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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Now this is more like it! (attn. Arinth)


The Bard Babe
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Coming up to the entrance of the tavern, Arkin's common grin danced to his lips. Ah, taverns. Taverns, Inns, Bars and Hells, they were his domain. They combined his talents and gleeman upbringing with his favoured activities of drinking and ogling barmaids. Well, there were some other activities he enjoyed with barmaids as well.

 

His grin widening, Arkin stepped up to the door and let himself in. The first thing that he noticed was that there was a distinct lack of decent entertainment on terms of music and dancing. He'd have to fix that...but not tonight.

Tonight, he just wanted to drink and observe the crowd. He needed to figure out his audience before he could even hope to get any money out of them-Arkin let out a laugh. He was a member of the Band now, not a poor, destitute travelling, singing storyteller, he didn't have to worry about all that anymore.

 

But still, Arkin thought as he approached a booth, it can't hurt to see what I've signed up to.

 

Taking a seat behind a rickety table, he called over a barmaid, flicking her a coin and asking for ale. As she left, he watched her swaying behind for a moment before taking in the atmosphere of the tavern. There was some gambling going on in the corner, made evident by the rattle of the dice and bellowed curses and cheers. Pretty little barmaids flitted around the room and everywhere smelt of wine and ale.

 

Leaning back, Arkin folded his arms behind his head. He'd been practically living in places like these since he was very young. They felt more like home to him than any country he'd ever known.

 

As he relaxed, Arkin heard some singing start from a large group in the opposite corner to the dicers. He couldn't help but laugh as he began to whistle the tune and the barmaid reappeared with his mug of ale. Now this is more like it!

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People, poor singing, worse smelling food and air, creaking chairs. Arinth stopped and frowned. He turned around in a full circle wondering why his room had changed so much. If he hadn’t known better he would have thought he had stepped into the local tavern.

 

He had told himself he would behave more though. He had been skimming along for too long and he wasn’t getting any younger. If he had any potential it was going to waste. When he left the mess hall he had been fully intending to go back to his room and he had just started walking without thinking about it. His mind had other plans it appeared though. There was also the fact that over the past several years his routine had been to almost nightly visit the tavern. Some ghosts didn’t want to go away until he drowned them a pint or two of ale.

 

He couldn’t very well just turn around and leave the tavern now that he was here though. It was possible for him to have only one drink and not get into a fight. And then tomorrow he would avoid the tavern even if training with that “Deathwatch” guy or whatever his name was went sour which it probably would.

 

He looked around the room. If he wanted to stay out of trouble the best way to do that was to avoid the people that caused trouble. He spotted someone sitting at a table alone. He was kind short and skinny, not someone that Arinth would normally punch in the face. Arinth wasn’t sure how he was in the Band but who was he to judge. There were other divisions besides the Infantry even if they were inferior. He started to walk towards the man and as he did he realized it was the same man that had tossed him the flask on their first day of training with Deathwatch Mariam. He still wanted to punch the man for pouring out the alcohol like that.

 

Arinth pulled up a chair and sat down. “I’m sorry for the alcohol you lost when you tried to share it with me the other day. It was a terrible sight to see it wasted in such a fashion. Maybe I can make it up to you and by you a drink tonight?”

 

Arinth was already signaling to two drinks before he had given the man a chance to respond. The drinks were brought over quickly and Arinth smiled down at his. He looked up at the man. “So how did you come to join the band anyways?” He asked.

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Arkin had emptied his first mug within mere minutes of his entrance into the tavern. He sighed into his mug, giving it a brief, accusatory stare, as if to say, 'why are you empty?'.

His mouth twisted as he realised how badly his addiction had come back. Up until about a week ago, he'd had maybe two or three drink for over three years. Over the last week, however, he seemed to be trying to catch up on what he's missed, and Mehrin bloody Deathwatch had emptied his flask and kept him too busy to find a refill.

 

It was as Arkin was scowling into his drink that another appeared beside him. Looking up, Arkin saw a man about his age with dark curls take a seat across from him.

 

"I'm sorry for the alcohol you lost you tried to share it with me the other day. It was a terrible sight to see it wasted in such a fashion. Maybe I can make it up to you and buy you a drink tonight?"

 

Arkin grinned widely as the new fella signalled for a couple of drinks. By the look he was giving his mug as it arrived, Arkin was in the company of a fellow drinker.

 

"So how did you come to join the Band anyways?"

 

Pulling his drink towards him and winking at the barmaid, Arkin briefly cheersed the newcomer before taking a deep swallow. He shut his eyes as the liquid splashed down his throat and smiled. Wiping his mouth, Arkin grinned widely at his new drinking buddy. "Well, let's just say I was in need of a commitment after my Master left." He shrugged and took another sip. "There's no way I would last in the Children of the Light, the Tower Guard or a normal army, and my old Master would kill me if he ever found that I'd joined up with some paid swords. Besides, the Band always appealed to me. And so, here I am!" he stopped for another toothy grin and a dramatic gesture before returning to his drink, the trinkets in his hair and on his wrists jingling.

 

"What about you? How long have you been aronud here now?"

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Arinth watched as the man he sat with drank and enjoyed his drink. He couldn’t help but smile. It was always good to find a new drinking buddy. His smile faded when he remembered that he was suppose to cut down on the drinking. If he didn’t have bad luck he didn’t have any.

 

The man talked about how he didn’t fit in with any other army and something about an old master killing him. Arinth wasn’t sure what he meant by that but was too busy drinking to interrupt. There was something different about the man then what Arinth was used to in the infantry. He watched as the man gave a give smile and a dramatic gesture. Even when he stopped talking there were little things he wore that jingled and jangled melodically. He had flare. That is what it was. That was the word Arinth was searching for.

 

“What about you? How long have you been around here?” The man asked.

 

Arinth paused. He had to think about it. He had joined the band when he was young and settled in. His life had become a routine. A little training, lots of marching, a few battles, lots of fights. He guessed he had been with the band for about five years though.

 

“I’ve been around for a little while.” He said. I’ve been in a few scuffles. I guess but the one that still wakes me up in a cold sweat was when we ran into the Aiel. I’ve never seen anything like it and I wouldn’t care to again.” With that he drank down the last of his ale and stared down at his empty mug.

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Arkin felt his eyes widen. Aiel...he had done a lot of travelling, but he'd never even seen an aiel, let alone fought one. All Arkin had ever been involved in in terms of fights were the bar-room brawls he suffered through as an entertainer and the numerous scuffles with bandits that he'd been involved in whilst serving as guards for various things with his old Master. Mostly, Arkin tended to run away-he was good at that, very good at it.

 

As his early years had consisted mainly of assorted forms of pick-pocketing escalating into advanced thievery and deceit, Arkin was greatly skilled at outrunning guards and angry shopkeepers through using his small, Cairhienin form to perform acrobatics and balance on rooves and small spaces that people could rarely be bothered to follow him onto.

 

Taking another sip of his drink, Arkin grimaced at his memory of his first encounter with his Master Gabbon, in which he had stolen a fair amount of alcohol, a full purse and a meal tray loaded with meat and bread. Master Gabbon had spotted him take it, slipped out after him and easily held him off the ground until he agreed to give back the purse. He'd then followed a metre behind him as he'd returned the money and made his apology to the man he had stolen from. Master Gabbon had then poured Arkin's alcohol out onto the ground much like Mehrin Deathwatch had that morning.

 

This had induced an addiction-fuelled, rage-ridden attack on Master Gabbon that Arkin had sincerely regretted.

 

"Yeah, well, I don't really do the whole fighting thing. I prefer the, you know, running away thing." Arkin said with a grin, shifting on the spot where his bottom remembered that first meeting with Master Gabbon.

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“Yeah, well, I don't really do the whole fighting thing. I prefer the, you know, running away thing."

 

Arinth nodded. He couldn’t really blame Arkin. The man was not gifted with the body of someone like those in the infantry. He was quick though and smart. “You have to work with your strengths I always say.” Arinth responded. “I often lead with my chin. Ive broken a few fists with it too.” He laughed. “There is no shame in being smart though.”

 

Arinth leaned back in his chair. It was a relatively quiet evening in the inn. He didn’t notice any cavalry present. That had to be what it was. Those guys had their heads so far up their own buts it was almost impossible not to want to punch them in the face.

 

“I will say one thing though my friend. If you stick around me you won’t have to run if you don’t want. I’ll have your back.”

 

Arinth called for another drink. “You keep mentioning this master. Are you some kind of performer? If so what was it you did? I’ve always enjoyed a good story or performance. Trouble is too few know how to carry on an interesting conversation. Its when things get boring that we end up fighting. Maybe with someone like you around the men won’t fight as much. The officers will like that. They do hate their paper work.”

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Arkin drummed the sides of his empty mug with the rings on his fingers as he listened to Arinth speak. He had a fair point, and Arkin loved people who understood his running away skills. At Arinth's comment, Arkin looked the man over properly for the first time. He was much taller than Arkin-not that that was exactly hard-and considerably larger and more muscular. Arinth looked like he could take more than a few hits and listening to him talking, it sounded like he had. In many ways, he was the perfect opposite to Arkin, muscular where he was agile, more inclined to attack where Arkin would defend, steady and unmoving where Arkin ran and flitted about.

 

Arkin couldn't help but laugh as Arinth said he led with his chin. Yet another difference-Arinth would take a hit on his chin and break the other man's hand, Arkin would see the fist flying at him, duck and they'd break it on whatever was behind him, usually another of the men trying to punch him. A smile lit Arkin's face as Arinth promised to watch his back. "You'll have my back and I'll have yours, just so I can write a song about it later." he promised with a laugh. "And somehow I know that I'll be writing a few good songs."

 

As their next round of drinks arrived, Arkin grinned. Very few could keep up with his drinking pace, but he thought Arinth could give him a run for his money.

 

"Ah, well, who enjoys paper work? And I'm a performer of everything-I'll tell you what, I'll give a story-my own." Taking a deep gulp, Arkin leant forward and captured Arinth's eyes and focus. "My father was a gleeman, a wondrous performer with a history of amazing adventures-he had songs and epics and stories from around the world, from every person and every trek he engaged in. What he always said was his greatest adventure, however, was me." Arkin flashed a grin and continued, "Me and my baby sister. He taught us his trade, and we learnt songs and music and performing skills, we learnt how to project our voices and make grand gestures, all the tricks to gaining and maintaining an audience's focus, but by then, my mother had died. Father taught us, but he didn't provide for us, didn't feed us. And so, I used the skills he taught us to earn money and food, I looked after my baby sister, even after my father died, I made sure she was safe. One night, she simply caught a cold. I watched through the night as her skin grew hot to the touch, as her words became incoherent and her mind crumbled. I tried, I tried so very hard, but the healers I sought said that nothing would work-we would simply have to wait. And then she died."

Arkin's voice wavered and he hurried past his sister. "From there, my addiciton to drink began and I abandoned more honest ways of earning money for theft and performing, whichever was easier in the circumstances. Acrobatic skills learnt from my father and knife throwing and juggling abilities ensured that I was never caught, or at least I wasn't, right up until Master Gabbon arrived on the scene. He starved me out of my addiction, he trained me to use my weapons and skills as a fighter, not as an entertainer and he gave me morals, throwing me back into the world of performing. He was a father and a mentor, and I travelled with him for many years, writing epics about his and mine adventures, songs about my scuffles with guards and made up routines with new skills learnt along the way, right up until today-when he left and I came here."

 

Arkin cracked a grin and sat back, releasing Arinth. He recognised the familiar blinking and what he called the 'waking up' as Arinth's focus was allowed to wander once more, somethign that every performer could tell at a glance. "You asked what I perform," Arkin began, knocking back the rest of his drink and slamming it back down onto the table. "There's your answer." He laughed and waved a hand for another round.

 

"Trouble is, that I'll be more likely to write a song about fights between the men than stop it from happening, but it'll keep the scouts entertained."

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Arinth shifted uncomfortably as Arkin told about how his parents and sister had died. He never knew how to try to make someone feel better. Usually he ended up saying something stupid that earned a hard look…if he was lucky. He held his tongue. He liked this scout. He might think he was small and not the bravest but there was a strength there that Arinth could see underneath and he admired it.

 

There was a moment of silence after Arkin stopped talking as Arinth turned over the man’s words and stared down at his empty mug. At least if he still had some ale he could stall by taking a long, good drink from it.

 

“I know a song.” He offered after a minute. “And I’ve always been told I have a lovely voice.” The last part wasn’t true, but most men were too drunk to care by the time he started drinking. He called for another mug of ale and once he got it he lifted it high. “This is to the Cavalry of the band.”

 

Oh, well the Cavalry

They rode so well

That from their horses

They often fell

 

Oh, well the Cavalry

They were so brave

They dressed in skirts

When no maiden to save

 

Arinth stopped. There was more but he had already attracted a few less than friendly looks from around the Tavern. “Would you care to hear the rest?” He asked Arkin with a grin. If he continued they were in for a fight.

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Arkin was shocked that Arinth had volunteered to sing. Arkin felt much more comfortable now that he'd shared his past-he found life much easier when he had nothing to hide and secrets to worry about, and although he had made Arinth momentarily uncomfortable, Arkin himself felt much free-er and he showed this by finishing up his mug. He grew even more comfortable as Arinth ordered another round of drinks and raised hs mug and voice loud.

Taking a long drink, Arkin smiled as the sound of music filled his ears. Always a good thing, that, even with the worst voices, it was always a treat to her the sound of someone's soul coming out of their vocal chords, especially when the vocal chords were actually half-decent, like Arinth's.

 

Arkin choked on his drink as he heard the words attached to Arinth's soul.

 

Laughing so much that he almost spat out his drink, but saved it by swallowing, Arkin looked up to see the vicious glares directed their way and Arinth's mischievous grin. It took no innate insight to see what would happen if Arinth kept singing.

 

And Arkin couldn't wait for it to happen.

 

"Oh, Arinth, my friend, I would love nothing more than for you to continue."

 

As Arinth turned to begin again, Arkin paused on the way to his drink. "Open your throat, Arinth-you project better." he added with a grin and a wink, downing his drink and preparing for what was to come.

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  • 1 month later...

Arkin looked like he was enjoying the song almost as much as Arinth himself. Arinth couldn’t help but grin and take another drink. He was beginning to realize he had not intended on drinking so much. It was at that point when there seemed to be nothing more fun than to keep drinking though so he took another drink and then another. Then he began again from the beginning in case anyone had missed it before.

 

Oh, well the Cavalry

They rode so well

That from their horses

They often fell

 

Oh, well the Cavalry

They were so brave

They dressed in skirts

When no maiden to save

 

He heard the scrapping of chairs and the clumping of boots coming towards him. They were Cavalry no doubt and probably privates. He didn’t turn just yet but watched Arkin. Without being obvious his friend had adjusted himself so that he could rise and move quickly as need be.

 

They were rude enough to interrupt him before he got to the end of the song which went into detail on how the cavalry practiced by riding on fence posts.

 

“Well if it isn’t an infantry grunt croaking.” One of them said. The others laughed at his remarks like he was funny. There was really no standard in the Cavalry.

 

He turned and rose to face them. They didn’t step back. He gave them credit for that. None of them would be enough to take him on alone but altogether the three of them could tickle his nose. As much as he liked Arkin he wasn’t sure how much he could count on him.

 

“You are missing the end of my song.” He responded. “Don’t you want to hear the end?”

 

“You call that singing?” One asked with a laugh. “It sounded more like not singing if you ask me.” There was more laughter from his friends. The rest of the people in the bar were looking at each other with disappointed looks on their faces.

 

“I have another one if you would prefer.” Arinth smiled. “It is about how your sister introduced me to your mother.”

 

And that was when things got interesting. Somewhere in his mind he remembered that he was suppose to be trying to act better but that thought was quickly punched out of his brain. The only reasonable response to that was a head butt and a some heavy fists of his own.

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Arkin couldn't help but laugh as Arinth began his song again. Oh, what a time he would have with this man. He could see a long and fruitful future ahead.

At the sight of a few approaching cavalry thugs Arkin revised his statement. He could see a long and fruitful future ahead, provided they both survived the night.

 

Subtly turning to a position more likely to allow his acrobatic tendencies and ordering another round of drinks with a jangling wave of his hand, Arkin nonchalantly tugged on his gloves as Arinth and the cavalry had an astounding battle of wits, or lack thereof as the case may be.

 

Knowing the situation far too well, Arkin could count down the seconds until the first punch landed. He could see Arinth's doubtful glances at Arkin's apparent lack of size and strength, but the infantry man didn't yet know Arkin's style. His past was full of thievery and walking, sometimes quite literally, all over the thugs and guards that were tasked with capturing him.

He had been practicing on men like these since he was a tiny boy, and as Arinth was about to observe, size really made no difference to a man like Arkin.

 

As Arinth's face found itsself with an imprint of the lead cav's fist, the drinks arrived and Arkin tapped the nearest cav on the shoulder, leaning on the man's arm, seeing as that's where his own shoulder reach up to. Shocked, the man stopped his vicious growling and slow steps towards Arinth and turned to Arkin. With a grin, the scout picked up a drink from the table and held it out to the man. Obviously, the cavalryman was too caught out to know precisely how to respond. Arkin shrugged. "You looked like you could use a drink." he grinned before splashing ale into the man's face.

 

That was when the fight really picked up. Chanting grew around the room and the musicians onstage picked up a fast reel to match the growing noise and tumult.

 

Arkin was too busy smashing the second man-a shorter, stockier fellow with a stupid moustache-on the back of the head with his now empty mug, to notice any change in his external environment. Ducking under a punch from the newly-recovered ale-face, Arkin threw his mug at somewhere where the man would feel it and glanced over to check that Arinth was managing. Arkin winced as he saw the infantryman deliver a vicious bite to his initial attacker, who was already sporting a few beautifully blossoming bruises. Seeing the fellow Arkin had bashed on the head with a mug approach the pair, Arkin threw his back against Arinth's, and turned back to the giant ale-face.

 

Of the three, why had he ended up with the biggest?

 

Shaking his head, Arkin saw the man lunge towards him and quickly sidestepped, ducking and weaving, bending at angles impossible for most men and leading ale-face in circles around Arinth and their foes. Seeing a booth nearing, Arkin saw his moment and leapt atop it, showing off ale-face's bad brakes as the bigger man failed to stop and crashed into the table, crushing it and head-butting the wall, taking one of Arinth's attackers with him. Smaller men may have been knocked out, but ale-face's stature and thick skull unfortunately kept him awake, and the other man was quickly brought around. Taking advantage of his moment's respite, Arkin quickly gathered up all of the mugs around him and took a gigantic drink at any that had any liquid remaining and sent empty mugs flying at Arinth's attackers every time a man looked like he would break through the infantryman's defenses.

Seeing ale-face rear up near him and trusting his feet in a way only a drunk acrobat could, Arkin sent his remaining mugs flying and jumped off the booth, onto the heads and shoulders of the amassed crowd, many of whom who had started off merely cheering on the cavs or Arkin and Arinth, and were now fighting in amongst themselves.

 

About to set his body to full-scale bolting mode as ale-face's massive feet thundered in pursuit, Arkin was surprised by a fist flying from over his shoulder to hit the man square in the face. Grinning back at Arinth, who was rubbing his knuckles, Arkin bounced up onto the stage beside them and stole the fiddler's bow, brandishing it like a sword as he leapt onto a table, kicking the face or stabbing the eye of anyone who got too near as he reached over to Arinth. Throwing the bow into the eye of the man holding Arinth by his collar, Arkin knocked a pile of dice leftover from some abandoned game under the feet of his drinking buddy's attackers. As they stumbled back and slipped over, their balance not nearly as good on the ground as it was on a horse, Arkin threw a wink at Arinth and offered a hand to pull him up onto the table with him, where they both stood, back to back, ready to take on anyone who dared approach.

Edited by The Bard Babe
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  • 1 month later...

OCC: Sorry I didn't realize this had been so long ago.

 

IC:

 

The cool night air felt good. It was the only thing that felt good though. Arinth’s face pulsed with pain. His left eye was swollen, his lip was split and his nose was probably broken. He ran his tongue over his teeth. That was some good news. He hadn’t lost any teeth.

 

He was sitting on the steps outside the bar next to Arkin. The fighting had died down and he had been asked to leave. Well, it hadn’t been asking so much as being thrown out. He had already had enough to drink by that time though. From the way Arkin sat leaning to the side it looked liked he had had enough to drink too.

 

His memories of the brawl were hazy at best. He didn’t recall who had fought, or how many. He knew that he hurt all over and from the way his hands were swollen and bloody it looked like he had given as much as he had gotten. He glanced over at Arkin. The man had been a very creative fighter who used his surroundings to his advantage. Arinth had been surprised but pleased.

 

The wind blew through the trees and in the back of Arinth’s head he heard hundreds of veiled Aeils moving through darkness toward him with lowered spears. He shook the thought aside. Maybe he hadn’t had enough to drink after all.

 

He rose to his feet, or attempted to at least. It took a few tries but he finally managed to stand and lean against the wall. He looked at Arkin and after a minute his head stopped swimming and he was able to focus.

 

I think its time I called it a night.” Arinth said. After exchanging farewells Arinth stumbled off to find his bed. For some reason he started singing

.

Oh, well the Cavalry

They rode so well

That from their horses

They often fell

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