He quickly found his leader, as she was one of the few in the tavern and the only red-headed women with a small pile of bottles around her. She was currently snoring on the table, her left hand for some reason around a spear. Gran found the sight quite ridiculous, because Fiora had no idea how to properly use a spear.
He walked over to her and began to shake her gently.
“Sod off.” She said drunkenly, the spear slightly waving, “I’m ‘sleepin here.”
Gran felt an incomparable sadness filling his heart as he beheld his leader in her current state. With a frown, he walked over to the bar and rapped his knuckle on the counter, attracting the bartender.
“I need a large bucket of water, the colder the better.” Gran stated flatly.
The bartender raised an eyebrow, then eyed the sleeping redhead, “Using magic to cool water ‘ould normally cost ya, but consider this ‘ne on the house. Milly, get the Wake-Up special!” He yelled to the back.
A moment later a young girl, the barkeep’s daughter by the look of it, came out with a large bucket of water and handed it to Gran. He nodded his thanks as he took the bucket and checked the temperature, ignoring the girl staring at his head.
“Are ‘ou an elf sir?” The little girl, Milly, asked tentatively.
Gran, finding the water temperature cold enough, looked down at the little girl and smiled softly. He bent down to look the little girl in the face, “I am indeed.”
“You live in the ‘orest and eat no meat?”
Gran nodded, “That’s right; we elves eat only what the forest provides. We do not eat animals, but we do kill dangerous beasts.”
Milly cocked her head to stare up at Gran’s hair, “Why is ‘our hair shiny, and why are ‘our ears ‘ointed? Did you get ‘urt?”
“Milly, that’s rude.” The barkeep barked from behind the counter, giving the girl a hard glare.
Milly bowed her and head and mumbled an apology.
Gran reached his hand out to raise her head, “Our hair is shiny because we use our magic often; even human mages have glossy hair underneath their hats. Elves, however, do not get old quickly so we don’t go bald, like humans do.” His eyes twitched toward the barkeep, whose hand twitched toward his receding hairline for a moment. The little girl giggled at the implication.
“My ears are like this because I was born like this. It’s part of being an elf.” He explained.
The little girl nodded in understanding and smiled happily as Gran patted her head as he got up. As he turned to look at his leader, his smile grew a little sinister for a moment. He grabbed the bucket and swung it’s contents onto the redhead.
Naturally, cold water was not the most pleasant of experiences to feel when asleep, and/or drunk. Fiora awoke quickly and violently, sputtering and waving her spear around as she fell backwards out of her seat. She quickly got and growled as she searched for the perpetrator.
“Alright, who was the genius mastermind behind this stunt?” She snarled. Everyone in the tavern began looking the other direction as she stared at everyone.
“That would be me, oh fearless leader.” Gran announced from beside her.
Fiora whirled around to stare at him, and then smiled sarcastically, “Well, well, well, if it isn’t my old comrade Gran. Come, sit and share a drink with me.”
“You’ve had enough drinks; it’s time to go home.” Gran said evenly.
Fiora began to chuckle, “How rich, coming to lecture me now are you? Where were you and the others when I needed a lecture? I found what I needed to go on, same as the other two. They understand this pain, but you? You have all the time in the world to mourn don’t you.” She gave him a bitter look.
Gran raised an eyebrow, “I must say Fiora, I never thought you ever had a side like this to you. Humans are surprising creatures indeed.”
Fiora chuckled darkly and sat down in her wet seat, “Ay, we are indeed curious aren’t we? So determined to live our life to fullest, but we aren’t here in this world long enough to make a difference.” She fingered one of the empty goblets in front of her idly, “Never knowing which day will be our last; burning brightly like a candle until we get snuffed out. That’s human’s all right. Worse yet, we need leaders and the like to tell us what to do, and to blame when things go wrong.”
“Well,” She said with a grin, having found a glass half-full of beer, “I fought, I led, and caused people to die. Here’s to being human!” She raised the goblet for a drink.
Gran took a step forward and slapped the goblet out of her hand. It hit the floor and shattered, spilling it’s contents over the wood. Gran quietly flipped a silver coin to Milly, who was watching from a nearby table.
Fiora frowned at Gran and fingered her spear, “That was my booze you know.” She said accusingly.
Gran nodded, “Indeed, and you have had quite enough. Where did you even get the spear anyway?”
Fiora looked down, “Oh, this old thing. Someone traded it for my sword, I think. I can’t rightly remember.”
“You mean, you traded the precious sword gifted to you my your mentor for a worthless piece of iron.” Gran’s voice was dead icy now.
Fiora gave a shrill laugh, “Aye, that I did, I think. I was disowned you know? I felt her pain and blame through our bond; she blamed me for her death. I don’t need such a worthless thing, seeing as I’m such a failure I couldn’t even keep a young boy and girl alive.”
“That was not your fault . . .”
“IT WAS!” Fiora slammed her fist on the table and screamed, her anger peaking out. Milly jumped and hid herself under the table, peeking up. The other patrons quickly made their way out of the room.
Fiora took in a ragged breath, “It is my fault; I can see the blame in your eyes too. I saw in Nat’s, I saw it in Jonas’s, I even felt it from Mary. A good for nothing like me, is, well, good for nothing. So let me go back to my drink.” She reached over to search through her other glasses for leftover booze.
Gran sighed, and knocked all the glasses to the floor. He threw a gold piece to the barkeep, who was keeping a close eye on the situation. The gold piece was too much for the goblets, but Gran expected it to not stop there.
Fiora glared and stood up abruptly, grabbing the spear, “You seem to be looking for trouble Gran. Go back to the forest and live with your plants; it’s what you’re best at.”
“I’m sorry I left you alone when you needed someone.” Gran said, a trace of regret entering his voice.
Fiora snorted and rolled her eyes, “Little late for that one love, and seeing as you spoiled my mood, why don’t you provide some entertainment instead?”
With that said, she lunged forward with her spear.
Optional Fight music
Gran snorted and dodged backwards, leaping over a table to create room between them. The two combatants eyed each other from across the room.
“Since you are using an unfamiliar weapon, I’ll do so as well.” Gran removed a silver sword from his magic pack and took a ready position.
“Who said I don’t know what I’m doing?” Fiora laughed and twirled her spear, throwing herself forward violently. Chairs and tables went flying as she knocked them out of her and ran forward like an unstoppable force.
Gran raised the sword and pointed it forward at her, and then leaped forward. As they neared each other, Gran swung his spear down as Fiora drew her spear back. His swipe knocked into her spear as she plunged it forward, knocking aside the tip aimed for his heart. Fiora snorted and turned her body, contorting it in a way that the spear came hurtling back at him. Gran’s feet touched the table, and he launched himself backwards from the blow. Fiora, not letting him off, ran forward and began to rapidly strike with her spear, intent on stabbing him.
Gran parried her thrust in mid-air, but was sent flying backwards into a few chairs. Seizing the opportunity, Fiora leaped into the air, hair flying behind her. She held the spear down as she dropped, her figure a deadly battle goddess as she descended.
Gran quickly rolled out of the way as she hit the ground, her hair flying around her. He sung the sword out to hit her arm, and she too rolled away, taking the spear with her. They eyed each other from across the room again.
“I thought you were drunk.” He stated bluntly.
“I am; you just aren’t strong.” She replied just as bluntly, “With level of strength, do you expect to yourself to protect anyone?”
“I do.” Gran smiled lightly as he ran forward towards her, his sword pointed at her from his shoulder. Fiora snorted and took a read position, her spear pointed at him as she pulled it back.
As he got close, she used all her strength to throw it forward, watching the point fly toward his heart. Gran made no move to stop it as the spear approached him. However, as it neared him, the spear seemed to waver for a moment. In that instance, Gran whirled rapidly and slashed upwards with his sword. The sound of metal on metal echoed across the room, and the spear fell apart into two pieces. Fiora just stared blankly at the cut piece of metal in her hand.
Gran walked forward slowly and held the sword in his hand under chin.
“You lose.” He said gently.
Fiora’s shoulders slumped as she smiled weakly at him, “Huh, I guess I was drunk.” As she said this, a small sob began to vibrate over her figure. Gran, feeling slightly reluctant, held the sword down and embraced Fiora in a hug.
“It’s okay now, everything will be okay now.” He said as gently as he could manage.
Fiora broke down in his embrace, her heartfelt cries echoing around the room. The bartender took Milly and closed the door behind him as the two exited the room. Gran, feeling slightly awkward, patted Fiora’s back as she let lose the feelings she had been repressing for so long.
After a few minutes, Fiora’s cries changed to sobs, then to sniffles, and then to small sniffs. She took a step backwards and gave Gran a sheepish smile.
“I guess I made a fool of myself huh.” She asked him.
Grans shrugged his shoulders, “To be fair, in my few centuries of experience, you humans do that on occasion. Don’t feel too bad about it.”
She wiped her eyes and nodded her head, “Okay, so what do we do now?”
“First,” Gran raised a finger, “We are going to find your sword. After that, I’m taking you to a healer since I’m sure your body is full of that disgusting poison you humans call booze. We’ll see how it goes from there.”
“Okay.” Fiora nodded her head, her countenance being that of a small girl being scolded by an elder; which really was the situation if one considered it. The two left the tavern, leaving behind only a mess and spilled booze.