Prelude

Prelude

Captain Bacchus stepped out of a blustery night and into the welcoming glow of a tavern known as The Corkscrew. Full of the bustle of the evening, the common room held men who played cards for fairly middling stakes whilst merchants dined on the upper decks. Every table pointed towards the stage where a fair haired lass entertained the crowd. She sang a jovial but polite ditty about the Shipwright’s Wife and her love for wood. Her tone was even decent. Thought the captain. It was not the kind of pub where airmen brawled and neither was a lodge where nobles sparred tongues all a’ twisted. It was nice, dull to the point of obscurity is what it was. He mused. Great for a furtive meeting come the stroke of nine.  Tonight he wore a cloak of anonymity, literally, he wore the shroud at the client’s request. This particular punter had paid Bacchus and his company their regular going rate simply for a meeting all cloak and shadows like. It was much against Bacchus’ usual ruckus style. He was infamous, which is of course a kind of famous. People usually came to him. He had enough work to last him and his crew a decade but the secretive nature of this solicitation drew the captain’s curiosity. Which is a difficult thing to do if you’ve already explored most of the known world. He’d seen – and some have even accused him, wrongfully, of sleeping with mermen for Aether’s sake!  An open seat at the bar drew him in. He resisted the urge to throw back his hood revealing his familiar vermilion curls. Warmth permeated his clothing and he began to relax. The barman took this as a sign to approach. “Well and good there fella’ what can I get for you?” Said the barkeep.
“Turbuskan Ale and a pack of nuts” Bacchus replied. “Right, Ale and some refreshments” The man replied letting out a sigh.  Bacchus settled in while he waited for his drink. He scanned the crowd. There was a bit of laughter from one table. It looked like a guildmens son had just got married. Men of the household had taken the young lad out “on the town” so to speak. Liquor ran freely at that table. The captain figured he would have had a better time at it down at the docks in a real pub or better yet the cat houses. Other than that, there was little to note, the place was quite the borefest. His musings were interrupted as the barkeep brought back a glass stein with a blonde almost almond coloured ale, that leaked with froth, and a plate of what looked to be individually selected kernels. Fantastic. He thought.  “Here you go lad.” The barman said as he placed the refreshments in front of Bacchus. With a pause, a shuffle and a stroke of his chin whiskers he continued. “So uh do you like the daisies in the King’s square this time of year?” Oh for Nether’s sake. Were the first thoughts that came to mind. This is why I hate clandestine meetings. Misting phrase words that sound like the old bugger is coming on to me. His thoughts continued. He let out a puff and replied.
“I do so prefer…” another sigh “the roses… look where in the mist are they?” Bacchus replied before taking a deep swig of his beer. 

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