Chapter #7k: Vhiski Sour (Pisca)   Posted by The Raconteur.Group: 0
The Raconteur
 GM, 1143 posts
 Teller of Tales
 Writer of Wrongs
Tue 12 Aug 2014
at 15:37
Chapter #7k:  Vhiski Sour (Pisca)

Before Pisca knew it she was on Salmon Street on the doorstep of the Fatman’s Feedbag.  A Sczarni tough that Pisca recognized from a previous job was leaning against the wall to one side of the door, chewing a toothpick, flipping a shiny coin in the air, and whistling to himself.  When he saw Pisca, he caught the coin and stopped whistling.

Aside from that, he made no move to stop her from entering the Feedbag.  He just gave her a curt nod, jerking his head towards the door almost as if she were expected.

But the gnome nearly didn’t make it into the establishment at all; she had to dodge aside as she was almost bowled over by a couple of men who came bursting out of the tavern, trading blows and insults in equal measure.  The Sczarni tough, Nunio she thought his name was, didn’t move to intercede.  He just gave her a wink and watched the fight with interest, continuing to chew his toothpick.

After ensuring that no more brawlers were on their way out into the street, Pisca entered the tavern.  As always, Fatman’s smelled of smoke, cheap alcohol, and unwashed bodies.  The din of conversation seemed undiminished by the recent fight; fisticuffs were a regular occurrence, and no one who wasn’t involved paid them much attention other than to keep well clear.

Drunken brawlers weren’t known for either their accuracy or their concern for bystanders.

As Pisca made her way towards the bar, she saw Jubrayl Vhiski sitting at his normal table, accompanied, as always, by a stunning and scantily-dressed woman.  The Sczarni gave her a long-suffering look, then motioned her towards his table, granting her an audience.

“Pisca,” he said, examining his nails.  “To what do we owe this dubious pleasure?  I have to say that I was not expecting you.  I hear you hauled off and hit Ven Vinder.”  He looked up, shaking his head.  “That was not, how do they say, well-planned?  I expected the Guard to be picking up pieces of poor little Pisca from Tower Street well into the morning.  You are very lucky he spared you."

He nodded at her.  "But you seem to be lucky in that way, do you not?  Be wary, little Pisca.  No one can doubt your bravery, but there is a fine line between valor and vanity.  You cannot count on your small stature to save you from retribution every time.”

This message was lightly edited by the GM at 15:37, Tue 12 Aug 2014.

Pisca Neep Freemish
 Gnome Archaeologist, 1171 posts
 The Gnome!
 And Her Imagination
Tue 12 Aug 2014
at 16:07
Re: Chapter #7k:  Vhiski Sour (Pisca)
Well, that was quick.  Those were the words that Pisca almost said.  But it wasn't really.  Jubrayl knew pretty much everything that went on in Sandpoint.  Quickly too.  And she hadn't exactly gone to any great lengths to hide her challenge to Ven Vinder.  Just the opposite, in fact.

So, what Pisca said instead was, "The trick is in knowing who to pick a fight with.  Also to know who's watching, and I don't mean the gods.  Ven is a good man."  That was all that needed saying.  Someone who understood would understand.  Others who didn't, did not matter.  That was the Varisian way.

"I brought you something."  Uninvited, the gnome climbed up into an empty chair across from the Varisian.  The chair might only have been to equalize the height, as the gnome did not sit.  She dug around in her pouch and came back with a dark, obsidian crescent that came to a wicked point at one end:  The Rune Dog claw.  She slapped it on the table with a clack and pushed it across to Jubrayl Vhiski.

"For you.  A gift.  I thought you might want to take something from those who'd taken from you.  They're gone.  We killed them all.  And we exhausted the pool that they came from."

That said, the gnome shifted uncomfortably, mulling the question that she'd really come to ask.  She sighed, this time ejecting a small cloud of reticence and hesitation from her small body.

"Jubrayl," Pisca asked, "are we friends?"
Jubrayl Vhiski
 NPC, 4 posts
 Varisian Villain
Wed 13 Aug 2014
at 18:50
Re: Chapter #7k:  Vhiski Sour (Pisca)

“A good man,” Vhiski agreed lightly, “if one who would perhaps be better served without such a temper, yes?  Such a temper can make good men do . . . bad things.  Things that they might not do if they were,” he tapped a forefinger to his temple, “using their heads, no?”

But all the Sczarni’s lightheartedness disappeared the instant Pisca placed the claw on the table.  He reached out wonderingly, almost hesitantly, to touch the appendage.  Then, apparently satisfied that it would not suddenly animate and attack him, he picked it up and spent maybe half a minute inspecting it.

“A pool.  Strange.”  Jubrayl looked over the claw to where a violet-eyed gnome sat on the other side of the table.  “This is good news to hear.  I am not ashamed to say I had nightmares of these creatures escaping their prison and destroying Sandpoint with tooth and claw.  Turning neighbor against neighbor until nothing was left but ravenous abominations.”  He sighed, sitting back in his chair.  “This was good work, Pisca.  Very good work.”

Pisca knew that this was high praise from the Sczarni crimelord.  The very highest praise.

“Friends?”  He said, eyebrows knitting in response to her question.  “Friendship is an interesting thing, little Pisca.  It has many definitions.  Two men consider another a friend, yes?  But the strength and depth of those friendships may be very different.  Friendships are also tested by circumstances.  Sometimes . . .,” a shadow crossed his face, “. . . the circumstances prevail.”

He sat back in his chair.  “So really,” he waved his hand through the air, as if shooing away some ephemeral pest, “you ask a meaningless question.  This one may say ‘Pisca is my friend,’ but does that phrase mean the same to Pisca as it does to Jubrayl?”  He gave her a flat stare.  “Almost certainly not.”

“But I am,” the well-manicured man said, tapping the claw, “in an expansive mood this evening.  So perhaps Pisca should ask the question to which she really wishes to know the answer.”

Pisca Neep Freemish
 Gnome Archaeologist, 1181 posts
 The Gnome!
 And Her Imagination
Wed 13 Aug 2014
at 21:18
Re: Chapter #7k:  Vhiski Sour (Pisca)
The gnome knelt upon the seat of the chair and rested the chin of her doll-like face upon the edge of the table as she mulled the answer given to her by the Sczarni.  The answer to his question about the question she wanted to ask went unanswered.  The air, instead, was filled with silent contemplation, until finally, the gnome tipped her head to one side, so that it was her cheek that lay upon the tabletop instead of her chin, and she spoke.

"Maybe ... Maybe that's why friends are so valuable," she said.  And then, "Thank you for an honest answer, Jubrayl.  And thank you for choosing a true answer rather than a simple one."

"But, no.  That's the only question I wanted to ask.  It's the important question, don't you think?  I was just counting my friends, and I wondered," said the gnome very matter of factly.

"You may not see me for a few days," she continued as she stood and hopped down off of the chair.  She knew that she meant in a broader sense.  Jubrayl saw everything that went on in Sandpoint.  And she also knew that he knew what she meant.  Varisians were quite good in understanding such things.  "We're going to Thistletop," was all of the explanation she gave.  Then the gnome gave a smart salute and made her way out of the Fatman's Feedbag and into the early evening.