Topics

Not a Soul Up Ahead #Brandy

Rachel Balla
 

Who: Brandy
With: Open!
Where: The Silver Tankard tavern, King's City
When: Sunset, Tuesday, March 11th, 872 RoK

The Silver Tankard had been packed - above and beyond capacity. With the demand for rooms, plenty of people had started inviting others into their beds, whether for money or pleasure. Over the last two days, though, the energy had surely shifted as those who had been stranded in the city moved on home and those who were excitedly awaiting the announcement of the new monarch made their way in instead. 
 
The new folks had fresh money on them, and the volume made it easier for Brandy to get her hands on the scarce fresh produce finally making its way into the city. But Brandy was a master of repurposing humble ingredients. Most locals would eat cold bread with a slice of cheese and be perfectly happy with it, but Brandy would stuff the cheese into the bread, crisp it up into what amounted to little more that a gourmet grilled cheese, but the people loved it. And potatoes, salted pork or fish, and toasted bread crumbs became - 
 
"Croquettas," Brandy explained as she presented a plate of six fried dumplings to a young woman who, after two glasses of wine, was chattering freely. She had been gossiping about the royal baby loudly enough to catch the barmaid's attention - it sounded like she was the handmaid of a lady and had been able to see the baby up close, but was disappointed to be on leave today as it meant she wouldn't have the same up-close access to see the Royal Scholar and General who, she claimed (tipsily) were rumored to be very handsome, even if they were easily both twice her age. 
 
Brandy leaned in, a delighted smile on her lips and interest lighting her eyes, and insisted. "Tell me everything about the baby!" 
 
"He was so small!" the handmaid cooed, in that voice women had to use when discussing babies, and Brandy answered it was an appropriate "aww!" "He was awake and squirming around, but not one cry! It's that royal blood. " 
 
"Like he was holding court already!" Brandy said with a laugh. "Did you see his face?" 
 
"Yes, yes, yes! He looks just like his father," the handmaid answered, although Brandy doubted how well acquainted the young woman had been with the late king's face. But that didn't matter! "Red hair and all. Those rumors are ridiculous." 
 
"What rumors?" Brandy pressed, hungry for the gossip she'd missed off freeing an infamous witch. She filled the nearly-empty glass to the brim.
 
"The ladies around the court were saying…" the handmaid leaned in closer, clearly knowing she needed to keep this tidbit confidential but totally lacking the ability to control the volume of her voice after drinking. "That the maidens in the Eastern Forest were all raped by those awful outlaws - you have heard of the Marauders?" When Brandy nodded, the young woman went on. "The rest were murdered, too, but the Consort survived because she came from a tribe of Southern warriors. Some even said that the child's real father was Marcus the Vile himself!" 
 
 

Vincent Gonzales
 

Who: Tristan

With: Brandy

Where: The Silver Tankard tavern, King's City

When: Sunset, Tuesday, March 11th, 872 RoK


The Silver Tankard was everything Tristan had ever dreamed of when he read old fantasy novels about medieval inns. From the barmaids shuffling around to the cranky patrons who’d just as soon cut you as buy you a drink. It was a wonderful sight to behold and, even though Tristan wasn’t much of a drinker even when he’d been in the military back on Earth, he still found himself with a tankard full of a mead, listening intently to stories from passersby.


One bit of conversation caught his ear, more than any other, though, as he sat and listened…


>“He was so small!" <...> "Like he was holding court already!" <...> "He looks just like his father," <...> “the maidens in the Eastern Forest were all raped by those awful outlaws” <...> “the child's real father was Marcus the Vile himself!"


Tristan felt a twist in his stomach as he caught bits here and there over the passersby and noises of the tavern. He’d heard of Marcus, of course. And the more he heard about the foul little man, the more he thought it’d be a good idea to find him and run him through with his sword…


The knight couldn’t help but insert himself in the conversation at that and found himself turning and speaking to the ladies of the rumor mill before he could stop himself. “If this Marcus is such a bastard, why hasn’t The Green Duke put that foul creature in the ground already?” he asked, biting back on the edge in his voice too late. He frowned in apology. “I mean...there’s got to be a hell of a bounty on his head, right? If he’s so dangerous…”


tags!

Rachel Balla
 

Tristan: “If this Marcus is such a bastard, why hasn’t The Green Duke put that foul creature in the ground already?” “I mean...there’s got to be a hell of a bounty on his head, right? If he’s so dangerous…”


Brandy's eyes snapped in the direction of the young man who interjected into their conversation. Damn, he was hot. The dreads were short, so they somehow suggested both conservative neatness and also a reckless edginess. He was drinking; but his words were all chivalry. He was interesting. And with her usual bae back on his ship? Brandy would be lying if she told herself she wasn't looking for a new conquest.


"Oh, hell of a bounty," Brandy confirmed. It was embarrassingly high; there was a bounty that said 'I can't be bothered to catch this mofo on my own, so I'll pay you to help me out' and there was a bounty that said 'I can't catch this mofo at all, fucking help me right now' and the sum was smack between the two at present.


But before Brandy could go on, a teenage boy entered the bar with a conspicuous tray full of what looked like handpies. Hungry patrons immediately started gesturing at him, but Brandy felt rage burn through her and helped elevate her voice.


"No outside food or drink allowed!" she bellowed with all the characteristic aggression of a New Yorker, and although the boy seemed determined to make at least one sale with the nearest patron, he scurried out after because Brandy was taking off her apron like she intended to whip him with it. "Get the fuck out! I can feed my customers!"


Once he was gone, Brandy immediately settled down and got straight back into gossip mode. "The thing is? Marcus commands werewolves. Creatures. Literally. This is un-fucking-heard of. The Green Duke is scary in his own right, but no one thinks he secretly has a zombie army or, like, carniflower seeds or something. Marcus is on another level; they don't even have stories on his level."


Brandy leaned forward, planting an elbow on the bar between her and the inquisitive patron. "You hoping for that bounty?" She smiled flirtatiously and spoke quickly, almost as if her questions were more statements. "What's your name? I'm Brandy."


Tags

Vincent Gonzales
 

Tristan almost immediately took note of how the bartender looked at him when he took it upon himself to join their conversation. Was that...? I mean, he was pretty sure that she just checked him out. It'd been...a little longer than he'd like to admit since the last time a woman had looked at him like that and the boost to his ego was more than a little appreciated. So much so that he found himself nodding along without really listening, right up until she started screaming at some kid with some meat pies. He let out a hearty chuckle, watching the kid scurry before Brandy's ire could follow him out the door.

Brandy: "The thing is? Marcus commands werewolves. Creatures. Literally. This is un-fucking-heard of. The Green Duke is scary in his own right, but no one thinks he secretly has a zombie army or, like, carniflower seeds or something. Marcus is on another level; they don't even have stories on his level."

Did she say werewolves?! Those were real?! Of course they were, Tristan, don't be an idiot. You're a knight in shining fucking armor, here. "It makes you wonder how much is fact or fiction," he noted with a nod. "Not that I doubt your knowledge, of course. Men like that, though? They're bound to spin up tales to boost their reputation and scare people off."

Brandy: "You hoping for that bounty?" She smiled flirtatiously and spoke quickly, almost as if her questions were more statements. "What's your name? I'm Brandy." 

"I could do with the extra coin, as much as the next guy, but I think I'll stick to dragons and vampires, for the time being," he said, grinning without realizing it as he leaned in as well. "I'm Tristan, ma'am."

"We've actually met before," the knight added after a moment's hesitation, unsure if it'd sour their interaction, which had been a very nice change of pace for him. Since when did he flirt with barmaids?! "The day of the storm, when the King..." he trailed off, knowing full well he didn't need to finish that sentence. "I'd met you briefly at your stand, as well as that nobleman. Sheriff...something or other." Tristan shrugged, not thinking it mattered much. What was one noble versus another, anyway. They were all pretentious pricks from his experience.

tags!


Rachel Balla
 

Tristan: "It makes you wonder how much is fact or fiction," "Not that I doubt your knowledge, of course."


"I'm pouring beer," Brandy countered, joking quick on her feet. "Maybe don't take me as an authority on werewolves…" She smirked, laughed, and kept listening.


Tristan: "Men like that, though? They're bound to spin up tales to boost their reputation and scare people off." "I could do with the extra coin, as much as the next guy, but I think I'll stick to dragons and vampires, for the time being,"


Dragons, like werewolves, Brandy knew nothing about except the gossip that came through her neck of the drunk-ass woods. But vampires, she did know, and the mention of them piqued her interest in a less… performative way. The barmaid was a fun caricature, but at the mention, she broke character for a breath and her expression sobered a touch...


Tristan: "I'm Tristan, ma'am.""We've actually met before," "The day of the storm, when the King..." "I'd met you briefly at your stand, as well as that nobleman. Sheriff...something or other."


She thought back to that day and honestly didn't find much. There'd been a noble, but she didn't recall his name nor barely his face. There had been a thief! Her magical purse had been stolen, and then a storm had come out of nowhere. She had to stare at Tristan's face for a long moment before she remembered: "Oh - the knight! I bet your tournament was cancelled, huh...?" She smiled. "Well, Tristan, nice to meet you. Officially."


A chorus of shocked gasps drew her attention away, though. A man was on the floor, on hands and knees, retching. Brandy assumed he'd drank too much, until she noticed it was the man who'd bought that meat pie. Probably got fucking food poisoning - these vendors were so unsanitary. You can't have meat resting at room temperature for hours! No wonder he was sick!


"Take him outside," Brandy ordered, and then, with a nod of her head, asked one of the kitchen girls to take him a jug of water.


Two men hauled the sick one to his feet, dragging him to the door… and found that it would not open. Which caused the men, who had each had a few drinks themselves, to glance wonderingly at the lock that was clearly, visibly on the inside and did not seem to be in place. Was it blocked, or…?


Before they could decode the mystery, the sick man let out a terrible cry. But instead of crashing to the floor, he surged up, grabbing his friend and - to Brandy's horror - sinking his teeth into the man's throat.


Screams went up all around the dining room, punctuated by the crashing of the ceramic jug of water to the floor and the wail of the victim as blood spurted onto the floor.


tags!

 

turksgirl
 

Who: Manfred

With: Tristan,Brandy

Where: The Silver Tankard tavern, King's City

When: Sunset, Tuesday, March 11th, 872 RoK

Manny had been sitting at the side of the tavern trying to keep his head low, as his eyes followed patrons coming and going, but mostly staying. He had split off from Kiki when they had entered the King's City, she wanted to see the royal announcement from the Royal Scholar and General. He had other plans which included lining his pocket with coffers. Still he strained his sensitive hearing to pick up bits and pieces of the topic at hand...

The royal consort and her baby... the enchanted forest...Marcus the Vile...The Green Duke...a bounty...knight...creature hunter... The humanoid centaur frowned at that, but his thoughts were disrupted by the barmaid berating a boy selling meat-pies. Maybe she had a sixth sense because soon the man doubled over in pain. Manny liberated some of the man's funds from his table as his friends carried him for the door. And then all hell broke loose....

Manfred was on his feet notching his bow, "Stand away, quickly!"

tags

Vincent Gonzales
 

Who: Tristan
With: Brandy, Manfred
Where: The Silver Tankard
When: Sunset, Tuesday, March 11th 872 RoK

Tristan had been content to continue his conversation with Brandy as it had went so far, "officially" meeting her at her tavern and going on about bounties and evil villains in the forest and so on, but of course, someone had to go and ruin it by puking on the floor. "This is like basic all over again," he said under his breath before realizing it, glancing around to see if anyone had heard him.

When the door wouldn't budge, Tristan's nerves shot up a bit, but when the drunkard bit his goddamn friend, he knew things had went very very wrong. "Someone try a window!" he called out, springing to his feet, a dagger in his hand. This place was too tight to draw his longsword...

Manfred: *draws his bow*

Tristan almost did a double take when he saw another person draw a bow and arrow and try to take aim at the group. "What're you, crazy? Don't go off shooting bows inside a tavern, you're as likely to miss as you are to hit your target!" he exclaimed, stepping between the biter and the archer, his head still on a swivel as he held his dagger firm. What the hell was going on here?!

tags!

Rachel Balla
 

Manny: *draws a bow* "Stand away, quickly!"


In Brandy's moment of total horror, one of the bar patrons seemed to react immediately to the danger she could feel like smoke in the air, choking her, by drawing a bow. It was all happening so fast, and Tristan was then barking out orders and Brandy was quick to comply.


Tristan: "Someone try a window!" "What're you, crazy? Don't go off shooting bows inside a tavern, you're as likely to miss as you are to hit your target!"


"Zombie," Brandy said - barely able to keep the panicked declaration from becoming a shout. She immediately jumped to follow Tristan's order even as he faced off with the archer. She grabbed a barstool near her and threw it at the window nearest her. It busted, spraying glass onto the floor, and immediately a man tried to dive through it…


But the hungry growling that came through the opening and the anguished screams of the escaped man confirmed Brandy's worst suspicion: zombies were outside, too. A groping arm snaked through, reaching and grasping blindly, sending Brandy scurrying away…


Were they trapped? What did they do on the Walking Dead? What would Michione do…?


Where was Zaire? Brandy's frantic mind turned to the pirate that she knew would have cut through these monsters, no problem. Or at least known what to do… but he was probably already well off shore by then. Brandy was going to need to find her inner-Carol to survive this time, and, feet quick, she ran to the kitchen to claim a sharp chef's knife as a weapon. She returned in time to shout at Tristan just as the zombie was finishing one meal and setting his sights on another. "Tristan, kill it! That's a fucking zombie!"


Tags!

turksgirl
 

Who: Manfred
With: Tristan, Brandy
Where: The Silver Tankard
When: Sunset, Tuesday, March 11th 872 RoK


Tristan: "Someone try a window!" "What're you, crazy? Don't go off shooting bows inside a tavern, you're as likely to miss as you are to hit your target!"

Brandy:"Zombie," *breaks window, more zombies. nom,nom.nom"Tristan, kill it! That's a fucking zombie!"

Manny didn't need some human telling him what to do, and he wasn't going to be a good meal for these things. As noble as it was to try and save the patrons, he was intent to save his own nimble ass. He fired an arrow at the zombie in the window pinning it there and blocking others from climbing through right away. A second arrow with a rope attached shot up into the roof of the tavern.

And the thief was climbing upward rather swiftly, headed for the roof. "You might want to save yourselves! At least barricade the rest of them outside first..." Arrows were not good weapons against zombies unless you were already prepare with heavy quarrels, and shafts of white oak. Or you were a really good shot. Hooking his rope around his legs he fired his bow at the base of a zombie's skull and it dropped to the ground thrashing about on useless limbs that had their communication cut off from its infected brain to the rest of its body.

There was already becoming too many of them, and he climbed for the roof to cut open an escape. Thankfully zombies couldn't climb but the roof would only be a respite until there were enough to pile on top of each other to reach the top of the short building. Maybe they could at least save some of the patrons. He sighed and rolled his eyes, pulling his dagger to cut through the ceiling to freedom.

tags