Trinsic:The Search For Symphony/Chapter 02

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Chapter 2: "Glug Glug Glug Glug Glug"

We left Our Heroes standing outside the local bar, debating whether or not to go in. Vizz looks inside the bar again. It's still a busy bar, with lots of rowdy people wandering about and lots of drinking and carousing.

SIdent looks up the street again. It's a fairly typical street. Since they are at the edge of the shopping area, the crowds are smaller than before. He tries spotting the lurker, but sees only various shoppers and shop owners. "What do we do? Go after the guy before going in? Vizz, what do you think?"

Vizz looks at the bottle of wine.

"FOR GOD'S SAKE! Try to forget the wine for once, will you, please?"

"It's dark outside and I'm tired. Let's go to the bar!" Vizz removes the cork from the bottle with his teeth.

"WAIT!"

POP! Fizzzzzzzz.

"Hey! Don't do that!" Ascii chimes in.

Vizz spits out the cork. "Eh?"

"We're outside A BAR! Just hang on a minute or two," SIdent tells him.

"We were given that bottle for a reason! Don't mess with it!" Ascii adds.

Vizz ignores them both and drinks. Glug glug glug glug glug. SIdent and Ascii notice that half the wine is now gone.

"The guy lefts, time to move on!" Vizz enters the bar.

Ascii fumes. "That's it." He dashes into the bar after the stubborn barbarian. SIdent slaps his forehead as he follows Vizz.

As Vizz, Ascii, and SIdent enter the bar, all activity stops for a moment. Everyone stares at them briefly, then slowly returns to normal activity. They note that most of the crowd wasn't actually staring at them collectively, but at Vizz specifically.

"What are we doing now?" Vizz wonders.

"Vizz, mind to give me what's left of the bottle?" SIdent asks.

Ascii catches up and attempts to snatch away the bottle before any MORE improper imbibing occurs.

"No! My bottle!" Vizz clutches the bottle closer. Ascii misses his grab, grazing Vizz's armor in the process.

"Argh! Dammit, Vizz, give me the bottle before you ruin it!"

"No way!" Vizz finishes the bottle. Glug glug glug glug glug glug. Ascii facepalms as Vizz gives the empty bottle to him. He takes the now-empty bottle and stares at it in disbelief as Vizz ambles away.

The bartender gapes, then whimpers, "That bottle of wine could have been worth HUNDREDS of gold pieces! All it needed was some time in my cellars aging!" He facepalms, and a few tears leak from between his fingers.

Vizz and SIdent head over to the bar itself. The bartender cries, while the rest of the crowd is now effectively ignoring their presence. Ascii slowly puts the bottle in his pack. "Er... well, maybe we can still use it. I guess..." Vizz, meanwhile, orders a beer.

"That'll be one copper for the basic brew. *sniff*"

Vizz throws a copper on the counter, as SIdent asks the bartender what he has besides beer.

"I've got a basic selection of wines, ale, beer, of course. I've got some grape juice, too, but I just added it recently. *sniff*"

Ascii plops down onto the stool next to Vizz, glares at him, then turns to address the bartender. "I'll just have some water."

The bartender plunks down a beer in front of Vizz, somewhat angrily/dejectedly, then slides a glass of water politely in front of Ascii. "No charge for water."

Ascii drinks the water. "Thank you, my good man."

"How much for the wine, bartender?"

Vizz drinks his beer, then asks, "Why are we here, anyway?"

"Later, Vizz," SIdent tells him.

The bartender stares at Vizz briefly, then answers SIdent, "The basic glass of wine starts at five copper for my standard bill of fare. The good stuff will run you up to twenty gold a glass."

"Give me a glass, please."

"Five copper, please."

"Do I need to pay before?"

"Since I've never seen you before... yes."

"Then forget it."

The bartender shrugs, then moves off to other customers. SIdent looks around for the best information leaker. After a fashion, he decides that of all the people in the bar, the bartender looks like the best candidate for information on customers, frequent or otherwise. Most everyone else is leaking in some way, shape, or form... but information isn't involved.

Ascii drinks another big gulp of water, then belches loudly. *BRAP!* SIdent whispers to him, "Hey, wanna get a shot at the bartender for the information? We started on the wrong foot already."

Ascii leans over to SIdent. "What do you mean, 'a shot'?"

"Trying to find Kennardo's whereabouts, remember?"

A man in the back corner pukes. Nobody seems even vaguely fazed. The bartender walks past Our Heroes on his way to the other end of the bar. Vizz is lost in his thoughts... well, to the extent that Half-Orcs actually think, anyway.

Suddenly, Ascii notices some movement out of the corner of his eye, and neatly bats the hand of a not-so-drunk guy away from his pocket. He doesn't even look up as he threatens, "Try that again, and you'll be eating this shot glass." The would-be pickpocket scurries away, brown stuff now dripping from the bottom of his pants.

The bartender returns to Our Heroes' end of the table and pauses in front of them. "You guys need anything else while I'm here?"

Vizz asks his fellow adventurers again, "What are we doing here?"

Ascii addresses the bartender, "Excuse me, we're looking for a man named Kennardo. You wouldn't happen to know anything, would you?" The entire bar pauses for a moment when Ascii says the name "Kennardo".

"Crazy Kenny? He hasn't been around for a couple months... why?" The bartender waves at one of his assistants, who comes over.

Ascii continues, "We need to find him."

The bartender whispers to his assistant, who then takes over tending the bar. The bartender then says, "Follow me, guys."

SIdent follows the bartender, watching over his own back. Ascii looks oddly at the bartender, but stands to follow. Vizz takes up the rear. The bartender leaves the counter, then heads through a door at the back of the bar.

Our Heroes note that they are passing through a storage area with large casks of ale and beer and a rack of wine bottles in the back. They then pass through a second, smaller door that leads to an office area. There is a desk and a few chairs here.

The bartender motions everyone to a trio of chairs and sits behind the desk. "Show me that bottle, please."

SIdent sits in a random chair. Ascii produces the bottle and holds it up, but doesn't yet hand it over. "What do you want it for?"

"I want to show you why I brought you back here instead of threw you out the door. So, may I show you the bottle, or show you the door?"

Ascii hands over the bottle, but remains standing, ready to act if Bad Things should happen. The bartender looks over the bottle briefly, then turns the bottle around so that the label can be seen.

"It's Prull Wineries. For the last hundred years, they've been THE exclusive winery in the area. When Tvash-Prull died, he left this winery to his son. Ten years ago, his son sold the winery. He claimed his father had been killed and he needed the money to hire people to find some musical something or other." The Prull Wineries logo is clearly visible on the bottle as the bartender hands the bottle back to Ascii.

"Go on, please..." SIdent urges him.

"Word on the street is that Tvash-Prull actually got in trouble with the local 'criminal element', if you know what I mean. Crazy Kenny, or Kennardo, was supposedly the trigger man. Last I heard, Kenny was living in the sewers underneath Trinsic, here in town."

Ascii raises an eyebrow and mumbles, "The sewers? Ugh... figures."

"Was there an investigation on the homicide? By the official authorities, I mean?" SIdent asks.

The bartender snorts. "Yeah, an investigation was done, all right. The local police chief at the time quickly closed the case, stating that, without a body, he couldn't even prove Tvash was dead."

"No body?!" SIdent says in disbelief.

"Yeah, he was working in the Mayor's place at the time. Tvash was working on something musical, and the Mayor was his patron. He disappeared out of his own room. All that was left was a little blood on the floor."

SIdent asks, "Who the 'criminal element' was? Do you know if they had a common background?"

"Any idea where in the sewers he is, exactly?" Ascii asks his own question.

The bartender leans forward, his eyes bright. "He lives in the sewers, that's about all I know. As for the criminal element... I'll tell you, there are some nasty gangs around here. The nastiest is..."

They all hear a soft "pfft". The bartender slaps his neck, then smacks hard into the desk, falls off the chair, and hits the floor. They notice a flash of black behind the window as something darts away. They also notice the window is slightly open.

Ascii gives a start. "Sh*t! Vizz, SI, move it!"

SIdent tries to see from where the dart was thrown. "Ho, good... this is really what we needed." He gets the dart from the bartender's neck. The dart appears to be of the type used in a blow gun, but is no longer useable.

Ascii cocks his ear to listen at a noise he catches. "Uh, guys... suddenly, I think we should get the heck out of here. NOW." He jogs out of the office, towards the door back to the bar.

"What, Ascii?" SIdent follows Ascii as fast as he can. Vizz also jogs over.

"What's the matter, Ascii?" Ascii ignores SIdent and stops at the door, then slowly cracks it open, trying to see what's out there. As he does so, a dart slams into the door frame with great force. Through the crack, Ascii can see a man dressed in black, standing in a pose as though he had just thrown the dart.

Ascii kicks the door open and charges forward, leaping over a table. He swings towards the man, but his mace smashes into the chair next to him. He pauses to get his bearings, and now can see three additional people, dressed nearly identically to the dart-thrower. He also notices the smell of alcohol on the breath of the man in front of him.

The man in front of Ascii pulls out a dagger and waves it in Ascii's general direction, but doesn't connect.

Vizz draws his sword and charges forward. He blasts through a table and engages the second man. His greatsword flashes through the air, hits the lamp above his head, and knocks it towards the bar. He doesn't, however, connect with his target. Vizz also notices alcohol on the breath of the man in front of him.

"This man is drunk!"

The man in front of Vizz tries to throw his dart at Vizz, but misses. It impacts against the wall. The man to Vizz's right also attempts to throw his dart at Vizz, but misses similarly. The dart hits a chair, knocking it over instead.

SIdent lets out a battle cry that'd make lions sit up and take notice, while charging forward with his dagger. His dagger plunges deep into the belly of one of the attackers. The attacker takes a step back and clutches his stomach. SIdent withdraws his dagger, noting the red blood on the blade with satisfaction.

The fourth man, though visibly rattled, manages to throw his dart at SIdent. It strikes him in the right arm.

Ascii swings his mace again, once again missing, and striking the table instead. It crumples like tin foil beneath his blow. "Who are you?! Why are you attacking us?"

"Shwhy do you caresh show much? *HIC*" The man in front of Ascii waves his dagger again in a semi-drunken manner.

Vizz looks around quickly, to see how to proceed. He is surrounded by various tables about waist-high, and a variety of stools and straight-backed chairs. There is plenty of room to fight, though. There is also a smashed lamp holder on the floor. He drops his weapons, takes the nearest not-so-destroyed chair, and charges his drunk punk with his new homemade weapon.

The chair smashes into the skull of the drunken man, smashing his pointy head into a much flatter surface and spattering blood all about. The body falls to the floor, lifeless. Vizz rages, spurred on by the sight of the carnage.

The man in front of SIdent briefly attempts to pull his dagger, then drops it on the floor and flees towards the doorway, frightened by the sight of the raging barbarian. Upon reaching the doorway, the man ricochets off the door frame, falls to the floor, and groans. One man remains untouched to SIdent's right, while Ascii and the last man still tussle.

SIdent attacks the rightmost man, slicing neatly at his neck. Unfortunately, the man sagged at that moment in his drunkenness, and the blade slices his forehead open with a surface cut. "DROP IT!" SIdent orders him.

The man in front of SIdent flails wildly, landing a lucky hit with his dagger on SIdent's upper leg. A little higher, and SIdent's voice would go up an octave.

Ascii's Mace of Truth finally connects with his attacker's chest, splitting it open and spurting blood all over. The man crumples to the floor, dead as a doornail. Ascii recovers from his attack and glances at his comrades. "Vizz, we need to help SI! Rush that cloaked cretin!"

"YAR!" Vizz uses his new The Hulk personality to run in the direction of the last standing punk, pick up the man bodily, lift him over his head, spin him with a mighty roar, then throw him at the bar. The man careens into all four stools at this end, and takes several hits directly to the head, killing him instantly.

They all notice the man at the doorway has stopped groaning. The pool of blood around his body is larger. SIdent points at him. "Maybe you better help him first, Ascii... we really need some info on what's going on."

Before Ascii can react to SIdent, he suddenly notices that the bar is on fire, from when Vizz knocked a lamp into the bartending area. It's small, but blazing and smoking away merrily.

"Ah, crap."


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