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12th of Uktar - The Great Party - Part Three

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12th of Uktar - The Great Party - Part Three

Post  Penelope on Thu Oct 08, 2009 10:52 pm

Eddick had been having fun tormenting the very same ladies he had been comforting by doing his sword swallowing tricks. After casting his grass body spell, he had the ability to have things pierce him without ill effects. At first he took it easy, just imitating the other sword swallowers. Then something in him clicked into place, and he began putting swords up his nose and even one thin blade around his eye, and into his eye socket. That particular one had been the cause of a couple fainting spells.

After he had sufficiently grossed out many of the people watching, he loudly declared that he had used the secrets of the natural world to make him immune to piercing. He then pierced himself with about 4 swords and walked around like that for a while. Eddick was quite a bit light headed from the drink, and feeling slightly antisocial toward strangers after quite a few dances, and was ready to make an ass of himself, but not literally.

He walked toward the table where everyone had gathered and waived happily, with four swords sticking out of his chest. "Kaber! Its good to see you here! I hope your day has been better than mine. I've been feeling this pain in my chest that I just can't explain!
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Elric just stared at the druid. Who would have thought with a pixie and minotaur, the druid would be the one to cause a scene. "Eddick!" He said perhaps a little to loudly. "Your creeping out the locals!" Then as looked at four swords sticking through his comrade he added. "Your creeping out me as well!"
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The priestess was waiting for Kaber to chew a huge mouthful of food so he could answer their questions, when Eddick stumbled over with swords protruding from his chest, before the minotaur was able to finish!

Reacting before thinking, Ashara leapt to her feet, knocking her chair over, and grabbed for her holy symbol. She was just about to launch herself across the table in an attempt to save his life, when she noticed... there was no blood...

Still standing, she rested her right hand on the top of the table, while clutching her chest with the left. Elric yelled at the druid and then, once her pounding heart calmed, she looked up at Eddick with narrowed eyes. Ashara continued to glare at him as she reached down to the plate of strawberries, picked one up, and chucked it at him. It hit the druid square between the eyes (rolled at 19!) and splattered red juice everywhere.

She giggled when she saw him attempt to rub the juice out of his eyes, only to smear it all over his face. She started laughing when she saw the gory remains of the berry sliding down his goatee. When Eddick opened his eyes and blinked at her with seeds stuck between his eyelashes, she couldn't contain herself. The priestess doubled over, convulsing in silent laughter, unable to catch her breath. Tears rolled down her cheeks while her face turned the same color as the crimson vestments she wore.
------------------------------------------------
The minotaur had observed dancing on few occasions. At first he had thought it to be a mating ritual, but after witnessing Eddick dance with so many ladies, he dismissed that idea. He considered it a game, but couldn't figure out any rules or who won at the end. After seeing Ashara and Elric do it several times and laughing, he determined it must be for either entertainment. That, or to show off expertise in footwork, like displaying battle prowess.

Kaber found the rhythmic, and sometimes graceful movements, interesting. It was much like watching Elric during his morning training, or in battle. The warrior was confident in his skills in a fight, but he knew that his feet weren't agile enough to keep up with many of the rhythms. Being strong meant big muscles, many of which didn't flex well.

He was about to ask Ashara more about it when he saw Eddick approach the table, and then he nearly choked, again. Elric had spoken a warning about the druid and swords, but he hadn't been sure what to make of it. Now he knew. His companion looked absurd with all the swords sticking through him at angles that would have killed most others. The crowd that was staring at the walking pincushion, and Eddick's joking attitude amused Kaber.

He grinned and let out a small chuckle, "Perhaps you should see a priest about your pain. I hope it is nothing serious."
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As Elric watched, the priestess doubled over in laughter. Between Ashara's reaction and the strawberry on Eddick’s face, Elric started to laugh too. "See a priest? I think he just broke ours!" he told Kaber while nodding at Ashara.

Eddick seemed in another world just then, and Elric wondered exactly how much this man had drunk. While he was at it he also wondered when he last saw sleep. "Anyone remember how long he can do that for?"
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Gasping for breath after her fit of laughter, Ashara moved over to the dazed druid. Eddick blinked, wobbled, laughed once and then fell over. "Hmm...I'm fairly sure that strawberry wasn't magical..., " she joked, but with concern in her voice. She pulled the swords out of him, not knowing when the spell would be wearing off, and with help from her friends, sat him up in one of the chairs. The druid's head lolled to the side but he managed to stay upright in his unconscious state.

After examining him a bit, Ashara pulled out a small scrap of cloth, a feather and a pebble from the one pouch she carried. Placing them against the druid’s forehead, she muttered a few words and then sat back down in her seat. The priestess had been saving that spell for herself, but realizing that Eddick needed it more, resigned herself to leaving the party a bit earlier than she had hoped. "Apparently Eddick needed a Nap...he should be okay in an hour or so. Well, he'll have a heck of a hangover, but he should be awake at least!"

"Well then. Where were we?"
--------------------------------------------------------------------
"I really have no idea." Elric said with a laugh. "Something about the pincushion there made me forget." He indicated the swords piled neatly on the table. "I hope this isn't his new 'thing.' " A strange thought suddenly occurred to him. "Where did he get these from anyway? I don't remember us having that many swords!?!" He quickly looked around the place to see if anyone was actively searching for them. Seeing no one, he relaxed and helped himself to another 'magical strawberry'

"OH, That's right. We were try to explain to Mr. Kaber here," he couldn't help but smile at that, "What makes this different from an ordinary night at the tavern?"
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"Mr. Kaber?" Her eyes shifted between the two warriors, realizing she was missing the joke.

"But yes, a TRUE party you were saying... You are right when you say that attitude is key. I think Gwilly would agree that a true party is more than the sum of its parts. It's more than just ale, music, and dancing. It's been awhile since I've seen THIS much dancing!" Ashara's remark sparked a memory that hadn't been dusted off in years.

She grabbed her half-empty mug and chuckled before taking a swallow. "Let me tell you about the last time I almost danced..."

"It was the day before my tenth birthday, and my mother was planning a huge party...well, huge for Impresk, but I digress. She was running around getting things prepared, and myself and some of the older kids from the neighboring farms were helping her with whatever she needed. Well! A couple of us kids were talking about who would be at the party, and I said something about maybe this guy, " she said poking Elric in the chest, "finally coming home. He'd been gone for about three years at that point." She paused and glanced at Elric, grinning. "Dunner Fenkeep. Remember him? His family owns one of the cotton farms. He was a few years older than us. Mean kid with a big, melon-shaped head?" She turned back to Kaber. "Anyway, Dunner heard me mention Elric and said, 'That half-breed is back with his own people, he ain't comin' back here.', " she said in a gruff, mocking voice. "This may come as a surprise to you, but I have been known at times to have a bad temper. I know, I know...you are all shocked. I'm much better than I used to be. Well, when that mutton-chop of a boy said that to me, I hauled off and punched him square in the eye! Was a good shot too! Kind of like that strawberry..." She turned briefly to Eddick and wiped a line of drool off his chin.

"So he's holding his eye with one hand, while his face is turning redder and redder. I'm getting a little concerned now you see, since he's about four years older than me, a foot taller and at least twice the weight. Seems I bit off more than I could chew there, because Dunner grabbed my shoulder and punched me in the face turning my nose sideways and knocking me out cold." Ashara laughed loudly and wiggled her nose. "I was told what happened next, since I wasn't conscious for it. Obviously my mother starting freaking out and calling for my father, which was VERY bad news for the Fenkeep boy. Apparently his pleas of 'she hit me first', didn't hold much weight. I don't think he could stand up straight for a week after the whipping he received."

"Where was I going with this... Oh yes! The party! Well the party was still held the next day, since all the preparations had already been made it would have been a waste to cancel. It was a beautiful party, Mr. Averett was there playing the fiddle, and Ms. Belton made the cake. Most everyone was dancing, but no one wanted to dance with the girl with the bandaged up face and two black eyes." The priestess laughed then added, "Maybe the boys were just afraid of me. I did get quite a bit of satisfaction seeing that Dunner also had a good shiner!"

"The next day I officially started my clerical training. I'm sure that was just a coincidence," she chuckled. "I think that was the last time I ever punched someone... Wow, that seems like a long time ago!"

Ashara took another long drink of ale as she grinned at her friends.
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"Wow, Dunner...." Elric flashed back to his childhood. There were more than a few memories of being chased by that bully. Neither Elric nor Ashara were in any way fighters back then, but they were faster. In some situations, Faster is better than stronger. Eldorath had stressed that early in his training. Elric found it interesting how long it took him to learn something... that he had figured out on his own.

"I haven't thought of that name in a long time." He flashed to a mental image of a child Ashara punching their sworn enemy. Granted that was before Evereska and he learned what enemies truly were. Dunner liked to flaunt that he was bigger and stronger, but there was never any real concern over getting a knife in the back. Still the image made him laugh. "You actually took a swing at melon head?"
-----------------------------------------------------------
"Took a swing AND connected!" She said with a wink. "It was well worth the broken nose, and he never bothered me again!" Ashara munched on a strawberry before continuing. "Taught me a valuable lesson though. I learned that I didn't want to be a fighter of any sort!"

"My nose wasn't the only bone I've broken on account of Elric." She said to Kaber, while grinning at the half-elf. "Remember the 'Great Sledding Debacle of '56?!' I think that was the most trouble I've ever been in. From my parents at least..."

The priestess drained the last ale from her mug. "Elric got it in his head that we should try sledding down the mountain from a new place he found. He always loved going fast... Well, he had just turned seven, and was a whole year older and wiser than myself, so who was I to argue! So we piled onto the sled and pushed off onto the deep snow, hurtling past trees and rocks so fast I couldn't even keep my eyes open. He was laughing like a madman if I remember correctly! We hit a large bump in the snow and were airborne for a few seconds, before he tumbled to the ground in a ball, and I landed against a tree, shattering my arm!"

"I don't remember how we got back to my parent's house, but they were none too pleased. Good times...," she finished, chuckling.
----------------------------------------------------
"Ok, shattered may be a bit of an exaggeration..." Elric started to protest. "And that wasn't my fault!" He started to explain the way he remembered the adventure, but it stopped once he realized it wasn't that different. "Ok, maybe that one was my fault... but I still think that spot was a good one."

"That was a rough winter. After that we lost the sled, I wasn't allowed to see you or anyone else for a month, and that's not even counting the whuppin'."

He chuckled at the trip down memory lane. "I think the rest of that winter your parents simply referred to me as 'the bad influence'! Which was completely unfair. Most of the trouble we got into was your idea! "
-----------------------------------------------------------
"MY idea!?" Ashara gasped in mock horror. "I was SIX YEARS OLD, and a complete innocent I might add, " she stated, batting her eyelashes at him, "certainly I didn't get us into all that trouble!"

"We would have gotten into a lot more trouble if you hadn't needed to leave. We were only starting to scratch the surface!" The priestess picked up her mug, realized it was empty, and slid it away from her with a sigh.

An interesting thought popped into her mind and she looked over at Elric with a wicked glint in her eye. "You know what we should do when we get back? Find that old sledding spot you think is soooo great, and give it another try! At least this time if someone breaks something, I can heal them!" She clapped her hands together excitedly! "Oh we HAVE to try that! What do you think?!"
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Elric burst out laughing at that. "I was just thinking the same thing. Do remember where it was? It shouldn't be THAT hard to find again!" He then indicated the snoring druid. "He may even be able to talk the trees into moving this time." He pretended to think heavily for a moment then grinned. "We'll need a bigger sled."

He set aside his long empty mug and flagged down a young woman delivering more. After everyone at their table had a new mug he added, "You realize that if I hadn't left, neither of us were likely to reach age 10? You would probably have busted your head open, and then your father would have busted mine!"
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Ashara raised her fresh mug of ale to him in thanks, before taking a sip.

"Yes, I remember the place very well. I've visited it quite often since then, though I never did try sledding it on my own. Just wouldn't have been the same. " she smiled. "We may have to go with a couple sleds. If we made one big enough to hold all of us, we definitely wouldn't fit between the trees!"

"And you're right...we may not have lived past our tenth birthday," she snickered, "but it would have been a good ten years!"

The priestess wondered how different Elric would be if he hadn't left Impresk. The trials he went through in Evereska shaped him in ways that farm life never could, and she couldn't help but wonder if he hadn't left, if they would have found themselves in the same situation they were in today. She wasn't even sure what that situation was, or which situation she was referring to. She was starting to feel a bit warm and fuzzy from the drink. It was a comforting feeling, and one she knew could only lead to embarrassment if she didn’t stop now. Ashara pushed the mug away from herself after one more quick swallow.

"I for one am glad that you finally came back. Even if it did take a bounty on your head to pay us a visit," she teased.
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The bounty... Even now the thought was a painful one. It was like there was a blade hanging over him all the time. Still she was right. If it weren’t for the bounty, he would probably still be sitting in that small house in Evereska all alone. Looking around the table at his friends. He could almost hear Eldorath's voice, 'Sometimes the worst roads lead to the best places.'

"Well, everything gets a silver lining, I suppose." he let loose a big laugh. "I wonder how much I'm worth?"
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"I'm not going to pretend I know much about the elven way of thinking," she said, rolling a strawberry between her fingers, "but it seems to me that the bounty would likely be based on her worth to the family, rather than yours. Her father must believe you have taken something precious from them. Honor perhaps?"

Ashara couldn't bring herself to blame Elric for the brief affair with Syrlynna, it was really none of her business anyway, though it complicated matters now. She would be lying if she said that it didn't weigh on her mind during those moments in the darkness before she fell asleep. Jealousy is a cancerous emotion. The ale had loosened her tongue and dulled her good sense, and the words poured from her mouth before she realized what she was saying.

"She must be truly amazing for you to have..."

The sad smile fell off her face as she heard the words escape her lips, and she turned her horrified eyes to meet his. "Elric, I'm so sorry! I...I didn't mean... THIS is why I don't drink!" The priestess clapped a hand over her mouth to stop herself from saying something more idiotic, and shut her eyes briefly imagining the mental flogging she would give herself for this later.

Pulling her hand from her mouth she whispered, "Please, forgive me, I didn't mean anything by it..."
------------------------------------------------
Elric choked on his ale. What did she just say? As she started to turn red and muttered apologies, he quickly made a mental note. It was not 'ok' to joke about the bounty on his head. Ever!

"What? Forgive? I... " He stammered. "I think there’s been some serious misunderstanding!" How had he described Syrlynna Ealoeth? When he told everyone the story back in Waterdeep he had told a very condensed version. What with the shame and all. He couldn't really remember what he told about her, but apparently Ashara thought there was more to the story.

"You've got it wrong. Syrlynna isn't 'amazing', she's evil. The look she gave me when I was leaving... The one where she knew her father wanted to kill me, and she found it amusing... That's what I see when I think of her." He visibly shivered at the memory.

"Still, I have put some thought into the matter. I can't honestly say I regret anything. If Therogeon..." He glanced over to where the intoxicated mage was with a group of strangers, singing... poorly. "If Therogeon produced some powerful spell that would let me go back and change things... I don't think I would anymore."

He started to smile again. "Your absolutely right. If it hadn't been for her, and if it hadn't been for the bounty, I wouldn't be where I am right now. I'd still be in Evereska. Sitting alone in my little house. You'd still be an old memory, I wouldn't have ever met Kaber here, or any of my friends. All the good things we've done, and the amazing things we've seen. I wouldn't have been a part of it. Like Eldorath used to say. 'You can't enjoy the destination, and still curse the road that brought you there.' I'm happy where I'm at, and wouldn't have changed anything that brought me here."
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Ashara smiled apologetically and nodded.

He had managed to answer the questions she intended to bring up at a more appropriate moment. In front of Kaber at a party was not the appropriate moment she was planning on.

She lowered her eyes and set to work picking each seed off her strawberry and forming a tiny pile. The contrite priestess resolved not to speak unless spoken to for the rest of the night. That, and never to drink again... Now she just prayed that Kaber would jump in or Eddick would wake up to break the awkward silence!
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Eddick was dreaming. It was not often that he dreamed, but this seemed a charmed sleep. He dreamed that Elric and Ashara were having an argument. It was over something petty and ridiculous, something long since past.

Eddick wanted to impart some knowledge to them. One should not be overly worried about the past, it was no longer around. The only place it existed was in a person's mind. Something as malleable as a person's mind should not be used as a weapon to hurt those we love.

"Clay in your scabbard." Eddick mumbled, then rolled over to hug Elric's chair.
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"Whoa!" Elric struggled to get out of the Druids embrace. The druid smelled like a tavern. A very old tavern. In a bad part of town. He was mumbling something about scabbards and clay, but the half-elf didn't understand what he said when he was conscious let alone in this state.

As he twisted out of his chair, his foot slipped and he landed flat on his backside. The druid was now lying on his chair mumbling while Elric was sitting in the dirt. He couldn't help but chuckle at the situation. Looking up at the priestess he asked, "What spell was it you hit him with?"
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Laughing lightly, Ashara held out both of her hands to help Elric up. "Seems he's trying to give advice even while unconscious!"

"I only hit him with a strawberry, but the spell I gave him was Nap. The same one you should have in your mind right now," she said smiling, "He should be waking soon, and ready to rejoin the party." She looked over the crowd as a new bard began his song. "It's a good thing too, because there are a lot of lonely women out there that he needs to attend to!"
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Kaber had been trying to follow the conversation between his companions. They had been talking of their childhood, something that the minotaur marveled at, having very different experiences of his own. The idea of a young Ashara, punching another child was amusing if not ridiculous. And, this game of 'sledding' sounded intriguing with the way the two laughed about it.

Wanting to ask more about their young lives, Kaber was about to speak when the mood suddenly changed. Elric's bounty again. Ashara took it very personal, like it had something to do with her. Not understanding her meaning, the he decided that something should be done about it.

"We should go there. To Ev-ra-es-k-a", he spoke, sounding the odd name out. "If we need to, we will fight through the army. Then we shall go to this elf girl and her father and demand to settle things right there. Payment, a fight, an apology. That way you are free to live your life how you want it. We cannot continue doing what we need to do if we are always looking for those who would attack you."

The logic seemed sound to Kaber, and with that he drained the rest of his ale and signaled for another.
----------------------------------------------------
The gruff voice startled Elric. The minotaur had been so quiet, Elric assumed he wasn't listening. He figured Kaber was either studying the party, or was allergic to strawberries and slipped into a coma. But apparently he had heard and was paying attention. His theory held some appeal, but deep down Elric knew it wasn't that easy.

"That's... not a good idea. He isn't interested in an apology, or money. All he wants is my head. And I like it where it’s at." He grinned feebly at his joke. Then remembered his new rule and stopped joking about the bounty. "Look, we can't just storm Evereska and call Arioth out. He's a very powerful mage with at least 'some' powerful friends."

"I don't see this conflict getting resolved without bloodshed. While I think we could win... I'm not sure it’s worth the effort. The other elves would naturally side with him, we'd be considered enemies of the whole elven nation... and where would that put us?" He may be exaggerating a bit, but he really wanted Kaber to know that while his solution wasn't necessarily wrong, and the thought had occurred to him a few times... it wasn't as simple as he made it out to be.

"Some day I will have to deal with this. Honestly with everything else going on, it can wait. Besides we already have to watch our backs for people out to get us! Besides, the more reasons we have to look over our shoulder, the less likely we'll drop our guard!" He hoped throwing out his own form of logic would help settle the matter. Honestly it sounded better in his head then when he heard it out loud. He looked at Kaber and Ashara for some kind of back up. "Right?"
-------------------------------------------------------
The warrior considered the half-elf's words for a moment.

Kaber seriously looked into Elric's eyes, "If he were that powerful, he would have ended your life already."

The minotuar took a drink, letting his words set in before continuing.

"I don't think he is trying that hard, or he doesn't think that you are worth that much effort. Elves have long lives as I understand. He could continue to do this to you for years. I do not think you want to live like that the rest of your life. Yes, we have other concerns first. But, if you challenge his dispute with you directly, he may have to agree to terms or else lose respect of others.

"Do not forget that we have made some powerful friends now," Kaber looked around the tent, indicating the city and everyone they had met along their travels. "Also, if we were able to break the siege of the city, when they were unable to, they would have to listen."

He smiled wide, thoughts flowing through his head of possibilities he had never considered before.
-------------------------------------------------------
Elric considered Kaber's words. "You may be on to something. Still... each in its own time." He was starting to feel a little uncomfortable with all this focus on his problems. He grabbed for another strawberry and tried to act casual.

"All this should be talked about later... Y'know we're getting 'dangerously' close to breaking the royal decree? And if Gwilly hears us talking about business during party hours... well... This party may need a complete do-over."
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Kaber let the subject drop, for now. His plans would have to wait. Now was time for relaxation. It was odd to think of needing a break from all they had done recently, but it made sense in a way. The spirit and body cannot fight forever, and times of rest were so few.

"What else can we do besides eat, drink, and dance?" Looking to the unconscious druid, "Or care for our fallen?"
--------------------------------------------------
Ashara burst out laughing when Kaber referred to Eddick as "our fallen", and brushed a few strands of hair out of his face as he lay across both his and Elric's chair.

She was glad that the previous conversation had been dropped. The priestess felt she had done enough damage for one party, and wanted to steer the conversation to something less uncomfortable for the half elf. This time, she made sure to think through her words carefully before she spoke them!

"Well...I for one always enjoy hearing stories! Maybe you could tell us something of your life before we met you? I have no idea what childhood must be like for a young minotaur..."
----------------------------------------------
Therogeon wobbled carefully through the crowd and towards the table with his friends. Finally nearly collapsing into an unoccupied chair, which was harder than it looked since he didn't see Eddick at first, he looked towards his friends. His gaze was only slightly unfocused with the alcohol he had consumed and his cheeks and nose were red, almost highlighting the silver flames in his eyes.

"Good morning my friends!....is it morning?"

Therogeon shook his head attempting to clear the persistent cobwebs that had taken up residence after his second drink yesterday, "No matter, so....what are talking about?"
----------------------------------------------------
"Morning? Just barely..." Elric wasn't used to seeing the mage in that condition. It was usually a battle to get Therogeon to relax, let alone to get drunk. "You haven't missed a whole lot, mostly just reminiscing over our childhood!" Nobody really knew too much about Therogeon, but maybe.. just maybe he'd let something slip today.

"How about you? Any fun stories of the adventures of Young Therogeon?"
--------------------------------------------------
Therogeon chuckled a bit too loudly. Stories of his youth...there were a few. Not many, as most of his life had been spent studying in preparation for mage hood, but there was a couple.

"Well, there was the time we caused one of our instructors beards to grow twenty feet long while he slept...," Suddenly his eyes opened wide and his face took on an expression of awe and shock, "No..., I know...the Night of Blue Fire...." Therogeon suddenly collapsed onto the table, his shoulders heaving.

A couple minutes later he sat up, a twinkle in his flame specked eyes and it was obvious he was laughing really hard, "By Mystra, I promised those involved I wouldn't talk about it....but what the hell, you guys are family...." Therogeon had to pause again as laughter came bubbling out of his mouth again.
----------------------------------------------------
Elric just watched the mage with eyebrows raised in amusement. He had wanted to hear a story, not to mention change the subject from his own past... and this one sounded like a winner on both counts! That is if the mage could pull himself together long enough to tell it. Therogeon looked pretty shaky, Elric hoped he'd finish the story before he passed out.

"Ok, you've got my interest piqued. What did you set on fire?" Then he added with a nod towards the minotaur. "Better hurry before Kaber fight you for the stage."
---------------------------------------------------
Still laughing, Therogeon lightly rubbed the tears that had formed in his eyes. In all honesty, the story was probably not as amusing as he remembered it. By Mystra, was this what it was like to be drunk? It had been many years since the last time. Ironically the last time was the night mentioned.

"It all starts and revolves around this girl. I was only sixteen and puberty hormones were running very high. A gift from my human father no doubt. She was the older girl, in an advanced class, and she was beautiful. Even that word fails to describe how amazing she was. All of the guys wanted to be with her and all of the girls wanted to be her."

He sat back in his chair, a look of fond remembrances coming over his face. "All I could think about was impressing her. Getting her to notice me. Ahh, she was a beauty." He grinned as he continued, "I mentioned she was the older girl, well, she was indeed. She was in the graduating class, and after the ceremony there was to be a big celebration. As a junior class member, I was not invited." The grin became something akin to a child contemplating doing something he knew was going to be trouble, "A friend of mine and I resolved to sneak into the party."

"That itself was not enough though. No, just crashing a party would not be enough to gain her admiration, her love. I needed something bigger, something grander, something more...magical." Therogeon laughed lightly, "Little known fact, our school sometimes has classes in Blackstaff tower. To assist in that, a tunnel was prepared that allowed us to travel to and from the Tower. Ahh, I was going to show her how good I was by demonstrating my proficiency with a power artifact I had....acquired from the tower." He raised his hands to forestall arguing or comments, "I told you, I was young, going through puberty, and trying to impress a girl. If there is another recipe for disaster more volatile, I do not know it."

With a rueful chuckle he continued, "I had heard from a bard, that damn, damn bard, that there was a powerful wand just brought into the tower. How he had heard about it, I didn't even consider. So, doing my best impression of a thief, which just for the record, I thought was amazing but was probably so horrible a real thief would die of embarrassment, I snuck into Blackstaff tower."

Throwing his head back and laughing, obviously directed at himself, Therogeon had to take a minute to continue, "I was so scared I was going to be caught and turned into something horrendous by Khelban I grabbed the first magical stick I could find and I ran...literally, I ran. A young half-elf, clutching a stick to his chest, running full speed through Blackstaff tower, yeah, that wouldn't be conspicuous. But I made it. I made it back to my room and proudly inspected my ill-gotten prize. It was then that I realized, I had absolutely no clue how to make the thing work or even what it would do. Still, the party was that night and I had neither the time nor the bravery to return to the tower."

Therogeon took a drink of whatever glass was in front of him, not noticing it's contents or even it's owner. "Anyway, to make a long story short, my friend and I managed to sneak into the party and there we were introduced to something wonderful, something powerful, and something that causes the downfall of many a well intentioned plan. Alcohol. It was good, it was sweet, sometimes bitter, but I'll be damned if the more we drank, the better it tasted. I had never before encountered this magical substance that could alter it flavor before. I had heard of it, to be sure, but never before had I tasted its sweet embrace. We got drunk...we got so very drunk."

He ran a hand down his face wearily though the smile never left his lips or eyes. "Take a hormone driven teen, desperately trying to impress a girl, and add in the fact that he was intoxicated beyond rational thought and toss in a potentially devastating magical artifact and you can only wonder why the city still stands today. About halfway through the party, I finally noticed her. Ahh, she was even more beautiful than I remember, her skin glowed, her eyes shone, and her lips were begging to give me my first kiss. I mean, I'm sure they weren't, but that is how I saw it."

Therogeon's grin intensified, "So doing the only thing I could think of, I climbed on top of the table and proclaimed as loudly as I could, 'Melcene I love you, and I know when you see what I can do, you will love me too'. So saying I brought out the wand. By now everyone was watching me, but the only eyes I was interested in were attached to the beautiful face that was now laughing lightly while watching me. She was probably laughing at the drunk kid but my inebriated mind said she was laughing in anticipation, anxiously waiting for my display to prove my love so we could be together forever."

Therogeon stood up and brandished a breadstick like it was the wand in question, "Proudly I held forth this dangerous artifact, this most powerful instrument of magic and loudly ordered it to work. Nothing. The crowd laughed gently and I tried again, proudly raising the wand and repeating every command work I could think of. Nada. With every failed attempt the crowd laughed louder. Flushing with embarrassment and desperate to achieve something I broke a cardinal rule. I hit the wand against the table to make it work."

Sitting back down again the young wizard continued, the tips of his pointed ears a bright red that has nothing to do with drinking. "With a sound like crystal breaking, the wand broke. The entire chamber was filled with blue flame, a bright blue flame...when it cleared, everyone in the room was on fire. Blue flame flickered across everyone, and everyone panicked. Somehow, someway, I noticed that only the people in the room were on fire...not the floor, the chair, nor anything else. Of course, very few others noticed this and in a panicked frenzy, many left the building and ran into the streets."

Therogeon had to pause again as more laughter overtook him. After a few minutes of subdued chuckling he continued, "Can you imagine hundreds of people, all covered in blue flames running across the city of Waterdeep. But wait...it gets better. The fire, though it didn't actually burn anyone, resisted all attempts to be doused. Even more, anyone that touched or was touched by someone covered in the flame was also instantly covered with the fire. The panic spread, even the guard, covered by blue flame as well, couldn't contain it. by the time it was all said and done, over three quarters of the city was covered...the sky was alit like day with a blue glow and people everywhere...." He laughed again before taking another drink of the glass in front of him.

"Khelban of course knew what happened and easily found me. Though he was upset...angry even, he did understand the circumstances and even let me continue my classes...after a four hundred and fifty thousand word essay on the dangers of magic and drinking. As for Melcene, well, I found out later that the bard, that damn, damn bard had managed to use the chaos of the night to seduce her. I suppose it was all for the best, he even invited me to the wedding." He smiled warmly, "That was a celebration to be sure, the wedding of Haraken and Melcene Sans L'Art." Therogeon slid down slightly in his chair, his arms coming up and his hands resting behind his head. His eyes closed with the memory of the event and before they could open again, soft snoring could be heard coming from his direction.
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The priestess still hadn't gotten used to the flickering silver in his eyes, and found them very distracting while trying to listen to his story. She heard enough of it though, and was in a bit of shock after hearing the tale. Seems one could get into a LOT more trouble in the big city than in a tiny farming community. Considering the state the mage was in now, she wondered if perhaps he should have been required to write a five hundred thousand-word essay on the dangers of magic and drinking...

Ashara grinned when she heard Therogeon start snoring, and she added him to the growing number of what Kaber referred to as 'our fallen'.

"I see two lessons that can be learned from our friend's adventure. One, wizards should not be allowed near alcohol, and two, girls are nothing but trouble!", she finished with a wink.
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Kaber stared at the softly snoring wizard. He never pretended to understand magic or wizards and their ways, but something about that story gave him a chill down his spine. Just before Therogeon had started his story, the minotaur had been thankful for the distraction. His own childhood stories were not very pleasant.

Hearing Ashara's words, Kaber now wondered which of the two he should keep far from alcohol in the future.
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"Well... I asked for a story and, well, that's a story!" Elric stared at the slumbering mage. Turning his attention to Ashara, "Say what you want about stories... but at least we never burned down the city!" He was about to ask Kaber if he ever burned down a city... then quickly rethought that. He really didn't want to know the answer to that.

He was starting to feel some of the effects of the alcohol himself. Not as bad as some of the others, but he had slept at least a 'little' last night. His face took on a mock thoughtfulness "And I think your right about girls being trouble..." He couldn't keep the charade up though and he broke into a laugh. "But you know us adventurers... we LIKE trouble!"

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