The fox was extremely bedraggled looking. Her black and white striped pants and shirt were once puffy but now were quite distressed. She had one black boot, her other hindleg was quite bootless. She had in her hand the shattered remains of a grey metal mask.
The poor vixen was missing an ear, some fur and even the tip of her tail. She was quite uneasy on her feet. In the distance behind her, there was rumbling. She looked up behind her at the great stone pillars. There was a massive gout of flame coming from one of them.
She sighed, and stumbled onwards.
The vixen found herself before a Tavern. It was like most of the buildings in the city she was in, a bland white cube. Hanging of its large wooden doors was a sign. On the rotting wooden sign was a messy painting of a particularly hard angled square rabbit-like creature grinning with its thumbs up. It would have been more inviting had the eyes not managed to have somehow worn off.
It was a Blokkit, one of the main inhabitants of the city in which the vixen was in.
She considered finding some other watering hole, but really she was too tired or desperate to continue on. She pushed her way into the tavern.
If anything the tavern was in even worse state than the vixen. A number of tables had dissolved into fel dens from which unspeakable and nameless vermin stared out from. There was one chair that seemed to have transcended from furniture to poorly paid server. There was only one adventurer in one of the corners of the tavern, and this one seemed to have set up a tent in the corner. A terrible infestation to be sure.
It was surprising that there was as many customers as there were, but then each of them looked more dissolute than some of the furnishings that hadn’t, in spite of gnawings, rot and fungi, fallen apart. These customers were a dour, grim lot, many of them looking more rotten than the tables they sat at which was quite a feat. The vixen felt more than one dead fish eyed stare come her way, but that was probably just the three landfish drinking off to one the sides of the tavern.
Being fish that walk on the land, they couldn’t very well help having fishy eyes, and the dead part was understandable if they were regulars. Regularly visiting such a place would good a good job in sucking the life from you. It certainly had sapped the colour from the Landfishes’ normally highly colourful scales, each one of them was greyer than the last.
A variety of strange animalistic sounds reached the vixen’s one remaining ear. She made the mistake of looking up. There was before her eyes a deep dank forest of upsidedown trees, fungi and other more exotic flora. Plenty of darksorbing plants were giving off light. These light emitting plants however revealed that the forest was far, far too deep and large for the size of the tavern. The vixen froze for a moment, captured by the sight of prey and predators acting out their lives before her. Then she looked down, as her headache was becoming worse.
She stumbled over to the bar counter, behind which was the blockiest most grumpy blokkit she had ever seen. The blokkit glared at her out from his supposedly good eye, the other was covered by an eyepatch, as she sat next to a real stiff gingerbread man wearing a licorice trenchcoat and a short-brimmed hat that didn’t quite fit on his head.
“Just give me whatever you’ve got that has some kick” She said to the blokkit.
The barman, scowled further, then pulled out a disturbingly mossy glass, into which he poured some manner of bluish liquid that was quite reluctant to leave its bottle.
The stiff gingerbread man turned to her.
“Had a bad da…” He trailed off as he caught sight of her.
She barked out a laugh.
“You could say that, you know this morning I was part of a pretty good band!”
“Oh, what happened?” The gingerbread man asked, grimacing his own fungus encrusted glass of dubious blue down.
“Everyone in the band apart from me were eaten by giant killer sausages.”
The stiff didn’t know what to say. There wasn’t really a good response to that. However, he considered himself a hard and smooth man, thus he had to say something.
“That bites” Yeah, real smooth.
“It really did, I’ll never look at a sausage the same way again.
The barman finished pouring the ominous blue.
“That’ll be five krells” He growled.
“Huh that’s really cheap” She murmured.
“You get what you pay for here” The stiff said.
The barman shot him a vicious look, which he ducked. The look hit one of the other unfortunate patrons, who fell off his chair and began squirming in pain silently.
The vixen found four krells after patting herself down. She was however finding a bit of difficulty in finding the fifth. This prompted the barman to reach out and pluck the fifth from her head, where a krell had managed to get embedded in it. She hissed in pain. The barman for his part just rubbed the coin off with his dirty wiping cloth and then held it up, smiling.
The vixen grumbled, but took a gulp and swallow of her perturbing blue. She doubled over in pain and raked the counter with her claws.
“This stuff is terrible, no worse than terrible, am I being poisoned?”
The stiff gingerbread man stared contemptuously at his own drink.
“It is pretty bad, you get used to it, though it does find new ways to be bad”
“Hey, I’m right here guys, not cool to disrespect my beverages”
“I’m not sure you could call this a beverage, do you have any honey drink, I can give you valuable metal” the vixen held up the remains of her mask.
The barman shook his head.
“That stuff is always the first to go, and I can only ever get a small amount of it, the disturbing blue I got lots of”
The vixen sighed. She grimaced a small sip of the unsettling blue.
“This really is some dreadful swill”
“Oh, I agree” The stiff nodded.
“Why do you drink it then?”
“Cheap, it has no merit apart from that”
“hey!” the barman protested.
The vixen swished or at least tried to swish her stubborn blue around. It was not in the spirit of movement however.
“I reckon this stuff could ward away furmines!” She said.
The barman, incensed that his family’s traditional beverage was being insulted right in front of him tossed a bottle at the fox.
“It may be terrible, but I’ll not let you say that in front of me!” He yelled.
The stiff pulled the vixen out of the way, the bottle, free from fox-based impediments was able to sail further out to bean on of the landfish right on the head. The bottle then bounced from the landfish’s head and into the adventurer’s tent, which somehow resulted it it going up in blue flames.
The two remaining conscious landfish pulled cutlasses from beneath their table, and advanced on the bar counter. A shrieking something or another covered in blue flames burst from the tent.
In short order a full bar brawl was underway.
The highlights of which were the forest on the ceiling catching flame, a kind of vengeful spirit of blue beverage consuming the barman, Someone using the stiff gingerbread man as a weapon of blunt trauma, a conga line and the swallowing of a whole table.
Afterwards, as the Vixen limped away with the stiff gingerbread man, she concluded that she didn’t feel quite as bad about the loss of her band.
That was possibly just the blue talking though. Supposedly the spirit of blue beverage ended up taking ownership of the tavern. The quality of drinks and the environment improved. Though everyone was a bit uneasy about where the new worrying blue drink was coming from.<< Implying Voiceless Assent The Heart and The Obsidian Orb Part One >>