After defeating the swan (see Swan Wrangling), the treasure hunters come to a tavern on lockdown. Castus and Madison argue about the cons and benefits of drinking more than they can afford.
Characters involved: Castus, Madison, Magramba
The Pigeon's Roost Tavern, home to many wayward travelers and tradebeasts. Under what could be called a siege by toads and vermin the woods, and a mad swan roaming the waterways of the River Moss. Now housing several squirrels sitting at a table, listening to Kaelon the otter describe the situation. There is banter, and serious talk, though the music has livened up considerably and conversations are louder, especially Kaelon as the talk goes towards resolving some of the more troublesome issues around the tavern. "... I 'eard about what you did with th' swan, an' I /still/ don't believe a word of it," he says, waving his mug. "Wranglin' a bird is different n' guttin' a weasel or a toad wot wants ya for breakfast. You all think you can do somethin'? Figger it out 'mongst yourselves. I need ta' get back ta' patrol." The burly otter guzzles the rest of his beer and stands, heading back into the evening with his spear in paw. Castus taps his claws on the table. "Optimistic lot."
Madison is luckily finding that the tavern is a little more merry than the previous day. And a little more is enough for her! At the bar, she is sampling anything and everything. It's okay, Cas is paying. Mid-swig, she leans over. "My bruises protray only this honesty of having a swan in a headlock." she informs the otter from her place at the bar.
"Yeah, yeah. Go find a pike ta' wrestle onto land next, an' maybe I'll start believin' ya." Kaelon waves them all off and departs for real this time. Castus sliiides over to Madison so they can talk. Or rather, he can be talked /at/ by a soon to be drunk Madison. He raises an eyebrow at her. "You're drinking like you know someone else is paying for it."
Madison throws her paw around his shoulder. "Buddy!" she tries in a manner far too American for Medieval europe. She swigs. "I hope you've still got some of that money."
"What money?" Castus asks, sounding unimpressed by her sudden amicability. "We're going to run out of it our first night here if you insist on going like that. Aren't you even trying to make one of these last? Mag hasn't even touched his, yet." The rat bartender, by the way, *is* counting how many she goes through!
Madison can outwit any rat bartender! "Ah, you see." She points out, "Mag will nurse that all night. And you know that I'll /still/ end up finishing it for him. You budgeted for me, which is bad enough, but you also budgeted for him. And he's not going to drink. So I get extra." Logical!
"Madison." Castus' voice is level and unflinching. "If you are going to drink your whole share, that's /your/ problem. Your drinks will be paid for up to what we can afford and then it'll be just up to you!" He crosses his arms. He will not budge. Nope, nope, nope! "We need some of this money to get things we'll actually be /using/ around here, especially with the local trouble going on."
Madison grabs Cas by the lapels. Or attempts to. "You're the keeper of the funds and you knew what you were getting into by bringing me along. If you didn't bidget for me, that's short sighted on your part." >.<
"Madison, you're suggesting /everyone's/ slice of the budget is /your/ budget." He gets grabbed, but doesn't do anything about it. "The budget is a matter of principle and practicality! I'm /trying/ to keep things organized so Mag doesn't hit me on the head when he finds out. Can't you at least just drink... I dunno, slower?"
Madison lapelgrabs. Again. "Am I or am I not right when I assume that you budgeted for Mag getting fairly inebriated?"
"I didn't budget for /anyone/ getting in-eb-uh whatever!" Castus shrugs, holding his paws up. "I budgeted for helping us get what we need. So... decide what from here you need. Am /I/ not right in assuming you've probably drunk yourself to immunity with most of this stuff anyway?"
Madison... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... stops stared, and downs the rest of her cup of ale. "Another." She orders.
"If you can't pay," the rat says with a bit of a condescending sneer, "you'll work it off." Castus sighs and throws his paws up. "Fine. Have fun spending the rest of this trip washing dishes in the back, then." He turns to one side and crosses his arms, tail twitching. Grump.
Madison nods. "I'm sure you will." She looks to the bartender. "I'm the poor untrustworthy alcoholic. He knows that. He'll be doing the working-off. One, please."
In a room page-pose, Madison is no longer in pain. Yay.
"I will /not!/" Castus whirls back around, his mouth gaping with indignation. "/Don't/ give her one!" he says to the surprised bartender, who was just about to reach back and fill a mug from the keg. "We're settling who is paying for this right now. I'm not waking up early to wash dishes because you drank yourself under a table!"
Madison whirls around. She's looking irritated. Just a little too irritated. Careful. o.o "You're paying for Mag's drinks and he's not even /drinking/. Why can't I drink!?"
"You're /already/ drinking," Castus points out. "In fact you'd probably drink us back to bartering if I let you."
Madison nods. "Deal. One, please."
"/If/ you don't expect me to pay for every last one," Castus clarifies. "Much less trap me here all day tomorrow by working to pay off the difference."
Madison leans over and aims to SNOG Cas. O_O
The reaction is about as much as you can expect. When she leans over Castus opens his mouth to ask "What are you doing?" but that just makes him an easy target. He only gets as far as "What-" and the rest is just incomprehensible noises which ends in a muffled squeak as his claws dig into the bar and his tail frizzing out. He's come to expect many things from Madison. This is the least of them all. His other paw grasps her shoulder, as if unsure whether to push back or pull in. The bartender, who had been waiting for a resolution to figure out if he'll get paid, backs away slowly.
Madison's paw warily reaches over to grab the bartender mid-kiss. When she finally finishes, she looks to him while Cas is stunned. "One, please."
The bartender nods. Just so. If she wants more, fine! /Someone/ will pay him back one way or another. Castus is, yes, stunned. He blinks a few times and tries to breathe. "Uhh... deh..." he says. Even his /tail/ is completely still. It looks like Madison made his brain melt. He regains his composure quite slowly, now holding his own lapels together as he takes deep breaths. It takes him a couple minutes of reflective silence to say anything. "... Pretty good."
Madison eyebrow raises. But mostly just swigs. "Pretty good? I'm insulted." And drinking. So it's okay. :D
"Well. Yeah. It was /great./ But. Tempered by knowing you were just shutting me up." He blinks again, coming back to the real world, staring at the new drink in her grasp. "... Will /that/ one be the last one for tonight, at least?" he asks hopefully, straightening out his clothes. /This/ sets a great precedent. Pester Madison for free snogging! Or punching, depending on her mood.
Madison swigs. Swigswig. Swig. Swiiiig. "Claviger bugs me." She exclaims. Okay, that was random.
"I know," Castus says, flowing along with the conversation. Sometimes it's easier to give way rather than try to dam up a river with pebbles. Silently, he decides that /this/ drink will be the last one. It will! Really this time. >.< "I wish she hadn't just showed up like that. What do you want to do about it?"
Madison having a last drink. About 2200 years in the future, historians are laughing. "I don't know." Swig. "Part of me wants to believe her. Yet I can never sleep while she's around."
"Why is she following us, anyway?" Castus asks, settling in after his previous alarm. "What's she trying to prove?"
Madison smacks her lips. "This needs a few more months in the cask." She doesn’t know how the bartender will take constructive criticism, and she doesn't care. "I... Don't know. If there is one creature in the world I can't figure out, it's Clav."
The bartender pointedly ignores constructive criticism. He has many more customers to look after. "She is pretty confusing," Castus agrees. "But, hey. You still got me around to break down doors if you need it. Can you really not sleep?"
"I mean, what do you think she's going to do?"
Madison nods. "I can never sleep. I need darkness. Real darkness. And not always literal." She swigs. "One's eyelids are the last line of defence. Read, last. Meanint there should be more between them and the over-eager summer sun. Not that I'd chide it. Much. I'd just tell it to be less enthusiastic."
"Hmm," is all Castus can say to that. He looks over his shoulder at the traders. Getting an idea or two, possibly. "But why does Claviger make it worse?"
Madison shrugs. "Because that's what she does. Winds blow, rain falls, Claviger antagonises. Part of me would love to believe it's not her fault, but... you know." She looks to the rat. She hasn't even finished her current drink yet. "Barkeep, if you have any maple ale I won't kiss you but tell everybeast I did. Go on, I'm not bad looking."
"Madison, /please/ finish that one first, at least," Castus pleads. His glance at the bartender is enough to give the rat pause, and make him irked at the two of them. They really need to make up their minds about whether the female should get drunk or not. "She's not exactly /welcome./ We could try ditching her." Of course, it would help if he actually knew what Madison meant by 'you know' too.
Madison shakes her head. "She'll just show up again. She never does anything by accident." She swigs her beer. She's far gone enough that tempering her pints is wise, but 'sober' enough that, "I'd watch it. Limiting my intake too much sparks The Quest. And you don't want that." Beware the Quest. o.o
"The... Quest?" Castus asks carefully. "Aren't we already on one of those?"
Madison shakes her head. "Capital Q. The quest is dangerous." Serious, actually. "You got drunk once and I genuinely hope you learned your lesson. I haven't. When you're too drunk you just collapse and wake up with a headache, a hangover and, well. When you don't get drunk /enough/, you quest for more. I woke up in the middle of the forest once."
"Well, you certainly aren't going to do that /here./ I won't let you." The male's voice is firm. "So, basically, you can be reasonable and stop there, or we can argue all night until you fall over and I'm out of money."
Madison nods. "I choose the second option." She turns to the bar. "So, any maple ale? I could really go for that." Really. o.o
"/Madison,/" says Castus. She still hasn't finished the first one.
Madison says, "Pour it up and I'll finish this while talking to my weiner here." She prods Cas."
Castus stares levelly at Madison, his eyes attempting to focus the light coming off them into lasers that can shoot her in her stubborn head. "/Why/ exactly do you need to drink yourself stupid tonight? Right now?" he asks, the bartender finally relenting and beginning to pour some of that lovely maple ale.
Madison O.O's at the pouring of the maple ale. They actually have maple ale. MAPLEALE! "Because I am an utter moron." It's the one size fits all explanation to children. "Don't be as stupid as me." Her current drink is set aside for now as she waits for the maple ale.
"Can't /you/ be as smart as anyone /else,/ then?" Castus asks, quiet and still rather pleading. The ale is almost filled to the top of the mug. "Just for tonight?"
Madison shakes her head. She actually looks genuinely sorry. Slightly. Amid the boundless enthusiasm. "The Quest." she reminds, "If I was to turn this down I would end up drinking far more. Drinking is a fine art. Any wino can drink too much. It takes a pro to drink just enought." and then an admission. "And I assure you I've cut down to just enough. Most nights."
The drink is coming towards them now. Castus is eyeing it warily. "Explain how drinking enough to /pass out/ qualifies as just enough. You can't drink /more/ if you're in a coma."
Madison catches! "Some would say you just answered your own question." She replies. "Look... don't worry. I'm going to get massively drunk... but nowhere near as dangerously drunk as I used to." Pause, "...Unless I have a pain attack.
"Madison." Castus reaches forward to clamp his paw on hers, to stay the drunkeness for now. "I can't help but worry. I hope you know why at least." He raises an eyebrow. "And you /will/ be washing dishes to make up the difference if you go over budget."
Madison raises her brow. The regular Madison is in there somewhere but she is in Questing level mindset. "What's the budget?"
"This," Castus says, pointing down at the maple ale. "Is it." He's in charge of the funds, so he /could/ be making that up...
Madison headshakes. "Lies." She looks at the mug. "I need..." like a Terminator, she calculates, estimates and such. It's scarily accurate. "...Three more of those. But that'll be it. Unless I get a pain attack. Then I need either all the alcohol in the pub or a swift blow to the head. And I'd honestly prefer the blow to the head. Though I'd have to hit you back when I wake up. I've got a reputation to protect."
"You may /need/ three more, but that one is all that'll be paid for." Castus looks crestfallen now. Though, he's not about to start a bar brawl trying to wrestle a drink from Madison once it's in her paw. Though he doesn't move either. "... I really did like the kiss, you know," he says, and that is apparently the end of it. He releases her paw.
Madison mumbles. "Yeah, that's what [mumblemumble] said." She, however, has the faculties to go, "Look. I'll be honest. I'm in drinking mood now. I'm not the best creature to be around at the best of times but I'm about to get very... merry. If you can handle it, good. If not, I'm sorry. I don't mean any harm." Pause. Oh wait, she's Madison. "Well, not much. But just be warned, I might do and say things you don't like." She takes a long swig of glorious maple ale. Wow. *_*
"Ha. You, Madison, doing and saying things other creatures don't like? The very /thought./" Castus is being sarcastic by the way. "I suppose I should stick around... I'm getting used to taking hits for you. From you." His ribs still smart from their antics with the swan.
About this time there's some commotion at the bar area. If one looks up there, one can see Magramba, perched on a barstool in the middle of a large group of otters, and all of them are laughing uproariously.
And Castus thought /Madison/ was getting too much to drink. He raises his head to see Magramba doing... something. Probably drink related. He had just gone back and forth with Madison for /ever/ about their little budget and now he sees this. Le sigh.
The mug in Magramba's hand may be just for show; the way he gestures about with it suggests that it's more a prop to make him feel at home with his current company. "And so I there I was," he says, laughing.
Oh, story time! Castus does remember Mag hadn't even touched his first drink. Maybe what he's holding is still it? He scoots down a few empty stools, turning his ear towards his mentor.
You room-page, "*ears, plural."
"I'm in the middle of Mossflower," Mag continues, "with a short hare, a tall hare, and a mouse with a polearm."
Castus nods as if being spoken to personally, rapt with attention. Any story from Mag is sure to be one worth hearing.
"Tall hare's gone missing. Turns out the frogs in that area have some demented folklore and they mistook him for a god." Magramba chuckles, and the otters nod knowingly. Oh, the irony! "Anyway, so it's just me, short hare, and mouse with polearm."
Castus leans onto the bar with one elbow, ears still perked. Mouse with polearm... he knows only one in particular. So that just makes the story even more interesting.
"We're walking along, and out of no where," *BAM!* Mag slams his mug down on the bartop. "A huge cat falls out of the trees on Small Hare!"
Castus jumps as the mug slams down. He scoots one stool closer, just outside the group now.
"But it misses her, kind of, and it roooollls offa her, coming back around at us with it's claws!" Magramba makes claws! "And it goes after Mouse with Polearm!"
Castus is, clearly, riveted by this point. He looks over an otter's shoulder up at Mag, listening as intently as they are.
"Mouse with Polearm, does, however, have a polearm! And she stabs!" Magramba makes the stabby-motion with his bad arm. "So then the Cat comes after... me...."