With an angry Viking
In the Broken Dreams Pub
Eva could see rooftops everywhere as buildings of all sizes rose and fell beyond her sight, stepping towards the edge she could see she was on the roof of some dingy bar as the lights glowed illuminating the street below. And as she returned her gaze back towards the door she stumbled out of she could clearly see a figure about to smash down on her. ”Bloody HELL!”
From the very skies, hurtling like a meteor came a streak of familiar blue hued energy, the air warping and twisting around the humanoid figure as it came slamming down onto the top of the old building mere feet away from Eva, the foundations cracking slightly as the attempts to slow the descent were clearly half-hearted at best. The dust and dirt from the rooftop momentarily was thrust up into the air, masking the figure momentarily.
It was only when the smoke cleared that the figure was none other than Trenton Hurst, otherwise known as the infamous mercenary War-Pulse. Of course, his dispersal of the kinetic energy whipped the dust off the rooftop and cleared the air, which is when the merc actually caught sight of the other figure on top of the pub.
“Oh, shit, sorry about that!” Trent began, offering the girl a wave. “Didn’t realize there was someone else up here on the landing! It isn’t like Sal ever intended to extend his business outside of his dingy little hole in the wall.”
Thanking whatever lucky stars she had she brushed herself off and stood to greet the knobhead standing before her. ”You trying to make some pavement pizza or are you always such a co@k up. Another second and this would be a crime scene.”
“Whoa, okay. I’m sorry, missy.” Trent spoke in a mocking octave, his barely concealed smile belying his lack of sincerity as he met her glare. “Did I mess up your perfect rooftop selfie on top of a dingy bar? I bet all your followers are real curious about your romp in the sketchy side of town, really going to get some likes today!’’
Sufficiently satisfied with the level of sass he had given the youthful girl, he strolled on past her towards the door leading down. “Either way, you ain’t actually dead. So no harm no foul, right? Either way, I’m gettin’ a drink. You enjoy...whatever it is you’re doing up here.”
Eva feined a smile and pulled out her phone holding it like an idiot. "That's cute if you subscribe to me at TwitchThot I promise not to knee you in the nuts."
With the same full enthusiasm Eva slipped her phone back into her pants and started moving towards the door alongside the strange meta. ”I need a drink it’s gonna be a long night of bullshit, does this place have a decent selection?”
The merc jolted to a stop at her words, a brow raised as he gave the woman a once over. “Uhhhh...not for nothing...but I’m going to say you’re a little young to start drinking your problems away at a pub. Shouldn’t you be chugging vodka in your parent’s basement and thinking every noise outside is the cops like most teenagers?”
Scoffing at the attitude of the unknown hero, Eva assumed he was some type of arrogant crusader of Justice. Cops can suck a knob, I'd say yours would do however considering how big an ego you got I'd say your overcompensating. Vodka sucks ass too, I'll take whiskey, probably on the rocks."
Trent clutched his heart to mock the pain of her words, laughing along with Eva’s biting words. “Hoo boy, you go RIGHT for the jugular! But you’re right on the money if you’re looking for whiskey. Sal has some of the hardest whiskeys you’ll ever find in Lost Haven, and judging by how long I’ve known him, I’d say he probably won’t card you for it if you pay a little extra. This little hole in the wall isn’t even technically registered as a bar, buuuut that’s mostly because no inspector’s coming down to this side of town.”
Lugging her metal case down the stairs Eva pulled her phone out a second time. ”Yeah I can do that not the first time I’ve paid more for a stiff one. Got a quick call to make bit of business to deal with while I’m here yeah.”
As the meta walked further out of sight and she could hear a door open she assumed he was already making himself comfortable and getting drinks. Taking this moment to dialed up Rune the wizard or mage; she wasn’t entirely sure what kind of title he held just vaguely remembering that he was a bigshot and they worked and gotten along well in the past.
Once they stepped into the establishment, Trent’s description of ‘hole in the wall’ became all too apparent to the pair. The speakeasy looked as if it had been up since Prohibition, complete with the smell of stale booze and cigarette smoke, the wooden walls showing through chipped paint and not a picture in the establishment was aligned properly. The only source of light being a few dingy ceiling lanterns hanging above a few disgruntled patrons, providing just enough light were everyone can make out each other’s faces.
The barkeep, a ragged man in his 50s, was busy placing a newly cleaned glass on the back wall among the others when he turned his attention to the sound of people coming down the back stairs. Typically only one man came in the back entrance, and as soon as he saw the familiar face, a small grin wrinkled his typically stern visage.
“Trent? Is that you?” The man grumbled, his gravelly voice offering a hint of warmth.
“Sal, buddy!” The mercenary responded, outstretching his arms in a flourish of comradery. “Good to see you’re as busy as ever! What is this, four whole customers?”
“Still the cocky bastard you always were.” Sal said, grabbing a glass and pouring Trent what would be assumed to be a drink he was already familiar with. “Thought you retired, what brings you back to Lost Haven?”
“Well, to make a long story short, I’m bad at financing.” Trent responded, taking the full glass of liquor as soon as it was offered and taking a swig. “Here, let me tell you all about it…”
After about ten minutes Eva had entered the bar receiving a slight look from Sal and just letting the massive suitcase sit upright on the floor next to the stoll she parked her ass in. ”You got anything nice and strong, whiskey and not the cheap stuff I don’t need no dollar store bottle. I’ll know.”
Flashing a bit of cash and sliding it over to the barkeep she sat waiting.
Sal was hesitant, a wizened eye scanned over the girl. Clearly doubt was in his mind he turned his gaze to Trent with a raised brow. A silent conversation was exchanged before the two reprobates purely by staring, the few tense seconds ticking away before the mercenary gave a quiet nod of approval and the old barkeep gave a cordial smile, curtly snatching the money from Eva's hands.
“I think I got something that you’ll like….” He responded, going through his drinks on the back wall before pulling an unmarked bottle half-filled with a golden-brown liquid. “This may burn a bit harder than the commercial stuff, but that smokey flavor is worth it, just don’t ask me how I got it...”
Runes feet were tired, much like every other part of him. Staying out of sight from the king of elves meant moving around a lot, and to forgo all his usual haunts and hideouts. Pulling his coat around him tighter, he headed towards the door to the bar. His hair stuck his face in the rain. He spoke a few words of magic, activating the spell that let the door lead him to the bar from any location. In this case, Visby, a quaint town in sweden, where he had just dealt with two changelings. AS he stepped inside, the water dripped off of him, and he seemed even more dreary and worn out in the dingy light.
With a twist Eva could see the man dripping with rain.”Must have started pouring not long ago, good thing I’ve been inside talking to mister Bigshot here. Who’s name is probably not as important as he thinks it is. Anyways sit the drinks are decent here mate.”
“Ya’ called me a ‘cock up’ and accused me of trying to kill you, I’d hardly call that talking.” Trent spoke up, shaking his head with a chuckle. “And the name’s Trent, you little brat. You could at least get the name right before you insult me.””What do you call a bloke crashing in from the sky about to crush your skull like a tube of yogurt. Actually I could think of a few names for those types including Icon and his whole over heroic superboy routine. He’s too weird and perfect. At least Trent sounds like a basic ass name nothing heroic in that.”
“Well, that makes sense, because hero I ain’t.”
“I need a pint. And a shot of vodka and tequila each.” Rune said as he slumped into the chair next to Eva.
With a click of her glass Eva turned to Rune patting the side of her luggage.”I got something I was hoping you could enhance. Since those skills are beyond me, and I met someone else too you ever heard of that Helsing guy? Strikes me as an overconfident Jock type, anyways I plan on heading abroad for a while more than just over to Europe. Figured I’d toss you his number in case you need an extra hand don’t know anyone else in our line of work to cover while I’m gone.”
Eva said just loud enough for the people next to her to hear which probably meant that the other meta could overhear not that it really mattered.
And of course, Trent was listening, as he had nothing else to do since he was laying low for the time being. That being said, the mercenary had little knowledge of what was referenced by ‘line of work’. For all he knew the teenager just needed someone to cover for her day job, but while he was not directly engaging right away, his ears were piqued to their conversation.
Rune picked up the two shot glasses as swept them in a set of motions that seemed almost second nature. His eyes looked Eva over, appraising his fellow champion. “I can do that.I think.” Rune magic did lend itself to to permanent enhancements, he wouldn’t be covered in carved in runes otherwise.
With a sip Eva calmly drank as the condensation dripped off like beads onto the cool counter. ”Kinda nice to be drinking with people again, not a fan of drinking by myself. I’m not a slag.”
Eva said taking another long gulp of her drink. ”How’s things with the Ex Johan, heard through the rumor mill he was trying to kill you? I got a place in New York; mine might be an overstatement but it’s in my grandfather’s name. Could lie low there for a bit assuming you don’t trash it, assuming you don’t mind the odd noise, I have a guest or three running around in the walls.”
“To be fair. It seems he thinks I’m the one to kill him. I hate prophecies.” ”Yeah, dated a cultist once just thought it was a thing he did for theatrics. Turns out he really did wanna kill me and summon hell on Earth or some bullshit like that. Point is dating is a pain in the ass, especially if your ex wants to destroy humanity.”
There was still a bit of an edge she noted as the tension from heading into space hadn’t subsided, a few drinks hadn’t yet helped so she did the only thing she could think of; asked for advice. ”What do you two do when making possibly life altering decisions? I feel like I’ll be lost in space and I’m just supposed to know what to do yeah.”
The mercenary stopped his motion mid-drink, a suspicious side eye learning from behind the glass after the girl had addressed himself and Sal. His brow furrowed for a moment, the words visibly bouncing in his head as he slowly placed the glass down. Sal moved to speak, but he was stopped by a swift gesture of the merc.
“Nah Sal, I got this.” Trent said, turning around to face the paid of apparent youngsters. He gave Eva a once-over, possibly reading her face to see if she actually wanted his opinion or if she was simply pulling his leg. Either way, she would get a very honest response today.
“Honestly? Here’s the truth.” He began. “At the end of the day, when you consider all the options and you gotta make a call, the only thing that matters is this; will you be happy with your choice? Sure, you can spend all the time in the world mulling over the moral implications and who will be affected by what you choose, but that is always the problem with big choices, right? You’re always going to screw someone over, so when it comes down to it, there is always one deciding factor that will matter over everything else; how will your choice benefit you? That’s what I tell myself every time I have to make a call, ‘what’s going to happen to me after this?’”
“That what you tell yourself sweetheart?” Rune spat. His words suddenly dipped with poison. “Now ok, I might be a selfish conman to some. But the deciding factor is not self gain. That, makes you a rotten, shitty little excuse of a man. A pisstain on history.” Rune was now pointing at Trent, eyes aflame with some hidden away anger that just came to surface. ”The choice in the end comes down to this: Can I leave the place a little bit better by the end of it all?” He spat, sweeping a shot of vodka. “If you’re like me, and you say ‘Fuck it, I just want this over with’ you’re also a pisstain. But I aint a hero. Never tried to be. I am just forced to be. And yes, it sucks. But you know what sucks more. Listening to some other pisstain talk to a nice and yet to be ruined by the world at large, bonefied, can make a difference CHAMPION OF THE FUCKING REALM, TELLING HER FUCK OTHER PEOPLE;JUST DO YOU.”
There was a small but noticeable silence after Rune’s outburst, the mercenary leaning against the counter with a raised brow. Trent shifted his weight ever so slightly, a mixture of a scowl and a smirk crossed the rugged man’s face, as if he was not sure if he should be mad or amused at the beratement he had just received.
“Alright, first off;” The mercenary began, his tone as cocky as ever. “I don’t remember asking an extra from Vikings to judge me, so that was a bit uncalled for and I should absolutely mop the floor with that well-groomed beard of yours. And second, I never made any claims to be a hero or to even justify that my way of thinking is the right way. Girl asked for my opinion, I gave it.”
As this point, Trent had lightly pushed off the counter, taking a few steps towards Rune and Eva’s table. His circled the table, placing a hand on the backs of one of the free chairs. His stroll came to a stop, bearing his weight down on the wooden backing as he leaned towards Rune, a cavalier sneer plastered across his face.
“I mean honestly, if you want to shit all over my life decisions, sure, can’t say that you’re totally wrong. But from where I’m standing and what I’m overhearing, the so-called ‘Champion of the Fucking Realm’ is currently sitting in a shitty Dive Bar talking about how her ex is trying to kill her with demons and THAT doesn’t sound like someone who put themself first.” He gestured with a free hand towards Eva. “Sure, you’re a hero, you try to save people, that’s heartwarming, but always trying to do things for other people is that someone is going to take advantage of that and walk all over you. The thing about heroics is that if you don’t at least think about yourself sometimes you end up forgetting to live your own life and pursue your own happiness, and that ain’t fair to you.”
With an exasperated groan Eva downed her drink leaving a bit of color in her cheeks as she stood. ”First he never tried to kill me with demons. It was a fillet knife or something stupid and thin. Second, I was trying to keep the whole hero thing on the downlow for once but it is what it is. And third It’s not a completely shitty dive bar although the decor is definitely dated.”
Pushing her suitcase over to Johan. ”Johan he’s right and yeah he’s still kinda a dick for suggesting it but we’re not here in Disneyland where all is rosey and fine, we’ve fu&^ed up somewhere. I can probably pull a proper hero thing but I don’t know If I’ll ever be a paragon of virtue and justice. I can try but that isn’t me. I will however try and do good for as long as I can still call myself a good person. And IO would appreciate whatever help you can still offer.”
Her eyes glanced over toward Trent. ”I’m not you. I’m not me, hell I barely know if I am a good person. You are right though whatever choice I make should matter to me. I’m supposed to be a great hero, descended from old blood. And I will try not to fu%^ it up. Thank you for the advice, and the drink. I suppose I should finally try finding my own way.”
Eva said as she walked over to the doors of the bar.