With Anna and Arrens putting the fic for their new stories, I’m taking the opportunity to revisit some much older stories. When Falconesse and I started thinking about Bricu and Threnn, we began a dialogue that has turned into a 3+ year storyline that is still going strong. The strength of the RP is rooted not just in friendship, but also in our willingness to communicate about our ideas for RP. For instance, in this next story I am writing Thenia Al’Cair for the first time. Thenia isn’t my NPC. In essence, I am working with Falconesse to make sure I am capturing the essence of her NPC while putting my own spin to her.
In order to do this right, I had to:
To put it another way: We had to talk about what our thoughts and plans were. Writing collaborative fiction does not just mean “I write, you edit.” It requires a lot of communication to work. If you don’t communicate, your RP will suck.
This, however, does not suck.
The Ball: At Least She Liked the Flowers
After a night of dancing, they slept in. Bricu slept in later; although he did wake up enough while Threnn got dressed. She said something about “family,” but Bricu was too busy feeling happy to pay attention.
After she left, Bricu lounged in the bed and let this thoughts drift. While he took in her smell, he thought back over the past few nights. If this was just a wildfire romance–a quick, fiery bit of passion–then why was he so intent on dancing or going to the Rose’s Ball? Why bother wasting port on her father? Lazy, happy thoughts drifted towards worry.
Bricu wondered what the hell he was doing here with Threnn. His right hand drifted towards his most recent, and painful, scar. Tundale’s gunshot. A permanent reminder of how he has hurt those he cared for.
He liked Threnn from minute they started talking. She was witty, flirty and quick to flash a smile. Azka suggested that Bricu marry her–if just to put her parents off. Az might have well as asked him to stop drinking. Or Breathing. That was easier for him to understand than Marriage….
His thoughts continued to drift…at that time, Bricu was flirting with Az, Fraille and any other woman that got within ten feet of him. Including, of course Elly. She wasn’t serious–at least she said she wasn’t. Bricu wasn’t. When he ended their fling, he realized she was serious. Then again, the waitress always has the last laugh–watered down drinks and cold food for Bricu as long as he was in the Pig.
Then in Indara. Then the fight with Tundale…and the realization that whatever spark that he had with the elven priestess would not compare to the fireworks between her and the Tailor…
Lounging in bed, with his thoughts adrift, Bricu recognized he was drifting towards bollocksing things up.
Doubt, self-pity and regret were all vying for a bit of attention in his head. He’d been too happy lately–over compensating for being a bastard, obviously–and he was trying to restore some semblance of balance.
“Balance, mate, is for Druids an’ Merchants. Bollocks to balance.”
He lounged in bed for a few hours more, remembering that for once, he made a good choice.
He woke up late.
He was only half awake when he realized that if he wasn’t careful, he would over sleep. It was getting dark in the room, so he decided to open the curtains to let the light in. When he realized that the curtains were open, Bricu realized that he had already overslept.
With his fancy new clothes, courtesy of Delion, he barged into the Rose’s bathing room and cleaned himself up. Trimmed his beard. Washed his face, and hair, twice. He scrubbed himself clean as fast as he could.
When Bricu figured he could pass inspection, he set out for…. He had no idea where he was supposed to meet Threnn. He figured he’d start at the most obvious place: The Al’Cair’s family store. There was a flower shop on the way–that would help mend the damage for being late.
He picked a bouquet of white roses–the black ones were still far too morbid for his taste–and marched to the Al’Cair’s shop. It was a modest store, on the canal side of Old Town, and Bricu realized that he wasn’t inside long enough to get a good feel for the place…but after a night outside, he found the shop moments after buying the flowers.
The shop looked closed but people were definitely still inside. Smiling–a thing was doing far too often when thinking of Threnn–and without a care in the world, he knocked on the door. A matronly woman, in her mid-forties, answered the door. She only opened it slightly. Just enough to get a good look at Bricu. She looked him up and down, focusing mainly on the clothes that Delion had made. Her smile, and the tone of her voice, was completely business–but friendly. Bricu understood immediately: She thought he was a customer–he would have used the word mark–and one should always be polite to customers.
“We’re closed dear, but we open tomorrow at 9. I’m sure we can find you the finest fabrics anywhere in the Eastern Kingdoms. Have a good evening.”
“Sorry Ma’am, I’m not here ta buy anythin’. I’m here to see Threnody. I’m Bricu.”
Her look soured. She looked as if she was going to simply close the door and hope that he went away. Bricu bit back a sigh and smiled instead. He brought the roses around front, so Mrs. Al’Cair could see them. She did not seem to perk up, but she didn’t slam the door either.
A few seconds passed before she spoke again.
“Oh. You’re Master Bittertongue. You might as well come in so I can get a better look at you.”
He was in way over his head. Bricu was confident that within ten minutes, he could get most women to at least smile. Mrs. Al’Cair, however, was merchant and a mother. This meant that in addition to being used to politicians, city officials and other merchants, she also was used to lying children and potential suitors. She would be practically immune to any of his charms. A father could be mollified, briefly, with expensive alcohol and a promise of proper behavior. A mother, however, was not so easily swayed.
“Expensive clothes and decent posture, I almost thought you were merchant.” She peered at him, hands on her hips, with the same intensity as a drill sergeant. Bricu didn’t flinch, but he wasn’t sure how long he could hold out.
“I do like the flowers. They’ll go well with her dress.”
“Thank you Ma’am.”
“So you are taking my daughter to the Order of the Rose ball, tonight.”
“That was the idea, Ma’am.”
Mrs. Al’Cair studied Bricu intently.
“Your hair is far too long.” She paused again, looking for more flaws. “Are you sure that you are allowed into that Ball? The Order of the Rose is a respectable guild, holding a formal event. They’ve been granted permission to do so by the Arch-Druid.”
“I’ve met the Arch-Druid before Ma’am.”
“I do hope you were more formal than this. Don’t get me wrong–I know Oreweave’s work when I see it, and it is very nice–but this outfit will not do for formal occasion.”
“I was in me armor Ma’am.”
“I see. Will you be in your armor when you are with my oldest daughter?”
“Not tonight Ma’am. Not appropriate for a formal affair.”
“I see. How long have you been a Paladin, Master Bittertongue?”
“I earned me spurs ’round five years ago ma’am.”
“And the Church let’s you associate with the Wildfire Riders?”
“Aye. The church…”
“I see.” She was curt but polite. She was still brutal.
“Do you plan on seeing my daughter regularly, Master Bittertongue?”
Bricu stopped looking at Mrs. Al’Cair and looked at his feet.
What the bloody hell am I doin’ here? Can’t a bloke go out with a pretty lass without gettin’ the bloody third degree? What am I doin’ here?
He looked up and into Mrs. Al’Cair’s face. He intended to say no, hand her the flowers and move on. He noticed, then and there, the family resemblance. Threnn had her mother’s eyes. The elder Al’Cair’s eyes were weighed down by years of hard work and struggle, but for a moment, he saw through them.
“Aye, I plan ta.”
“Very well then. The best you can hope from me, right now, is that I will not actively seek to stop you. We want our daughter to stop all of this foolish sword swinging and act like a proper adult, which will also require she put aside that tabard and this silly little fling. She will have a business to run, Master Bittertongue–or is that what you were hoping for, a business?”
“Ma’am. I’m paid well enough by the Riders, I don’t need anyone else’s money or business.”
She smiled–a sweet, sincere gesture that Bricu knew was a fake. She didn’t believe him.
“Well, our Threnn isn’t here. Maybe you were to meet her somewhere else. Now you run along. And do behave.”
He stifled his sigh with another smile. He didn’t really care if she figured out that he was exasperated with the conversation.
“Pleasure meetin’ you Ma’am. I’ll see meself out. Cheers!”
She followed Bricu to the door; she also double checked the locks when the door was shut.