I Wrote A Song or Two
Tidrel really was very kind to River People. Yolanna and a few of her coworkers were rather sympathetic when I finally ended my isolation after being left in the training room by my Partner and Companion. It wasn’t necessarily my fault that I had a power no one had told me how to wield, and using it wasn’t my fault since I hadn’t known I’d had it. It was at the Welcome Center that my training continued under the tutelage of a temporary Partner I’d been assigned named Lucine. He was a guy and a Moon Man, but unlike Stellara he was a Thesuvian. His pale skin and dark, stormy grey eyes gave him the impression of an angry magician which was partly because that’s exactly what he was. I’d been had; magic totally existed on Septural, it was just called ‘Terru’ or ‘Arca’ in different contexts. That and the Choret didn’t necessarily believe that people could have ‘Terru’ within themselves without having been tainted by Urru, ‘Dark’ Terru. It was a complicated, blind religion kinda deal, which I understood to a certain point until I asked Lucine to teach me some of what he knew. There were basic things that everyone could do, like light a stick for a torch while boosting the light from the flame, drawing a cup or so of water from the air, blowing out a fireplace, and growing an apple from a tree in less than half an hour. Things were limited, but they were possible depending on your aptitude.
Unlike my training with Stellara, learning with Lucine wasn’t really what I’d call ‘fun’. It was a task, and every time I completed one thing, we’d move onto another without a break and I’d eventually be tested on what all I’d learned. It was somewhat frustrating but it was rewarding in its own right whenever I got a solemn nod from my teacher. Lucine was mean to say the least, but his Arca and gunplay were unmatched in the surprisingly large city of Tidrel. He could draw and fire a non-lethal shot within a second of sighting a target across a room, though Stellara had been faster. The thing was that Lucine was more accurate and only took so much time because he was casting a shield Arca, drawing on his pool of Terru to both align his shot and defend him from projectiles. The man was brilliant, prickly, and Dadly as hell, reminding me a lot of my own Dad in both looks and attitude. He wasn’t a standard Partner, having served his term and now being married to another River Woman that I wasn’t allowed to meet by his request. It’s not like I just up and asked to meet his wife, but after a month or so of spending time with each other every day, I felt like he saw me as more of a pupil than an annoyance. I wasn’t upset that I couldn’t meet her since he was looking for time away from her (My assumption, not his word), but I was salty that he was so damn accurate. After weeks of trying to match his skill, I eventually came to the point where I could hit the broad side of a broad if her chest was big enough. I kid, of course, Booksy. I was as close to lethal as I wanted to get, even if my shots tended to be more toward wounding people than anything else.
My first lesson in ‘Grata non-Aquix’ or ‘Fluid in Shortarm’ wasn’t how to shoot better; it was how to not get shot, oddly enough. By limiting the surface area I showed my opponent and covering vital area’s with my gun, I could essentially give myself time to see where my opponent was aiming and try to dodge. With the addition of Terru into the forms of the martial art, things aligned better and it didn’t actually take me all that long to get good at it. Apparently that was really respectable to Lucine since he started treating me better when I mastered the first five forms, but aftert I deflected my first three consecutive bullets? He bought me a small bottle of liquor as a present for being his most capable student, apparently just being a little slower on the uptake then he himself.
Whereas Chorets were known for being physically adept, Thesuvians were famed for being accurate and calculating, neither of which were my style. Lucine saw that and adjusted the lessons accordingly since he was a pretty fucking smart mentor and ‘Arcanon’, a magician. His supposition for me to get even better at gunplay was for me to cheat. Basically, we started learning how my Silvertongue was activated and tried going from there, but it was really hit or miss. I usually managed to get a few shots in a row once I was super incredibly pissed about getting shot a lot, pretty much meaning that it was tied to my emotions. The thing was that I was so used to swallowing my emotions that acting on them just seemed unwise and foolhardy. Lucine and I struggled for me to find a game face and put it on, but combat clearly wasn’t my thing outside of practice. We got my aim to the point where I could nail a drach from fifty paces with no issue, but there was also my lack of killing intent and my preference for studying Arca.
I’d honestly rather have learned how to play my undlegar during the time I used trying to learn Grata non-Aquix, but what I did learn, I got down well. It was enough for a compliment or two from my new Partner, which was high praise coming from him. Luce was tight lipped when it came to honest praise, and for good reason. The guy was legendary in Gerritt for having been a powerhouse in Thesuvia and becoming a Partner for more adventure, forgoing all the training necessary to be a Partner and just outright earning the title without a problem. His tales of his glory days (He was in his early sixties, but still looked damn good) were all bloody and said a lot about how violent he used to be, but by and large it sounded like he defended himself and had to become deadly out of necessity. The more I learned about Luce, the more I ended up liking him.
Once we moved on to the other things he could teach me, we started mixing in Arca with my gunplay and it just so happened to turn out that I’d picked a pretty decent gun for Spell-Shooting. I’d wondered why it’d had a flared bore and a strange muzzle-brake on it, but those little components apparently made shooting Arca that much easier. It was basically the reason my Stop-Shot worked when I started using it. No one at the Welcome Center used weapons other than Partners, and Lucine had waited to tell me until I was ready meaning that I got a fun little surprise when we covered that lesson...
Once I learned more of Grata non-Aquix, I was prepared to actually delve into Arca and my Terru pool, for whatever reason. Apparently, Thesuvians had a ‘Look after you leap so you know how to land’ deal going on, meaning that I was thoroughly bamboozled with my Miyagi style training. I had a decent Terru pool going on, but Lucine told me that I probably wouldn’t be able to do much about it since I was a River Person, despite being able to come up with new spells- Er, Arca, that he could cast himself. Granted, he used a catalyst and I had to use ‘tares’ (hand gestures, but I learned a few useful Arca that weren’t too bad on the joints. What I got was what I was stuck with, but my Silvertongue thing barely needed any effort behind it. Lucine explained it as a trait rather than an Arca, making it something of a passive ability that was low cost and effective. I had to be at an emotional extreme to use it or have true intent to influence someone’s actions. Knowing that I could make someone do what I wanted by thinking about it hard enough?
That probably should have made me overpowered, but that alone was the biggest thing blocking my usage of the damn power itself.
After losing people because they knew I was a Silvertongue with the ability and willingness to use my power, it was so much harder to use it without being in pain or drawing from a dark place that put me in a bad mood for the rest of the day. I had to be hurting for my power to work and that just didn’t seem worth it to me. Instead of drawing on sadness, I tried using happy memories to fuel the fire, but it just didn’t work. Eventually, Lucine said I’d learned as much from him as I could and his position as my Partner was filled by a Minotaur that taught me a lot of survival skills since the guy was practically a nomad. I didn’t know why Steerdom stopped by, but I do know that he was paid for his trouble and that Minotaurs smell terrible.
My time with Steerdom was mostly spent getting used to the wilderness and learning how to camp out and drink heavily, which I may or may not have continued doing by using other people to purchase my booze. Shut up about it. Anyway, after about two weeks with him, a musician from the Centurn Islands out in the northwestern ocean came down from Stalfisk and stopped through town for a rest on her journey. Apparently she was on her way back to her sister’s place for a visit and vacation since she was famous in her homeland, but it’s not like she was terribly arrogant or narcissistic She was pretty for an alien, but she was nowhere near as charming as Stellara had been… It still…
Yeah, whatever. Through our lessons with the various instruments she carried along with her for performances, we settled on the undlegar since I was apparently best at that. Make no mistake, I was a surprisingly decent musician with damn near everything I really put my mind to, and that was coming from Yolanna and Hargra, two of the prickliest staff members at the Welcome Center. They often let me play the plublass (A bass-guitar. It was a bass-guitar) for them and usually enjoyed that. However, my undlegar was requested after everyone’s shift pretty much every day after I translated ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ into its chords. Of course, Shadesong, my teacher, was a little jealous since she just couldn’t manage all of the notes for the undlegar, but… Well… Let’s just say that teaching her how to finger the frets was pretty fun for me, and it was a welcome distraction from missing my friends. Our lessons eventually turned into jam sessions and a little more when I wanted to try an instrument I wasn’t good at, having Shade come behind me to help me with the notes. She lacked Stellara’s main asset, but she made up for it with a chest and a smile to melt your heart. It didn’t go far beyond a little grinding, some making out, and a few smoldering look before Shade excused herself from tutoring me, leaving me to begin my journey in one of three directions.
Lucine offered to come out of retirement to be my bodyguard for the duration of my time in Avalesce as long as I didn't make him do anything dumb. It sounded good, and with him I could always go after Shade and see what she wanted to make of what was between us, or I could seek out the people who’d abandoned me from sheer shock. I asked the old man why he wanted to get back on the road and he said that the quiet life just really wasn’t for him and that his wife was leaning further and further toward divorce with every minute in each other’s company. They needed a break from each other to get the absence going so the hearts would grow fonder, which I was happy to provide. Lucine being Lucine was pretty surprised when I showed off my plublass and showed that I could play it after only being apart from him for a few months at that point, but he chalked it up to River People ‘Moju-juju’. I considered it being ‘cooler’ than him and we left it at that for the day I spent preparing to leave the Welcome Center.
I know I haven't really talked much about the time I spent with the staff of the Welcome Center or mentioned at all the fact that I had a little sword training from the Armators for posterity, but I really just threw myself into my time with them to learn as much as I could. The knowledge I gained was worth it, but the people I learned from were pretty dry in and of themselves. I’ve mostly kept my ramblings to interesting people or the ones I actually talked to, so there’s always that. However, Shadesong and Lucine were the most important people I met, and I decided that they were the ones I wanted to start my new adventure with. I would find Stellara and Felix in time if they were still together and my initial goal hadn't changed, but I still wanted to spend my time with people that liked me and the people I had with me evidently liked me. At least, Lucine was willing to put up with me and had a love of puns and Shade was musically my perfect match.
Nearly four months after my arrival in Rusval and the start of my journey, I actually got started on my ambitions and started playing music in Tidrel’s town square. For all the I’d been given, a lot of the townspeople were fond of the stylings I came up with, though it was mostly freeform-jazz riffs and blues. They were super easy to come up with on the plublass, and no, that’s not because of any racial reason. If you thought so, Booksy, then you might just be prejudiced. I might not even be mixed, you know? I could be Hispanic or Asian for all you know. Gwailo-ass libro. Bullshit aside, I got some change from playing the plublass and did that for a couple of days with Lucine nodding along on the side of whatever building I was playing against. We garnered a fair amount of attention and the Armators that came around whenever I played often got a laugh out of my comedy-blues medlies, so I was allowed to sing and play whatever I wanted as long as I kept it funny or happy. People started coming around regularly and tossing drachs at me left and right, and soon enough I had a travel fund again. I mean, I still had some of what Stellara didn’t take, but I’d been looking to pad my pockets and learn how to play for an audience anyway.
After a few weeks of roughing it away from the Welcome Center, Lucine and I had enough from my music alone to start traveling, so our first destination was my original location of choice; Ponydale. That was halfway across the country and wouldn’t be a close thing by a longshot, but with my new Partner by my side and Shadesong’s address, we set forth to find the woman who’d fallen in love with me without being told to. It was invigorating to get back out on the road again, and with Douglerina in my hands and Clockly by my side, I felt more prepared than ever to face the tides. Lucine was a little amused by my good mood, his old man-ness giving off the impression of also being slightly annoyed when I pulled my undlegar off of my back and started playing an aimless tune. The words struck me when I started repeating the same melody with slightly different alterations, my first song coming to me naturally.
‘A single step a fall was led
Down the Golden riverbed
Once was ‘live and now I’m dead’
Rebirth is awful!
‘The Brit had wit
I was a twit
He had a gift and offered it’
Rebirth! Rebirth! Rebirth is awful!
‘I was a fool and saw a jewel, shining underwater
The ring was a hook, the Brit was a crook
I felt like a fink, so what do you think?’
Rebirth is awful!
‘Woke and I drowned
Was lost and soon found
Swam from my bed with muck in my head’
Rebirth! Rebirth! Rebirth is awful!
‘Made a new friend ever so quick
Told her the truth and lost her; she split
Lonely again, I can’t pretend’
Rebirth ain’t awful!
‘Wandered around and made it through town
Passed out, fell down and then I rebound
Only to find I was out of my mind’
Rebirth! Rebirth! Rebirth is awful!
‘I found me a lover who looked like another
And a new little guy who felt like a brother
Said the wrong thing and their eyes did not hover’
Rebirth is awful!
Lucine and I sang the song back and forth, messing it up and adding new notes to the song wherever we saw fit, but Gauner’s Grovel was complete and once I added a bluesy beat to it, it was actually kinda dope. I could fit the song into nearly anything, but a bluesy-soulsy thing was where it hit its stride and I really vibed with it, even with the lighter notes of the undlegar. Of course its home was on the plublass, but still, the undlegar did it justice. I even got to teach Lucine how to play it on the plublass as we crossed the country, living off of the land and hunting ads we saw fit. He wasn’t the expert survivalist that Stellara was, but he was a much better cook than she had ever been on the road. The guy actually used some of our funds to buy spices and salt once we passed through Alesdale, the only city-state in Avalesce to allow River People to drink openly. I mean, in Tidrel I literally had to straw-purchase if I wanted to get stocked up, and even then the flask I kept on me got odd looks from the Welcome Center staff.
I mean, Gerritt was a dry province, but Avalesce as a country didn’t like River People drinking outside of someone’s home, which I didn’t really like. I got some mead for the road anyway and posed as Lucine’s Thesuvian nephew since my hair was curly enough to pass it off and I’m pretty pale for being biracial, however people wouldn’t believe that I was wholly Thesuvian. We altered the story until I was a Denosian/Thesuvian mixed guy and a lot of people accepted that. It was my eyes, however, that sold the entire thing because mine had the same blue and gold flecks that Lucine’s had for some odd reason. We talked about that over a drink or two one night and he supposed that we were soul-brothers or of the same ilk some way of the sort, destined to have met and come together. I told him he was crazy and offered to admit that he was right if he helped me with something.
Having known him longer than I’d known Stellara, I knew what his answer would be. “Hey, Lucine?”
He stopped scanning the bar as he was prone to doing. “Yeah, kid?”
“Stop calling me kid, for one. You're not that much older than me.”
“I’m in my sixties and you’re not even thirty. What do you want, kid?”
“How bout we play ‘Gauner’s Grovel’?”
He looked at me, a smile at the corner of his mouth. “Right now?”
“Yeah, man. Right now.”
“You know everyone here’s been drinking, right?” His heavy Welsh-Cockney accent made it hard to understand him, but I got the message clearly enough after spending so much time with him.
“Non-lethals if things go south?” I raised a brow.
He gave me a look, still halfway about to smile. “You’ve been getting rowdier the closer we get to Ponydale.”
“Well, maybe it’s just that you haven’t given me time to play anywhere we’ve stopped!” I chuckled.
“Ah, ya goobski, you might as well get it over with.” He waved his hand.
I picked up my plublass and offered it to him, making him roll his eyes. “Come on, Luce, You know you want to~”
He took it with a scowl and stroked the strings carefully. “Never thought I’d be playing an instrument in Avalesce with a River Man.”
“It’s the unexpected that makes these trips fun, right?” I picked up my undlegar and laid out the first few notes, stopping short.
We plucked the opening chords at the same time, trading devilish smiles. Lucine shrugged. “Shall we?”
“Four. Three. Two…”
I hit the first six notes in rapid succession and Lucine got them a little slower, so I matched his pace and we started going through the song with me providing the high notes and main melody while Lucine actually got into the groove of things and sang a little, accenting my style with his significantly lower voice. Much to our surprise, we garnered a crowd around our booth that cheered us on and asked for encores, but none of our improvs matched our one song. We had to play it a few more times over the night to stop getting things thrown at us, or I should say more things. Lucine wanted to start shooting, but I was having the time of my life just playing my music and having people like it. When I tried playing Somewhere Over the Rainbow, I actually got approached by the owner of the tavern and was asked to stay in one of the rooms and provide entertainment on a case-by-case basis. He had a wedding reception coming up soon and needed a talented musician. A talented one. And he asked me! I was so honored and thrilled that I agreed without even asking for pay, stalling my journey about a quarter of the way to Ponydale. Lucine was glad to get off of the road and have a real place to rest, as little as he would’ve liked to admit it. Having somewhere soft to sleep was really right up his alley, otherwise, he was not much of a morning person.
During the fortnight we stayed at the Hobbled Cobbler, I worked on recreating the songs I knew from my world and trying to make my own, finding that music really did come easily to me once I was in the mood to play, and I was always in the mood to play. My sixth month on Septural was coming closer and closer and I decided to celebrate once the day came. Other than that, I had to come up with multiple parts for everything so Lucine could play along with me, and where it took me a few hours to learn a song, it took him a few days. That being said, I learned quite a few solo pieces and came up with a few simple duets that Luce would be able to pull off in time for the reception, which was a lot different than I’d anticipated. For one, the reception was both the bachelor and bachelorette party. Both groom and bride brought their friends and young relatives with them to the tavern to get trashed, and I wasn’t the only entertainment scheduled. Strippers and dancers of various races and sexes were invited and did some freaky shit with the party-goers that stopped just shy of public sex, which made the barkeeps choice in music hella confusing. He’d asked or more of what I had played, but not much of it was happy or party music, so I did a few guitar solos to brighten the mood.
I opened the night with something slow that turned out to be a dance song. Lucine had no problems keeping up with the heavy bass of 4th of July, Rooster went over well, and when I decided to try it, Elvis’ Hound Dog made people go wild! I hadn’t been expecting it, but the party turned from bump-grind to dance party in just a few minutes, so I freestyled some happier music that kept the good vibes going. Luce didn’t play during my solos, but he came back in for Gauner’s Grovel and Somewhere Over the Rainbow, which I closed the night with. After weapons started getting thrown about when we left the stage, I had Lucine pass me the plublass so I could keep playing, even though my fingers were actually bleeding a little at that point. The blisters I’d developed over the course of learning and evidently mastering my instruments of choice hadn’t fully turned into calluses, making my final performance of the night the most painful. People roared when blood started dripping off of the strings and the party went absolutely nuts when I started Black Hole Sun. The final notes had people cheering and doing beer slides for the oddest of reasons, but my main concern was getting my fingers patched up. I ended up with two and half hundred drachs (Bringing my financial total to ‘decent’ levels) for my troubles and a few drinks to ease my pain. The barkeep, a Minotaur named Toray Clooz, asked if I’d want to stick around for the next gig and I passed, wanting to get back to my journey. Luce was a little miffed by that since he’d had fun with the whole thing, the gals that tried to get with him, and the general rockstar motif, but it was ultimately up to me to get us back on the road.
During the trip from Alesdale, Luce asked, “So what is it that your really plan on doin’, Gatian? We have been on the road for the better part of a Dubbel now and all I know that you’re doing is chasing a flame.”
As we walked in the misty dawn light, I looked at him carefully. “What? Don’t tell me you want to go home.”
“Not quite. Just wondering how long it’s going to be til I see home again.”
“How about four months? We get to Ponydale, meet up with Shadesong, and then we come back to Tidrel and I get off to my journey again?”
“... So you see right through me, eh?” He chuckled.
“I never though you were going to stick around for the full thing. Just long enough to see if I could take care of myself.”
“Yeah. I think you’ll be alright, kid.” He shrugged. “You learn fast, eat just enough, and you make friends with your music left and right. You might just be a prodigy with those instruments if my guess is correct.” You wanna add something to that, don’t you?
“Guess being the best won't be as hard as I thought.”
“Don’t sound too happy about that.”
“I’m not. I was hoping that this would be harder, but the only thing I’m really finding hard is being away from Stella and Felix. I miss my friends.”
Luce put a hand on my shoulder and shot a flame from his finger in front of us, the fire bursting into a flower before we could come into contact with it. “They were just friends, kid. You might’ve liked them, but if they couldn’t accept you, then they couldn’t accept you. That’s all there is to it.”
“What was that?”
“You’re blooming, Gatian. It’s up to you how far you open up.”
I shrugged. “I guess. Maybe I’ll make some new friends or something?”
“That’s the spirit. Don’t get down and make me drag you.”
“Ha! Thanks for the pick me up, I guess.”
“Hmph. Thanks for not making me pick you up, fatarse.”
And that was all that was said for a good while. I didn’t take the jibe to heart since I’d been two-hundred-and-eighty pounds before Septural and was now down to two-twenty. It took us a good couple of days to reach the next town, and the town after that took a week. Hooversdum was a rather nice place with nice scenery around it, there being a mountain range within sight, a lake on the other side of town, and the people there were accommodating like no other. We were offered a place to stay within hours of getting to town, and there was almost a fight over who would host the musician, which was weird. Whenever we needed money, Luce would go Critter Controlling with me en tow, or I’d be out in the middle of town trying to make some money. Hunting was faster for what it was and the effort involved for Lucine, but the music was a lot more lucrative for what we could do in a day for both of us. Luce and I eventually agreed to split up in Hooversdum on the edge of Ponydale when our Gertt money stopped being terribly valuable, finding that the Centurns and Minotaurs were much more generous with their coin for good music than Humans had been. Hell, after three days of making music in Hooversdum, we had enough to pay for an inn for a week and live like metaphorical kings for a few days. There weren’t as many things to go hunting for so close to the Equisian border, wherein lie the colloquially named country Equinis. Ponydale and Equinis were one and the same, and that place happened to be one of the most outwardly friendly places I’d ever been. Hooversdum was a brightly colored, compact town though full town littered of people of all sorts of sunny dispositions. In fact, the perma-frown on my face had to be consciously rectified if I didn’t want someone to walk up and hug me. I mean, I liked hugs, but getting them from multiple people at a time was a little much. I wondered how Lucine was doing since we’d split up as soon as we got into town since the old man was dour and sour-faced like few other people I’d met. It was usually enough for me to laugh and hug back a little, but I couldn't imagine Lucine dissipating a crowd by being nice. After an hour with no gunshots in town, I figured he was fine.
As I played my music in Hooversdum, I actually came to gather a following that grew and grew by the day. Our first few days had been spent finding the best spots to get work, our fourth and fifth had been spent working, and our sixth was spent teaching people how to do what we did. There was actually a Guild or several that operated across the world with different Guildhouses in different parts of every country. There had been A Hexamond Guildhouse in Tidrel, but I’d never gone since I’d never been invited. The Raphtal Guild had a presence in Hooversdum since it was a larger border-town, basing their whole moral scheme on ‘Shoot first, mourn later’, or at least that’s what I was told by the runner guy who was sent for me. Even if he was doing something for them, he was quite wary of the Guild. Apparently, Luce had been recruited and wanted to see what I had to say about it, so I stopped making money doing my thing and went to go talk to Luce. I knew something was wrong the second I saw him, but I didn’t know just what.
“Sup, Lucine? We doing something or what?” I asked casually, not letting anything show on my face.
The look in his eye was enough to get the picture. “I’ve been cordially invited to be the stars of Raphtal’s latest feast.”
“... Are we the feast?”
“No, but the Raphs are some serious trouble. This guild has the full weight of King Lumo and Fullmaster Gran Stoker-Smith does whatever he wants anyway. He was with the guild back in the day and they rule Ponydale and Avalesce respectively... We’re stuck right now.”
“... So is my music career over, or…?”
“We’ll see in a few hours.”
I unstrapped my undlegar and started playing. “Then why don’t I make us a song?”
“... If you want, I suppose.” Luce made a face, obviously not wanting me to do the thing.
I shrugged. “It’s either that or sit in silence.”
“I like silence.”
“I like music and my wiener is bigger than yours.”
“Yeeeah~ Her pussy smelled like faulain meat and tastes just like it too! I wanted to stick it in her butt though she turned my balls so blue! How would I come to cum if she knew not what she had to do? When she placed herself upon it, she bent it right in two! Ohhhh-”
“Stop. Please stop.” Luce groaned.
I grinned at him and prepared another verse until the most handsome man I’d ever laid eyes on opened the door I hadn’t walked through and gave me a look. His dark, dark brown hair and deep blue eyes were beautiful, the dark, oceanic blue pairing together so well I never though I’d see another male face so entrancing, even if they did look annoyed with me. I saw a hint of admiration on his face as well as irritation, but all I was concerned about was how fucking cute this guy was. I waved, he waved, and Luce harrumphed, ruining my moment. I shot the old man a glare and missed what the young man said, but I’d heard the telltale note of an English lilt to his voice when I’d heard him. It had been some time, but his voice was rather familiar in a way different from Luce’s. It wasn’t the Brits since I remembered that clearly, but it reminded me of some fanfiction I’d read a long time ago. It wasn’t that good, but I remembered crushing on the cover-guy for the duration of my readthrough. Whoever the new guy was looked just like him, but with inhuman grace and somehow looking even more arrogant.
“Were you listening, mate?” He asked irritably.
“Maybe.” I answered smoothly, trying not to blow my cover as a straight guy. “Was it important?”
“Just keep it down, alright?”
“Stick around and I’ll play something else.”
“That’s the opposite of what I just said.” He practically snarled.
I glanced at Luce and saw that he was staring at the guy, looking different than I’d ever seen him. “Whatever, dude. Go back to blowing yourself before your balls get anymore shriveled.”
He stepped out of the room and showed his physique; lean and mean. He was kinda short at about five-seven, but he looked like he knew how to throw a mean hook. The guy didn’t have a gun on his hip like everyone else I’d seen at the guild, but Luce came to stand in front of me all the same. “He’s just full of it; all musicians are. Why don’t you let this one go?”
The guy lifted his chin. “... Name’s Max, Goobster. Remember the face before I break yours.”
I snorted. “Name’s Bond. James Bond. I like it shaken, not stirred.”
“Weren’t you doing something before this?”
Max cracked his knuckles and Luce drew his gun, but before he could loose the first shot, Max was in my face. “Think you’re cute, don’t you?”
Luce whirled around as I gave ‘Max’ some bedroom eyes. “Not half as cute as you, handsome~”
He blushed. “Wha-Whatever! Just stop it with the racket!”
I winked at him. “Handsome guy like you has a couple of ladies around, right? Wanna grab a couple and have some fun together?”
“Fucking- No! You hedonists are weird!”
“At least we know how to have fun.” I sighed.
He started marching away until I got too close while following him. “Can I help you?”
“Do you think you can get the Guildmaster to sponsor my music?”
I looked him in the eye and said, “Aren’t you fond of my racket? It gets better.”
“No. I don’t like music-”
“Everyone likes music, Max. Just gotta find the kind for you.”
He rolled his eyes. “Play me a song. Play me one song that you don’t think I’ll hate.”
It took me a sec to translate the notes, the song coming faster than anyt I’d thought of before, probably from the fact that I’d already tried to learn it on guitar. Clocks by Coldplay flowed from my fingers and into my undlegar like water, the song playing itself more so than me playing it. When I finished, Max was nodding, a small smile on his face along with a bit of a dreamy look., I waited a while for him to say something but that wasn’t happening any time soon. It took him a solid six minutes to tell me that he didn’t hate the song, and he immediately fucked off to go do something. Luce hit me once he was gone and asked if I had a death wish or something, to which I replied that I didn’t and had probably just gotten us a gig. He still thought that we were going to die at any moment, and when Max came back with an eight-foot-tall Minotaur and a Unicorn that looked like she stabbed people with her horn I was thinking that he was right. Then I got a hug from Max and he welcomed us into his guild as honorary members.
Apparently, I had flirted with Max Gadarai, the Guildmaster of the Raphtal. Luce was stunned to find that my guess had been correct. I didn’t tell him what my guess was, but I’d let him know that it was right. Max was kinda gay and was hiding it. If that wasn’t the reason he was so touchy feely during the banquet, then I don’t know what was. Hell, he even sang the chorus to a few songs that I put together for the Guild, having been meeting and greeting and eating all night long. Luce was popular with the elders of the guild, his tales of crossing the country with his River Person Partner giving everyone time to get to know him while my music got me and Max plenty of attention from the ladies. The lead singer always gets the gals, and Max could sing a lot better than I could. However, Guitar-Man gets his fair share, and my fair share were flashing me and going crazy all on their own. I passed out so many kisses and had my face stuffed into plenty of chests with Max nearby, dragging more than a couple of his own groupies into my fray. We eventually came together and got everyone into his room in the Guild, but we didn’t just make a mess out of the ladies. A fair number of them wanted to see us go at it too, and it might’ve been the somas, but we sure as fuck did.
The morning after was great. There were tits in my face and I was spooning Max, still inside of him as I woke up. I was sure to pull out and wipe off before we could get caught, sticking it in this Mare with blue hair that had the best bubble-butt out of the bunch. She didn’t mind being fucked awake and Max apparently liked the role model in me because he decided to get his morning started that same way. We boned our partners for however long we felt like until everyone got up to go, but Max and I were left behind. He kept sparing me odd glances as we got dressed, so I took the lead and waited for him to have his back to me, my new butt-slut being rather receptive when I wrapped my arms around him.
“Real tough party guy, aren’t you?” I murmured in his ear, feeling the fine lines of scar tissue on his chest.
His breathing hitched in his throat and he leaned against me. “Y-Yeah, I guess.”
“Taken down by a guy with an undlegar~ I wonder what this means, hmm?”
“... You can’t expose me-”
“Ha! Like I’d get both of us crucified by doing that. No, Max, there’s something else I want from you.”
“Okay. What is it?” His voice was shaky as I breathed in his ear.
I was more than amused. “You.”
“... Wh-What do-”
“When I come back, your ass is mine. When I want it, where I want it. Got it?” Kinda rapey, but let’s see how it pans out.
His hands moved to cover mine, his firm, sculpted ass tight against me. “... But it stays a secret?”
“No one has to know.” It’s working!
“... Yes, sir.” He whispered.
I bit his neck and sucked for a little while, leaving my mark on him. When I let go, he stumbled forward and covered his groin, most likely hiding the wood I’d caused. “Good boy. I think we’re gonna have some fun together, Maxi.”
Max cracked the smallest of smiles. “Yeah... guess we will.”
I may or may not have fucked him senseless again, but that was beside the point. Once I was feeling nice and relieved, I made sure he knew who was in charge between us and probably shouldn’t mention that I fucked him again to prove it. God, that guy was such a fucking bottom and his bottom. Like damn! I grabbed Luce from the bottom of a dogpile that had formed around the time people started passing out and got the show on the road, surprised at the life of a musician. There was more to it than I’d thought, and I was just touching the tip of the iceberg. Honestly, Booksy, there was so much to it that I haven’t even talked about yet that I had to start writing in you, which brings me to present day I guess. I mean, I kinda skimmed over the last few months because I didn’t really want to go through all that, but still. With the time I have now, I feel like I need to start all over and start getting things together… Now that I read through it, I really sped through life without Stellara and Felix, but that’s… Well, I kinda feel like it’s because life doesn’t feel like life without them anymore. My friends were my family, and Lucine is a great guy, but I’d rather be sharing the time with Stellara. Maybe Shadesong can ease the pain in my heart, though I have my doubts.
… What am I doing, Booksy? I’ve dived into the world of music headfirst and I have no idea what direction I really want to go in. I haven’t even tried to make a song about slavery or anything, and I thought that was going to be one of my first things… I’m losing sight of what I want, Booksy… Maybe I need to read through you and see what I’ve done wrong…
Maybe I should take it from the beginning and annotate this…? Nah. I think I’ll just try to go into more detail from here on. I know you get why this one was so light on details, and I know I’ll remember, but maybe I just need to say it. Moving on from dark days took time. That’s all I want to say right now, I guess.
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Ringtail is the Panda, I'm just the guy that translates for him. Call me Ringo.
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