Fanning The Flames

Participants:

Keane.jpg Ralik, Rordan, Faust, and Vaputero (NPCs)

Date: July 10, 2011
Location: The Blood and Bucket, Telgar area
Synopsis: In the dead of the night fire comes to the Blood and Bucket, and things take a turn for the worse for the Telgari barkeep.
Rating: PG-16 for language and some violence.
Logger: Jaya


It was a late night at the Blood and Bucket.

Business had been booming earlier with tables filled with traveling passerbys and local patrons. Keane especially likes it when he's able to talk to the non-locals - that's normally how he gets his information on the rest of Pern, depending on where they've been. He doesn't get to hear about news in the Southern continent all too often, sadly, save for those unresearched rumors regarding the Bitran crimelord taking a visit down there. Well, if that was the truth then he would have heard from Jaya by now - or had seen her when she fled, at the least. He would have heard something.

The black beast is curled up out in the bar area tonite while Keane has settled under his furs in his own chambers. Rordan, his barman, is sound asleep in his own room, his snores being the only other sound in the bar.

Until now.

In the realm between being awake and not, Keane hears the loud slam.

Then he hears the black beast's loud barks before a whooshing sound starts to envelope him. He was willing to wait it out - likely something had fell in the bar and set the canine off - and usually he would hear the opening and closing sound of Rordan's door as the barman went to check it out. If he waited long enough before drifting back to sleep, he would hear the door opening and closing again, and that was that. It was the routine. It's been done enough that Keane could rehearse it in his sleep - like now.

But then, time went on and there were no sounds of Rordan returning to his chambers. In fact, that roaring sound continues to persist, and he could still faintly hear the canine's cry in the background. What the fuck was going on??

Keane groans in his bed, preparing to launch himself up to his feet - a feat that was slowly getting to be a chore the older he gets. He was certain that the canine had gotten into some hijinx and probably set something off. He swears he's going to kick that beast outside in the cold-

"KEANE!" There's rapid banging on his door, snapping his eyes fully open. Well, this was new. It prompts him to get up, rubbing resistant sleep from his eyes before he gropes around in the dark for his robe. Clearly he wasn't moving fast enough, for Rordan has stepped it up to banging on his door now and practically ordering him to get up.

"Alright, alright!" Keane shouts back, grabbing his robe and shrugging it on blearily. Damn, can't he get any kind of sleep tonite after the day he had-

Smoke.

Keane now smells the smoke.

"Fuck!" the old barkeep mutters, stumbling hastily towards his door in the darkness and wrenching it open. What he finds nearly puts his heart in his mouth.

Flames.

Fire was licking the back walls, threatening to spread to his chambers. He finds Rordan trying to fend them off with little result, and the door to his precious bar was fully incinerated. Keane cries out in shock before he reaches for his barman and jerks him towards the back exit. "We gotta get outta here!" he cries, hearing a crash in the direction of the barroom that alludes to the roof caving in. "Come on!" Rordan fights him at first before the big black mass of the canine is suddenly at his heels, barking at them wildly. Keane calls again and this time, the young man is stumbling with him towards the exit.

Already the smoke was starting to choke them, Keane immediately holding the sleeve of his robe up to his nose as they move blindly out of the bar. His bar. His bar.

By the time they were outside, the flames had reached the back corridor and their rooms. Standing there in pure shock, Keane watches the flames dance over his rooftops and through the back. Seeing his pride and joy in flames has practically turned him to stone as Rordan works to fill buckets from the nearby well. It wasn't going to be enough, the way the fire was spreading, but it wasn't stopping him.

Keane snaps out of his nightmare when Rordan moves to the front of the Blood and Bucket and screams for him. His legs move, taking the old barkeep around to the front to find Rordan and his canine surrounded by armed men.

"What is…?" is all Keane could get out before they all turned toward him, the sounds of wood snapping and walls falling in the backdrop before out walks a familiar face.

"You didn't think I would come back, did you?" Vaputero Ilste sends in greeting, the light of the fires play across his face with a sinister air. When Keane says nothing, he turns to take a look at the burning bar, looking upon it like one would a make-shift bonfire before stating, "Good night to have a burning, hm?"

Keane's words get cut off by the sound of rage. Next thing he knows, Rordan launches himself at the Bitran crimelord with a knife in hand. "Rordan, no!!" he shouts too late, a burst of energy spurring him forward to block his barman from attacking.

Vaputero's knife is out in seconds as if he was expecting the attack in advance. He side-steps the lunge and comes up, letting Rordan's momentum spear his own self into the thrusting knife. Blood pools from his belly as the barman staggers back from him, causing both barkeep and canine to rush to his side as he falls.

"Folly," Vaput states calmly as he pulls out a small piece of cloth and wipes Rordan's blood from his blade. "You Telgar men don't learn, do you?"

With Rordan on the ground, trying to hold in his life's blood, Keane falls to his knees by his side before he sends a dark look up to Vaput's looming figure. "How could you-" the words choke out as if the man was holding him by the throat, torn between watching all of decades' work burn to the ground and watching after a bleeding barman that has saved his life. Mouth opens and closes a few times, the look almost uncomprehending onto the Bitran crimelord for these actions before he bites out, "You…you've ruined me!"

Not in the least apologetic, nor filled with remorse, "This is only just the beginning, barkeep," Vaputero returns, standing amongst his men as the light of the flames illuminate his sinister face. "How else was I to thank you for your role in my mission down south? In me being refused the hand of my son in that filthy Weyr?" His voice was rising in pitch and hostility, competing with the roar of the fire.

Thrusting a finger in the Bitran's direction, "It was you who could not gain your son!" Keane shouts back, his outrage evident in his livid face. "You! I had no hand in this! The Blood and Bucket is neutral ground-"

"Spare me your old man's prattle!" Vaput shouts back, turning from the sight of the wretched pair. "Everything that happened south had your hands all through it! It was you who allied against me with that southern upstart!" and he turns to thrust a finger like a dagger towards Keane's heart. "It was you that poisoned the mind of that barmaid against me! Just as you had Bajaya! She was mine!!" The force of those venomous words take the Telgari back in shock, and when the older man does not answer for his accusations, "You brought this against yourself," he drops through heavy breath, his thumb now thrusting towards the merrily burning bar. "For that Olira bitch, for that fucking southern upstart, and for Bajaya." Letting the words sink in further like a twist of the knife, "The Blood and Bucket is no longer neutral ground," he declares for his men's ears as well, "for it is no longer the Blood and Bucket. I did this, and spread it well," and he turns to address the listening barkeep and his barman, their black canine barking wildly at the flames in the distance, the look of white horror on their faces. "Let no man claim that the crimelord of Bitra does not honor his debts!" and to Keane in particular, now permitting a slow smile to form he adds, "As you have taken precious from me, now I return the favor. Water it down, boys!"

The call sends his men scrambling to the well for water, to put out the flames to a bar that was beyond saving. Keane and Rordan watched as Vaputero's men worked in unison to gradually bring the rising flames down, letting the darkness of the night creep further and further closer as the light dwindled away. When all that was left was hissing smoke and charred wood, a few of the men now carrying torches to light their departure, Vaputero moves to inspect their handiwork and nods in satisfaction. "It is done."

Keane, keeping a hand to staunch Rordan's blood flow, watches helplessly as the crimelord of Bitran turns with his men and starts heading off back to their waiting runners. Not a single, further word was given in farewell.

It was only when the sounds of runnerhooves died down that Keane breaks his silence. He looks down at Rordan, the barman starting to pale from the bloodloss before he breathes out, "Let me help you up." Luckily Rordan never protested as they worked to do so, the barkeep's mind reeling in what to do next. The two limp towards a large tree before setting the barman down again, and he falls to ground beside him to catch his breath. The big canine bumbles back towards them with blood matted in his fur - one of Vaput's men had swiped at the beast when he was putting out the flames. What were they going to do?

"Indira," Rordan manages the name out, struggling to keep his eyes open. "We need…to get….Indira…"

Or help.

By morning, that was how Ralik - the travelling informant that frequented the bar on his stops - found them. The Blood and Bucket was nothing more but a pile of steaming, black rubble. Its owner sat under the big tree with his head in his hands with the big black canine laying over him and his barman.

Rordan was dead.



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