May 18, 2021 4:16 AM
PI / Fixer gets dropped into a brewing war between Valdemar and its enemies
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Lissa seems content to banter with him. She's friendly and - maybe a bit flirty? It's hard to tell, given the cultural gap. 

At some point she's flagging the barmaid to refill both of their tankards, and the tavern around them is noticeably emptier. Lissa leans forward. "So. Your Foresight give you any other hints about what's coming with this damned war?" 

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“Oh, mostly the usual: cryptic images, strange intuitions, frustratingly vague directions.”

Vir puts a hand to his forehead and squinches up his face: half in reaction to his ongoing migraine, and half in the universal gesture of I’m totally a psychic and I think I’m getting something.

“Although... I do remember... a snowball rolling down an enormous mountain, growing into an avalanche... a giant machine, like a water wheel made of swords, spinning faster and faster... a comet, getting brighter and brighter, until it lights the sky like an awful torch...”

He lets out a sharp exhalation, slumps slightly, runs a hand down his face. He looks up to see if any of that landed for her.

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This mostly earns him a VERY dubious look. But - with a hint of curiosity. "A snowball? Any idea what that means?" 

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He tosses his hands up. “I’m a foreseer, not a mind reader. Or — whatever you’d have to be to understand this stuff.”

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Lissa shrugs, scowling. "I'm neither, and I won't pretend to understand any of it. Anyway, I need another drink. You?" 

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Vir visibly weighs his options. “Mayyybe I should quit while I’m ahead. Getting drunk in a new city is all fun and games until you end up passed out in an alley with a raccoon chewing the leather off your boots.”

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"Aww, come on, that wouldn't be any fun. And I badly need some fun tonight."

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Vir’s eyebrows go up. He briefly wrestles with his id, who thinks some fun sounds like exactly what the portalsnake ordered.

With an effort of will, he pushes himself up from the table and sighs. “Alas; alack. I’ve gotta put in some more hours tonight on all this turning the tides of destiny shit.”

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Lissa sighs loudly. "If you must. Reckon the responsible thing is for me to turn in for the night too." She seems moderately displeased about this, but drains her ale, sets down the cup, and stands. "See you tomorrow, then." 

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Vir sees off Lissa, then does a spot of gathering information around the tavern.

He makes the acquaintance of other mercenaries, eavesdrops on conversations, and generally puts an ear to the ground. He’s most interested in finding out things to help him fit in, anything related to the “wizards of Velgarth,” and whether there’s any backroom gambling he can get in on and/or anyone dickish and loaded enough to be an acceptable mugging target.

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He doesn't actually stand out all that much; the mercenaries currently socializing in the tavern seem to come from at least half a dozen different countries, with a wide range of different clothing and accents. 

The 'wizards' seem to more generally be referred to as mages; he can quickly find out that there are a few of them right here at the tavern, with their fellow mercenaries.

There is in fact backroom gambling, though mainly some sort of bafflingly complicated dice game that he's never heard of. Some of the mercenaries are certainly unpleasant people, but none look that rich, and they tend not to carry their money visibly if they have it on themselves at all. 

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Vir gets in on Fractal Wizard Craps. He puts up his class ring as his buy-in (“see the gem? they call it a deathstone — and they say it makes you invincible against final strikes.” No one calls it that or says that.), and takes any credit people will give against his merc pay if it seems like that’ll fly.

He doesn’t play to win, so much as to lose gregariously (while marking who is winning, and what room they’re sleeping in).

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The locals seem to find this highly entertaining! Most of them are a few drinks in, at this point, and oblivious to his careful observation; he can pretty easily find out where various people are put up for the night. 

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Vir marks someone who’s at the top of the combined scoring chart for drunk, unpleasant, and Most Likely to Have Committed a Big Boy Crime. Call this poor sucker “the mark.”

In the middle of a raucous story, Vir gestures wildly and “accidentally” slaps the mark’s drink out of his hands, preferentially soaking his tunic as much as possible.

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This earns him copious swearwords and a threateningly raised first, but "the mark" is too drunk, at this point in the evening, to carry it through into a real fight without egging-on, which none of his acquaintances nearby are providing. 

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Vir raises his hands all innocent and apologetic — “my bad man, don’t —“

But as he locks eyes with the mark, Vir stiffens suddenly, goes silent. He moans in a low voice, his face twists in a rictus of disgust.

With a subtle kick under the table, Vir lurches backward as if thrown by an invisible force and tips out of his chair, landing with a crack on the tavern floor.

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Baffled mercenaries scramble up or twist around in their chairs, trying to figure out what's happening. Someone starts to reach for his shoulder, then hesitates. 

"Did anyone see–"

"...should we call for a Healer–" 

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Vir plays possum, like he’s been knocked out cold. Honestly he’s probably halfway there, with the pain gonging through his skull. He’d forgotten about his background migraine when he came up with a scam that involved slamming his head on the ground.

 

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He overhears more snatches and mutters, some worried, most kind of exasperated, "- what was he playing at -" 

Eventually he hears footsteps as some of the people disperse to other tables less encumbered by an out-cold man on the floor. The tavern-keeper is summoned for advice. 

And another minute or so later:

"You needed a Healer? What happened here?" 

"He fell–" 

"No, he had a funny turn first - some sort of fit..." 

A hand lands on Vir's shoulder - and a second later, he feels a very odd sensation, a sort of cool tingling that ripples up and down his body before focusing on the bruised back of his skull. The pain lessens very slightly. 

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Vir’s eyes snap open. He keeps his gaze unfocused, and slowly, with very convincing textbook concussion symptoms, looks around.

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The supposed Healer is skinny and bearded and looks a bit irritated to be interrupted so late at night. "Mister - sorry what's his name," he turns to listen to the muffled answer from someone hovering nearby, "Vir, is that right - do you remember where you are?" He turns again to mutter to someone else, "who's he with?" 

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Slightly slurring his speech: “I’m in Valdemar... no wait... Velgarth. With General... Lissie? ...Liza?”

His eyelids flutter shut dramatically.

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"The Valdemaran. Lissa. I'll go get her," someone in the background mutters. Running footsteps. 

"Can you tell me what year it is?" the Healer asks. 

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“Hmm... let’s go with 1492.”

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"- What?" the Healer says, clearly baffled. "It's not. 1196 in the Common Calendar, and... Hmm, Kat, what year is it in the Valdemaran calendar...?" 

"Eight-ten," someone answers.

"You hit your head pretty hard," the Healer says to Vir. "Doesn't look like you're hurt otherwise, though. Figure you can sit up?" He offers a hand. 

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