Barflies and Brawlers (Later that Night)

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Hactor, Stubb

Sagebrush Inn: Common Room
The common room is the center of activity for the inn, perpetually bursting with
life, alive at all times with singing and drinking and merrymaking and all the
attendant smells and sounds.  Four sturdy oak tables dominate the large but
stuffy room, built with the single-minded purpose of longevity.  These long
wooden structures, and their accompanying benches, set the tone for the room,
because while they are not ornate, not fashioned with beauty in mind, the nicks
and marks down its old surface exude character.  Each chink and chip, each
sullied corner or patched-up leg bears witness to the ages that the inn has
traversed.  A bar fills the west side of the room, and in more or less the
center of everything is an open space on the floor.  On one wall is a message
board, for anybeast to make an announcement.
The smell of cheap ale and smoke clings perpetually to the stuffy air here, as
much a part of the environment here as anything, not unpleasant, but always
                 [B]ack [R]oom, [EH] Entrance Hall, [K] Kitchen
The (Message Board) - +help Message Board

Hactor entered the cellar and but not before watching to see if he was followed. After he is satisfied he looks at Stubb and asks, "Why did I wake up in tha common room?"

Stubb dips his head to avoid a low beam as he descends the final stairs to the wine cellar. He raises a paw to his forehead and squints into the darkness. "'Ac-tor? Tha' you?" He takes a cautious step into the dark room. The weasel's nostrils twitch at the smell: the air is laden with the scent of brews of all ages and kinds. "Come f'r more, eh? Ain't you 'ad enough, ma'e?"

Hactor sat and rubbed his head saying, "Well after tha lil squirrel ran out I figured I needed some liquid strength." He pulled out a flask and took a swig. He then continued, "Turned out he worked for King Nildorf or whateva his name is."

Stubb sniffs and rubs a forearm under his nose. "Eh? Nidlorf? 'Ow 'ard di' tha' fella hit you? Neva' 'eard a' no Nidlorf. 'E some kinda warlord?"

Hactor holds up his arm showing the cut from the squirrel's blade. He sayes, "Aye Nidlorf. Iv'e hard of em. I alsoe know he's probly gonna be trouble."

Stubb's lip curls, as if by reflex. "F'r you ar f'r me, ma'e?" He quickly recovers from his mistake. "Tha' is... Wha's 'e wan' wif us?"

Hactor glares at the weasel but replies, "Apparently tha one squirrely tha cut me was a scout or somin." He takes another swig from his flask and continues, "He thinks I wanna kill his king. HA!" He laughed a sharp bark of a laugh.

Stubb takes a seat on a wine barrel. "Again, wha's it t'do wif us? You have no bi'ness wif dem, so...?"

Hactor replies , "Apparently the good king and his army have fowed ta destroy vermin good or bad. Considering tha lil scout swore he would destroy me, I think tha is still their poin of veiw."

Stubb chuckles, "Ah, but you showed 'em, dincha, 'Ac-tor? I saw 'ow they took off. Lef' you wif a nasty cut, I suppose, but tha's nothin' on wha' you'd've done to 'em?" He makes a show of flattering the older fox.

Hactor relizes it's just flattery but decides to go along, "Well I brused em up a bit and tossed him inta a crate but decided to let the lil sludge go."

Stubb grunts appreciatively, then falls silent for a few moments. "I suppose we'll deal wif tha' when i' comes up, then," he says, dismissing the subject. "Now, eh. I've been... givin' some though' to this army o' yours, boss." He tries out the word 'boss' for the first time, just to see if it fits.

Hactor grins liking the term boss. He then asks, "What are yut thoughts Stubby me chap?"

Stubb scratches his neck with a long claw, running it slowly up and down the length in a gesture of thoughtfulness. "Well... I were, eh, lookin' a' tha'... big fella. The lizar'. I'm thinkin' I moight 'ave a way a' gettin' 'im t'join up wif us. Leastways, f'r a bi'."

Hactor nods and strokes his chin asking, "What do ya got in mind?"

"Tha' li'le 'Junior' ov 'is. I were, I was finkin', may'aps oi cou'd convince 'im as 'is baby's been kidnapped. Say, by 'at squorl fellow wha' you had tha' co'frontation wi'." The weasel's claw moves to his chin, and he cocks his head slightly, peering with little black eyes at Hactor. "I reckon tha' wou'd get 'im real good, don' you?" Stubb grins rather evilly.

Hactor grins a wicked grin and says, "Stubb you bloodey lil genious! I'de be killin two birds with one." He stroked his own tail and continued, "Get the lizard br framin the squirrel. HAH! " He barked his hideous laugh, "Tha peasof filth will wish he never crossed Hactor the Haker!"

Stubb laughs a couple times, but his face soon sinks into an expression of extreme seriousness. "'Course, we otta be real careful. Can' le' the blame fall on us! Go' ta ge' it _jes_ roigh'. Can' be too noice, can' be too, er, no' noice. An' I know jes the place f'r pu'in' the li'le toik." He winks. "Someplace nobeast'll ever look, even if tha' lizard 'cides t'search th' 'ole inn."

Hactor grinned even wider and asked, "Well Stubbs youve been a busy lil wasp havent ya. Where is this place ya wanna hyde tha tyke?"

Stubb looks at Hactor for a couple hard moments. "Oi... suppose Oi can tell you. Ou'side, through th'garden. There's a hidden spot in the floor o' the, er, pavilion. No one knows abou' it. Don' breave a word!" He rises to go. "Oi'd be'er be off to i', then. Tha big fello' should be sleepin' somethin' fierce, I expec', after all tha' extra bourbon."

Hactor nods and replies rising, "Well I'll be off too. Le me know when ya got tha lil rascal, my lips are silled." He took another swig of his flask.

Stubb goes upstairs to set about his ugly task.

A little while later…

Sagebrush: Entrance Hall

This entrance hallway to the posh Sagebrush Inn rather belies the elegance and

charm of the establishment, for, while it is not a complete wreck by any stretch

of the imagination, it is nonetheless quite the worse for wear. Papers lay

strewn about, and the floor, once a beautifully stained cherry wood, is marked

and grooved, faded and worn from the inexorable assault of time upon its aging

grain. Sparsely furnished and lit with candles guttering doggedly but dimly in

their sconces, it seems that, despite its slightly shabby upkeep, this is the

central nexus for a bustling inn.

On the northeast side of the hallways stands a heavily scratched counter, behind

which the mouse concierge, Pierre, stands in deference to your patronage. On

the front of the counter hangs a 'sign'.

Through the doorway to the east lies the common room, from which the sounds of

merrymaking issue, among them the clink of glasses and the raucous laughter of

vermin and goodbeasts alike. The south doorway leads into the library, and a

locked door on the southwest wall leads into the proprietor's office, where no

doubt Wytethorn retires to at night.

[B] Basement, [CR] Common Room, [LIB] Library, [O] Office, [OF] Out to Forest,
                                 [UP] Upstairs

It starts as a mere whisper, a faint scratching sound in the darkness that then, step by cautious step, draws nearer. Then a slice of moonbeam cuts through the dark room, bringing a hirsute leg into view. An eye flashes in the darkness, then darts quickly, fretfully, down at the remaining stairs. With three more steps, Stubb arrives gingerly in the entrance hall. The cool, dim light that fills it draws in faint outline the shape of a parce, borne in the crook of the wiley weasel's arm.

Hactor stands in the entrance hall, waiting in the shadows using his cloakto blend in. He hears the faint scratch of claws on the the wooden floor. Then he sees Stubb and quietly steps in to the moonlight. He whispers, "Well?"

Stubb raises his free paw to his mouth. "No' 'ere. 'Oo knows 'oo moight be abou'." He peers shiftily about, checking first the library, then the common room, before daring to lift the parcel into the moonlight for Hactor to view. "C'mon," he continues, nodding in the direction of the basement.

Hactor nods and puts his hood up being sure it covers most of his face. He looks at the parcel and grins a wicked little grin to himself. So far everything was going acording to plan.

Stubb smiles, and the sharp edges of his teeth glisten. "Aw roight, le's ge' on wif it, den." He proceeds in silence downstairs.


The smell of mold lingers heavily in the languid air, recalling the generations

that have passed silently by in darkness here. A small cast-iron lantern,

swinging now and again from an unfelt wind, yields but a little light, casting

long shadows across the depths of this dark place. Within its small pool of

amber light is a door with the name 'Libbie' painted across its slightly beaten

face. Further down the corridor are doors into the other staff rooms, and far

north down the length of this unlit, unloved basement is the wine cellar.

     [BR] Bouncer's Room, [ER] Empty Room, [US] Upstairs, [WC] Wine Cellar

Hactor followes Stubb down the basement but not before cheking to see if they are being watched.

Stubb moves purposefully through the basement corridor, ducking to avoid the beams and cobwebs as he moves.

Hactor still following growls quietly, "So how do we get it on tha squirrel?"

Stubb turns around, pausing where he stands to look back at the dark shape of his companion. "Ay, well, tha's th'rub now, innit?" He touches the tip of his chin. "Bu'... we'll cross tha' bridge when we come to i', boss. An' only if we go' to. Bu'," he says, elevating the parcel slightly, "th' firs' job is t' ge' th' li'le toik hidden away real good."

Hactor nods in the darkness and after a moment of thought replies, "Why not a wine barrel? All we have to do is empty the wine out and role it somewhere unasuming."

Stubb frowns. "Moigh' leave a bitofa trail, though, innit?"

Hactor replied with a grimmace, "Yes it would wouldn't it. Hmmm?" He scrathes his chin then askes, "What are yur suggestions?"

"Jes' tha one. Pop the li'le fella under a floorboar'." Stubb jabs his thumb further along the hall. "I can' show you."

Hactor raises an eyebrow and sayes, "A floorboar ya say. Show me."

Stubb moves easily through the basement into the wine cellar and heads for the stairs to the kitchen, casting only a single backward glance to confirm that Hactor is still following.

Hactor continues following Stubb with his hand resting on the hilt of his sword...just in case.

They ascend the stairs...

Sagebrush Inn: Kitchen

The ample cooking space of the Sagebrush Inn is replete with all manner of

cooking implements, from the exotic to the mundane. There are three counters

here, each bedecked with fruits and fish and plants, pots and knives and pans,

and each with a floating cabinet above, secured to the ceiling. Every possible

amenity that the head chef might need is present in this room.

A swinging door to the north leads into the common room, where the din of

countless patrons rings out perpetually above the clatter and clank of the

kitchen. A cool breeze flows into the often stuffy kitchen from outside.

There, through the southern door, lies the garden.

                [CR] Common Room, [G] Garden, [WC] Wine Cellar


[ZZZ] Rogue, the cook

Stubb's head emerges first from the door into the kitchen, checking that the coast is clear. The gesture turns out to be rather pointless, though, for the sound of loud snores tears through the mid-night quiet. Rogue sprawls comfortably atop a makeshift cot in a corner of the kitchen--his domain, and, apparently, his bedroom too. Stubb goes rigid, then waits a beat to see that the otter isn't going to stir.

Hactor walks quietly up behind Stubb and looks into the room above the weasel's head. He notices the otter cook but decides he want pose any problem.

Stubb's assessment corroborates Hactor's suspicion. He pads into the kitchen and up to the southern door leading into the garden. Warily, the weasel grasps the handle and assays to open it. It lets out a painfully loud whine as he does so, so he stops and glances again at the sleeping cook.

Hactor watches as Stubb tries opening the door. It emits a loud kreeeeek, causing Hactor's ears to fold back. He nervously glances over to the cook. Thank goodness, he's still asleep. Hactor really was in no mood to have to kill anyone tonight.

Stubb times himself, pulling the door open as another of the otter's ferocious snores cuts through the kitchen. He beckons to Hactor with a paw, propping the garden door open with his foot.

Hactor quickly and quietly goes to the door. He makes a quick glance at the cook and mutters under his breath, "Noyty noyt and sleep toyt."

They step out to the garden.

Letting the door swing gently shut behind Hactor, Stubb breathes deeply, then shivers, clutching the parcel against his side. It emits a faint jingling sound as it touches the vest pocket where earlier he stashed the bag of coins. "No' far now, then, 'Ac-tor," he says, resuming his pace, traipsing south through the garden.

Hactor follows and pulls his hood farther down so only his muzzle can be seen. He listens intently, so as to be sure they are still undiscovered. Although all he can hear are the usual night noises of lazy crickets, and fire flies.

Stubb follows the path to the gazebo and climbs its short length of stairs.

Hactor follows the weasel and hopes that it isn't much further to the hiding place. Just the thought of the lizard finding them out made him more than nervous.

Sagebrush Inn: Gazebo

This small structure, open on all sides to the elements, stands a little apart

from the rest of the inn, a place for quiet contemplation. It is shaped like a

pentagon, with breaks on the north and south sides to admit visitors to this

pleasant spot.

Looking north, you can see a neat little garden and the back of the inn. To the

south, a little path trails away through the dense crowd of trees and foliage,

leading, to all appearances, deeper into Mossflower

Exits: [PI] Path to Inn, [PS] Path to South

Stubb sets the parcel down delicately. Despite the theft, he isn't interested in doing more damage than is strictly necessary. Then he kneels down, patting the floorboards, feeling...

A ring of gold flickers in the deep shadows of a nearby tree, barely noticeable. George the falcon silently watches the weasel as he perches, still and tense.

Hactor acts as a look out watching, and listening carefully. He can't see anything but feels they are beeing watched.

"Ah." The weasel barks rather too sharply. His paws press down on a plank, and it shifts almost imperceptibly, revealing a slim crack where the moonlight falls unheeded. "'ere it is, ma'e." Stubb's claws work gently at the seams for a few moments, until he at last manages to get a decent grip. Having done this, he lifts away the plank, revealing a small cubbyhole within.

Hactor walks over and grins widley. If they didn't need silence he would have barked his usual harsh laugh. Looking to Stubb he sayes, "Good wark Stubb. /Very/ ggood wark."

George's head spins round at the sound of the warlord's speech. That voice! Peering down again with those sharp, golden eyes, the falcon sees clearly the figure of his old friend. Still cloaked in silence, the bird hops from the tree branch into a graceful drive that bears him easily to the gazebo, where he alights before Hactor and immediately bows. "Ahoy, mastarr Hactorr!" he chirps. "It be I! Yar fethful sarvant, Jarge!"

Stubb is puzzled by this turn of events and very quickly slips the parcel into the open hole and closes it. Perhaps the bird hadn't seen?

Hactor nearly growled in surprise but then grined with delite. "George it is ya! How ave ya been?" out of the corner of his eye he checked to see if Stubb hidd the parcel in time. Excellent.

George bows again. "I be well!" He looks to Stubb. "An' who's yar weaselie frriend? An' what's he hidin'?" He takes a hop closer to the replaced plank. "I've bin watchin' ye both. Y'can' hide nothin' frrom ol' Jarge!"

Stubb instinctively claps his paw down on the plank and glares at the little fellow suspiciously.

Hactor chuckled faking good humor, "Ah yes this be Stubb a new friend o mine. Stubb this be George an old friend o mine."

Stubb's expression relaxes slightly, but he doesn't look too pleased about the extra noise. "Er, well me', George," he grunts, then eases up on the paw. "Bi' small, innee?" he says with a wink to Hactor, hoping the fox will deal with the falcon's more probing question.

Hactor coughs and replies to George carefully, "Well ma chap we was simply uh, hiding an heirloom fur a friend as it wer. Ya see some horrible thiefs ave been trying to still from him." He tries his best to appear sympathetic though the scars don't help. "So we decided to hide his heirlooms fur him. Ya no all noyce like. Don't go tellin people though."

George attempts to peek into the tiny crack between the boards, but, finding his attempt fruitless, he looks again at Hactor. "Hidin' somethin'? Ya shou'da callt f'r Jarge! I know lot's a' spots, I do."

Hactor nods and replies, "Ah well I wish we had. But me thinks this will saffice."

Stubb watches George with increasing anxiety, then looks back at Hactor. "'E moight 'ave a point, boss. Moight be, 'e could plop the ol' thing roight on dat ol' squorl wha' fough' wif you."

Hactor looked at Stubb and said, "Stubb you are my muse!" He then turned back to George and asked grining a toothy grin, "Do ya happen ta know where a sertain squirrel is chap? Goes by the name of Tux I thinks."

George brushes his cere with a wingtip, then nods eagerly. "I saw a Coupla squarrels. Kept an eye on one of 'em. Lots of armarr and that."

George chortles. "He clumb tha varry tree I were sittin' in!"

Hactor grinned at the mention of an armored squirrel but his expression changed to one of concern, as he asked, "Are they still in tha tree?"

Stubb looks on with amazement.

George chirps, "Ay, that he be, last I sar. Little ways frrom 'ere, tho'. Too far farr pawded beasts like yarselves!" He fans out his wings briefly in an unconscious boast.

Stubb mumbles, "Moi paws suit me just foin.."

Hactor rubbed his chin in though, he then asked Stubb, "You got a dagga?"

Stubb blinks dumbly. "Ehh..." he mutters, recovering to pat his vest. "'Ere we are." He withdraws a rather small blade but keeps it close to himself. "Wha' you be wantin' i' for, if y'don' mind my axkin'?"

George takes a precautionary hop backward.

Hactor looks at th tree then to Stubb saying, "I want you to climb up there and....," he made a slashing motion across his neck with his thumb.

George shakes his head back and forth rapidly, chuckling. "Nay, he en't up tharr, sillies! He went a good league, 'tleast, 'farr stoppin'. Too far farr ya paw-ly beasts, like Jarge said!"

Hactor cursed inder his breath but then just as quickly, had a look of revalation, "George could ya do me a favor?"

George bows. "O' carse, mistarr Hactar! I swar I wou'd, sar."

Hactor nods saying, "Good lad. Now I have a confesion t make but first I have ta ask ya...can ya keep a secret?"

George hrmms. "I cen trry! Err, yes. Carse Jarge c'n keep a secret!"

Hactor looks around to be sure they arn't beeing watched. He the said, "Well tha box ... don't ave heirlooms in it. It got an egg. And tha egg belong to a huge lizard." He paused to collect his thoughts. He decides not to give /all/ the details and finally saying, "Now I ave ta settle a score with tha squirrel, so I needs ya ta fly on yonder and sneek that egg on him without him knowin. Think ya can do that?"

George nods seriously. "Yes, sarr. I c'n do that."

Hactor smiled saying, "Good lad! See Stubb I even got friends in /high/ places." He chuckled at his own joke.

Stubb, who has been watching the exchange in silence, now moves into action. He pulls the plank up and retrieves the parcel from within. "There she is, then." He positions it so that George can get a good hold on it. "Now, eh. Be careful wif i'," he says, curiously tender.

There's a rustling from within the kitchen, audible even from across the garden.

Hactor notes the noise and sayes, "Now go quickley!"

George gives a sharp little salute, then, grabbing the package, he takes off awkwardly into the night.

George has left.

Stubb peers nervously in the direction of the noise. "Oy. Best 'urry up, then. Don' wan' no one catchin' soigh' of us creepin' abou', ma'e."

Hactor nods in agreement.