There was a terrific cloud over Loch Glânda-Lynn, that day.
When Doran's boots had hit the dirt of a new land, he hadn't expected much. The small vessel that had brought him there, along one of the winding rivers feeding into the great lake, moored itself at a rickety old pier - the boards creaked in protest as he strode over them, duffel bag slung over one shoulder. There were no hopes in his heart. It was another place to wander through, utilise, and eventually become sick of.
But the sight of that sky. Grey, tumultuous, threatening to dump a downpour on the world any second. It gave him pause. He craned his neck to look up at it, trying to estimate when the rain might come. Within hours? Minutes?
Seconds. The first drop fell upon his upturned face, streaking down his cheek.
All the better. It had been a while, since he'd weathered a decent storm.
He was curious, about the reaction of those around him. As the rain began to fall - just picking at first, barely noticeable - more than a handful of people grumbled, cursed, shifted and sought shelter. As ones working so close to water, why were they so adverse to getting wet? A new custom he wasn't aware of?
No matter. By the time Doran had reached the end of the pier, it was coming in droves, threatening to soak through his coat. Even if it didn't bother him, it would be prudent to find a place to rest and scope out the unfamiliar territory.
No eyes were cast upon him as he made his way towards the buildings lining the shore. So, outsiders were commonplace. If a stranger was not even worthy of a glance, then many must've been passing through, and that was not something he was going to complain about.
Warehouses. Stalls. Storage for all manner of seafarer's goods. Doran regarded them all as he went past, savouring the scent of dust in the rain. The coast itself was some way away from there, but if this was the nearest thing he was going to get to the ocean for the moment, it wasn't too bad.
Could've done with more taverns, though.
Why was it such a chore to locate one? Perhaps he'd become too accustomed to stumbling into one the second he arrived in a port. Not everywhere came well equipped to accommodate whatever inclinations were still sticking to him from his sailing days.
Old habits die hard, he supposed.
But, his luck was turning around. From what he could tell, and the scent of alcohol in the air, there was a pub nestled among the buildings further down the strip. He wasn't the only one hasty to get inside, either.
He could hear the clamor from metres away. Tankards clashing together, loud voices. Not the quiet retreat that he was hoping for, but the other option was standing outside in the rain - and judging by the way the wind was whipping up, it was only going to get worse.
So, Doran sighed. Standing under the awning, he took a moment to steel himself, and to shake the water out of his hair. Then, he pushed the door open.
The reek of ale was twice as strong inside. Once again, no heads were turned by his entrance; every being at every table appeared too wrapped up in their conversations or their beverages to take note. Plus, it was too noisy for it to have been audible, anyway. He scanned for the bar, and when he'd ascertained where the tender was at, he trudged over to make their acquaintance. Who better to ask for information than a tavernkeeper?
He took a stool for himself. The majority of the patrons were away at the rickety tables spanning the room; only he and one other took up residence at the bar, and said other already had his head resting on it.
"Ale, please." The sound of his own voice was a surprise to him when he had to raise it enough to be heard over the racket. Coins were procured from his sodden pocket to pay. "And... tell me about this place."
"What d'you wanna know?" For someone working in hospitality, the man taking his order was not too friendly. Doran had seen mammalian-like people before on his travels, but this old canine was particularly rough looking, lip curled to expose cracked teeth.
"Can I find work here?" It was exhausting him, having to put so many words in a row.
"Here? No," the keeper said as he filled a tankard. "In the whole City? You bet."
That reaction was deserved, Doran knew. He ought to have been more specific. Still, whether or not he'd disgruntled the barkeep, he'd gotten the information that he needed.
"Good work?" It might not have been wise to ask something else. The mammalian gave a hearty sigh as he set the ale down on the bar.
"Good. Bad. What do I know. But people are gettin' paid."
Of course, it wasn't a question of morality, as far as he was concerned. How could a man in his line of profession have any scruples with dishonestly and unfairness? There was a time where he would take whatever he wanted and think nothing of it. The important part was the money in his pocket. The ability to feed himself, clothe himself, and keep on going.
What other choice was there?
"Thanks." He raised the tankard with a nod in the canine's direction. "Appreciate it."
The ale tasted bitter, leaving a tingle in Doran's throat as it went down. Half the tankard was cleared in a swallow or two; something of a calmness washed over him at the familiarity of it. No matter where he went, booze would always be the same.
And with enough of it, he could drown out the hum in the back of his head, audible even through the roar of the tavern patrons' conversation.
[She wanted him to look at her. He could feel it - he could see it. The glint of her hair in his peripheral vision. Her voice was persistent, worming its way past all the background noise to harass him, just like it always did--]
Then, a crack of thunder. Deep and groaning and rolling on for too long. Enough to pacify the crowds of drunkards for a few precious moments, simply to listen to the ferocity of nature.
The doors of the tavern creaked. The wind was whipping up a gale outside, and the rain beating at the roof was audible, during the hush that had fallen over the room. When was the last time the area had seen a storm like that? If he had to take a guess, Doran would say not for a good long while.
【How long can you ignore me?】
Her infernal voice. Like a melody. He took a deep breath through his nose, before giving his mental reply. Forever.
【I think not.】
What do you know? His fingers tightened around the handle of the tankard. You're not real--
【I am real to you. That is enough.】
He brought the ale to his lips and drank. In a few gulps, the remainder of it was gone, and the empty tankard was slammed back down on the bar hard enough to make the sleeping man resting on it flinch.
How many more did 'one more' lead to? It wasn't like Doran was keeping track. The coins hopped out of his pocket of their own accord. The drunker he was, the hazier the voice became. The hazier the whole world became.
It was its own kind of bliss.
The storm kept raging outside, and he drank until the mammalian behind the bar started casting a weary look at him. It would've been prudent to ask the question before he got quite so inebriated, but--
"Rooms." He made a vague gesture with his hand. "Here. You have?"
"It's gonna cost ya," the barkeep informed him, with more of a malicious smile than he would've liked, but it couldn't be helped. It'd be stupid to haul his stuff out into the rain and traipse the docks looking for a hole to hide in.
"I'm gon' pay," was the extent of his witty retort.
And pay he did. Through the nose. The rate was twice what it should've been, but Doran did not have the energy or the presence of mind to fight about it; he gave over the coin and went about stumbling up the narrow stairs in search of his dwellings.
Barely bigger than a broom cupboard, but equipped with a dingy window looking out towards the lake. He could see the lightning flash over the water, the rain lashing, the trees trembling in the wind. For a while, he stood captivated.
He wouldn't. He had no desire to catch a maddening glimpse at her face.
Was the growl of thunder the last thing they heard, or was it her voice? Was the last thing they felt the chill of the water? Did they know, that they were--
"Get out of my head!"
When he spun to face the closed door, there was nothing to behold.
Zenjesi: Hey Silv - how do you pronounce Kodakai?
Nov 17, 2023 18:23:56 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: Not to mention the baby mosca with wolf skin from Elvye and the sparkling owl of Xentus. <3
Nov 14, 2023 10:27:52 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: I like the Donnor one not just with looks FF, but the description, funny as heck.
Nov 14, 2023 10:26:27 GMT -6
Zenjesi: yours both made me laugh, FF! They're very expressive
Nov 13, 2023 21:57:46 GMT -6
Fiera Ferella: Woooow Twilight, I love that witch drawing!!! :0 It's so pretty! And Zenjesi I think Spectral is my favorite out of yours lol. Just looks happy to be included. and silver now i wanna know which pets youd pick for the other legendary beasts. XD
Nov 13, 2023 21:37:45 GMT -6
Silver: Ah I'm so glad you guys enjoyed it! I love everyone's drawings they're all so cute. ;o;
Nov 13, 2023 17:31:37 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: I like that one as well yeah, loved the old nootnoot image from quest prizes, so that one went perfectly with that particular costume being based around it. X3
Nov 13, 2023 15:23:13 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: The jewelry on tail or at the head definitely tends to be their most recognizable feature for a Mosca, and sadly their pharaoh chin piece as well. XD
Nov 13, 2023 15:21:07 GMT -6
Zenjesi: Your peanut costume is hilarious and adorable too!
Nov 13, 2023 15:14:29 GMT -6
Zenjesi: Yes you're correct! I guess I did a decent enough job with the drawing!
Nov 13, 2023 15:05:27 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: It still looks good on Synkka. She is a shaman Mosca I'm guessing? Its mostly the tail that makes me think of it.
Nov 13, 2023 15:00:42 GMT -6
Zenjesi: I definitely like Spectral's the most too! I sort of cheated by drawing Synkka with a cloak because I do not know how to draw feathered wings, haha ^^'
Nov 13, 2023 13:45:15 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: Which one do you like the most out of the three you made?
Nov 13, 2023 12:09:48 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: Thanks for that compliment! Though I know with the water it doesn't look entirely great, I love the latter one I made the most.
Nov 13, 2023 12:09:30 GMT -6