Ms0 2

THE SUN HAS SET OVER THE LEVIATHAN.

The smell of fish pervades the streets as merchants call out in one last attempt to sell their goods. But for part of the town, the night is only beginning. Awoken to the sailors and tradesmen who have ported for the night eager to get off their ships. The Bard and Boar greets all kinds of travelers, but tonight work is scarce. Elbereth finds herself triple cleaning the mugs while softly humming to replace the vacant piano in the corner.

Lady Elizabeth McGunnery glances around the room as she makes her way inside, giving Elbereth a grin as she moves to the counter. "Y'chase off tha rest of your customers with that?"

Elbereth smiles warmly back. "I'm afraid that The Mongrel is not moored tonight. Nor a few of the other trade ships in the area. That bunch of refugees that came in the morning seemed rather lively, however."
"What can I get you, Lady McGunnery?"

"Hmm. Yeah, checks out. Fucker's ain't gunna have no money on them and there's only so much room on the docks." Elizabeth nods her head a bit while slipping out of her jacket and setting it on the stool next to her. "Y'got any of them raisins left?"

"We just got another barrel in this morning. The docks are rather crowded then, I take it? I didn't have much of an excuse to hit the streets this afternoon." Elbereth responds.

"Lemme get a bowl of 'em then and some rum. But yeah. They're not galleons or anything but they're still three pretty big ships. Heard they started with more, but they encountered some issues of the imperial persuasion on the way over." Elizabeth rolls her head around in a circle, stretching it out.
"So there's a hellva lotta strange faces wanderin' the docks lookin' for work that don't really exist. Governor's probably gunna have a hell of a time figuring out what to do with 'em all."

Elbereth turns her back briefly to pour a mug. She turns around to place it on the table. "This town truly is growing by the week, isn't it? I suppose I should consider myself fortunate arriving early."

Lady Elizabeth lets out a laugh before taking a quick drink. "Early's one way'o puttin' it, hah."

Elbereth cracks open a barrel behind the counter before taste testing a raisin. A guilty pleasure no doubt. She scoops some up in a bowl before plunking that on the table as well. "Herald is doing well?"
"To be honest, I have a hard time imagining the man would ever settle down."

Elizabeth shrugs. "But yeah. I duno. The growth's probably not really all that great for us now, in the current political climate, y'know? Ah. Gramps? Yeah he's still kickin' last i heard. Surprised he's not here right now, t'be honest. Might be down at the docks tryin' to figure out if anyone interesting got mixed in with the lot."
"Guess I wouldn't be surprised if he turned up tomorrow and told me he was talkin' one of the smaller boats to escort some higher class clientele the hell out of here, either."

Elbereth smirks. "No doubt. There is quite a variety of people coming into port this week. Rich and the poor. The rarer races as well. Should that be what they wish they are in good hands. Your grandfather always had a fair price. Hazard pay not withcluding."
"But there are far more dangerous jobs than those these days, wouldn't you say Lady Mcgunnery?"

"S'what I heard, anyway. Most of the smarter one's with money enough are gettin' out before the imperials make their way here."
Another swig, followed by Elizabeth tossing a handful of raisins into her mouth.
"Ah come on, y'all need to get off my case. I've been doin' the salvage thing for years. It's not THAT dangerous."
"It's not like I'm smugglin', I'm just fishin' up shit on one's really layin' claim to no more."

Elbereth: "Word has travelled quickly regarding your bout with the Soulflayer, m'lady. For many's sakes, I'm glad to see your crew made it out alive."

Lady Elizabeth pauses. "Has it really now…? I thought I told them to keep quiet about that."

Elbereth smiles. "I'm sure they have. But when I express concern over their injuries they may have let a few things slip."

Lady Elizabeth sighs. "Idiots."

"It may be more apt to say word has spread quickly… to me." Elbereth winks.

"Yeah, b'cause you're a damn cheatin' witch." Elizabeth sneers, though there's a hint of a smile beneath it. "Worst part is, half them morons don't even think y'really are one!"

Elbereth raises an eyebrow. "And what have you been telling your crew about little ole me, my lady?"

"Nothin' that ain't true!" Elizabeth snorts a bit, before downing most of the rest of her rum. "I remember that time you set ol' man Ingris on fire, not that he didn't have it comin', or that time you froze Saul in place when he was tryin' to run off without payin' his tab."
"But nooo, most of the impressive displays happened years and years ago, so this fuckin' morons just think yer this docile, cute lil thing… Hah."

"The imperials have a much greater presence here on Leviathan than they did years ago, my lady. We must all tread carefully." Elbereth says, with concern in her eyes.

"Haa… yeah, I know, I know." Eklizabeth responds with a sigh.

"I duly note your jealousy though." Elbereth continues, with a pretty cheeky smile this time.

"Me? Jealous? Of YOU?"
"As if!"
"We both know I'm at least three times hotter than you, and even if I wasn't, I sure as sin wouldn't want those fuckhead's lookin' at me the way they look at you anyway."
Lady Elizabeth fills her mouth full of more raisins, chewing aggressively.

"I figured you would have been fairly vocal mentioning how long I've been around."

"God, that's proally the worst thing." Elizabeth shakes her head. "Y'still look like you're only, what, thirty as absolute worst? So half of 'em didn't even believe THAT until they started askin' some of the older folk in the city about it."

"Enough about me, though. How have you been, dear?" Says Elbereth, attempting to change the subject.

Lady Elizabeth raises her arms into the air, before spinning around on the stool to show herself off to the dantali. "Fit as a fiddle, as y'can see."
"When the goin' gets tough, I get outa melee range."
"Not that that helped with the mind blasts exactly… but y'know."
"Got a bit'a gramps luck with me, I guess."

"Herald didn't settle down to safer work until his later years. No doubt it runs in the family."

"Yeah Pop's still doin' the high seas fishin' thing too." Elizabeth nods.

Elbereth scratches at her cheek thoughtfully. "That one time we intercepted a large scale pirate attack on a trade caravan was particularly exciting. They nearly triple us in ships."

"It's still kinda hard to believe y'use to sail out with him."
"Even knowin' you're a crazy witch."

"You could have left out the crazy part, you know~." Elbereth replies in singsong. "My heart aches at you thinking of me that way after all we've been through."

"I'm jus' sayin', you've been in this shithole almost my entire life."
Elizabeth pauses thoughtfully. "…Guess that's probably why so many of the newbies don't reckon we're on the level when we say you're a centuries old witch, huh?"

Elbereth leans forward. "Lady Mcgunnery, I've been around your entire life. In fact I think I should pour myself a glass for some post-celebration. It's been eighty years and a few months since I first found myself on the Leviathan."

"I ment this shithole, the B&B, specifically, y'sassy witch."
"I sure ain't gunna stop you from pourin' yerself a glass while y'refill mine, though." Elizabeth gestures towards the glass.

Elbereth does so before shaking her head. "With all the refugees that came in tonight, you'd think at least some of them would be checking out the town. And to go on the record, this is the shiniest shithole you will find here on the Leviathan my lady. It has me after all~."

Lady Elizabeth grins. "Gotta say, three hundred year old barwench ain't really checkin' off any boxes for me, though."

Elbereth narrows her brow. "Is that an attempt to discern my age, mi'lady? I'm sorry to disappoint you, but you are far off the mark."

"I know for sure it's over ahunred'n'fifty, least."

"That you are able to joke like this certainly reassures me. With the loss of most of your crew, I worried that the weight of failure may hold you down."

"Failure?" Elizabeth narrows her eyes.
"Which one'a them birdbrains said we failed? Sure it was messy as all hell, but it's still a technical win."

"How did that old saying go? Out of the frying pan and into the fire…?"

"Feh! We killed it, none of us died, and we got the treasure it was guardin'."
"I mean granted a lot of 'em gunna be laid up for months… but a messy win's still a win!"

"It just surprised me that you were planning to go out again so soon with most of your crew missing." Elbereth says, trying to get the conversation back on track.

"Also that weren't a joke, I used to have a book filled with a time line I made up from stories of yer escapades."
Lady Elizabeth pointedly takes another swing, before stuffing her mouth with more raisins and staring at Elbereth.

"Not the first, and certainly not the last child I inspired. I do regret that you haven't added the scrapbook to the collection."

"Odd's're good you'll outlive me too so… eventually!" Elizabeth gives an exaggerated shrug.

Elbereth glances at her untouched drink before downing it all in one go. She places the mug back on the table before giving Elizabeth a stare. "I suppose that's partially my fault for resteering the conversation, so let's back up a bit. You weren't planning to go back out with what you have left are you?"

"Miss Elbereth,"
"I believe it is RATHER obviously I have been attempting to avoid this very line of questioning since you first attempted to hint at it."
"Why give in now…?"

"I'd say the rum is getting warm but…" Elbereth waves her hand as small flakes fall into Elizabeth's glass. Her mug is cold to the touch.

Lady Elizabeth glances down, then back up at Elbereth before letting out a laugh.
"The downside to you havin' know me since before I was even born… is I know y'd never actually hurt me." Elizabeth smiles.

"Nor your father. Or Herald. But they both had their fair share of stories with me. I would almost think it a rite of passage by now for some."
"You spent quite a while on the streets today. Did any of the refugees seem promising?"

Lady Elizabeth shrugs. "I guess."
"Saw an Alloci and a bear-Hundred. Don't see their kind very often."

Elbereth blinks before laughing. "I always wanted to serve a bear at the tavern. I'm looking forward to it."

"It didn' look exactly… uh… worldly?" Elizabeth offers, unsure.

"I am admittedly curious, though. What are you hoping to find?"

"I'm not really sure, t'be honest. Some fancy grimoire? Some kind of rifle/wand hybrid that shoots beams? A ship that flies in the air 'stead of over tha water…?"
"Could be anything."
"Wait wait wait hold up back up a minute. Were you low key implyin' Gramps or Pops used to have a thing for you?" Elizabath makes an exaggerated grossed out face.

"Quite a risky investment, but that's part of the thrill I suppose! Fighting pirates likely would be more lucrative and possibly even less dangerous. But you won't be getting no flying ships with that."
"Lady Mcgunnery. Your entire family likely had a thing for me at some point in their life." Elbereth seems to be grinning pretty hard.

Lady Elizabeth balks. "No way."
"Even Aunt Emma?"

"I'm sure I can find her scrapbook if I look hard enough."

"Gross."
"Huh y'know now that I think about it, I don't think I've *ever* heard y'talk about your own love life before."

"I am married to my work, Lady Mcgunnery. To all the citizens of our Leviathan so they can smile to tomorrow."

"Uh-huh." Elizabeth snorts.

"Although I'm sure if you talk to some of the residents, their excursions with me may be interpreted as such."

"Even IF that's true now due ta ya bein' everyone's grandma, there hadta've been SOMEONE before you got wrapped up with the Princess at lea - Woah wait. WHO?" Elizabeth blinks.

Elbereth fans her arm in a fluid motion as the candles at each of the tables ignite. "Don't worry, my lady. I won't be going anywhere. You have my full attention tonight." She winks. "You're my only customer after all."

Lady Elizabeth opens and closes her mouth a few times, before groaning.
"That was DEFINITELY not me hintin' that I was makin' a move, gram-gram."

"Was it not? My. Etiquette sure has changed over the years." Elbereth grins.

"Even if I was, ain't that kind of like robbin' the cradle for ya?"

Elbereth chews at her lip for a moment. "Hrmmm." She snaps her fingers. A sudden epiphany. "Ah, yes. Of course. I can at least do that much to help. Your clothes."

"What?" Elizabeth gives the dantali woman a suspicious look.

It's almost like Elbereth intentionally started off being vague. No, certainly. "If you are to go around recruiting people for your excursion you no doubt need a new spiffy captains outfit. And some charming perfume to match. They'll be approaching you in droves, I assure you. Not like today, not that I was watching. The entire time."

"Is this like…"
Lady Elizabeth gestures vaguely with her hand before downing the rest of her second glass.
"Some kind of attempt to throw me off balance? Make me all flushed and awkward with you makin' weird, awkward advances? Make me so flustered I'd rather actually talk about what I was up to earlier today jus' to make you stop?"

Elbereth blinks before scratching her cheek. "No, I just figured you could use a captains hat that isn't all mucked up from that mindflayer is all. Or do you think the maid outfit is for show?"

"To be be perfectly honestly I defin'ly thought it was some kinna weird sex thing." Elizabeth shrugs lazily with one arm, palm up.
"Anyway I guess you can repair my hat if y'really want, but we're also still not talkin' about other potential treasure huntin' excursions."

"Certainly not! I want nothing but the best for you, my lady. It is my duty as a guardian of our town of Leviathan to see you are sent off safely with as many recruits as you can find."

Lady Elizabeth taps with her finger against the counter top a few times, before plopping the last of the raisins into her mouth.
"Uh-huh. One too many sentences there. Not enough pressing the issue. Even you suddenly got way tha fuck worse at this game… or yer up to somethin'."

Elbereth leans over on the table giving a provocative smile. "Just to make one thing clear though, my lady? I haven't brought it up tonight because it wasn't up for debate. Do you really think your ship is secure enough to withhold a century old witch?"
"Feel free to ask Herald. Or your father for that matter~."

"So y'just assume because you've been around forever y'getta do whatever you want?"

"Yes, actually!"

Lady Elizabeth raises her finger off the counter top, to place it against Elbereth's lips. "Not this time."

Elbereth bobs up and down rather excited. "I -suppose- I can pop in at the last minute when you are in need of a dashing prince to rescue you."
"I would hate to see you despair though and regret not taking me on the ship before I appeared though. I'm not petty!"

"Since when tha fuck is a Maid a Prince, and like hell would I ever need one."

"Your mother said that one too…"

"…What?"
"No, wait, I definitely don't what to know what that was supposed to mean." Elizabeth shakes her head.
"Why do you wanna go anyway? Y'got enough shit to do here, don't ya?"

Elbereth smiles. "I wish nothing but the best for the residents of Leviathan, Lady Mcgunnery. I'll have a spiffy new outfit ready for you tomorrow morning. Your receptionist just happened to win big at the table last night as well and won't be able to come in to work. But don't worry, I'm more than willing to direct any traffic you get for your new job posting that was advertised around town into your office and serve drinks in her place. Your first applicant should be coming in at 9 tomorrow."

Lady Elizabeth sighs. "Okay fine, we'll talk about it. God. You're not nearly half as charming as you think y'are. Especially when I know y'don't actually wanna snog me."
"So yes, fine. Okay. Y'weren't supposed to know about it, but y'do. I am plannin' a stupid as fuck expedition into the Acrolith. I am not takin' my crew. It's proally gunna end in tears."
"Why do you want in?"

Elbereth smiles. "When you want something done right, is it not best to do it yourself, Lady Mcgunnery?"

"Y'also not as good at dodgin' questions as I am,"

"One doesn't have to be when they are able to do as they please." Elbereth winks.

Lady Elizabeth rolls her eyes. "See this is part of why I'm absolutely not takin' ya, y'still act like I'm nine years old half tha time we talk."
"Can't exactly sign someone up as crew when they don't respect my captain-y authority."

"I'd suggest taking me on as a client, but I doubt any could pay for such a risky excursion as this. I'll only fool around at camp, I assure you. I do not intend to be a liability in a fight."

"If you're just gunna fool around, then why even bother…?"
"Wait." Lady Elizabeth narrows her eyes.
"Is this about your stupid pirate captain?"

Elbereth gives a smile in return. "It seems your crew isn't the only one with loose lips. I may have to pay a visit to Herald before the night is over."

"Naw it just took me a while to remember that particular story…" Elizabeth furrows her brows.
"Ugh, Beth."
"That was, like, eighty years ago. Why're you still clingin' to that?"
"S'dumb thing to come along on an expedition like this, for."
"Maybe if they were still alive, but…"

"I need closure, Elizabeth. I've been waiting on Leviathan for almost a century for someone to go into the Arcolith again. If you don't intend to hire me on as part of your crew, at least hire me as a hand to help at camp. I'm sure your new crew will find my cooking and cleaning skills to be quite satisfactory."

Lady Elizabeth rubs at her face with both hands. "Is that really why y'never left…?"

Elbereth shakes her head. "I never left because Leviathan is my only home now."

"Then…"
Lady Elizabeth sighs, lowering her forehead to the countertop.

"I'm not about to sit back and watch all the grandchildren of the people who helped me when I was in trouble walk into a death trap without guidance."

"It really ain't fair ta phrase it like that."
"Especially since ya don't know what's in there any better'n no one else."
"What would I tell gramps if you got hurt, or worse, in there?"

"I'm a witch, Lady Mcgunnery. Witches can't die." Elbereth grins.

Lady Elizabeth groans. "But what if you did…?"
Lady Elizabeth: "I don't think I could…"

"By your peoples standards at least, I'd say I lived a full life."

"And by yours?"

"Herald is worried about you, my lady. He isn't able to go out like he used to. Even if I didn't have my own reasons for going, who am I to turn down an old friend?"

"It's stupid that we're both usin' the same excuse to try and prove our point."

"Just a little." Elbereth smiles gently. "But that also just means I'm not backing down unless you do."

Lady Elizabeth rubs her face into the countertop before turning to look back at Elbereth.
"So you're all cards in determined to get on that boat, no matter what I say or do?"

"People always did say I should engage in some self-indulgence at some point."

"You kind of implied you were doin' a lot of it with a lotta the town earlier…"

Elbereth smirks. "Oh my. Did I say that out loud?"

"Right before you pretended to hit on me, yeah."

"I guess that one will just have to be between you and me then."

Lady Elizabeth rolls her eyes. "Will you at least promise you won't leave the boat if I say yes?"

"I'm not one to make promises I'm not sure I can keep, my lady. Anything could happen out there."

"…Please?" Elizabeth asks much quieter after a pause.

"If that is your will, Lady Mcgunnery. But until our departure I will be imploring you to reconsider. You have yet to even gather anyone for your crew."
Elbereth smirks. "I wonder how long until you cave?"

"(This is already caving…)" Elizabeth mumbles under her breath, before sitting up.
"I ain't even really gotten started yet."
"It'll… it'll be fine."
"Really ain't fair you know."
"Havin' magic an' being a witch *and* havin' known be since before I could talk and somehow also bein' more stubborn."

"I was serious by the way about that interview at 9. I took the liberty to post some flyers after seeing you unsuccessfully recruit today." Elbereth smiles in response.

"Ya… ugh! I was just gettin' a feel from the crowd, y'dumbass! Who the fuck goes for 'em fresh off the boats?!"
"An' nine, seriously? Not even noon??"
Lady Elizabeth hops off the barstool, before grabbing her jacket.
"Sendin' me off ta bed early too. Ya still ain't treatin' me like an adult."

Elbereth blinks. "… you don't wake up at sunrise?"

"Hell no, I pay other people ta wake up early, and ya damn well know that."
Lady Elizabeth slips into her coat, grumbling to herself as she head for the door.

"Any preference for the refreshments tomorrow, Lady Mcgunnery?"

"Eh… whatever the the freshest fruit we got is."

"Rum, Tea or Coffee?"

"Coffee."

Elbereth curtsies. "As you wish, my lady. Have a good night."

Lady Elizabeth in front of the door as she reaches it, with one hand upon it.
"Hey uh…"
Elizabeth lets out a breath.
"Just… just in case somethin' goes wrong out there…"
"…Make sure you pack a lot of ale. Probably won't be any source'a fresh water out there. An' fishin' equipment."

"Given our timeframe, I should have no problems accruing the needed supplies for the venture. Leave everything to me and just focus on finding a crew that you can work with."

Lady Elizabeth gives a slight nod, before leaving the tavern.

Elbereth makes her way over to the door after Elizabeth leaves. With a snap of her fingers all of the candles go out in the building. She puts up a closed sign on the door. No one else of importance was to come tonight, that much was certain. Bobbing up and down with a familiar hum she heads back to her room to sew.

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