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The High

Re: The High

Post by Pagusel on

Pagusel allowed her shoulders to relax, the curve of her upper back to arc forward, as she placed the heels of her hand behind her hips and leaned her weight on the armoire. Daq was clearly agitated, she observed. He was being petulant, but not obtuse. He was no Morax. This transformation of character was, she continued to remind herself, not the same as that other schism she'd seen in Daq.

When he sat down before her, she adopted an expression of bewildered . . . graciousness? She gazed down at him and used her hand to sweep the little box closer to her thigh before clasping her hands on top of her knees. She gave him a level, earnest stare as he spoke. Her pupils were somewhat dilated. When he changed tacks, she tipped her head in sympathetic reflection of her awareness.

There was a moment's pause after he asked his question before she flicked her gaze to the side and inhaled a sigh. "Mm," she said thoughtfully with a falling tone. She seemed to consider Daq had hit the nail on the head with that question.

When she looked back at him, her very eyelashes seemed to strain. Her eyes were bittersweet crescents. "I . . . don't know," she said, in about as plain a response as could ever be elicited from her.

This young man looked so needy: practically prostrated, in her mind, before her. Pagusel gazed on him, this strange boy, for several seconds, with more fondness than he had actually earned. She pursed her lips and continued. "I believe Mister Bekkar gave dangerously little credence to the fact of his own mortality."

Re: The High

Post by Daq Bekkar on

The effects of the drugs were beginning to wear off. Daq could sense the faintest tinglings of sensation returning to the numb edges of his body. His hands itched, and his fingertips felt like they were crackling with energy. When he thought back to it, it seemed to him that Morax had a very different relationship with drugs. He wasn't entirely certain, but the last 'memory' he had of intoxication gave him the unsettling notion of an acute awareness of the acetylations and decarboxylations in his blood as the intruding chemicals were filtered away.

Daq yawned as the torpor from before caught up with him. The entire process of being new and struggling with reintegration was exhausting, and as the drugs' hold on him waned, so did his sense of urgency, of immediate peril. The issue of the 'box' was slowly becoming more of an academic interest.

"So," he said. "You do not think that Daq gave enough thought to make preparations?"

Unfolding his legs, he scooted over to the edge of the armoire, just a bit closer than before, and twisted around to prop his back up against the armoire's bottom. Draping one arm out to the side opposite Pagusel, he stared at the box. The smooth, long-fingered hand hanging decadently off the edge of the armoire looked as pale as marble in the moonlight.

"And yet this tree." He said, tracing along the silver inlay with his pinkie finger. "It seems so familiar to me."

Looking at Pagusel, he added, "And I wouldn't expect that it's a universal sort of familiarity. That is, the tree isn't some sort of proto-tree, is it? Does it elicit anything from you--a memory of water and chilly sunshine, perhaps?"

He stared at her inquisitively, though the shape that Morax's alchemy had ordained for his face made him look especially grave.

Re: The High

Post by Pagusel on

Pagusel closed her eyes. She felt Daq shift away from her feet and the soft creak of the armoire's wood as he put his back against it. Her stash was behind him. The place from which he had helped himself to that box--the provenance of which she understood better than he, it seemed. She opened her eyes to gaze down at the bare hole in the rotting closet.

"Allow me to clarify," she said in a hollow voice. This boy had apparently expected his predecessor to make preparations for his arrival. She couldn't determine whether his self importance was endearing or not. "I don't mean to say Daq was unaware of some fate that would befall him. I mean that I don't think he cared."

She bobbed her head in acknowledgment of her own words and extended her fingertips to pat him lightly on the shoulder. If he could keep from looking genuinely pained, if his eyes didn't turn to sorrowful saucers, she could restrain herself from feeling too much affection. Vilified, she could take. He could look offended and she'd hold her own; there was enough complexity in that.

She flicked her gaze away from his face to stare at the top of the box with an unmoving gaze. "The tree is not entirely unusual. I did indeed presume it to be an artist's 'proto-tree,' however, I am not experiencing any such abstractions. Are you having some exquisite hallucination, dear?" She let her voice trail off on that last word and tilted her unsteady gaze away from the both of them, Daq and the box.

Re: The High

Post by Daq Bekkar on

An odd sort of emotion came over Daq, or rather, an odd sort of absence of emotion. All of the humanity he'd been slowly funneling back into himself over the past few hours of his existence seemed to leak out of him. Everything he'd cultivated felt like it had been cut away. It was one thing to be the remnant of someone who'd not known of his coming demise, but it was quite another to be the remnant of someone who'd accepted its coming.

Now that he knew Bekkar had gone willingly, he realized that he owed him nothing, no efforts toward preservation. And if he owed Bekkar nothing, he certainly owed Pagusel even less. He marveled at the listlessness and indifference the consideration brought on. It bordered on something his memories told him to call "ennui."

Languidly, he hefted himself forward and stood. He dusted off what he could reach of the back of his coat, and placed a few swipes at his pant legs and at his shoulder where Pagusel had touched him. When he turned to look at her, all of the animation had been drained from his features. His face had become an impassive mask, just as it had always been intended to be.

Standing with his hands in his coat pockets, he spoke to her in his natural tone--the one he'd have spoken in if he hadn't been trying to imitate the idiosyncrasies of the essence that had been used to craft him. The sound was deeper, slower, and devoid of all inflection.

"This concludes the agreed-upon meeting," he said. "Bekkar is, I trust, now absolved of his commitment. I shall return to the Malatrast residence and await further instructions from my Maker."

Some esoteric cache of knowledge spoke to him of machines, spiritless things whose sole purpose was to perform a function until they could no longer perform. This was a comfort to him. Sooner or later, he would wear out, and then there would be nothing left for him but an endpoint and whatever it had promised the one who'd come before him.

Headed for the eastern side of the lot, he carefully began to pick his way through the bits of scrap and refuse. His pace was brisk but unhurried.

Re: The High

Post by Pagusel on

She hadn't known what reaction to expect, so she allowed it to play out to completion. She didn't even react beyond a thoughtful raise of her eyebrows when he declared himself free of further obligation. He departed slowly enough to give her some seconds to think while she watched his shirttails flap away.

Pagusel had absolved her own self of many ties when once she left behind a corpse. Shifting her religious affiliation had helped a great deal when she needed to reinvent her sense of self, but not everything from the past was shed. Memories of living ghosts carried on, like debts. And, like debts, they came to call when she was at her most or her least sober.

Just in those moments, she found her mind running a terrible bit of math, wondering whether the boychild was a few years older, or a few years dead, or some complementary sum of the two stretches. The fact of the figures was irrelevant, because indeed some truth existed. The unknowable, however far removed from her awareness, was still an actual burden. Pagusel stood.

She tucked her cloak into the fold of her elbow and the box into the fold of the cloak. She caught up behind Daq in several long paces.

"Mister Bekkar has been absolved only of living," she said. Her pauses were longer as she took care not to lose her breath. She was sparing her words as she did when she first met Daq, so as not to waste airspace with superfluous chatter.

"I suggest you consider the fact of property law. Not the laws of this place, but the civilities of civilized men." Pagusel gave the city that loomed beyond the scrapyard a sidelong glance as she kept pace with Daq.

"Mister Bekkar owes me a debt for services rendered. He has . . . passed on . . . and you are clearly his beneficiary. Most civilized property law would not retire his debt onto you, personally. Creditors will repossess their debt from what is bequeathed before the beneficiary consumes it."

Pagusel extended her hand to Daq and caught his forearm in her grip. "You said this isn't his body you're in, so I don't believe I'll take that." Her words were spooky, but her tone was still placid, if perhaps a fraction more forceful than usual. "I'm owed a specific debt, and I will only reluctantly settle up with something other than--but not less valuable--than that."

She looked somewhat troubled or pained as she gave his arm a squeeze. "Now--come forth and tell me what exactly it is you got from him. I intend to pay my . . . respects . . . once the matter is paid."

Re: The High

Post by Daq Bekkar on

There were too many processes running concurrently in Daq's head for him to sort through and pin down any of them. Faint voices whispered for the preservation of the former, others clamored for a return to the crafter, and a distracting handful were split in argument over renewing a conversation with Pagusel or starting a fresh one with Zapar, both in the service of some yet-ambiguous notion of 'desire.' Underlying it all was the shuffling index of old memories, files opened and closed unbidden, a mental reflex responding to key words and phrases. It was only because he had been so certain that she would simply allow him to leave that Pagusel was able to shake Daq out of his state when she caught up with him.

Nevertheless, the talk of absolution and law fell on not necessarily deaf ears, but certainly uninterested ones. A few folders flipped open in response to the talk of property and civilization, but they contained no useful information, just vague impressions that seemed like the stale aftertaste of knowledge or memory. Strongest among these impressions was that 'Mister Bekkar' had handled the business of civil procedures, taxation and reckoning.

As for the matter of what Daq had received from 'Mister Bekkar,' it wasn't something Daq could fully account for. Allowing his lips to part and display his irritatingly flawless teeth, he took a few moments before responding.

"I don't rightly know what I've 'gotten' from him," he said. "If anything, it wasn't 'gotten' but 'taken' or 'scavenged.' As we've established, Bekkar had considered his life forfeit, and that's the only part of him I can be sure I possess. If you must have a more exacting answer, I suspect Morax would be the only one capable of providing it. You may go with me to see him if you wish, though I must caution you--I am not property."

As he used his free hand to wriggle his fingers under Pagusel's and loosen her grip, he reconsidered this position and added, "not yours, anyway."

Re: The High

Post by Pagusel on

Pagusel glared down with mild surprise at his wriggling arm and allowed him to free himself of her grip. She shook her head and directed her stare downward as she continued with him. "Vanity will not get you out of anything, Daq," she muttered in admonishment.

"I am reluctant, but not unwilling, to settle up with what there is. I have moral qualms with indentured servitude." She stopped in her steps and watched his back for a few moments, then came up beside him again.

A gray-green slick of moonlight reflected off an oily puddle in a runoff trench near the edge of the scrapyard. Pagusel touched Daq's elbow for his attention, as her time grew thin.

"I cannot indenture you, but I can in good conscience propose a suitable repayment. He owed me a debt, Daq. You mustn't be petulant. These are the ways of men." Her voice grew huskier as she spoke so much. With red-rimmed eyes, she watched his face for fragmentation, some sign of consideration.

She shifted the bulk of her cloak and her tiny box under her left arm as she lifted her right arm to point in the direction of a lighted neighborhood in the commercial district. There were a few street lanterns outside the taverns that were still open. "It will be simple if you go with me."

She hastily dropped her right arm to scratch at an urgent itch that had just developed below her left armpit. She stood there awaiting his response, brow furrowed and pushing a small section of her shirt's fabric around to scrub away the sudden irritation on her skin.

Re: The High

Post by Daq Bekkar on

Daq dusted at the sleeve where Pagusel had held him and loosed a jet of air from his nose at her comment about vanity. Yes, it was self-centered, maybe even vain, of him to assume that the woman would have seen the flaws in her logic. Perhaps she was too desperate for whatever it was she thought she was owed to consider that Marnian law had very few provisions regarding reparations paid by thieves.

The most relevant one he could think of was a section of Penal Code 1138.1., (c): [...] Marnian citizens may file an action with the courts requesting the return of belongings used as evidence in criminal proceedings upon the conclusion of aforementioned proceedings. This action shall be filed within thirty days [...].

A small part of him wondered how he'd come to know something like that, but most of him just discounted this sort of questioning, just as it simply accepted that the oddly irritating aroma of musty books that was also remembering was the smell of the city's judicial library, open from 8-5 on weekdays with early closure on Wednesdays. Bekkar--or was it Morax?--had insisted on familiarizing himself with Marnian law. Daq had an inkling that it was Morax, seeking out the boundaries of acceptable behavior.

What struck him more than this odd tidbit was that he couldn't quite pin down any memories regarding the debt he'd somehow accrued. The best he could do was recall Bekkar sitting at a wooden table, his speech slurred into strange snake-like sounds, talking about some business arrangement with Pagusel, who looked unsettled for some reason or another. Everything about that memory was fractured, though. He couldn't piece together actual sentences from what he remembered, much less whole exchanges. Had he been drugged? There was a section of Marnian contract law that related to that, and maybe Morax had been intending to exploit it.

Nonetheless, it all seemed like such a bother to sort through. As Pagusel touched his elbow, he jerked it away. He was overcome with an urge to continue with the inertia of the movement and make a try at snapping her neck, but that also seemed like too much effort.

Simple, she'd said, indicating the general direction of commercial district.

"Fine," he said. He preferred simple. Sighing and setting his jaw, he gestured for her to lead the way. His posture straightened, and settled yet very distant look took up residence on his face. In that moment, he looked much more like a fleshly golem than a man.

Re: The High

Post by Pagusel on

Pagusel's cheeks flushed as she veered off in the direction she had pointed. Her steps were just a bit quicker and more decisive now, for she was leading the way. She still held herself back enough to half-turn her head every few paces and make sure Daq was still at least in her periphery. He'd agreed.

At the southern corner of the scrapyard, there was the skeleton of and old, overturned stagecoach, behind which bobbed two fuzzy shadows. Pagusel slowed as she approached the shadows and the erratic, hollow clanking sound of metal on metal. She stopped short when a tin cup rolled over and tapped her sandal.

She squinted to see the cup had fallen off a small mound of scrap. A grizzled little gray-brown man was throwing pieces on to the pile as he picked them out of the wreckage. He glanced up to Pagusel with beady eyes that glinted a catlike yellow in the dark: a goblin. Near his feet, a female sat cross-legged. She balanced individual pieces on her distended--pregnant?--stomach as she inspected them. She was younger. Her forehead was smooth for such a creature, and her bare breasts were swollen like mountain yams.

Pagusel was silent for several seconds as the male helped the female to her feet. A tent of a skirt covered her from her belly downward. They both took a step forward to loom over their pile of scrap protectively. Pagusel's nostrils flared as she scooted her foot an inch away from the cup that had rolled astray.

Suddenly, the female caught sight of Daq's form coming up behind Pagusel, and she let out a vocal hiss, her face contorted with horror. The older male clutched at his girl protectively as he too started to hiss and growl at the man behind Pagusel. The two had clearly found something quite disturbing and threatening about him that they hadn't found in Pagusel. Hastily, the male turned and started to pull the girl away with him as she continued to shriek and claw hatefully in Daq's direction.

Pagusel shot a look of surprise over her shoulder to see that, indeed, it was only Daq. She took her moment and lunged at the unguarded pile of scrap. In an instant, she grabbed up a handful of old, salvaged trinkets and took off at a clip towards the civilized city. The goblins cowered behind the old coach and hid their faces from whatever it was they found so abhorrent.

Where the street began, Pagusel looked side to side before picking her route along a wide lane towards the neighborhood of taverns she'd eyed before. A thought occurred to her as she realized the fog of her mind had lifted entirely. "Could you be modestly skilled at cue sports?" she asked aloud, and then looked back to see if Daq was even keeping pace with her.

Re: The High

Post by Daq Bekkar on

A quiet sort of anxiety arose in Daq as Pagusel set off to wherever she'd wanted him to go. The act of her leading him somewhere made the nebulous 'contract' seem more imposing, and he wanted to return to the house in the foothills as soon as possible, to find a purpose for himself before he dissipated completely.

That anxiety was quashed almost as soon as it appeared, though, as if struck down by a petulant hand. No, he thought, that wasn't the right way of describing it. It was more like a bored foot erasing something written in the sand. There was nothing left in its wake, no trail of petulance or anger, just the same blankness that had been there before.

Focusing his attention outward, he saw the same two creatures that Pagusel noticed. He could have recalled their genus and species from Morax's embedded catalogs if he'd tried, but he didn't bother. All that he cared to recognize about them was that they were sub-human and they, despite their hissing and clawing, eventually shied away from him.

When Pagusel snatched something from their cache and ran, he didn't bother to match his pace to hers. The question of why she'd done something like that didn't strike him as particularly important, either. Eyes, heart, and mind set on nothing, he simply allowed his long, strong legs to keep him moving along at a fair pace. By the time she finally stopped to orient herself, she was a good ways ahead. She turned in his direction and asked something, and, despite his fine hearing, he could just barely make it out.

He waited until he'd gotten closer to respond. Hands still shoved in his pockets as more of a protection against cold than any display of body language, he asked flatly, "Cue sports? Is this how I'm to make recompense--by assisting you in petty thievery and barroom hustling?"

Stopping in the lane beside her, he added. "I am not without skill, provided the table's not too warped or tilted. My game is more geometric than instinctual."

Re: The High

Post by Pagusel on

Pagusel saw Daq was taking his time catching up to her. She took a moment to look down at the prizes she'd pilfered, for she hadn't had a chance yet to inspect their worth. There was a bent hatpin with a jewel of amber on its end, a tin saucer with a lacquer painting of an lion, and a lightweight belt made of a chain of hammered copper discs. She tapped the sharp--blunt, really--end of the pin with her finger.

When Daq came up to her and first disparaged her methods, she stared at him with weary impatience. She wasn't the type to explain herself, but he managed to bother her somehow.

"You're implying this--" she shook her handful of trinkets and flinched when they jingled-- "was petty thievery. You should stick with your perfunctory calculations, Daq, because the conclusion you've reached in trying to stick facts together is inaccurate. That cache was not his."

She gave a look over to the tavern and rolled her eyes in an upward-downward arc back to Daq, as if detour her field of vision as long as possible. "Although you're not bad at reading between the lines. Hustling is precisely what I am going to do."

Pagusel transferred the hairpin to her right hand and carefully twisted up a thick hank of hair at her crown to pin back. With the rusty tines hidden, the pin looked not so cheap, and her hair was in surprisingly good and well-kept condition. The effect was not unbecoming.

"Now. Mister Bekkar reminded me . . . not intentionally, I don't believe, not by his own words . . . that no man is an island." She clasped her hands over the two remaining trinkets, her left arm distorted also by the bulk of her cloak and the little box tucked within. She continued to stare at Daq in appraisal.

"I am . . . melancholy . . . that he is lost. Untimely . . . somewhat personally upsetting." She lifted her eyes and gave a very slight shake of her head.

"We will have a drink to . . . serve as a, um . . . memorial. For him. But I need some money for that . . . and more money, too. You need to serve as my . . . paddy-see? . . . Patsy." She stopped abruptly and tilted her head quizzically for his understanding. Perhaps she wasn't used to this particular jargon. "Come."

She turned and headed on towards the glowing tavern. Some locals were weaving their way in through the front door, having been evicted from another tavern, closed for the night. Near the door, as her legs began to cast a shadow on the stones of the road, she looked back at Daq to see how the light was falling on him.

"Let your game be as geometric as you need. Steal some of the geometry from your countenance, while you do . . . and try to apply a little more instinct to the look of you. Appearances are important. You'll enter after me, preferably just after another patron comes in. Win at first. At least one go. After that . . . we will have to see, follow my lead."

With that, Pagusel tucked her hairpin up just a little bit tighter and stepped into the rich yellow light and noise of the tavern.

Re: The High

Post by Daq Bekkar on

A truly unexpected urge overtook Daq when Pagusel chided him. There was something about her lazy eye-rolling and matronly, pedantic word choice that he found hilarious. He realized that this wasn't gallows humor or a satirical parody of 'regular' humor; it was the real deal. His situation seemed, at that moment, genuinely funny.

Just as all of his other expressions seemed a bit off, this one was no better. When he started laughing, his features contorted in an exaggerated way that made his skin look as if it were an uncannily flesh-like jester's mask. The eerie high-pitch to his laughter certainly didn't help matters.

It wasn't until he stopped laughing and began to explain himself that his face started to look half-way normal. The lingering smile and slightly-parted lips, the narrowed eyelids and bright eyes--these were convincingly human.

"You know," he said, grabbing for her arm to stop her from entering before he could explain himself. "Maybe you're right. I should just stick to the ol' calculations. Because there's no hope for me figuring out this twisted logic of yours. I was just trying to use your terms there. I mean, if the goblin's pile had contained something from some guy who owed you something, you wouldn't be asking the goblin to pay you back, would you? Yet, if what you tell me about Bekkar's final moments is true, well.. the soul doesn't belong to me any more than those things belonged to the goblin. So.. either you just stole something or you're taking advantage of me."

"Ahh," he said, leaning lazily against the wall of the tavern. "That tickles me pink, as they say. Maybe your sense of morality is a bit clouded by this 'personal upset' of yours. But, whatever. Let's get this over with. You go inside, I come in after, win a couple of games, and then follow your lead. Check, check, and check. I just hope you have a way of rationalizing your depriving these people of their hard-earned bishani. Unless you think that nothing really belongs to anybody. That'd be pretty deep."

He let out a couple of high-pitched laughs again, realizing then that it was the way Morax laughed when he chose to do so. "It'd be pretty funny, too."

Re: The High

Post by Pagusel on

Pagusel jerked only briefly, by her own inertia, when Daq grabbed her arm. She didn't pull away immediately. He at least looked a bit more human. She in turn looked back at him with a touch of irritation--maybe even anger--above her typically impassive expression.

Maybe this new Daq was an experiment in accelerated emotional maturation. Not long ago he had been pliant, trusting. Now, some new brainwave had been tripped, it seemed. He was sarcastic, quarrelsome, smug, and held a sense of self-worth greater than the sum of his deeds. He was . . . a teenager.

Pagusel lowered her eyes as a revelation overwhelmed her. Perhaps the boy child from before, who was to be about at the age of adolescence now, was this way, somewhere. That was too much to think about. She rotated herself away from Daq as he rolled away from her to lean against the tavern.

With her gaze only halfway observing him below the reversed horizon of her lowered eyelashes, she turned out a response that ignored his accusations and sass. "If this is how you act naturally--" She paused and almost appended her clause with the suggestion that he instead revert to stoniness. But, some sentimental part of her wanted him to exercise his adolescent willfulness. "--then it may very well serve as a decent distraction," she said finally.

Pagusel stepped into the tavern and used her hand to pull the door almost shut behind her. Inside, the floor and walls were bright and mostly tidy. The bar was long and well appointed. A half-dozen billiards tables, suited to a few different games, were arranged in the wide open space in front of the entrance. The lights grew dimmer near the back wall of the place, where there were many high-backed booths of polished pine.

Within a minute, Pagusel had found a spot to stand in observation and a house cue to lean against casually. She mustered up enough social willpower to stand nearly shoulder to shoulder with a few other patrons waiting for a turn at a preferred table. She would drift out of line and play Daq at her preferred game--the table with pockets was deserted--when the time was right.

Re: The High

Post by Daq Bekkar on

Daq paused for a moment before following Pagusel inside, but only partly because he was following the plan. He also had to take a bit of time to puzzle about Pagusel's psyche--the way that what he said could simply whiz by her without stirring up more than just the faintest blush of a reaction. He assumed it was a product of her age, the way her mind had, over the years, created an elaborate defense to compensate with accumulating stress.

He did not pause to think about why no such similar thing had happened to his own mind--that is, Morax's mind, plus whatever spark he had from Daq that enabled him to live. He simply felt wholly impressionable, wholly pliable--defenseless, in other words. It did not occur to him that Morax's 'mind' was the sort that had no need for defenses, or that the imprinting of memories, like the imprinting of emotions, might have been revised or incomplete.

Reaching for the door, he felt the thick wood, worn smooth by many hands. This, he decided as he opened it, was what an aged mind was like, and, as a corollary, was why he felt so prickly, splintering. Things would take time to smooth over. Interrupting his thoughts, the genus and species of the door's wood popped into his head, along with many of the organic molecules involved in the discoloration and smoothing process.

Daq squeezed his eyes shut, opened them again, and turned his focus to the task at hand. Noting how Pagusel had grabbed one of the cues, he followed suit. Taking a look at the tables, he picked one of the 8-ball tables with a game just finishing up and no line. The two men there before him returned to their seats at the bar. He moved in, racked the balls and then leaned against the table, waiting for a challenger.

A tall young man came up to him and nodded in the direction of the table. Daq looked at him--big shoulders, sandy blond hair, and a little chafing around the neck that might have come from wearing armor--unremarkable, except for a little nagging something from the part of his brain that the plant names and chemicals had come from.

"You wanna break?" he asked, before the silence between them could grow awkward. He was still trying to figure out what was setting off alarm signals, though.

"Sure," the young man said. His voice was gravelly, like a smoker's. Daq removed the rack, and his opponent lined up and shot. It was a hard shot that sent balls clicking and clacking all around the table. It pocketed two of the stripes and one solid. "Stripes, I guess," the young man said. Daq nodded.

The young man pocketed a third before fouling by contacting one of the solids first. Daq glanced at him to try to get an indication of whether there were any regional variants in play, and the man gestured for him to take his turn.

There was a slight warping to the edges of the table, as evidenced by the way that few balls seemed to be stuck near the cushions. "Will you hand me the mechanical bridge?" Daq asked, indicating a bridge resting against the wall behind his opponent.

"What?" he said. "The sissy stick?!"

"Yes, the sissy stick," Daq confirmed flatly. The young guy chuckled and handed it to him with a wry grin that slowly sank off of his face as Daq pocketed the solids one after the other, and then, after declaring the corner pocket, lined up the uncomfortable shot on the 8-ball with the bridge and made it. After he'd won, he glanced back up at his opponent, who was frowning and scratching at the sparse stubble on his chin.

The young man's expression finally triggered the click Daq had been waiting for; he remembered this young man talking with Morax, frowning in the same way. He'd been wearing armor at the time--guardsman armor.

"You just got lucky," the guy said. "Let's play another."

"Actually," Daq said. He cleared his throat awkwardly. "I was going to just get a drink."

"You can drink and play. Come on, I'll even buy a round."

"No thanks," Daq said. "I.. uhh..."

"I insist," the young man said. He snapped his fingers and signed for two beers before starting to rack the balls. The barman hopped right to the task of pouring them, in an act of paying the sort of respect that an off-duty guardsman deserves.

Re: The High

Post by Pagusel on

(( continued in Downtown & Business District viewtopic.php?f=6&t=2274 ))


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