The Bloody Shiv <The Fetters: Shadow District>
Narrow and long, and lit with a pair of thick, (allegedly) bloodwood torches, this makeshift tavern features three long, oval tables, each carved and burned to Shadow and back. Near the back and caked in shadows is the bar proper, its front made up of hammered-flat sections of rusted Blades armor, and its top made of new-looking oak. Mounted on the wall is the namesake of the bar, a tiny shiv of blackened elk antler, rumored to have killed Ullan Nillu, the Second Blademaster in the time of Talus VII. It has been through several fires since then, but the shiv has always been recovered. The floors, little more than nailed-down planks, creak warily underfoot, and the place smells of potatograss smoke and harsh, spilled liquor. A sturdy-looking oaken door leads outside.</Z>
A trio of rather morose looking individuals in studded leather have procured a table, which has either been dragged to, or originally was in, the corner. They all sit with their backs to the wall, watching the goingons about the tavern. "Can't believe we're still in this shithouse," one grumbles, the largest of the three, and the one with the least amount of teeth.
A small girl slips in to the Shiv, large eyes darting about, as she tries to stay out of everyone's way, slowly making her way to the bar.
"I saw we give it another day or two, then get ourselves to greener pastures, as it were, right right?" adds another of the trio, the one picking at his teeth with a slender dagger. Tahnin, the third, doesn't have anything to say, though he does nod his head slightly as he watches.
The girl slips behind the bar, and gets yelled at by the keep. When she slips back out she holds a wet rag, and heads toward the tables. Her large eyes glance at the three men, and she deliberately heads to the table furthest from them first.
"What in the shadow is that smell?" the larger man grunts, scowling at another person at random in the tavern. "Like someone found a road apple and decided it wasn't warm enough."
As she's cleaning, the girl occasionally puts her hand to the table, as if sweeping crumbs onto it, but occasionally her hand disappears into a pocket. Her large eyes dart about at all of the inhabitants, but they seem to fixate on the man picking his teeth with a dagger.
"Apple," the smaller man chokes, looking over to the other two and shaking his head. He spits on the floor and leans back in his seat a bit. The taller of the three draws a flask from his person, opening it up and taking a drink. "Not even trying to drink the piss here. Will kill me," he explains to his companions.
Peanut dodges under the table and rolls out the other side, avoiding a kick from a red faced man, who doesn't seem sober enough to follow her movements.
The bar door opens, and a tall, awkward-looking middle-aged man waddles through, his beady little eyes shifting one way, then the other. He coughs wetly, and takes a few steps towards the bar.
Tahnin looks to the door at the newest entrance before turning away, and he lightly thumps his foot against the two sitting on both sides of him in turn. Both of their eyes flit briefly over to Bludge as well.
Since she's now on that side, Peanut moves over to the center table, she's watching the tavern goers with even more caution now, apparently having not expected them to be so drunk so soon.
Bludge bares his multicolored slivers of teeth in a sort of grimace-smile as his gaze makes its way across the patrons. He alters his course towards the bar itself, making his way to a table and sitting down, He pats at a bulge in his tunic, nodding stoically.
Tahnin rises to his feet, stepping away from his partners and, wordlessly, tromping over to draw a chair at Bludge's table and sit down on it. He stares expectantly at the peasant, seeming to be waiting for something.
The larger man rises as well after a moment, making his way over to the bar to idle around, keeping a clear view of the door.
Peanut cleans her way along the center table, dodging blows and hands alike, occasionally pocketing this or that from the table. She starts to move towards the third table, but hesitates, realizing the man with the knife is still sitting there.
Bludge reaches towards the small of his back as he gets situated in his chair, untucking his tunic and pulling a length of wood out from back there. He bends down, carefully setting it at his feet, then looks towards the door. As if expecting someone.
Not seeing Bludge take any aggressive action, at least towards him, Tahnin settles into the chair at the table, thumping it to draw his attention.
The man still in the corner, picking his teeth with the knife, looks to Peanut as she approaches, and gives a rather lewd smile to the young girl.
Peanut jumps, and alters her coarse back to the center table. It obviously needs to be cleaned more.
Bludge turns to look towards Tahnin, nodding nervously. "H-hey there," he mutters, his fingers flitting over the tabletop, then back to the bulge in his tunic, then to the pouch at his side.
Tahnin nods his head to return the greeting, glancing to the bulge, before gesturing faintly to it. "That there? What is it?"
The man in the corner clicks his tongue in disappointment, before speaking up to the little girl again. "'ey, honeysicle. Don't be like that, eh? Come sit on my lap a bit. Got a nice imperial here for you."
Bludge leans in closer towards Tahnin, smiling with his pointed teeth. "Nothin' as nice as what you got, but enough to be puttin' dents in people. Found me a good stash." He rubs at the bulge with pride, his eyes moving back and forth, and then towards the door.
The young girls eyes widen even further, making the scars at there edges very visible. That is, very visible before she ducks under the table again, dodging feet to scurry and pop out as far away from the man in the corner as possible.
"Can't find anyone to work it," Tahnin mutters, perhaps a bit of a complaint. He doesn't bother looking to the door, keeping his attention on Bludge. Perhaps he's confident in his partner's eyes. "Nobody's showing for you," he states to Bludge, quiet accusation in his low voice. "Wasting our time and money."
The man in the corner shakes his head, going back to cleaning his teeth, but watching Peanut as he can when she comes into view.
"Y-y-you're the one who wanted it all when it happened," the skinny, avian man retorts nervously, looking again towards the door. "I-I-I wanted to do some upfront."
Peanut sneaks back to the bar, and dodges under, speaking softly to the barkeep, a man who seems unable to speak to the girl in anything but a yell. She manages to chew a small piece of cheese before being sent out again with her rag.
"Better hope whoever it is shows up soon," Tahnin says to Bludge, matter of factly. "You stay here, or I go with you, if you're leaving. You wouldn't be thinking of trying to keep us around here in hopes of getting it back, would you?" He sure is talking a lot tonight.
Bludge narrows his eyes, his eyebrows lowering. "Wh-what? You think I'm g-g-gonna threaten you?" he makes out, almost spitting. "An-an if yer smart, you got rid of it a-already." He frowns, shaking his head.
Peanut starts cleaning at the table farthest away from the man picking his teeth with a knife. At first she attempts to watch him and make sure he doesn't get any closer but after nearly getting hit has to focus her attention on the drunks at hand.
"Nobody'll find it," Tahnin replies, not breaking his stare. "We're leaving end of next week, if nothing happens by then."
Teeth cleaned to satisfaction, the man in the corner slides the knife away, looking slightly bored with everything.
Bludge shrugs his shoulders, his leg twitching nervously as he puts on a tough face. "I k-kin handle whatever he-he throws at me. I-I'm not scared. I-I kin kill a man with m' bare hands." He bares his teeth.
Peanut moves on to the center table again, dodging kicks as she slips between the tables. The last of such with such force that she dives under the middle table, ending up between it and the last table, the one she's been trying to avoid.
Looking down to said hands, Tahnin doesn't seem very impressed. Not like he does very often anyhow. "When there's three of them?" he asks.
A deep breath exhales through Bludge's prominent nose. "Uh-uh...I'll run. I-I-I can run fast." He slumps further over the table, like a waterskin as it leaks water. "Yeah," he says with wavering conviction.
Peanut pops up, looking directly and the knifer, who is only slightly less intimidating with the knife put away. Her eyes widen, highlighting the scars again, and she freezes, torn between diving for safety and running for it.
Tahnin nods his head slightly. "Need some payment now, and we'll stick around longer." He sits with Bludge at a table in the room, while Peanut is rushing about trying to work. Two other men in studded leather are about.
Bludge puckers his lips in a pout, and his eyes flit to his pouch. "H-h-h-how much?" he asks with tight lips, looking none too happy about the idea. "I-I-I don't have much on me."
The man in the corner's grin returns as Peanut reappears, and he draws the coin again, holding it out to her, just out of reach.
The scrape of hard leather on weakening wood is heard in the form of footsteps as a pale man of obvious youth steps through the doorway, his shape hunched over slightly. He calmly makes for the bar, leaning upon it slightly while intently scanning the room for familiar faces.
The small girl is frozen between two of the three tables. While mentally she seems to have shut down to fear, physically she merely reacts when bumped from behind by a drunk patron, hitting the ground in a summersault that takes her under the table.
"Five hundred now," Tahnin says to him. "Five hundred more to the total when it goes down." He glances down to the pouch, waiting.
Bludge stands slowly, shaking her head. "I-I-I don't have that much on me. I'll just hide. I-I-I'm good at hiding." He blows a breath out his nose, bending over to pick up the length of wood on the floor.
Apparently having not found an acquaintance, Cudget fidgets momentarily in his purse before producing coin and placing it on the bar. The keep gathers it up and hands over a few strips of dried meat, which are quickly devoured by the wiry man at the bar. "Thanks," he manages to gurgle out in between chomps.
Tahnin shakes his head slightly, stomping on the wood on the ground as Bludge reaches for it. "I know you have money," his voice lowers. "Paid you out my ass lately. One thousand added on later, then, when you're alive."
Bludge snaps his head up as Tahnin stomps down, the edges of his lips shrinking back, his lips quivering. "How do I even know y-y-you'll be there?" he says. "I-I-I could say you're ju-just trying to get b-back your m-money."
The man in the corner's attention is pulled away from Peanut at the sound of Tahnin stomping, and he begins to pay attention to he and Bludge, while also trying to keep a wary watch on the others in the room.
Peanut dodges kicks on the floor popping up to standing as soon as she has a chance. She automatically begins cleaning the table in front of her, until she glances up to see who she has to dodge now, and freezes with her arm halfway across the table. She very slowly begins to pull her arm back, apparently hoping the man hasn't seen her.
Licking his lips briefly, Cudget finishes off the last of the jerky before noticing the antics of the servant. A sly grin comes over his face as he wonders if she is deliberately trying to be a source of entertainment, or if it's just coincidence.
"You're not dead," Tahnin points out, as if that should be enough proof that he's not trying to get his money back. "Won't be dead either by my or a stranger's hand if you keep on my good side."
Bludge seems to consider this, and stands to his full height, digging at his pouch. "Beenlivingforfortytwoyearswithoutyerhelp", he mumbles under his breath as he pulls several handfuls of coins out of the pouch, discretely dropping them on Tahnin's lap.
The unmistakable rattle of coin seems to incite movement in the man at the bar, as his face takes on a distant, thoughtful stare. He shuffles his way around the bar, motioning for the keep to follow as they face the wall, backs to the majority of the room. "Think ya could get me a good price on this, hmm Grellan?" Cudget says quietly, seeming to produce an item but keep it close to himself such that it is difficult to see from the barroom.
The coin on Tahnin's lap is quickly stashed away, and he withdraws his foot from the cudgel, rising to his feet as well. "Don't go far," he says to him, voice quiet as their business concludes.
The man in the corner also rises to his feet at that, waiting.
The girl accidentally bumps into a tavern goer behind her in her attempt to back up. The enraged man slaps her and between trying to move with the hit and get away from the man she ends up sitting on top of the third stable, looking up at the standing man her eyes wide with terror.
"It's a poisonous mushroom or somethin', 'tleast that's what the guy who gave it to me said," whispers Cudget to the keep, shortly glancing back at the room to ensure that there are no eavesdroppers. Grellan leans in and whispers in return, leaving Cudget to stash the item away again and return to his place at the bar. Audibly now, he replies with a bit of concern in his voice, "Who then would pay for it? I certainly got no use for the thing."
Bludge frowns deeply, shaking his head as he bends down to grab his cudgel, yanking on it under Tahnin's foot and looking up at the man. "I'll be ne-next door," he says ruefully. "B-back room. I-I-I need to let off so-some e-energy."
Tahnin gestures to the door, giving his ascent, and waiting for Bludge to leave. The man in the corner is obviously starting at the peasant as well, Peanut forgotten.
Peanut climbs off the table, heading to the other end of it to clean in safety, dodging kicks and slaps from drunk patrons.
Cudget purses his lips in frustration over the matter, then quickly blurts out, "The way I see it, you'd be able to use it better than me. Ya could like, put it in the food of the person you don't like, and then they drop dead, I guess." The keep raises an eyebrow at this suggestion, then shakes his head 'no'. "Mmm... I could see how that might be bad for business, killin' off the customers," he comments quietly, looking around at the drunkards.
Bludge picks up the cudgel, pulling up his tunic to lodge it in the back waist of his tattered trousers, pulling his tunic down upon it once more. He scuttles towards the door, making a glance towards the peasant at the bar once before leaving.
Waving over the two, Tahnin begins to head towards the door. The man by the corner starts moving after him, making a reach towards Peanut to try to pinch her arm, while the man watching the bar doesn't do anything overtly perverted.
In attempting to avoid being hit by a drunk patron, Peanut sees the approaching knifer a moment too late, unable to stop him from grabing her arm. On the plus side the man's hand does prevent the girl from falling to the floor. Her wide eyes indicate that the young girl doesn't really see this as a plus side.
With a gloved hand, Cudget rubs the bridge of his nose tiresomely. Once again, the cleaning girl catches his eye as she tries to avoid the onslaught of groping, and a smirk comes to his lips. "Hey Grellan, maybe the girl could use some poison to get rid of her pests, eh?" he asks rhetorically, his voice raising into a hearty laugh.
With a widening grin, the knifer regards the little girl, reaching his other hand to touch and tug lightly at her hair. "Good girl. Pretty one, aren't you?"
Tahnin seems to be short on patience, however, and the tall man with him clears his throat and hits thumps the bar. The knifer glances to them, before grunting and releasing Peanut, moving to catch up with his partners, and all three leave.
Peanut barely catches her balance after being so forcibly released. She glares after the retreating men, then once the door closes, she turns back to the bar. She dodges various hits, weaving amongst them to climb over to the back of the bar. Once there though, the young girl grins widely, looking vaguely like a cat after catching a mouse. She tosses an imperial up and catches a few times, before hiding it in her skirt, grabbing a new rag, and heading back to clean the tables again.