Old April 17, 2017, 06:50 PM   #1 (permalink)
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[Port Alyx] Painting PA

Summer Era XXIV


There was a tavern near the port of the City of Queens that overlooked a sparkling Sea of Diana, its large open windows allowing a spill of sunlight to warm its busy interior. Here there was an easy manner to the patrons' laughter, an abundance of decent alcohol, and servers who actually appeared as if they had wanted to come into work that day. They deftly maneuvered about the tables holding large trays abundant with seafood-focused dishes, bringing with them easy smiles and quick conversation before continuing on their way.

Even large as it was, the place was packed with animated and energetic visitors - some merchants, others sailors, and plenty of them locals fond of the bustling atmosphere. Even the bartender was busy regaling a few of those seated there with a humorous story, her expression exaggerated and entirely engrossed in the tale she was attempting to weave.

Adyn enjoyed the attitude of the place, even if how crowded it could get left it on par with the stifling nature of the Crown. At least here, despite the better quality of the liquor, they didn't complain when Adyn kicked his boots up into the chair nearby. In fact that was how he was settled now with one ankle crossed over the other, slouched in his seat as he rolled a pair of dice idly between his fingers. Before him on the table rested an empty stein and one that was halfway there, a local ale from a nearby brewery that had found success in Port Alyxandrya for good reason.

The rogue offered a small nod and a salute to a few passers-by he recognized, a couple merchants who had put up a good game of cards a few darkenings before. Now that the rogue was entertaining thoughts of a business here in the city, it didn't hurt to maintain a friendly attitude with a few potential investors... or future regulars, perhaps.

As it was, he had actually come to relax for a little bit, having found his thoughts had become far too numerous and busy for his liking. He needed to get away from the silent nature of his room, to drink in the din of city life around him and to clear his head a little. Maybe in a while he'd even seek out a game, he determined as he took another drink, his eyes sweeping the interior around him in search of potential distractions.
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Old April 18, 2017, 07:11 AM   #2 (permalink)
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There was little that the elf enjoyed less than trying to navigate a new city. Even when it was exploring for exploring’s sake, there was something very irritating about heading in one direction and finding that the weaving pattern of streets in fact directed you somewhere quite different. He ducked into the tavern for a brief interlude from being lost.

It was a sprawling place, and yet the light and the open nature of the layout prevented it feeling overwhelming, despite the large number of people contained within. Calanon made his way toward the bar, already anticipating the cool relief of an ale , the summer suns hot enough outside for him to have shed unnecessary layers. Cloak and vest folded away in his pack made for bulky carrying, but the light shirt he wore was more than enough, even with the wash of a cooling sea breeze rolling in from the bay.

Having procured himself a mug of ale, the Sylrosian elf took more of a look at the place, gaze sweeping around the room, before revisiting a familiar looking figure. Could it really be so? Former sparring partner, fellow vanquisher of undead wildlife and all-round dude, Adynirach Thorne. Somewhat gladdened to find a familiar face in the unfamiliar town, he wandered over toward the table where Adyn sat.

“Well met, Adyn, although unexpectedly so” he said as he drew level with the male. He gestured to an empty seat at the table. “ You averse to some company?”

Assuming his acquaintance did not in fact object, the elf would sit, discarding his bag to the floor and looking back to the human. “ Still a way from Prime I see…mercenary business?”
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Old April 18, 2017, 08:58 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Blue eyes darted upward at the figure that approached Adyn's table, and a flicker of recognition washed through them. The rogue stopped spinning the dice in his fingers and set them on the table as a smile tugged at the corners of his mouth.

"Calanon." He chuckled. "Whenever I start to think I'm getting bored, you happen to show up. I'm starting to think maybe I should just keep you around." He reached for his mug again and gestured at the seat, then waved the server over.

As the elf set down his belongings and made himself comfortable, the rogue lifted his brows and set the mug back down. "Mm? Oh, nah. Relocated," he answered. "Small world, though, running into you all over the map like this. New to the City of Queens? How are you liking it?"

He produced a stick of something from his tunic pocket as the server arrived, who he then asked to take Calanon's order. The woman, bright eyed and blonde with slightly pointed ears, shifted a smile in the elf's direction.

"Whatever you want," the human encouraged, "It's on me." As he spoke the drug went into his mouth and he set about lighting the end of it.
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Old April 18, 2017, 09:35 AM   #4 (permalink)
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“Bored? Surely not” the elf asked, deadpan. “ I myself am bored of trying to find my way around this dratted city……you’re living here now?”

He paused as the blonde girl arrived, eyes shifting from Adyn towards her
“…oh, I’ll take whatever’s good?” he shrugged,“ though if he’s paying, best make it something expensive”. Calanon returned her smile before refocusing on the man across the table.

Curiously, he watched Adyn light the smoke, recalling him doing the same during their previous encounters. He had meant to ask about the odd blue smoke before, but amongst all of the attack squirrels and manly punching, had never quite gotten round to it.

“What is that?” he said, with a nod toward the now lit cigarette. “It’s…flavoured? Or something more?

Waiting for the human to expand upon his choice in smoke, the elf took a welcome drink of ale and settled back more comfortably in his chair, kicking out long legs in front of him. It was some luck indeed to stumble upon his former travel companion upon chance, the idea of exploring the city becoming a little less enticing in comparison to shooting the breeze and idling away the afternoon in good company.
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Old April 18, 2017, 10:35 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Adyn chuckled at the elf's remark on finding his way around, recalling how the man had seemed frustrated with the population of the capital as well. He certainly seemed less at home in the city as Adyn did.

"Not as big as Prime, but it's an intimidating city," he acknowledged. Port Alyxandrya had its own attempts at being grand and memorable, and it certainly didn't fail in many regards. There was a certain charm to this port city that Jaedaxia or Prime could never touch, though, and Adyn had definitely missed it.

"Yeah, since spring. Grew up here, so I suppose it was only a matter of time before it called me back." Home. That's what it felt like to him, in a way that Aelyria Prime or Ziel Aerca could never be. The need to tend to old wounds had brought him back, but the memories had kept him here. He hadn't realized how much those ghosts had haunted him until he had managed to put a few to rest.

His eyes danced as Calanon mentioned expense, which garnered a titter of laughter from the serving girl. She cast a wry look in Adyn's direction, who returned it with a crooked grin.

"Port Alyx porter, I reckon?" she asked the rogue, who offered an amiable shrug.

"I'd say that's a fine choice. Bring him a few."

With a light hop and whirl the girl was gone, and blue-gray eyes trained on the elf once more. The familiar blue smoke wafted upwards in front of him, and he held the cigarette between two fingers as if considering it anew upon Calanon's question.

"It's not tobacco," he explained, never having actually taken to traditional cigarettes. They didn't provide the relief that the drugs did and left a clinging stench besides, something he had preferred far less to the luxury of cigars. These, though...

"They're staples from Ziel Aerca. Pretty benign, but pleasant. Eases the tension, helps with the stress. You wanna try one?" He always carried a few sticks and had a variety on him today, even if he was smoking them less frequently these days. They might become products of his soon enough, and he viewed them no differently than having a drink at the bar - harmless until abused... that sort of thing.

Regardless of the answer, the human took a deep breath and glanced toward the dice settled before him as he leaned forward a bit. "You searching for something particular here, or are you just taking a vacation? Because if it's the latter, doesn't seem like you're doing it right." He grinned before the Sparkle went back between his lips, paper crackling as he took a languid drag.
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Old April 18, 2017, 11:24 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Calanon nodded in understanding as Adyn confessed he had grown up in this city, that it had called him back. He knew only too well that feeling, only nothing remained for him to go back to. A slight surge of envy for the human was all that broke through carefully crafted walls and his face remained impassive. He was getting better at dealing with that reality. Outwardly at least.

He shot the human a look though, as the man instructed the girl to bring over ‘a few’ drinks. It seemed his friend was invested in the afternoon now. And who was he to argue?

There was some interest clear in the elf’s expression as Adyn described the smoke he held, Cal being familiar with the slight euphoria boosting properties of some of the greenery once found in his forest home, but he had been hard pressed to find it on his travels since. He nodded at the man’s offer to try one, extending a hand to accept what was proffered.

“Not doing it right?” the Sylrosian asked sceptically, eyeing the dice that lay on the table. “Pray educate me then friend, what is your version of doing it right?”

He had enough foresight to identify that throwing down that gauntlet might be a quick way to a fine mess, but there was something appealing about the idea of just indulging in the recreational side of life for an afternoon.
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Old April 18, 2017, 12:17 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Adyn produced a stick of Sparkle, twirling it briefly in his hands so that he presented it facing in the proper direction. He offered the elf a light before leaning back in his chair. A drag on the cigarette produced a warm and fuzzy feeling, followed by a slight tingle on the tongue, one that might have made the act of drinking the ale a strange enough experience.

Adyn chuckled a brush of blue smoke at the elf's response. "You seem tense," he explained. "You always seem tense. Not that I can blame you. Just doesn't seem like a vacation that way, does it?"

At the request of what he might have done to pass the time, though, he lifted a shoulder as he considered. Port Alyxandrya was a far cry from Ziel Aerca, where the clubs had plenty of drugs and the whores knew enough to earn their keep ten times over. Not that the latter was something he really indulged in anymore, but Calanon might have appreciated a good brothel or two.

He caught the glance toward the dice and couldn't help but smile again.

"Oh the gambling's good here, certainly. Wouldn't try my hand against the sailors if you're green to the game, though... There's plenty of folks here in port who could clean your purse in a candlemark." He snatched up the dice and rolled them between his fingers again, considering some of the sides that had become worn. "Me, though? I just like to have fun. I'd be willing to play a game or two without betting money, if you're the gambling sort anyway."

He gestured with a lift of his brows and a tilt of his hand toward a table of gruff-looking fellows and a couple of women as well. "There're a few around who are good company at cards. Friendly folks, good sense of humor. Never hurts to drink with the sort, I find. And I know a few who'll even take you sailing if you're keen."

Adyn still had a problem with getting seasick, but maybe the elf wanted to give it a go.

"There're some decent brothels around, too. Could direct you to a few. If that doesn't catch your fancy, Noble's Nest has a lot of... elven architecture." The guy was an elf, after all. And some people really liked architecture?

And as long as he was clinging to stereotypes, here... "Parks, too. Great parks here in Port Alyx. Trees and manicured yards and flowers."

He caught the dice in his palm and took another drink of ale. "Otherwise, when all else fails, enjoy the drink and get really high. Nothing like that to get your mind off of everything, I find." He waggled his brows and dropped a stick of Rapture in front of the elf for when the Sparkle was depleted. Because he sure seemed like he could use a bit of energy right about now.
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Old April 18, 2017, 01:43 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Calanon surveyed the smouldering stick thoughtfully before placing it between his lips and drawing back a breath into his lungs. Slender fingers lifted it away as he waited on the effect. The rush was immediate and pleasant, a warmth spreading through him and he tilted his head to the side, a slight nod of appreciation toward the human. He flicked his tongue between his teeth as a tingling sensation set in, that was new.

Fascinated, he sat back and watched the blue smoke seep up past his face as he exhaled, half listening to Adyn. Tense? He supposed he had been pretty wound up the first time they met. And, who wouldn’t be a little tense when necromantic woodland creatures were all up in your grille? Still, it could be considered a fair enough assessment, and the elf had no reservations about kicking back and relaxing a little right now. He took another drag as the man opposite made a pretty good pitch for the delights that the city had to offer.

Cal’s eyes followed Adyn’s gesture over toward the table of weathered looking folk. Yes, they did rather look the sort but he listened fairly impassively until the human mentioned parks, at which point he waved a hand dismissively.

“No parks” he said, perhaps a little darkly. Parks and Gardens had a lot to answer for.

Calanon mused on Adyn’s suggestions for a few moments. He had never been much of a gambler, but there was always time for that to change, although he doubted he was about to discover some latent talent in that field. Elven architecture was a little too close to the bone, and the last thing he wanted was to spend the afternoon feeling homesick and grief burdened. Fun times.

Sailing sounded like too much effort, whoring like too little effort.

That didn’t leave a lot for it. The elf gave a laugh at the man’s closing statement, eyeing the white stick he set on the table with no small amount of suspicion, before taking another long toke on the stick of Sparkle.

“Well, hodoer wise one, as you say that leaves us with only one thing. Let’s reach for the stars!”
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Old April 18, 2017, 02:18 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Adyn couldn't blame Calanon for dismissing parks. He seemed a little perturbed by the suggestion, but Adyn found them boring enough to understand. There just wasn't much to do in parks, and people tended to get upset if you climbed the fountains. Not to mention, he just ended up pacing around and sighing when Kailin decided to sit out and paint. How anyone had the patience for that, he'd never understand.

None of the other options seemed to appeal toCalanon. Ah well, perhaps that was his problem. Perhaps there were so little hobbies to appeal to the elf that he didn't know how to relax. Well, they'd figure it out.

Because by now, Adyn had become resolved to enjoy the afternoon. He had just come back from business and an eventful trek from sea to river, on a boat full of timber and textiles aimed for the province of Moonstone. He had explored Jaedaxia, had a few nice little adventures there as well, and upon his return to Port Alyxandrya had considered an awful lot of business. It was time to kick back and have a day off.

All the better to enjoy it with someone else. So when the server returned he asked her to keep an eye out in order to keep their mugs topped off. He'd worry about the tab later on. He set about downing what remained of his current drink and simply waited for the next.

"The stars!" he agreed, pointing toward the ceiling as if the elf might not know where they were located. He took another drag. "And while we work on that, I have to ask.. what the feth hodoer means."

He leaned forward again, allowing his feet to find the ground as he set the dice back on the table. "Now I have to ask, Calanon," he continued with new resolve. "I'm courting a lovely lady who knows more elven than I do. I need a sentence. A few words maybe. Help a fellow out."

Of course, Adyn knew full well from hanging out with the merchants and sailors here, that one was more likely to teach him bad words than anything that would serve a purpose. But the rogue was the sort to get as much entertainment out of the former as he was the latter, if he didn't manage to forget the lesson a candlemark after it was given.
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Old April 18, 2017, 03:43 PM   #10 (permalink)
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The beer was indeed an odd experience when combined with the tongue tingle left behind by the Sparkle. Calanon could only compare the prickling sensation as similar to the awareness of energy that he got when about to cast. Only focused on his tongue. Which was weird.

It did not prevent him taking a long drink, the ale was good, with a smoother taste than he had known before, less bitter. It went down a little too easily in all honesty, which perhaps should have been a warning sign. Oh well.

The elf followed Adyn’s gaze up to the ceiling, a smirk as he took back another lungful of blue smoke, already feeling a pleasant buzz. He was happy to enlighten the human as to his native language.

“Hodoer means Wise One” he said, his eyes questioning as the man leant forward as if to ask something serious. At his words, Calanon’s features rearranged themselves into an expression that could only be described as gleeful. Another warning sign perhaps. He smiled widely at Adyn.

“Of course, mellonin. Anything for a friend. And I am well versed in the words to win a ladies heart”

He too leant forward, as if giving the task his utmost focus and attention.

“A compliment is as good a place to start as any. Your beauty is an endless source of wonder.. vanim naa ve' y' tumba eithel en' trakae Your beauty is like a deep well of ****

Calanon spoke very slowly, enunciating each syllable to give the human the best chance of following.

“You try it?”

He sat back and looked expectantly at Adyn, manfully suppressing the snort of humour as his own wit. If Adyn's girl really could speak elvish, then she might be less than impressed. If not, then it certainly sounded pretty.
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Old April 18, 2017, 04:04 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Wise one, huh? Adyn rubbed at the scruff on his jaw, not sure whether to believe that one, but he stowed it away anyway in case someone said it again. Maybe he'd double check with Kailin later.

He sighed as the man called him by something else, though. He couldn't keep up with these words. Learning charismean had been bad enough, and he had only gotten better at it with plenty of genuine use. But hey, it was the thought that counted here, right?

His brow knit as the elf spoke in his native tongue, and even with the effects of the alcohol not having taken their toll, he found himself struggling to wrap his head around the floral language. He repeated each part of it clumsily, the tingle in his tongue a protestation of how much more frequently he had to make use of it to voice the words.

"Ugh, there's no way I'll remember that." He repeated it a few more times, though, for good measure. Close enough.

"All right, mon ami," he then declared, "If we're going to keep running into each other the way we have so far, we need to learn a little more about one another. So I say let's play a drinking game. You ask a question, and if I answer you take a drink. If I refuse, I take a drink. And so on."

He gestured for the elf to start. "And I realize I'm not a thrilling fellow. So ask what you want. Doesn't have to be about me. Could be about the city, I suppose."

Normally Adyn didn't offer to be so forthcoming with information about himself, but this party needed to get started already, and it seemed a swift way to facilitate that.
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Old April 18, 2017, 05:06 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Calanon had listened,cringing only a little as Adyn butchered the diction of his beautiful language over and over again, until he delivered something that was at least half recognisable. Then he sat back, looking inordinately pleased with himself, raising his mug to the human in salute. He was clearly just heartened by his pupil’s success, or that is what he resolved to tell Adyn should he become suspicious.

“There my friend, your lady will be unable to resist.” He smiled into his beer as he drank, hoping that the lady in question had a sense of humour, and would not hold his student too much to account. It was too good an opportunity to pass up.

Adyn, it appeared, had taken his fill of language lessons, and as he laid out his proposal for a drinking game of sorts the elf nodded to show he understood. Whether that would still be the case a few drinks down the line remained to be seen.

“ Very well” Calanon said, relying on the blue smoke to quell his slight hesitation at games that involved much talking of his past. He held the stick of Sparkle between his thumb and index finger, taking a drag as he eyed Adyn speculatively, trying to choose his first question. After a moment, he nodded as if having a breakthough.

“You told me you were a soldier once. Why once and not now?” He punctuated the question with a wave of the cigarette.

Calanon was genuinely curious, for that kind of life seemed to draw people in for good. With the possibility of something similar on his horizon, he was keen to hear of the man’s experiences.
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Old April 19, 2017, 09:55 AM   #13 (permalink)
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To be fair, the rogue wasn't too keen on sharing much of his past, either - but at least if there were things to hide, there was more drinking to be done. Such was the real nature of the game, really.

And so there the two sat silently, mugs of ale before them, puffing on Sliucha's drugs as they waited to begin. The human peered at the elf in anticipation of the first question, wondering all the while if it was something he'd have to refuse right off the bat.

He grunted in slight surprise when it was something he could actually answer truthfully. He took another puff of the Sparkle, tongue tingling in response.

"I lost someone," he said simply. There was a pause, and there he waited for the pain of it to settle in, for the memories of his sister's face to punctuate his less heavy thoughts. His eyes drifted toward the table, and when he realized that the reality of it did not quite settle the way he expected, he felt bold enough to continue... to revisit the reasons why.

"I became a guard, and then a soldier, to better myself for someone who was very dear to me. Toward the end of the war... she was killed. The reason for all that marching seemed hollow after that. I couldn't do it any more. All the reasons fell away."

Another puff, then, as he willed the Sparkle to continue to keep the pain at bay. He had not been marching for the whole of Telath, after all... had not been fighting for the better good. He hadn't even marched for himself, either... he had little in him to be that selfish, or selfless, or even all that self-aware. He had been marching for her, had been doing so his entire life, really, after his father had died. Too much of his life had lost its meaning when his only family had died away.

A sad smile crept across the rogue's face when he finally tamped all of that down. Truth be told, the life of a soldier followed him regardless of whether he would have willed as much or not. There were gruesome images that trailed him in his dreams, good friends who had died with their innards on the ground before them, some of them in exchange for his own life even... for some ungodly reason. And had he been considered a restless man before, the war had left him even more incapable of living a "normal" life. He would never, not for the remainder of his years, find it within himself to be still.

"My turn, then," he declared suddenly, tapping a few times upon the table. "What had you so angry in the training yard that day?"
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Old April 19, 2017, 12:39 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Calanon supposed he should not have been surprised when Adyn’s answer was less than merry. It was often the lowest moments that drove the most change. He himself knew that all too well. There was much in the human’s words that he could draw parallels with. Reasons for doing anything at all had seemed elusive to him for long enough.

He listened quietly to Adyn, watching him through the hovering fog of blue that seemed to surround them as both elf and man smoked.
“I am sorry for your loss, mellonin” he offered quietly as the man seemed to decide he had told enough of that story. He played by the rules and drained his mug, realising as he set it down that the combination of the ale and the Sparkle on an empty stomach was beginning to have some influence. He eyed the remaining beers on the table, thinking he had better try harder next time.

A couple of beats of silence and his drinking buddy’s declaration that it was now his turn had the elf shift uncomfortably in his seat and sigh as he awaited whatever question would be thrown his way. When it did come, he didn’t know whether to be relieved or perturbed, recent events making that particular subject more than little topical. He frowned, looking up toward Adyn as he sifted through the possible answers, alighting on the most truthful yet most vague that he thought he could get away with.
“More a case of who” he said “ I had just had the misfortune of meeting a truly hideous woman, and I’m afraid to say I rather let her get under my skin” That hadn’t changed. His scowl deepened and he took a pacifying drag on the dwindling stick of sparkle, before he finished his little explanation.

“Honestly, I can’t say I have even come across a more poisonous little witch in all my years. I would not be sad if she were to drop dead tomorrow”

It gave him some kind of perverse pleasure to malign Ministra so, even though he knew it was for his benefit only. It wasn’t like Adyn would know who he spoke of. And technically, she was already dead, so what difference did it make?

Assuming that would satisfy his companion, he racked his brains for another question of his own.

“ Have you ever been in jail?”

If it was because there was a slight sense of the unlawful about the man opposite him, then the elf couldn’t help that. Not like he was judging after all.
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Old April 19, 2017, 01:05 PM   #15 (permalink)
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The human tilted his head in acknowledgment of the man's condolences. The words never soothed the hurt in quite the way they were meant to, but the sincere understanding behind them now was something the human could appreciate.

He nodded, as well, at the elf's response to his own question, draining his mug even as he did so. "People can be assholes," he said sympathetically. "She sounds like a real keeper, mon ami." He had met his fair share of unpleasant people, after all ... had been screwed over and knifed by a few, in fact. He could understand the hatred, even though he had experienced so much of it by now that it had become background noise, a dull ache in the wake of a storm that left only a jaded man behind.

He let out a half grunt, half laugh at the new question that followed. Had he ever been to jail? A few times, too many times... but to recount each one would be a collection of stories that spilled beyond the scope of a single answer.

"Yes," he decided to say, the smile that formed on his face one more sly than sad this time around, "for disorderly conduct. Someone had a bone to pick with a man of the law, and I was still in uniform when I went to drink after my shift. I took the bait, and ended up spending the night with a couple friends. Behind bars."

He exhaled the remainder of what he'd get from that stick and snuffed it out on an empty plate. "Turns out that when you wear the uniform, you serve as some sort of example or something, and have this image to uphold. Imagine that." He certainly seemed less than impressed with the rules he had been bound to at the time, and truly Adyn couldn't help but roll his eyes. He remembered, not too fondly, the lecture that had been rained upon him once he had become sober the morning after.

Ah well. He considered his next question only briefly before turning back to the elf.

"Have you ever injured yourself to impress someone?"

The blonde server dipped around to refill the mugs and was swiftly gone again, leaving the two men to feed into the burn of the liquor's growing effects.
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