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A Really Weird Thing Happened on the Way to Cardia

So here's how this whole clusterfluff went down. We started the night with the best intentions, right? Just a couple of chill pints, some decent conversation, maybe even a few rounds of "who can chug a from a boot the fastest" -– you know, classy stuff. Then, out of nowhere, this floppy-haired fop with a name like a bad sonnet -– Lord Burdock something-something of Dogwood (seriously, who names their kid Burdock?) –- starts getting all uppity. Next thing you know, we're in the middle of a full-on brawl that would make a barbarian blush. Now, this Dogwood loser wouldn't have put up much of a fight on his own, but apparently, the dude brought his whole entourage of noodle-armed lackeys. So here we are, hungover as a pack of weasels and missing a shoe wondering how exactly a bar fight with a minor lord from a two-bit family turns into a full-blown war.

Buckle up, because this is gonna get messy.


April 25, 2024, 9 p.m.

Hosted By



Avita Ciaphas



Arx - Ward of the Compact - Traders Tavern

Largesse Level


Comments and Log

3 Seraceni Corsairs, 2 Ischian Mariner, Faizal, A Judgmental Bearded Vulture arrive, following Avita.

Part the First: Introductions. Prologue. Also, Why We Make Bad Choices.

Once upon a time ...

There is a tavern. This is a tavern named after a large, fully aquatic, mostly herbivorous marine mammal sometimes known as a sea cow. There's a rumor that the tavern was originally named "The Merry Mermaid" -- but after a rapid, sudden, and violent change in the management -- it was given a remodel and a name change. The Maudlin Manatee stuck. There are many rumors about this tavern. None of them are true, of course, and the interior of the tavern looks as pleasant and cozy as the exterior.

Hardwood planks and stone pillars make up most of the building's outer structure. It's tough to see through the small, bubbled glass windows -- but the energy within can usually be felt. When the tavern is packed it can be heard, and the music and tale-telling can be heard from the road, as an invitation to travelers.

There is a horseshoe-shaped bar in the center of the main room, surrounded by small groupings of tables. The rest walls are clear of anything, though signs do show plenty of things used to hang on the walls, though they've probably been knocked off by customers with bad aim who had too much to drink.

So, picture this: We (you, me, and the daemon makes three) roll into the Maudlin Manatee, that grimy tavern on the Palisade docks at the very end of Graypeak lands before it lends to Lycene and Saffron waters, reeking of stale perfume and regret. The place is packed, usual suspects – adventurers drowning their sorrows and the lovable drunks who keep them company.

We snag a table, right in the line of fire from some stuck-up noble fop (probably a merchant type, judging by the way he's blinged out) and his posse of yes-men. They're giving us the stink-eye like we owe them a dragon hoard. Whatever, more for us. Big Broadside Barb (strong gal - farms - Viviana blinks at Barb with her good eye) -- the barkeep who looks like she hasn't slept since the Oathbreaker wars, slams our drinks down -– and the smell of the liquor is *strong* -- and twice as suspicious. Those prissy pigeons across the room are still staring daggers, but hey, that's a problem for Future Drunk Us.

Right now, it's all about raising a glass and diving headfirst into a night of epic debauchery that'll make bards blush.

Ciaphas checks stamina and survival at easy. Ciaphas is successful.

The answer, of course, is simple:
Good choices rarely lead to anything even remotely approaching as entertaining.
Also, they missed out on a golden opportunity to name this place the Merrymaid, and if Avita was aware of the switch, it's likely that she would be furious that such exquisite punnery was left on the cutting room floor.
To say that Avita doesn't exactly fit in a place like this would be a violent understatement, and the look she would give at any suggestion that might run contrary to this fact would wither a man as sure as the drought has dried the stores of Arvani wine the last several summers.
The stink-eye that the merchant and his crew are giving are returned with a sickly sweet smile that does nothing to bring warmth to the Marquessa's eyes, resulting in what would later be described in the documentary about the serial killings that followed this unfortunate endeavor as 'the calm before the storm'.
The soft chiming of the charms and bells that dot her attire, the fractured light that paints vivid stretch over her bared skin, it all makes her a beacon to the unsavory, dripping in the trappings of wealth as she is, and apparently utterly unaware that the code of dress here should have suggested she, perhaps, reel it in.
You cannot stop the sun from shining.
She heaves a side, settling herself demurely into a seat, a displeased expression painting her features as she stares across the table at Viviana. "... Why is it, darling, that I feel as though something awful is about to happen?" She squints then, one clawed hand coming to rest on the tabletop, before immediately retreating after touching something wet.
Abject horror.
"I can't quite explain it, you know, it's like spiders crawling through the darkest avenues of my mind, all marching in time toward some hideous fate as yet untold..." She leans back faintly in her chair, looking down at the drinks with no small measure of revulsion, the skin above her nose wrinkling, her upper lip giving a sneering curl.
"... I beg your unbelievable pardon," Her brows lift and she looks askance at the server.
"But, I don't believe I shall."
With that, her hand lifts, daintily poking the tips of her claw against the glass to scoot it away from her place at the table, nose turning up as she looses a snooty 'hmph'.

Viviana checks stamina and survival at easy. Viviana is successful.

Avita checks composure and etiquette at easy. Avita is spectacularly successful.

"Mmm, because, I may have come here to steal a couple kegs of Cardian wine. Supposedly, when Tor was attacked, there was a - er -- friend of mine, that secured what he could." Viviana indicates the glasses before them with a tap of beringed fingers, and she takes a quick sip. Quite prepared to drink. "-- it's potent."

All the best stories start with 'once upon a time'.

Ciaphas isn't ever invited to anything that involves Avita - not if she has anything to say about it - but for the man, the myth, the legend himself, he takes it in his stride. More on the chin, to be entirely precise. Alas, there is a small bit of distance between Ciaphas and the prize that awaits him, his everlasting sun and any delightful compatriots that she might encounter and bring along with herself -- but Ciaphas preseveres through adversity. He rises to it, and clambers atop of its broken husk and raises his hands to the skies as if to challenge the gods themselves.

In reality, he cornered one of Avita's attendants that wasn't quick enough to be out of eyeline when the man showed up looking for his wife, and now he grows ever closer to the tavern. In his spite, he took with him some of the wine that had been purchased for Avita by her attendants. Not the good potent Cardian wine, but still. It was probably expensive.

Of course that bottle now sits within his satchel, as he had found the tavern in question quick enough that he hadn't built up the spite to just chug her wine in the streets -- and thus he happily takes the offered drink, promptly taking a long sip of it before he lets out a sharp exhale. He licks his lips, enjoying the taste, and looks poised to take another drink, before he pauses and then extends the drink out towards Avita.

"My Sun, it's custom."

It might be, it might not be. Ciaphas' smile is always too self-indulgent to look like he's being honest. Even when he is.

Viviana checks stamina and survival at normal. Viviana is successful.

If there had once been warmth upon that bashful horizon, the night has truly fallen.
At the sound of Ciaphas's voice, Avita's left eye gives a subtle twitch, her jaw jutting forward and hackles raised as she stares across the table at Viviana with a rapidly stretching and very tight-lipped frown.
It does seem that she might think that dear Viviana invited her husband along.
How very dare.
Her nostrils flare, her head not even turning to take in the wine that's being offered her way, lips parting in another sneer as she simply leans forward in wordless seeking, attempting to steal Viviana's drink, instead.
After all, she's done this to her.
She, that treacherous beast!
This... this...
If she manages to steal the drink from Viviana, she will take a reluctant drink, if only to appease the gods of etiquette.

Barb mentions that it's -- what's his face -- Lord Burdix (or whatever his name Burdock) Dogwood, a Barony beneath the County of Groverfield that is huddled in a corner with his fellow fops, all looking like they sucked on a lemon dipped in stinkbugs. They keep eyeing us like we owe them a royal shilling, but the second anyone gets close, they wilt faster than a moonflower in direct sunlight. They have started to murmur amongst themselves.All that wealth. Something about pirates.

Viviana shakes her head, and her smile goes sly. She did invite Ciaphas, the demon dervish. Oops. It's probably that other fellow, Elias Muskrat over there. Guy's practically a walking brewery trailing fumes, hauling enough small kegs in from the back to float a small ship. Don't even think about bothering him while he's working -- you'll get a grunt and an elbow to the ribs faster than you can say, "-- that's real musty."

Viviana laughs, eye on Avita, and she murmurs over her shoulder at the Marquis -- the moon in space, so far from the sun, and the star relents to the sun herself."You're welcome to it, my lady."

"I needed someone else to help load the kegs, you see," the Whisper explains with perfect deadpan.

"One would think that you don't enjoy my presence, most resplendent wife of mine." Ciaphas replies with a laugh, a booming thing that ignores the societal norms of keeping your ruckus to your own private table.

He instead watches as she drinks, before his eyes shift towards Viviana, and his eyebrows rise and fall once; as if this were some game that he finds amusement in than the obvious distrust and shunning that is going on, and he raises his drink. "Ah, don't worry. I shant allow you to go unsupped, it would insult you." He states to his drink, as if it were the thing that were being insulted rather than Ciaphas himself, and he raises the drink up and finishes it, exhailing with a sharp hissing exhale as he then seems to realize that there's not just their little table here in the room.

It's only then he seems to notice that there's people who are muttering and huffing to themselves, and he can understand. He pities them, really. I mean. Imagine. Not sitting over here.

He even gives the muttering Lord and his group of fops a raise of his empty drink.

"Alas, I think I'm dry. A terrible state."

Ciaphas checks stamina and survival at normal. Ciaphas is successful.

Everything about Avita's expression screams, '/WHY/?!', and yet she is mute in her impotent rage.
Despite the fact that Viviana is getting the sort of look that should kill a man, were such a thing possible (good thing she's not a man, right?), Avita's keen attentions are surely not blind to the various players that walk this dingy little stage. With Viviana's wine stolen like the bitter kiss it is, Avita takes a long draw from its contents, hoping against hope that she might yet find herself in some wine-soaked morning, well away from this.
... Away from /him/.
"I have oft wondered why the wines of Cardia are so sharp upon my tongue," She confesses, seemingly out of nowhere. "... perhaps, it was trying to tell me of this /nightmare/ all along. Some grand tragedy left silent upon their spirit-drenched pages, lost to the hush of much crueller fates."
Playwrights are so dramatic.
Avitas are even worse.
"You have brought this upon me, Viviana." Oh no.
Not Vivi.
Not darling.
It's a bit like your mother using your whole name, really.
She's not mad, she's just disap--
Oh, who are we kidding?
She's quietly outraged.
Outraged like a politician that's still on live.
She hisses a breath in through clenched teeth, looking toward the good Lord Burdock, chin tilting upward so that she can look down her nose at him in some obvious posturing without ever needing to say a word to him.

Avita checks composure and etiquette at normal. Avita is successful.

Lord Burdock Dogwood -- mutters something, something about her face being a nightmare. Wait, he may have been speaking about Barb. There's a hiss about Eurusi ruining the city. Something about the shav'arvani. Something about the stink of magic. The bartender picks up a hefty mug and hurls it in the direction of the foppish table. It THUNKS heavily into the wall, denting, and clattering to the floor.

The noise startles Viviana, sitting up straight, and she slowly glances toward Avita -- offering her patroness a small, vulpine smile.

"I wanted to bring you two *together,*" she murmurs into Avita's glass. Hers now.

Barb, dutifully, is glad to provide a refill to Ciaphas -- and those at the bar once Burdock and his Bursticks have hushed to mutter amongst themselves. For now.

Viviana checks stamina and survival at hard. Viviana fails.

Ciaphas checks stamina and survival at hard. Ciaphas is successful.

Avita checks composure and etiquette at hard. Avita is successful.

Ciaphas holds a hand up to give pause to Barb as his drink is refilled.

He empties it in a mouthful, before halting Barb from refilling his drink, as the Eurusi man oh-so-subtly rolls his head upon its axis to glance at Avita, and his lips push themselves together. "My Queen. My Sun. Even when you ignore me, it is intoxicating." It appears that he's decided that he must, of course, do as he wilt to be lavished with more of this.. un-attention.

There's the scrape of his chair as he rises, leaving the glass as he begins to walk over to the foppish table that had been muttering and uttering such a ruckus that would put one into a foul mood if one were to acknowledge the bleating of the masses, and it appears that Ciaphas has decided to 'do an Avita'. He ignores them.

He leans down to pick up the tankard, hefting it up and tilting it upside down to ensure that any dregs within were flicked on to the floor and over the fops table with the idle tankard flicking he does.

He then returns to the table, before setting the tankard down beside his glass, and he taps it to indicate that it instead should be filled instead of the glass.

"I am feeling quite a thirst that threatens to come upon me, as if I had wandered the desert for seven days and nights, and come upon an oasis."

Ah, we're playing round robin with the wine glasses.
Avita now looks covetously at the glass that was, mere moments ago, her own, yet now no longer.
Her eyes narrow, and she takes another long draw from the glass that was Viviana's, as though to announce that she will not be out done, making eye (singular, of course) contact with Viviana the entire time she's downing the rest of the contents of her glass.
"I will remember this." She warns in a hiss, the foot of her glass meeting the table with a pointed if somewhat hollow sound.
She is far too polite to slam it down.
She is not, however, above gesturing dismissively at the glass to insist it be refilled -- a bit like a cat who's food dish has too much of a divet in it, and is now demanding more before they starve to death.
Her attentions shift toward Lord Burdock Dogwood as that drift of Eurusiphobia reaches her ears, eyes so vivid that they should burn to behold settling upon him and his table, that empty smile returning to her lips as she watches him.
"Goodness, darling," Her attentions move back to Viviana so that she can speak about one person, whilst reserving the culpable deniability of having a conversation that others should not be eavesdropping upon. "I do believe I have an admirer."
A sigh is heaved.
"If it's an autograph that you're after, my dear, I'm not quite in the mood." She snoots a soft scoff through her nose.
"Honestly, it's become quite a bother..."
Her wine is filled again, and she lifts her glass in dainty grasp to her lips to take another drink, eyes slowly trickling almost all the way to Ciaphas, before he is denied her level attentions. It is convenient that he made his way toward that table, that she might use the sparing glance she provides to the Lordling to shun Ciaphas all the more.
"How they long to bask in my radiance, how they covet the guilt of my gilt, heavy so it weighs the unworthy." She muses, a taunt that is carried and corrupted through the noise of the tavern, so that it is a game of telephone at best, and an immediate affront at worst.
"Ciaphas." She finally says his name.
"Stop being so dramatic."

Avita checks composure and etiquette at daunting. Avita fails.

Viviana's eye blinks, hard, and she shoves away from the bar -- a shark through the treacherous, sticky-floored metaphorical waters of the Maudlin Manatee to speak with Elias Muskrat. Her fingers press against the bridge of her nose, eye wincing in a squint, and she starts to heft those half-kegs out, out the back of the tavern. Taking a deep breath of cold, bracing air as she carries keg after keg out -- "It's the real deal," she murmurs.

Barb, offering Ciaphas a nod of positive encouragement, fills the dented tankard up to the brim of the dark wine, rippling rubies and garnets and tourmalines and opals. Juicy, gemstone colors and the flavors that allow one to taste compliments, or feel the burn of insult --

Ciaphas checks stamina and survival at daunting. Ciaphas is successful.

With the proximity, both Avita and Viviana can hear the sharp inhale of breath that comes from Ciaphas when Avita utters his name, and his eyes flit from his rapidly filling tankard to her. They stare, and for a few seconds the look that comes over the Eurusi man's face is one of almost religious rapture, before the man's desire for utmost bastardry begins to rise.

If she gets upset, she may say more things. Even if they're insults. Also, how can he hope to resist the allure of such a potent wine? In such a fine vessel? Not Ciaphas.

Instead he makes eye contact with Avita, or the closest approximation to it that she'd permit with her hauty gaze, and he raises the tankard and begins to drink.
.. and drink...
.. and drink...

Avita checks composure and etiquette at daunting. Avita marginally fails.

Viviana has rolled 1 6-sided dice: 3

As ever, Avita is the perfect distraction, whether she means to be or not.
Then again, when has Avita ever done anything she hasn't meant to do?
She allows herself a haughty laugh at Lord Burdock Dogwood's expense, some remnant of entertainment she's found in her vaguely inebriated state, another long draw taken from the glass of wine as she muses on his clear jealousy of her station and impress both.
The laughter fades as Ciaphas goes about his display of manliness, as only a Eurusi man can manage. Her lips purse faintly as the man keeps drinking, one brow raising, her own glass quietly put down atop the table, finally empty.
"... /Really/, Marquis?" She deadpans.
Not even a name.
She assuredly caught that breath of his.
That hint of satisfaction.
She'll have none of that.
"A little decor--"
Oh, how Avita despises being interrupted when she has the floor.
Her attention sharply snaps toward the Lordling and his table of underlordlings.
"You're not better than me!" He begins.
Avita seems dubious, yet says nothing.
"You and your kind, destroying honest trade!" He continues.
Avita's head cants faintly to one side, and still she says nothing.
"You're just some common /bitch/,"
A brow quirks.
"In a stupid outfit, and the next time you so much as LOOK MY WAY," He jerks a hand upward, back of his hand showing toward her, as though he would threaten to strike her.
There's a bought of laughter that goes around the Merchant Lord's table, hoots of support from the peanut gallery.
Any mirth or mischief drains from the Marquessa's features, her breath shallowing to a point that it would be easy to think she had stopped all together, her shoulders squaring as she slowly stands to her feet, the sound of her claws dragging across the table in plaintiff furrow something that makes the teeth itch.
"... Before I retort in full," Her voice is tight, irritated, and obviously so. The alcohol has, in fact, done its job at cracking her impeccable mask.
"... Are you insulting me for being a pirate, or for being Eurusi? Please, do keep in mind, darling, that this should ... /vastly/ ... alter what happens next."

Ciaphas checks stamina and survival at impossible. Ciaphas DONE GOOFED!!!111

Ciaphas checks composure at impossible. Ciaphas DONE GOOFED!!!111

Out of the six hired swords slash professionally paid best friends at the table, three rise - slow, ever so slowly -- and they scatter. One toward an open window. One out the front door and off a short dock and into the water. The third leaves out the back door, and Viviana pauses for only a moment, too focused on her task of smuggling good goods.

Barb pauses and turns to look toward the table of remaining ring-flinging, silken wannabe sellswords -- and she quietly goes to clear the bar of the top-shelf bottles, just in case.

Ciaphas checks strength and huge wpn at normal. Ciaphas is successful.

There's a point during Ciaphas' period of drinking where he really should have realized that this stuff is far stronger than the fare that he's used to drinking, and since he's drinking on an empty stomach, that such displays of drinking bravado usually end up with one having a night that one can't remember.

One could say that he was starting to feel the warm tingling reach of the sweet faeries of alcohol coming to lull his mood to that of liquid happiness, as she even huffs out his title at him. Twice, twice he had been acknowledged. It's odd, how one finds some little things that which is worth holding on to.

Then someone raises their voice, and interrupts the sweet serenading tones of his wife scolding him, an almost languid smile plastered on his lips begins to twitch, the corners beginning a reversal in their climb, as if their wings had been clipped. Still, he stares at Avita. She's looking elsewhere, and he can admire the view while he taps his mug for Barb to begin to refill it, the insults about honest trade going over the man's head - Ciaphas is to trading what a desert is to an ocean - but then a direct insult is spoken.

Just as the alcohol starts to properly flow into his bloodstream and those little voices that tell you 'don't' are now just mumbling something, and it's like someone has lit a match behind the Eurusi's eyes, for where there was the placid adoration of another comes a delight far darker than the man would like to admit.

He doesn't scream, nor shout, nor raise his voice. He doesn't make a single noise at all, vocally. His cheeks flush slightly as his breathing begins to audibly deepen and quicken, pupils dilating as he rises from his seat.

He takes a moment to reach down, shifting sashes and cloth in a gentle, almost calm brushing motion that becomes a blur of motion and the end of any attempts of conversation and diplomacy as he begins an upsweep of his weapon within it's sheath, using brute strength and momentum to hurl the table up and off to the side -- and it's then that he vocalizes himself, letting out a roar of pure rage that is fuelled by strong alcohol that helps throw the table off and towards the front door, before he's hurling himself across the room towards the group of fops that have failed to properly eject themselves from their seats.


Ah. Ciaphas is being eloquent tonight.

Viviana checks dexterity and dodge at hard. Viviana is successful.

Viviana has rolled 1 3-sided dice: 2

Viviana checks dexterity and dodge at daunting. Viviana is successful.

Viviana checks dexterity and dodge at impossible. Viviana DONE GOOFED!!!111

Avita checks composure and etiquette at daunting. Avita fails.

The table -- it smashes into the sellsword that was trying to run out the front door. The short dock, the water, the dinghy beyond --? No, that's all a far and distant dream, because he has become the filling of a sandwich with the closed front door and a heavy oaken table as the sliced bread. The other two, the one for the window -- the one for the back door -- they both pause from fully escaping, stunned by the sudden explosion of violence. The other three sellswords at the table with Lord Burdock Dogwood start to draw their swords. Plain steel, nothing terribly fancy. Two stunned mercenaries. Three starting to arm themselves. One shiny and defenseless fop.

Apparently, his answer will change nothing.
Avita barely moves as that table suddenly fires past her, followed closely by the howling beast that is her husband.
The motion has her scarves and sashes drift forward in daring dance, the chime of the charms that hang from them singing a warsong that sends him merrily away into the fray.
She has become ... accustomed... to his manner of diplomacy.
Her fingers and thumbs meet into a nabla form before her, her breath impossibly shallow, her form not unlike a statue in a shrine as that cloth drifts back in hazy, dreamy tumble back down toward her feet. One can quite literally see the effort she's putting forth to keep herself from a rage that rivals the King of Swords, jaw clenching and unclenching as though she were chewing on every word that surges to the fore, bitten back.
... Until they are freed, much like her inhibitions.
A hand lifts, a clawed finger spearing toward the defenseless fop, teeth bared just for her to growl out a single word of direction.

Viviana checks dexterity and medium wpn at hard. Viviana marginally fails.

Ciaphas checks strength and huge wpn at hard. Ciaphas marginally fails.

Viviana checks dexterity and brawl at daunting. Viviana marginally fails.

Viviana checks dexterity and small wpn at impossible. Viviana DONE GOOFED!!!111

Ciaphas checks strength and huge wpn at normal. Ciaphas is successful.

Avita checks charm and propaganda at daunting. Critical Success! Avita is spectacularly successful.

Have you ever seen what happens when someone's a fanatic? Add in strong alcohol to the mix, and they'll do strange things, like utterly ignore threats, as is apparent when the defenseless fop of a Lord hears Avita growl out the words 'Him'.

Perhaps it isn't wise of Ciaphas to ignore the sound of steel being drawn, but the Eurusi's mind is filled with nothing but the rushing sound of his own blood in his ears, and the directing voice of his wife. Momentarily, his mind thinks that it should do something to ensure that Avita and Viviana are safe. That they're not in trouble.

They can't be in trouble if everyone is dead and/or crippled beyond the point of fighting, he concludes.

The defenseless fop is the first one, as Ciaphas shifts and swings his sheathed Khophesh two-handed, catching the man in the torso with the flat of it.

You might think he'd turn his attention elsewhere. That he would take care of the actual threats.

Divine retribution however is like the blade of damocles, and it falls where it needs. In this case, the sellswords are given a visual presentation as Ciaphas promptly skips a step forwards to place himself near where the foppish Lord lies, and he hauls the weapon up before bringing it down where the man's teeth are visibly gritted in pain. He does his best to ensure that no vile words might be spoken again.

In what is likely to be a tantrum for the ages, Avita takes the stage.
"And I shall see that it is known, far and wide, that the _Lordling_ Burdock Dogwood is a criminal! One whom threatened the Marquessa Avita Seraceni of Ischia's blessed March, one whose trade is without merit or reward! Unwelcomed in the Saffron Seas for the /villainy/ he has lain before my gilded step!" She is, of course, saying this as Ciaphas goes about his still-sheathed dervishing.
"WAIT!" Burdock cries, hands frantic as they try to free his weapon.
"That, unprovoked, he has assailed my civil personage for the refusal of my name in elegant pen -- that which is not his to demand! -- and has, in the process of these unmitigated acts of savagery, cast the business of his Lord upon the rocks of my mighty shores!"
Winded by Ciaphas' blow, he staggers back and thumps against the wall, one hand raised in defense of his most fragile of elements, only to have his arm broken in the process by the impact.
This, of course, sets him screaming. "BRIGANDS! CRIMINALS!" He wails.
"AND SO HE WEPT," Avita's voice booms, possessing of all the command of a general upon the field, "For woe is upon those that stand before the valor of House Seraceni, and so offend her unblemished virtue! KNEEL--"
"FUCK YOU!" Lord Burdock makes a mistake.
A sharp breath is taken in through her nose, nostrils flaring, lips pressing to a tight, bloodless line as she stares toward him and the fray that has consumed that area of the room. "IT IS MY VERY SINCERE SUGGESTION THAT YOU BOW, AND UPON EACH CHEEK PLACE YOUR QUIVERING HANDS--"
This only gets uglier.

The sound of those noble bones make a noise that sounds pretty common to Viviana, and she offers Ciaphas a very encouraging shout: "Oh, fuck, that was impressive --" she starts to draw her rapier on an unarmed mercenary -- keeping him pinned with the threat of star iron. She shakes her head, slowly. "Sorry. You insulted my lady."

Elias Muskrat, philanthropic trader - fraudster -- and smuggling compatriot who realizes when it's time to flee, leaves by the back door with the last of the small kegs.

Ciaphas checks strength and huge wpn at normal. Ciaphas is successful.

Viviana checks dexterity and medium wpn at daunting. Viviana is successful.

Viviana checks dexterity and brawl at daunting. Viviana fails.

Viviana checks dexterity and dodge at daunting. Viviana fails.

Why did Lord Burdock speak up? If Ciaphas were a philsopher, he might pause to think about such things, why would someone continue on the path that would lead one to further pain and suffering?

Instead, Ciaphas just reaches down towards Lord Burdock, grasping the man around his left leg and hauling up back and away from the wall, grunting with the effort as he wobbles in his drunken state, before he then shifts and heaves, utilizing more brute strength than any technique as he hurls Burdock off towards one of his own attendants -- the one by the window being the unlucky recipient.

He then staggers back a step or two, before he straightens himself upright and begins a slow revolution.

It's like someone's irritated a cat and it doesn't know who's going to claw at first, now that Burdock is out of arm's reach.

Both of the unarmed sellswords fumble, uselessly, a little too drunk too function. One attempts to dodge past Viviana and she pokes at him. The other unfortunate unarmed fellow -- well, he is suddenly being bodily slammed into the opposing wall. There's a meaty tumble of bodies, dead weight beneath flailing limbs. The crack of bone against wood punctuates a half-yell of a curse. This also sends a mounted specimen of a river bass from the wall to the floor. Viviana murmurs, "Don't worry," she may be referring to the fish -- kindly.

Three sell-swords, steel drawn, tight in the space of the cloistered booth where they were seated -- fish in a barrel, some would say -- advantageous angle, they would insist. Trying to create space to fully surround Ciaphas.

And here, thusly, doth the Wilhelm ring as Lord Burdock soars like the mighty seagull he is.
"AND SPREAD THYSELF BEFORE JUSTICE'S MIGHTY ROD," This is about the most PG filth ever to be introduced to the world, but it does seem to be getting the job done.
What that job might be, only Avita knows.
She heaves a breath, sucks one in as though her lungs burned for it, desperate in their seeking for relief.
He's succumbing to shock by now, whitened by the trauma of this ordeal, slumped and quietly wheezing out what might be best described as a snore.
Still, she rages like the summer sun without the blissful cloud cover of her immaculate sobriety.
"Slickened by thine tears and nowt else, thou shalt know and despair of thine calamitous folly, so thoroughly pumped that water might yet be drawn and spilled by the auger of /failure/," She practically spits out that word, one of her slippered feet stomping against the ground, sending her bells and charms sweetly singing. "Upon the floor made filthy for all you are spent upon the fetid floor..."
There's really no turning her off once she gets started, is there?
"For the unrivaled underestimation inherent in calling ME," Huff.
... Huff...
Her shoulders rise and fall with the depth of her breathing.

Ciaphas checks strength and huge wpn at normal. Ciaphas is successful.

Barb grabs a rubicund hatchet from beneath the bar and lowers herself beneath the counter, murmuring. But she's listening. She seems *awed*. Her dark brown eyes shine with sudden - stark - shimmering devotion. She rises --and promptly throws it in the direction of the unarmed sellswords at the back door.

Viviana checks strength and huge wpn at hard. Viviana fails.

It doesn't even come close. Barb is /livid/.

Ciaphas seems to be off in his own world for a moment, as the lack of a direct target and the release of the initial burst of righteous rage leaves him with laboured breathing, shoulders slumped as he sucks in a few deep lungfuls of breath, letting the rush of blood in his ears go back down to a quiet thrum, so that he can just listen to the sermon from Avita.

He only seems to notice that he's been surrounded after he's had that quiet moment of contemplation, and he reaches down to unstrap the sheath around the weapon, allowing him to wriggle the blade free and let the sheath drop. It's alright. Avita can buy him another one.

Once again he bursts into explosive violence, as he goes from slack posture to a dancers leap to bring him in closer proximity to one of the sellswords attempting to pen him in. Perhaps a little too close, in his decidedly non-sober state, but that's of little matter when it goes from like watching a swan above the water then beneath. He goes from graceful leap, to a violent chop that has him hauling the sellsword up with the weapon still stuck.

He gives a grunt of effort, and shoves and twists at the wrist, providing enough force to tear his weapon away, before lifting it up to point at one of the two remaining sellswords.

Conveniently, he's left an out for the back door, but that's most likely due to being a bit sloppy.

Viviana checks stamina at impossible. Viviana DONE GOOFED!!!111

With a sharp flick of her hair and a hard breath to shift the one strand that has dared to tumble free is let out, followed by a sharp sigh as Avita finds that the alcohol has really begun to settle in, and she is suddenly so very tired.
She takes a few moments to collect herself, drunken thoughts and all, watching in base neutrality as Ciaphas finishes what he (she) started, golden eyes lazily half-lidding as she gazes upon them with no small measure of disdain. Her upper lip curls, a cluck of her tongue in soft 'tsk' as she watches that hatchet tragically miss its mark.
Slowly, she turns on her heel and begins to pace toward the bar where Barb is yet seething, her hand lifting to smooth her hair back delicately with the tips of her claws before she leans against the countertop and begins to pull a small pouch from beneath her many sashes and scarves.
She spares a glance over her shoulder at Ciaphas, gifting him with the most shallow of nods in what might pass for begrudging approval, before she looks back to Barb.
Quietly, calmly, that pouch is placed upon the bartop, containing what is, to these people and this place, a small fortune's worth of silver.
"Spread the word, darling, let the good name of Marquessa Avita Seraceni ring out, and tell all of the villainy of the Dogwood Collective and their incomparable degeneracy. Know that Her mercy is upon you, but Her wrath lay in wait for any and all that would dare ... stand against..." She draws in a deep, slow breath, fingers flicking out and going limp in the sort of gesture that suggests 'you know the rest'.
She turns, resting herself back against the bar as Ciaphas goes about entertaining her the best way he knows how. A hand lifts, and without looking to Barb, a single 'request' is made.
"... Wine."

Ciaphas checks stamina at impossible. Ciaphas DONE GOOFED!!!111

Avita checks composure at impossible. Avita DONE GOOFED!!!111

Viviana checks dexterity and medium wpn at impossible. Viviana DONE GOOFED!!!111

Viviana checks dexterity and dodge at impossible. Botch! Viviana DONE GOOFED!!!111

It seems that perhaps Ciaphas is a merciful sort.

That would be a lie, but he's willing to take that excuse to let the two sellswords decide that discretion is far better than getting yourself mauled or worse by a drunken Eurusi who seems to be far, far too into this than would be considered correct in polite society.

Instead, he's found that he's managed to find the perfect position to stand in that will ensure that he isn't falling over.

That's because he's practically sitting on a table to try and keep his balance, and he's already leaning over to pick up an unattended drink at the table that he's definitely not using to stay upright, trying to raise the glass up in salute to Avita.

It's the thought and heart of it that counts.


He chimes in when Avita utters the name.

Avita's fist raises at the call.
"Seraceni prevails!"
She can already feel the quease.
Propriety alone keeps her from expressing her feastlike dinner upon the floor.

Barb, wordlessly, dutifully -- accepts the fortune of coin and moves on to pour more of the Cardian wine. Weeks from now she will relocate. She already has a name picked out. The Salty Serpentine. Quick as the word is uttered ("Wine,") the unarmed sellsword's hands reach for his middle, pressing hard, but with each breath. His heart pumps. The fabric of his tunic stains. Viviana allows him to leave by the back door, watching him, eyepatch flicked up. Her sightless eye contains a cloudiness like a nebula. Watching him with both eyes until he drops.

Then, Viviana drops.

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