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To... To... To Beer! [Retro] [Repost]

Guest Estel

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Guest Estel


Posted: Mon Jun 11, 2007


And the waitress is practicing politics

As the businessmen slowly get stoned

Yes, theyre sharing a drink they call loneliness

But its better than drinkin alone

(Piano Man- Billy Joel)


From the soothing warmth of the bathwater, it all seemed so unreal.  As if that two-day-old carnage were some tapestry briefly examined while awaiting more important; more personal business.  Away from the gagging smells of vomit, blood, urine, sweat and rotting flesh; with it all washed from her own skin, it seemed a distant memory.  In a place where there was no crying children, no crying mothers, no swearing husbands, no raucous drunks, no sound at all, it seemed like she had some other woman’s memories and that horror hadn’t happened to her.  In fact, the all-encompassing arms of the steaming bathwater were Dominik’s and she was back at home with Henrik fast asleep in the next room.  Oh Light, to get away from all of it, even if just for that short time, was the Creator’s hand itself.


Alianna remained in the bathtub long after the water had gone cold.  It wasn’t until she began shivering from the chill that she got out.  Slipping into a set of clean clothes ransacked from the carnival-gone-wrong, Alianna rejoiced in the unfamiliar feel of cleanliness.  Where from the bathtub it had all seemed so far away and distant, here, back in the terror-stricken city of Caemlyn, everything felt as if it were only that morning.


Exhaustion rolled back over her in waves despite having slept for a good half hour or so in the tub.  That half hour was one of the only blocks of sleep she had managed uninterrupted by crying, shouting and any number of other disturbances.  For the last two days, she, her companions, and some other hundred refugees from the carnival had been crammed into this inn.  Beds sold to the highest bidder and three to a bed was costing each three times over what beds enough for each would have cost last week.  One might have thought the innkeeper was gouging prices to benefit off this tragedy, but he need all the financial assistance he could get to help those bunking down in his common room who had lost everything.


The Kandori, herself, had been one of the lucky ones as he belongings, few as they were, had been on Dilora’s wagon, untouched by the carnage of yesterday’s yesterday.  However, she had not had much to start with and selling all her possession would only get her a piece of bed for one night.  Figuring it was not worth it, Alianna was forced to bunk down in the common room where sleep was nearly an impossibility.


However, there was one bonus to sleeping in the common room, and that was the plentiful supply of alcohol.  The innkeeper had no need to gouge prices on his ale, he was making a small fortune on just regular prices as hundreds of people got themselves ridiculously drunk each night and then proceeded to pass out on his floor where the remainder of their money was stolen and used for someone else’s drinks.  Then, of course, said poor schmuck would have to steal some other bastard’s wallet for his drinks when he regained consciousness.  Due to this rather odd circle, wallets were constantly switching hands until it happened that someone would steal a wallet only to discover it was his own.  The first day, this constant changing of money had caused a few brawls, broken up immediately by the more “organized” members of this odd little “inn society”- Alianna and her companions being among them.


Wading her way through unconscious and sleeping forms, each as common as the other here, she made her way over to the bar with every intention of spending the last of her coin on getting ridiculously drunk.



Winter Mist

Posted: Mon Jun 11, 2007


Sleep was not being very forthcoming lately. Every time Dilora tried to close her eyes the visions came; images of indescribable horrors that plucked at her subconscious mind, tearing sleep from her and leaving her wide-eyed and terrified. She had been defended her wagon to the last, that carnival had claimed more lives than had been resurrected by that … bubble … evil, horrible, vile … Dilora ran out of superlatives on every single occasion she tried to explain it. It was like she had entered another world, or a nightmare. She had escaped the majority of the influx of refugees once things had settled a little more by taking her wagon outside the city walls, hoping that in solitude and peace and quiet, Dilora would be able to sleep and try to forget. Hot baths did nothing for her. The songs she usually enjoyed sounded dull and uninspired on her tongue, and she even lost her lustre for the wheeling and dealing of being a peddler. She could find no surcease from the pained memories.


Except in the drink.


She wanted nothing more than to forget. To lose herself in a haze of good times, and singing; maybe even dancing and finding a nice lad to look at. That didn’t seem likely to happen, finding a nice lad, but Dilora knew a little tavern that would help. Nice, cold ale, or even better, some nice strong brandy would make all the difference in trying to sleep. Even now, trying to put a positive face on things, Dilora felt unnaturally tense. She hated silence. If there were no noises of hustle and bustle, she thought she could hear the screams of the dead and dying, but it was just her mind playing tricks on her. But even the wind ruffling leaves above her head made her think of the deathly shuffled gait of some of those creatures that had attacked them. Beset by such macabre sights, Dilora was surprised as many had survived as had done. Her heart went out to the survivors, but she secretly envied the dead their rest.


There wasn’t too much distance between Dilora and the tavern, and the night sky was darkening down as she crossed the cobbled stable yard and pushed open the doors. It looked busy, but it had the one thing she needed right now. Company. The fact it was rather noisy in here was an added bonus, as she didn’t think she’d be sleeping any time soon. Her eye strayed to a dark-haired form in the tavern that she would pick out anywhere, slumped at a table, her eyes far away as the leaden clouds on the horizon.




Tending the dying and wounded, the two had grown to know each other more and more. First by travelling with each other before arriving in Caemlyn, then fighting alongside each other and then both surviving and helping with the aftermath, a bond had been created between the two women. A link forged in a chain, or perhaps one of the threads in the pattern itself, made of much stronger stuff than mere webs, that was the best way to describe it. The former thief-taker from Kandor sat a few paces away now, Dilora having walked towards her without thinking. An absent arm went up even as she crossed the remaining distance to her table. The innkeeper would be serving brandy if she knew the man at all – good for shock – and she expected some would be brought over soon enough. He knew Dilora by sight and he knew she was good for it. The chair creaked as she lowered her weight into it, causing the other woman to look up.


“Alianna.” Dilora nodded gravely at the woman, her mouth tight. Her throat was a little choked by the rush of memories that came flooding back, and a tear leaked down from one brown eye to mix with a drop of something on the table. She put her head in her hands.




Posted: Sat Jun 23, 2007


Her tankard of whiskey was accompanied by the creaking of a chair and a familiar face.  Dilora was a mess.  The peddler had held herself together far better after the nightmares than Alianna had.  However, the woman looked an absolute wreck just now as a solitary tear made its way down her cheek, falling in Ali’s whiskey.  Reduced to that level of uncontrollable emotion, Alianna’s own tears joined her companion’s.


Wiping it away, she raised her glass.  “To misery.” and with that drained the entire mug of whiskey, not caring that some spilled over the edges of the mug in her haste to ease some of the pain.  Alianna whistled for the bartender to fill her mug, and Dilora’s, again.  When it came to lifted it again “To Caemlyn.”  She repeated this a third time, this time saying “To whiskey.”


With her mind significantly numbed, she grinned glassily back at Dilora.  “You too, eh?”  A nod came as acquiescence.  “Me too,” Alianna became redundant when drunk “Light praise this stuff.”  Almost in response, the bartender arrived with her fourth cup of whiskey.  Alianna swayed a little in her stool as he shifted herself from staring at the peddler, back to the bar.


Failing to drown her entire mug in one draught, and spilling a greater amount of liquid down her chin than after her first cup, seemed to break the mood.  In setting her half-empty mug back on the bar, she put her head in her hands and wept silently.



Winter Mist

Posted: Sun Jun 24, 2007


Someone to hold me… Right now, all I want is someone to hold me…


“To Caemlyn!” Dilora would drink to that. She’d drink to every toast the older woman made right now because it was good to have something to pin the need for drinking on. It almost made it seem right, like having a wake for a deceased relative, but this was far more personal and would remain in the memories far longer. The bartender kept bringing over more drink and Dilora knew she would feel it in the morning, but she didn’t care and had matched Alianna drink for drink, until the tears had rolled silently down the other woman’s cheeks. Dilora would not have realised the former thief-catcher was crying without seeing her shoulders shaking and her head in her hands. She rose from her seat unsteadily, ignoring the chair clattering noisily to the floor behind her. No one else paid it heed either, so she kept walking around to Alianna and looked at her through drink-fuddled eyes.


“Ali.” Dilora called to the woman, her speech a little slurred by her tongue, too thick and relaxed in her mouth. “Ali, love, come here.” She held her arms out to the woman and stumbled forward, just catching herself in time so she didn’t send them both tumbling to the decks. Her arms went around her, and Dilora hugged her tightly. Tears fell down her own cheeks now, and she sank to her knees hugging around the other woman’s waist.


“I’m so sorry. I, I couldn’t do any more for anyone. I think I was unconscious for a time and when I woke up and tried to get back to my wagon to get as many away from there as we could. I feel so useless.” She just sobbed, letting it all out until the spinning world stopped slightly and her mouth felt dry. “I need another drink.” Dilora slurred, disentangling her arms from the other woman and pushing herself unsteadily to her feet. Walking back around to the other side of the table, she picked up the chair and sat on it, picking up the whiskey downing it in one go.


“To the survivors!”

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Guest Estel

Together they cried.  Each the other’s support while each was supported by the other; neither stronger, neither weaker; a sort of equilibrium between their respective levels of misery, strength and weakness.  It could hardly be called perfect or peaceful or any of the things usually used to describe those moments when everything seemed right- not that everything was right in this moment, but under the circumstances, it was as good as it was going to get.


Inhibitions removed by their alcohol consumption, they shamelessly let loose the pent up grief both had held back since that awful day that seemed like yesterday and yet everything before seemed an eternity ago.  At any other time the scene would have been out of place in an inn commonroom, but here; in this city; in this inn, it was too common a sight.


The moment broke and both wiped the tears away from their own eyes as well as each others’.  Pulling herself back up to the bar to join Dilora, she nodded in acknowledgement of her admission.  “I gave up part way through.  I was going to just give myself over to them;” she said, adding her own confession “let them kill me because it would have been so much easier.”


More whiskey was brought over and Alianna smiled as the peddler woman toasted the survivors.  “To the survivors,” Ali repeated “unfortunate as they are.” and with that drained her cup.

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  • 3 weeks later...



“To the survivors.”  Dilora drained what little dregs remained in her own cup and set it down unsteadily on the table.  It wobbled and fell over, letting a trickle fall onto the surface where it mingled immediately with the washes of previous tears and beers.  Peering through uncertain eyes at the older woman, Dilora wondered.  Would she have given up as easily as the other woman had intended?  It was difficult to know what she would do.  Certainly, Dilora had spent enough nights with the comforting presence of a wine bottle to know that she desperately had a problem, but she did not know whether she would go as far as to give up on life.  They might have as well laid down and died with those unfortunates at the carnival.


“No, Alianna, you shouldn’t give up.”  Her tone carried sympathy even as it carried unshed tears.  “If you give up, then there is no hope.  You are alive, so there is hope.”  Wow, that was profound.  There sometimes was truth in the wine, no matter where the source.  “We are survivors.  To us!”  She tried to pick up another cup she thought contained some whiskey, and was peevish when it didn’t have any in it. 


“Bah,” she exclaimed, trying to stand, but standing on the hem of her skirt again and nearly falling backwards.  “Girl!  We need some more whiskey over here!  There’s an extra silver if you bring it quickly.”  Dilora added the incentive to make sure the girl would be move pretty sharpish to give them their drinks.  It usually worked and, in this case, it was no exception.  Picking up the now full cup, Dilora repeated her toast.


“To us, Alianna.  To you and I - to all of those that made it through and have to live another day.  We’ll find a way.  We’ll get over it.  And we damn well won’t let ourselves be beaten easily!”  The whiskey was making her bold, even if she slurred her words slightly and hiccupped at the end of the sentence.  She drained her drink and watched to see Alianna’s reaction.  “We’ll fight.  We’ll get stronger and fight back, and next time they come, they won’t hurt us at all!”


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  • 1 month later...

Hope.  Such a fragile thing.  So easily shattered, tearing out a part of the person as it was destroyed.  Yet human beings still clung to it- every mother still hoped ten years after their child disappeared that they’d return home tomorrow smiling and laughing; every thief on the eve before the gallows clung to the notion that somehow he’d be pardoned.  Hope was such a masochistic, useless thing; for those who were too weak to face the truth and for those who had nothing else.  What else did Alianna have besides hope?  A quarterstaff, the clothes on her back and maybe two coppers to rub together... and Dilora.


“We’ll fight.  We’ll get stronger and fight back, and next time they come, they won’t hurt us at all!”


Not hurt?  The concept was practically foreign to the woman who was incapable of letting go of the memory of her former family simply because letting go meant they were truly gone.  Was it time?  Time to move on?  Time to let go of that foolish hope that someday she might just wake up and this would all be a nightmare?  She hadn’t given up hope, she clung to it like a drowning person to a bit of driftwood even though she knew it was too small and light to hold her weight.  She would rather cling to useless hope than actually risk drowning and swim for shore.


But to hope was to still be alive, according to Dilora.  It was a comfort to be able to keep holding on to futile hope and denying the inevitable truth.  “I’m still alive.  I’m still alive.  I’m still alive.”  She repeated it like a mantra, each time getting stronger and regaining resolve.  “I’m still alive!”


Draining back another whiskey, leaning over, and nearly toppling off her stool in the process, she hugged Dilora.  Or at least her intent was a hug, mostly it was her flopping at the woman and then having to cling to the peddler with her arms to keep from falling over.  “Thank you.”


When she was more confident in her balance, which wasn’t to say she actually was more balanced since she did end up collapsing on the bar, she pushed herself upright again and pounded her glass on the mar until she got another whiskey.  “We’ll make ourselves,” she paused to drain about half her whiskey before continuing with her sentences “stronger.  The strongest women in the” wondering why she still had some amber liquid in the cup, she drained it though only about half made its way to burn down her throat.  “whole world.  No one will hurt us anymore!”


This time when she raised the mug to her lips, nothing happened.  Well, nothing happened with the cup, but Alianna almost fell over in the process.  Peeved Alianna turned back to Dilora.  “Oh oh!  You know how to use a bow right?  I’ll teach you how to whack those bastards over the head with this” she patted the trusty quarterstaff leaning against the bar “if you teach me to deal with them before they get so damn close!”

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  • 3 months later...



“Yes!”  She exclaimed, reaching around the table and throwing her arms around the other woman’s neck.  Several of the other patrons regarded them with open mouths, wondering what other such forward displays might follow with this pair of inebriated good-looking women.  Dilora looked at them owlishly.  They blinked and turned their attention back to their own drinks, every now and again looking up to see how things were progressing.  “Yes, we have to be strong.”  She hiccupped and let go of Alianna before pushing herself to her feet.  How had her clothing got so awry?


Straightening her blouse and skirt, Dilora looked around and put some coins on the table in case she had not provided enough during the course of the evening.  “We should get some sleep though.  Fabled worriers, I mean, fabled warriors such as ourselves need rest to stay strong.”  She blanched.  It meant going back to her own bed and the nightmares that would likely impinge on her consciousness while she slept, regardless of the buffer the drinks had provided.  Alianna was not doing overly better; she looked about for her belongings with a down-turned mouth, deep in the over-precise concentration of those under the influence.  Reality sufficiently fuzzy, Dilora headed for the doorway and looked back over her shoulder.


“Alianna,” she called, dimly aware that the other patrons were hanging on her every word.  Oh, Light, they’ll like this then, she thought.  And then she giggled, hiding mouth behind her hand and looking shocked she had let the laughter go.  “Alianna, if you don’t want to be alone tonight, there is plenty of room at the wagon.  Stay with me, and we can start early on the morrow.  What do you say?”


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