Chapter 13 - Off-Site Event Policy
“You talents are wasted here.” Elric said sliding into a stool near her. There was an empty stool between them. He didn’t want to seem threatening.
“Let me guess, you know where my talents could be better used?” the elf winked at him.
“No,” as possible innuendo dawned upon Elric he expounded. “oh no.” He gave a little smile to try and be reassuring, “I have been to Centralia and heard worse at better places.”
“And you happen to know someone who will let me play for the right price.” The elf said in an obviously mocking tone.
“No,” Elric shook his head a little and decided a different tactic. Turning completely in his stool he looked at the elf. “Fun and games aside, I’m trying to find out some information. I ran into an adventuring group a while ago and was hoping to ensure I don’t run into them again.”
“Lets start with two drinks, then I’ll tell you what I know.” The elf said. She turned and looked at the barkeep, held up two fingers, “Ook too wine.”
The bartender stared at Elric. Fumbling for a second, Elric pulled out a coin pouch and placed five gold coins on the counter. The bartender nodded his head but did not move to get the drinks. Fifteen gold coins later two wine glasses with a light blue liquid were set on the counter.
One glass was emptied before Elric realized he wasn’t getting any change from the bartender. The man behind the counter wandered off to help other customers. When Elric turned to the second glass, it was already in the hands of the elf and she was getting ready to drink it.
“I’m ready to talk, name’s Esmeralda.” Esmeralda said.
“So many names that start with E,” Elric said. “Names Elric.”
“My friends call me Alda,” Alda said. Slowly she lifted the glass towards Elric, “three more of these and you’ll be my new friend.” With a motion she downed the contents of the glass.
“Sadly my coin pouch says we will stay as acquaintances then.” Elric said as he motioned towards the bartender. “Is there something a little more affordable that you would like?”
Alda laughed and ordered a simple beer when the bartender came back. This time a single gold coin netted Elric 4 glasses in front of them.
“Ah,” Elric said as he lifted a glass towards Alda, “To friends who don’t mind the cheap beer when being bought for, and only gets the expensive stuff when they do the buying.” They clinked the glasses together and both drank.
The sour beer was only slightly cooler than room temperature. Both quickly consumed them however. Elric pushed the 3rd glass towards Alda and pulled the 4th towards himself.
“So the orc in the song, is he real?” Elric said.
For a brief moment Alda looked like she was going to spit out the beer. The question threw her off guard. After carefully swallowing the beer she took a minute to compose herself.
“The orc, in the song,” Elric poorly sang an earlier line, “longer than most, his thing gave reach.” He then paused a moment before speaking, “I collect rare and unusual spells. A magical incantation that does that could be quite versatile.”
Alda this time spit out the little bit of beer she had been trying to sip. Sweet laughter from a voice that trained for decades to perfect it’s tones erupted from her.
“See, that is why I always buy the cheap stuff. Not as big of a deal if it goes to waste.” Elric said. He lifted up a hand and waved at the bartender. With 4 fingers waggling in the air, he set another gold piece on the bar.
Elric spent the next ten minutes trying to make Alda laugh. Finally after they’d each drank another glass of the sour beer, Alda broached the subject.
“Initially I thought you were just after information.” Alda said. She winked at Elric.
“Oh, I am, but on the chance you’ll say run away, I figured at least we could have some fun.” Elric said, then attempted to quietly belch into his shirt. The loud rush of sour air turned a few heads towards them.
“This is fun,” Alda said as she struggled to constrain her laughter to small giggles. “However I do have to be on the road early.”
“But,” Elric pointed at the two filled beers sitting on the counter.
“Any more and I worry you’ll take advantage of me.”
Elric smiled a little too wide at that remark. Nodding as if accepting it was time to get down to business, he pulled out a small note book.
“I’m looking for information on an adventuring group, Thrag is the most recognizable. The others,” Elric pointed at the names and descriptions on the notebook. Thrag, Katrina, and Marcanous.
Alda took in a sharp breath. Her eyes widened and for a moment she glanced at the front door, and towards the one leading to the kitchen. Slowly she reached for the full glass and drank it’s contents quickly.
“I know a little,” She said after setting the empty cup down.
“Lets start with Thrag, then anything about Katrina, and…” Elric was interrupted by a hand covering up his mouth.
“Don’t say his name.” Alda said softly. She tapped a finger on Marcanous’s name. “Rumor is he paid for an expensive spell where he instantly scrys anyone who speaks his name.”
“Thats ridiculous. Not only would it cost a kingdom, its just silly.” Elric said through slender and soft elven fingers.
“Then you can scream his name all you want, after I leave the town.” Slowly she pulled her hand back from Elric’s lips. Carefully she raised her hand to her lips and kissed them gently. “Too bad, I had started to like you.”
Slowly she stood up from the stool, took a step towards Elric, and hugged him. Even intoxicated, her movement were graceful.
“Whatever they did to wrong you, forget it. You are no use dead.”
Elric tried to stand up to stop her from leaving, but the sudden change caused the world to wobble. Slowly he fell back onto his stool. He watched as she quickly exited the tavern, only swaying a little.
“I’m not scared,” Elric said as he turned back towards the bar for the last beer. He opened his mouth to speak the names, but stopped himself. Instead of saying anything further he drank the last beer.
The flavor had improved on the beer, it didn’t taste as sour. Mentally he wondered if the bartender had opened a non-watered down cask or if this was from one down in a cellar. Slowly after setting down the empty glass, he attempted to stand again. This time he was prepared for the world to fight back.
With the realization he had drank too much, Elric reached into his potion pouch and pulled out a little green vial. Unstoppering the cork he emptied the contents into his mouth. The foul smelling liquid almost caused him to gag but he quickly drank it.
The magic coursed through him quickly. Warmth spread from his stomach to his limbs as the magic soaked up toxins in his blood. His mind cleared and the world ceased it’s struggle. With the fog gone, Elric decided he definitely needed to do some work before he dared speak Marcanous’s name.
He hoped Thrag and Katrina didn’t have the same type of enchantment on them. If Marcanous was that powerful of caster, any information Elric tried to dig up had to be done with a light touch.
His mind clear, Elric stepped out of the Tavern into the night. Thankfully the inn he was staying at was near so it wouldn’t be a far walk. He walked with purpose and carefully stayed away from any shadows. A plan already forming in his head to test if the rumor was true.
A second plan, one of amusement also started to form. What he can do to abuse the effect if the scrying was always on.
Smiling a little, Elric strode through the little town, plotting.