consider his next words and gave up. “Water’s in a thing. A jug. Under the table.” His arm curled around her waist where she sat and he began to doze.

Hammaryn gently uncurled his arm from around her waist and covered Veldarin up with a blanket, tucking him in.  She grabbed the water jug from under the table and set it down next to his makeshift bed, then knelt down next to him.  She watched him for the space of a few seconds before leaning in and kissing him on the forehead.

Veldarin’s hand closed around her wrist and he murmured something too quiet for her to understand.

“Shhh.”  She unfolded his hand from around her wrist.  “Sleep.”

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