Legends of Cobalt

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Read Legends of Cobalt from the beginning: 

https://dreamforgeproductions.com/2019/03/21/desperate-times/

To Catch a Killer

“Hey there mister, looking for some company?” Raisa walked arm in arm with Phebes towards me.

I stopped an arm’s length from the girls and looked them over. Misty rain drenched us.

“I’ll take you.” I offered my arm to Raisa.

Raisa hesitated. “Are you sure you don’t want both of us? Ya see, nights here get rather chilly.”

“I’ve only got money for one of you, and I don’t want her.” I projected my voice shy of a shout.

“If money’s an issue, we can give you a discount. I don’t want to leave my friend out in this weather alone, ya see.” Raisa matched my tone.

“That’s all right,” Phebes kissed Raisa on the cheek. “Go and have some fun. I can find my own company tonight.” Phebes smiled at me and went to where Wyanet lurked.

Raisa took my offered arm and we set off in the opposite direction.

“What was that all about? It wasn’t part of the plan,” I whispered.

“We have to be convincin’ don’t we?” Raisa whispered back, “What next?”

“I don’t know. Let’s wander around and hope something happens.”

“This isn’t working,” Raisa sighed after a few hours. Water dripped from her nose and pasted loose strands of hair to her face.

“I know, but what else are we supposed to do?”

Thin fog rolled in around our ankles.

“I have an idea.”

“What’s that?”

“I’m supposed to be lookin’ like a whore, right?”

“That is a central part of the plan, yes.”

“Well, we’ve been wanderin’ for hours lookin’ like a married couple out for a stroll.” 

“What are you suggesting?”

“There is an alleyway a block from here. We duck down it, you slip me a few coins and we act like the Ghost Nation and have sex beneath the sky.”

My face grew warm, despite the damp cold air. “Do you think that’ll work?”

Raisa stepped in front of me and pressed her lips to mine. “It’s worth a shot.” 

Raisa grabbed my hand. We half-ran half-walked to the alleyway. We went ten feet down it and stopped at a mound of broken crates and old barrels. Heavy fog pooled at our knees. Raisa spun around and pressed her body against mine.

Raisa kissed me again. “Make it look convincing.”

My hands found their way to Raisa’s hips. I kept kissing her.

“I’m sorry mister Von Veltliner.” Raisa put her hands on my chest and pushed me back a step. “Times bein’ what they are, I need the money before we do any more. I’m not one to complain’, but I don’t work for free either.”

I scowled and pulled out my coin purse. I pulled two dragons from the leather pouch and slapped them into Raisa’s hand. “Keep the change.”

Raisa slid the coins into a pocket and wrapped her arms around my neck. “Shall we continue?”

I started kissing Raisa again and lifted her onto a barrel. Her fingers undid the knot on my sash and pulled it away. I slid the sleeves of her dress off her shoulders and started to undo the lacing on her corset.

A little girl’s voice echoed down the alley. “I wondered when you’d leave the safety of your tavern.”

I stopped and looked over Raisa’s shoulder, pulling her closer.

“Is it The Ripper?” Raisa whispered into my ear. Fear lined her words.

“Yes.” 

Jack pulled a cleaver from beneath her cloak. She ran toward us and leapt into the air.

I spun Raisa away. The cleaver punched into my back. Blood welled from the wound and mingled with the rain. I pushed Raisa toward the mouth of the alley. I turned on Jack, my hand shot to where my old sword used to sit but closed on nothing.

“Shit,” I mumbled.

Jack stepped toward me. My blood dripped from her cleaver. “Get out of my way. You don’t have to die tonight. All you have to do is let me kill the whore.”

“Wy! We found her!” I settled into a fighting stance, a jolt of pain thrummed through my back. “That isn’t going to happen.”

“I’ll go through you to get to her.” Jack stepped closer and pointed her cleaver at my chest. “I have no problem killing both of you.”

“Put the knife down, and come with us. We won’t hurt you.”

Jack launched herself forward. She swung her cleaver in an upward slash. 

I responded with a crescent kick from my back leg. I knocked the cleaver out of the way, planted my foot and used my momentum to throw a spinning heel kick. My foot connected with Jack’s jaw, knocking her to the ground. 

 Jack skittered across the pavers and landed on her feet. She scowled back at me. “I’ve got other ways to get past you.” Jack popped the cork off a flask at her hip. Thick, heavy fog spillt from the flask. Jack giggled as the fog filled the alley.

Bucephalus’s hooves thundered past the alleyway.

“Shit,” I muttered as I extended my hands. “Faery Fire!”

The heap of old crates and barrels glowed a soft pink. I waved my hand in front of my face. It carried the same soft pink glow. Metal thunked against wood. I spun toward the sound. 

A pink glow outlined Raisa. She cowered in a ball on the ground. Wyanet, also glowing pink, stood over Raisa. Her war club held Jack’s pink glowing cleaver at bay. Wyanet punched forward with her shield.

Jack jumped back, dodging the shield. Jack pivoted and sprinted at me.

My back foot slid into a horseback stance and I brought my fists up in front of my face.

Jack lunged toward the wall. She kicked off it and shot at me like an arrow.

I skipped forward to meet her. I planted my front foot and punched forward with both fists. Jack collided with my fists, her momentum flipped her over my head. 

Jack’s cleaver clanged against the ground. She gasped for air after she landed.

I scrambled to pin Jack in place.

Jack rolled away and jumped to her feet. She dove towards her fallen cleaver.

Bucephalus bellowed and rushed into the alley from the other direction. He lowered his shoulder and tackled Jack to the ground. Bucephalus picked Jack up by her lapel. He threw her against the wall, picked her up again and repeated the process against the other wall.

Jack slumped to the ground in a heap. 

Bucephalus moved towards her again.

“Bucephalus! Enough!” Wyanet yelled. “We need her alive.”

Bucephalus rounded on Wyanet. His nostrils flared. He took a step towards Wyanet. Wyanet tightened her grip on her war club.

I stepped between them. “Where’s Phebes?”

Bucephalus and Wyanet stared at me.

“How should I know?” Bucephalus grumbled.

“I gave her her weapons, and I lost track of her after that.” Wyanet slid her club back into her belt.

I scanned the roofline above us for another pink outline.

“Shouldn’t we,” Raisa shook. “Tie her up, or somethin’?”

Bucephalus pulled a coil of rope from his belt. “Good idea.”

I unfastened my bloody, rain-soaked cloak and wrapped it around Raisa. She put her arms around me and clung tight.

“We should take her to the constable and be done with the whole business.” Bucephalus synched the last knot and hoisted Jack like a sack of potatoes.

“We need to take her somewhere to interrogate her. I do not think the constable will believe what we tell them.”

“Don’t look at me Missie, you’re the one with a room at an inn.”

“Won’t you be cold?” Raisa mumbled to me.

“I’ll be fine.” I craned my neck to look at Bucephalus. “We can’t keep her in a rented room forever.”

“We could keep ‘er in the storage cellar.” Raisa chimed in. “There’re some old chairs we can tie her to. We can also go in through the back, so no one will know she’s there.”

“Once again, the serving girl has the best plan.” Bucephalus set off walking toward the Atropa Belladonna.

“We should try to find Phebes,” I said to Wyanet.

“She’s a big girl,” Bucephalus called back. “Let her take care of herself.”

“We do not have the time,” Wyanet put her hand on my shoulder. “If we linger we will get caught. Phebes will have to make due on her own for now. We can find her in the morning.” Wyanet started after Bucephalus.

“Don’t forget that cleaver!” Bucephalus called again.

I collected the knife from the cobblestones. A dark evil laugh filled my mind.

The story will continue, February 20th,  2020.

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Written by: Sweeney (@oceansoul316 on twitter)

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Supporter Appreciation

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While our heroes are finishing their short rest, I wanted to take a minute to thank the people who have supported me, Sweeney, on this crazy adventure I’ve decided to start. As I say at the end of every post every week, creating new/original narrative content is a time consuming, and laborious process. Those people who have been kind enough to buy me a coffee, deserve some recognition.

THANK YOU!

Tärtärya

Griff, and Aegon Targaryen

Furchtbarecht

Thank you all for coming with me on this journey!

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Regular content will resume:

June 20th, 2019

Hopeless Circumstance

Kalista, Wyanet, and I sat in the shade of an oak tree in the middle of the forest, on a sunny spring afternoon. We ate a light lunch of common field rations and listened to Wyanet tell a story about her past that Kalista had conned her into. Kalista had shed her gambeson. She sat with her legs crossed leaning back against her hands. I had doffed my cloak and sat on it like a blanket.

Wyanet took a long deep breath. She sipped on her waterskin, folded her hands and placed them in her lap. “Love is not made for my kind.” Wyanet started. She paused and took another second to collect her thoughts. “I have had many lovers. Every one of them abandoned me in some way.”

Tears started to form in the corners of Wyanet’s eyes.

“Love is a trick.”

A tear crept down Wyanet’s cheek, and she brushed it away.

“I do not wish to speak of this anymore”

Wyanet reached into her rucksack and fumbled with something out of sight.

“This is a stupid game. I do not wish to play again,” Wyanet snapped.

A mix of emotions sprinted across Kalista’s face. She reached for Wyanet’s hand, thought better of it, and pulled back.

“I’m sorry.” I hung my head.

“Why are you sorry, you did not have anything to do with their betrayals.”

“No, but it’s just what…”

Kalista jumped up and pulled her gambeson on. “Let’s get moving again.” She interrupted. “If we don’t we might not make it to the cave before nightfall.” Kalista turned away from us and replaced her hood.

I looked at Wyanet, she wore an empty expression as she rewrapped the uneaten food in linen and tucked it into her bag. I threw my cloak on and jogged after Kalista, who was already a hundred feet away.

“Where did you find her, Willow Twig? She’s just a great big ball of sunshine.” Kalista asked as she heard me catch up.

“She found me,” I replied. “I was on the road about a month back and I had a run in with some highwaymen. I wasn’t myself at the time, and there were too many of them. Wy came out of nowhere and single-handedly saved my ass. We’ve been together ever since.”

Wyanet caught up to us.

“You are both beacons of joy and happiness, aren’t you?” Kalista remarked.

I chuckled, “Why be happy all the time when it is so much easier to run away from your problems?”

Kalista was taken by a fit of laughter, “That is very true, and if I had a drink right now we would drink to that!”

Wyanet gave us a puzzled look, but nobody explained the joke. We continued on in near silence. We would stop every now and again to rest our legs. At one point, Kalista managed to shoot a hare we had startled from the undergrowth, or more accurately, insult it to death. The little creature hung from her belt, and promised to be a delicious supper.

“We should make camp. It will be dark soon.” Wyanet announced.

“The cave isn’t much further. We can camp there.” Kalista replied.

Something felt off to me. My stomach had started to twist itself and I became very aware of how quiet the forest had become. Kalista held up her hand and motioned for everyone to get down. The words to express my growing sense of dread caught in my throat.

“Merde,” Kalista whispered, “where did they come from?”

I crawled on my stomach to get beside Kalista, and Wyanet did the same on the opposite side. We laid on a small hill that helped form a tiny valley. Directly opposite us in the hillside was a narrow rocky opening just large enough to fit a man without crouching.

The entire valley area hosted a collection of crude hide tents of various sizes. The space in front of the cave mouth had several drying racks made from small trees that were sagging from the weight of dead animals on them. Across from the drying racks, was a cage made from tree limbs as thick as my wrist that had been lashed together. Inside the cage were two women, a man, an Elf who had been beaten bloody and a Gnome with twigs in his hair. All of their clothes were ragged, but the women’s were far worse.

As we watched, two Goblins approached the cage. One of the women started to wail. The Goblins, each no taller than four feet, drew their swords and entered the cage. The first Goblin kicked the gnome aside. The second Goblin pointed its sword at the elf who sat in the corner ignoring what happened. The man grabbed the woman who screamed like a banshee and held as tightly to her waist as he could. The first Goblin grabbed the dress of the other woman and started to pull her from the cage.

Kalista’s panicked whispering caught my attention. “You can’t go down there!” Kalista was trying to hold Wyanet back with little success.

“We have to help them.” Wyanet countered.

I pushed off the ground with my left arm. I rolled over Kalista and landed on Wyanet’s back, forcing her to the ground. I wrapped my arms under hers and locked my fingers behind her neck. Wyanet grunted as she tried to force me off.

“If we go down there right now we could end up in that cage too,” I whispered into Wyanet’s ear. She stopped fighting, and we continued to watch.

The first Goblin had pulled the woman to the centre of the camp. Eight other Goblins had come out of their tents and were cheering on their fellows. The woman fought the Goblin as best she could, but it only ignored her. Even more Goblins had started to slink from their tents. The woman had stopped trying to slap the Goblin. She grabbed the frayed collar of her dress, summoned all of her strength, and ripped her dress open. The Goblin who had had a firm grip on the dress, tripped, and fell face first into the dirt. All of its compatriots laughed. The woman scrambled forward and snatched up the Goblin’s fumbled shortsword. She turned the point of the blade on herself, and plunged the jagged rusty blade into her chest. All the Goblins went silent.

A moment passed.

All twenty of the gathered Goblins burst out in a unified, high pitched, cackle. The other woman in the cage screamed. The first Goblin picked itself up from the ground, looked at the woman bleeding out, shrugged, and started fighting with the rope that served as a belt.

Kalista squirmed beside me, Wyanet put her face to the ground, and I felt her body go limp beneath mine.

“WHAT HAPPENING!” A very deep and harsh voice cut through the cackling.

A seven-foot-tall humanoid covered in coarse fur with a crushed bear-like face emerged from the largest tent. All the Goblins went silent again. The fury Goblin lumbered through the rabble. He got to the middle of the circle and saw the dead woman with the Goblin’s sword in her chest. The fury Goblin smacked the first Goblin with a paw-like hand. He then grabbed the smaller Goblin and hurled him across the camp with little effort.

“SLAVES FOR SPIDER LADY! NO KILL SLAVES!” The fury Goblin bellowed before lumbering back to his tent.

The story will continue, April 25th

Written by: Sweeney

https://ko-fi.com/sweeney

Creating original content in an online space is a time consuming process. If you find it in your heart, please donate a few dollars at the link above. It will help keep me producing content for time to come. Thank You, you are appreciated. 

Leap of Faith

The moon had set, and the sun hadn’t yet risen. The world bathed in the dark blue wash of twilight. The chill of the spring air pierced like a knife. I had been awake for nearly an hour. I had already gone through my katas, and now I sat on my knees in the centre of the small room waiting for Wyanet to wake. My hands sat folded in my lap. I took a deep breath through my nose, filling my lungs, then slowly let the air escape through my mouth.

A wave of darkness rushed over my tranquillity and I stood on the shore of a small lake close to where I spent my childhood. The air was hot and sticky. The sun scorched flesh without mercy.

“I didn’t expect to find you here,” A voice as deep as the ocean and more beautiful than a harp said from the trees.

I didn’t reply.

I stepped through the sand, almost losing my sandals. I placed my hand on the surface of the lake, sending ripples across its placid surface. The water was cool, and begged me to dive into it face first. I looked up from the water. On the opposite side of the lake sat a tiger as white as snow with stripes the colour of blood. It had emerged from the forest and come down to the water’s edge.

The tiger lowered his head and lapped at the water. He never took his eyes off of me. The ripples from the tiger’s tongue met the ripples from my hand and tossed the surface of the lake. He beckoned me to him without speaking. I strode into the lake. Before long the water rose up to my chest. The mud on the lake bed sucked at my feet, begging me to stop.

The sun hid itself behind angry grey clouds. The lake surface before me had started to freeze over. The heavy warmth of the air was gone, and massive snowflakes drifted down. The vibrant summer foliage of the trees vanished, leaving only frigid skeletons in their place.

My mind screamed for me to go back. I pressed onward. The tiger grinned.

A blinding flash of light cut through the clouds, banishing the cold. “He is not yet ready to learn your truth!” A woman declared, her voice sweet like honey and comforting like a mother’s embrace.

My head got pulled under the water, I gasped for air.

I opened my eyes. Wyanet stood in front of me with an empty water bowl in her hands. She had already bound her chest and braided her hair.  Icy water ran down my face and dripped off my chin. It was still twilight but the horizon had started to glow with the threat of morning.

“We need to leave.”

Wyanet set down the water bowl and tossed me a towel that I snatched out of the air.

“We’re skipping our bill again?” I inquired.

Wyanet finished stuffing a rucksack, pulled on a simple white shirt and strapped on her leather breastplate. She looked at me and sighed. “Yes, but when we get paid, we are going to come back and settle our debt.”

I pulled on my shirt and tightened my sash. “We’ll need to avoid Ineni.” Wyanet handed me my sword which I tucked into my sash and covered it with a black travelling cloak.

“How are we going to do that?”

I looked out the window to the muddy ground thirty feet below. “Are you afraid of heights?” I asked.

“No, why?” Wyanet replied.

I turned away from the window. “Do you trust me?”

Wyanet gave me a worried look, “Why do we not go out the front door?”

“Ineni is more than likely already awake and working in the tap room. This is the only way.”

Several seconds passed every one of them excruciating.  “I trust you.”

“Good, then you’ll need to do exactly as I say.” I grabbed Wyanet’s spear and threw it through the open window. It sliced through the air and buried itself in the middle of the road. “Next, I’ll jump. When I land, toss down the other gear. Then you jump and I’ll catch you.” I climbed onto the window sill and pushed off.

The wind whipped my hair and cloak about. At the last second, my training took over. My feet squished into the ground, I shifted my momentum, and rolled forward onto my shoulders. I was back on my feet a second later. I pivoted around and caught Wyanet’s Rucksack and shield as they tumbled through the air. I placed the rucksack on the ground beside me and braced to catch Wyanet. She had climbed into the window and clumsily pushed off the sill. Wyanet flew as well as a chicken.

I rushed forward and caught Wyanet before she hit the ground. She collided with me like a stone thrown from a catapult. We both tumbled to the ground. I gasped for air as what I had was forcibly removed from my lungs by a 120-pound woman using me as a breakfall. There was a laugh from the shadows beside the tavern. Wyanet pushed off my chest driving me deeper into the mud, and sprinted to retrieve her spear. I scrambled to my feet and got in a low defensive stance.

“That was a pretty amazing show.” Kalista’s nasally voice half whispered as she detached herself from the shadows. “I’ve skipped out of Ineni’s before, but I’ve never jumped from a third-floor window.” Kalista came close enough for us to clearly see her. Instead of the scandalously low cut shirt, she had been wearing the night before, she now wore a dark green tunic that hugged every curve of her body. On top of that, she had on a dark leather gambeson that, when synched up, would be just as tight as the tunic. Kalista’s entire head, with the exception of her eyes, was wrapped up in a dark green hood and muffler.

“We are going to come back and pay,” Wyanet replied, still tense.

Kalista pulled down her muffler. “Don’t worry about it, darling. I owe Ineni at least a hundred dragons, and that’s just from the winter. He can’t make you pay.” Kalista pulled her muffler back into place. “Let’s get going. There is an angry farmer looking for a sexually devious Tiefling who had sex with his daughter last night.” Kalista brushed past us. Wyanet gave me an annoyed look. I shrugged my shoulders.

We walked through the town in silence. When we entered the forest, the sun had started to crest over the horizon and cast long shadows. We continued on in silence for another hour, birdsong keeping us company.

“How much did old Clas hook you for?” Kalista asked as she pulled her hood and muffler down.

“Who is Clas?” Wyanet responded.

Kalista stopped dead in her tracks and stared at us in disbelief. “How do you not know who you are working for?”

“He never gave us his name,” Wyanet said.

“We don’t actually even know where we are,” I added.

“Merde!” Kalista exclaimed. “How do you not know where you are?”

“We’ve been on the road since we met. We don’t stay in one place for too long.” I answered.

“We avoid the paths that the colonizers make. It is faster and avoids their settlements.”

“Anyway,” Kalista insisted, “how much are you being paid?”

“Fifty dragons.” Wyanet interjected, “We should keep moving.”

Kalista let out a long whistle. “Old Clas must be getting desperate. He only offered the Elf girl twenty-five.” We started hiking again. “That’s a tidy sum. What are you going to do with it?”

“I don’t know. I guess we’ll pay Ineni, but after that.” I shrugged, “We haven’t really thought that far ahead.”

“You’re welcome to spend it drinking with me, eh?” Kalista winked at Wyanet.

We fell back into silence and continued to hike until noon. We stopped in the shade of an oak tree and sat down for lunch. Wyanet pulled a loaf of hard crusty bread, some chunks of elk jerky, and a few handfuls of dried berries out of a small pouch that hung from her rucksack. Wyanet offered some of the food to everyone. Kalista threw off her gambeson and plopped down excitedly producing a deck of playing cards. A massive grin split her face.

“Let’s play a game while we eat.” Kalista shuffled the cards and fanned them out to Wyanet and I. “Everyone draws a card. The person with the highest value card loses, and they have to tell a story based on the suit of the card; If you draw a heart, you tell of love, a diamond for a story of fortune, clubs for a story of victory, and spades for a story of loss.”

Wyanet and I gave each other reserved looks, then each drew a card. Kalista drew a card for herself and set the rest of the deck aside.

“On the count of three, reveal your cards.” Kalista smiled like a little girl. “One…”

We all held our cards close to our chests.

“Two…”

Kalista’s dark eyes flickered with mischievous intent.

“Three!”

We held out our cards. Kalista held a two of clubs. I had the seven of spades, and Wyanet held the queen of hearts.

The story will continue, April 18th

Written by: Sweeney

https://ko-fi.com/sweeney

Creating original content in an online space is a time consuming process. If you find it in your heart, please donate a few dollars at the link above. It will help keep me producing content for time to come. Thank You, you are appreciated. 

Lust, Rum, and Horns

Wyanet and I burst into the Crimson Snowfall. It was early in the evening and the villagers had started to filter in. “Ineni!” I bellowed as I rushed up to the bar, “I need some information.”

Ineni placed a foaming mug of ale before an annoyed halfling who’s hair and shirt clung to him with sweat. Then he turned his broad shoulders toward me.

“You’re a rude little git. I spend the entire day hoeing fields and your pale arse runs in here and interrupts my drinking.” The halfling mumbled in our direction.

Wyanet thumped her spear against the floor behind the halfling. “Is there a problem?”

The halfling glanced over his shoulder and sneered at Wyanet, revealing a couple of rotten teeth. He paused for a second and scanned Wyanet from head to toe. He mumbled something unintelligible as he slid off his bar stool and slunk to a table in one of the corners.

“Mr Applebottom isn’t wrong.” Ineni said, “Damian was just very rude.”

“He has not spent much time around civilised people,” Wyanet smirked, “but he does have some important questions.”

Ineni half turned away, leaving one hand on the bar. “That depends on the questions if I can be of any help.”

“How many spiders have you seen or killed around the tavern lately?” I asked.

Ineni looked to the ceiling and stroked his chin. “Are you asking about the little brown ones or the big furry ones from the Archipelago?”

“The furry ones, like you killed this morning.”

Ineni thought for another minute. “In the past week, I’ve killed about a dozen or so. Why is that so important?”

“It is a suspicion of his about what happened to the Baronet’s children. I do not know if I believe it.” Wyanet interjected.

“How long ago did they start appearing?” I asked.

Ineni replied immediately. “One or two normally come in when I get a shipment from the Archipelago, but the last shipment was almost two weeks ago. I think one of the spiders got out of the crate and laid eggs somewhere. I don’t see how that is connected to the disappearance of two children.”

“Have you seen any Dark Elves pass through the village?”

“Can’t say that I have. What do they have to do with this?”

“Just a hunch. Are there any caves in the forest, or maybe someone had a new door in their cellar recently?”

“I don’t know much about the woodland here. I lead the builders and settlers in after the Baronet and his company cleared out the Goblins.” Ineni pointed at a magenta skinned Tiefling sitting in an alcove near the fireplace.”If you want to know about the forest, you should talk to Kalista. She was part of the Baronet’s company, and now she works as a huntress for the butcher.”

“Thanks, Ineni.” I took a single step away from the bar.

“You’re going to want this.” Ineni placed three small clay cups on the bar and slid a squat opaque bottle across the bar.

“Add it to our tab.”

“Already did, Mr Damian.” Ineni chuckled.

Wyanet approached Kalista’s table first. She leaned her spear against the wall and took a seat. Kalista leaned back in her chair and eyed Wyanet with confusion. “You’re a bold beauty,” Kalista said, her accent sweet and lyrical, but spoken through the nose. “That’s a refreshing change from most of the other women around here.” Kalista made a sweeping gesture towards the rest of the bar.

I ambled up to the table, placed the clay cups down, and filled them all to the brim before taking a seat beside Wyanet. Kalista shifted her black eyes back and forth between us. She grinned and drank the brown liquid in a single gulp. Kalista rocked her chair up onto two legs and crossed her legs on the edge of the table.

“So, it’s business is it?” Kalista laughed, “And Ineni sent you with the good booze from home.” She snatched the bottle from the centre of the table. “This is going to be good.” Kalista filled her cup, looked at it and decided to drink from the bottle instead.

I picked up the cup and threw back my first shot. The dark brown liquor smelled of vanilla and tasted of sugar, and burned as it ran down my throat.

“Well, darling?” Kalista said to Wyanet. “Are you going to drink with us, or sit there like a priest in a whorehouse?”

Wyanet picked up her cup, sniffed it, and flinched back in surprise. She took a small sip and contorted her face in pain. Wyanet dropped her cup, spilling the rest of her rum onto the table and floor. “You people drink fire?” Wyanet coughed.

“First time with rum darling?” Kalista clapped Wyanet on the shoulder and fell back into her chair. “Don’t worry, you get used to it.” Kalista laughed again, “How about you, Willow Twig? You want some more?” Kalista offered the bottle back.

I pushed my cup forward and Kalista filled it back up, wincing when she spilt a bit more on the table.

Kalista took another swig from the bottle. “Now, let’s get down to business. What do you want?”

“How do you know we want something?” Wyanet demanded.

Kalista shrugged. “Darling, people only buy me things if they want to have sex with me, or they want me to do something I would rather not do.” Kalista trailed off, “then again most of the men who buy me things I don’t want to have sex with.”

“We aren’t here for sex,” I interjected.

Kalista humphed, “speak for yourself, Willow Twig.”

“We need to know if there is a cave entrance near here,” Wyanet stated.

“You two don’t look like the spelunking types.” Kalista put her feet back on the table. “Don’t get me wrong, you’re a lovely couple, but you look like the types who avoid real danger.”

“It’s for a job, we need to know if we can get into the Underdark.” I declared.

“We think it was the Dark Elves who took the Baronet’s children,” Wyanet added.

Kalista choked mid drink and fell forward on her chair, her flamboyant attitude had vanished. “If that is true, then they are already dead.”

“We still have to try,” Wyanet said.

Kalista sighed, “You’re just as stubborn as that Elf girl.” She leaned back in her chair. “If you two are insistent on getting yourselves killed, there is a cave mouth roughly a days hike from here.” Kalista kept speaking but she became distracted by something behind us. “I’m heading out in that direction in a couple of days on a hunting trip.” There were shuffling footsteps behind us. “I’ll show you where it is, but I’m not going down there with you.”

“Kalishta.” An intoxicated man slurred.

“Merde,” Kalista whispered in Infernal.

“Kalishta,” The drunk man shoved me out of the way and forced his way to the table, spilling his drink on Kalista in the process. “Kalishta, I’m –hiccup– in love with you –hiccup– I nefer want to be away from you.”

The drunk man was violently pulled away from the table by another man in his early twenties who was rippled with the muscle from life on a farm. “Kalista is my girlfriend!” The farm boy shouted in the drunk man’s face. “And I’m going to marry her!” The farm boy turned to Kalista, got down on one knee, and produced a ring of tarnished gold with a poorly cut diamond on it from his roughspun trousers. “Kalista, you are the love of my life and I want to spend every moment possible with you for the rest of it.”

Kalista looked at Wyanet. “See what I mean? They only buy you nice things if they want to have sex with you.” She turned to me, “Have sex with a man once and this is what you have to deal with for the rest of your life.”

Kalista grabbed the bottle of rum off the table and sauntered around to the two men. Kalista snatched the ring from the farm boy and opened her arms in a welcoming gesture. “Gentlemen, we’ve been over this. I’m not ready to settle down yet.” She pocketed the ring. “Now come closer, we still need to learn some manners for addressing a lady.”

The two men stepped closer to Kalista, the drunk man on her left and the farm boy on her right. When they were close enough, Kalista headbutted the drunk with her horns. The drunk stumbled backwards, blood gushing from his cockeyed nose. When he was far enough back Kalista took the rum bottle in her left hand and smashed it against the farm boy’s head, sending him sprawling.

Kalista glared at the drunk. “Don’t spill beer on a lady, especially when she’s wearing white!” She shouted, and turned to the farm boy. “And don’t interrupt a lady when she is talking!” Kalista stared at the neck of the broken bottle in her hand, a single tear ran down her cheek.

“Damn it, Kalista!” Ineni roared from behind the bar.

“What!?” Kalista hollered back, “They started it, and the little chatte made me waste the good stuff.” Kalista turned back to Wyanet and I. “Change of plans, we leave at daybreak.”

The story will continue, April 11th

Written by: Sweeney

https://ko-fi.com/sweeney

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