A North Reach Drunkard

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CBat
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A North Reach Drunkard

Post by CBat » Fri Apr 28, 2017 12:15 am

Ashton was a rummy, and the year was around 1353. He was a worker in the industrial district of the recently completed North Reach, and he was in far too many cups already. Those were what he knew to be facts.

Among the working class, and the drinking class, of the budding city: Ashton was known. If only by face, and his shuffling walk in, and his stumbling walk out, of any given bar in the Gambling district. He was a sad sort, the kind they recognized as anyone who worked too long with nothing to work for. Saddest part about that, was how young the guy was. And he couldn’t hide it too well either, his facial hair only grew enough to be a patchy nuisance. Perhaps the most aging aspect about him was the amount of whiskey he could knock back.

Of all the people that might recognize Mr. Ashton Belsing, only about 1 or 3 knew his name. A shift manager, and the barkeep for certain. The shift manager only knew it to make sure the man made it to work. Carpentry, and other such ventures. In a city thats new, you’ve gotta make sure everything was built right. Ashton was never wanting for a busy day, at least. But the barkeep, she knew him from conversation.

If every day he stumbled in, and ordered a whiskey, she could set her watch to it. And from that point on, she was often found across the counter from the frizzy haired quivynite.

“Haven’t run off to join the tribes then Ashy?”

“You know they’d never take me.” He’d always respond. She’d always interrupt him before he got a glass to his lips. He’d scowl, drink, and look at her solemnly. Every time. His mother had been a quivynite. Eluwussit. If he knew how she met his father, the barkeep never heard about it. He didn’t talk about her ever. She suspected that it was because Ashton maybe never knew her at all.

If an hour had passed, and he hadn’t ran out of coin yet, she might get something out of him.


“Was it the dreary skies or the gaunt faces that drove you away from Sengaard?”, she was a quivynite herself, though she was fullblooded, and knew well her standings with the tribes. She’d left. Adventurous little tyke she was, if little tykes could move with as much weight as she did. A very full bodied barkeep, not uncommon to see.

“Drinking yourself to sleep is too common. If I were sad over there, I’d never feel like an individual.” And then he’d smile, and she’d refill his cup. Though she wouldn’t really be happy about it.

If another few hours had gone, and he’d slowed down drinking: It meant he was out of coin. Out of coin and he wasn’t ready to head home. Because home was about as nice as the buildings he spent fixing in all day. Though, on some days, he did get the opportunity to work at the shipyard, and his bed wasn’t quite at all like that.

“.....Belsing. Vampire Hunters. Weren’t they.”

He never liked the topic. Probably some amount of shame. “....Yeah. That’s what I’ve told you.”

“Never thought about trying that trade?”

And then he’d take tinier and tinier sips. “I feel like all of Sengaard is more or less trying that trade.”

“But, auditioning for the corpse guard or something.”

And most nights that’s when he’d down his glass, thank her, and get on out of there. But tonight was different. Tonight he reached into a pocket, and presented to her a little ring. Some old crest emblazoned across the top, embedded ashwood and a heart shaped ruby. It was mostly covered by his fingers, but it didn’t take a genius to figure out it belonged to a vampire hunter.

“I think I wanna look for him.” Was his slow, inhibited statement.

She could figure that ‘him’ was the man’s father, but she never knew he was missing. Ashton never talked about his parents, afterall. “Well. Where?”

“Imarel.”

“You couldn’t afford to step two feet out of North Reach, let alone Imarel! With what coin do you expect that to happen, Ash! I know you don’t have any money, too. Because you spend it all here, right here at this bar.” And maybe that was a bit of concern, because that violent whispering in his face was almost trying to talk the drunk out of him, spit some sense into the man.

But, if the spit bothered him he sure didn’t show it. He just gestured with the ring again, and thats when her face sunk.

“Oh… Ash. No. You can’t do that.”

“It’ll fetch the right price.”

“Yes, but it’s history! You can’t jus-”

“I can’t spend the rest of my life like this.”

And he was right. And thats why she drew back, biting her lip and wracking her brain.She didn’t want to see him every night anymore either, not like this.

“...Well then let me buy it from you.”
And at that he was truly surprised. And though his face was mostly slack and drooping from intoxication at this point, he roused it up for a heart warming look of appreciation.

She started again,”...and then when you come back. You can pay me back for it. You shouldn’t have to get rid of something like this.”

“....Do you have the co-”

“I’ve got more coin than you, Ashton. And that’s all that matters.”

He conceded on that, and with calloused and shaking hands, he’d slip the ring into her own outstretched palm. She instructed him to wait til closing for the money. And he did. Without a single other drink he waited for a near two hours more. And then he was alone in the bar with her as she finished locking the door from inside. More sober than he had been, he was truly thankful. Not for the action, but for the fact it was even offered. That was care. And as she slipped a pouch of coin into his hand, he refused to let go of hers.

“What is your name?” He looked positively sheepish a moment after. “All these months, and I… I don’t know it. I guess I never asked.” Or never listened. Not that there was much of a reason for a barkeep to dispense her name.

“Mawik.” She saw no reason to be dishonest, and watching the man before slowly mumble and commit the name to memory under his breath… filled her with a real sense of pride in what she had just done. Not something she felt often dealing with Ashton. She was glad to know she’d be remembered for something good by him.

“And if I shouldn’t return to get the ring?”

“Then I guess I’ll keep it, you drunk.” She heaved him out of his seat. She was large and strong that way, and was making as if she were to throw him out of the bar now. It was in jest, and even the rummy had a smile at it. “..Or I’ll come find you.” That was mostly whimsy. It was hard not to feel a little soft, at a moment like this.

“I leave next week then.”

“Come by the night before, I’ll give you one, and only one, drink on me.” And perhaps more, if the two of them understood one another well enough. The conversation ended there, and only a comfortable silence filled the air as she showed him out, more courteously than she had joked to do. That would be remembered by Ashton, as the best night he had ever spent in that bar. And that would be remembered by her, as the first night she'd watched that man leave and not felt a deep feeling of sorrow. And for the both of them. It was good.

Ashton, as she knew him, never returned to North Reach.
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