RP:A Bet and a Brawl

From HollowWiki

Summary: Deaglan comes crashing into the Broken Barrel in Rynvale, much to the dismay of the patrons assembled. Astrid attempts to help the sailor he's just left bloody on the floor, Meri attempts to calm the situation and Lita provokes the madness with the offer of a wager...

Meri was sitting at a table by herself with her cloak slung over her chair, revealing her colorfully tattooed arms. Full sleeves on both arms. The artwork was hardly hidden by the sleeveless white shirt that the woman adorned. There was nothing fancy about it. The blonde was hardly made of money. Meri's back was toward the crowd so that she could have ample view of the tapestry that hung on the wall. She was not normally in the habit of keeping her back to the crowd, but the artwork provided a more pleasant view than the current crowd, in her mind at least. Placed on the table directly in front of her is a glass that is mostly empty, only a small drink of the amber colored rum remaining.

The man that spilled through the doors did so with his feet making a futile attempt to keep up to the body that lead them. Deaglan entered after. All but snarling. The leather jerkin he wore was torn open, laces hanging, revealing the broad chest dotted with primitive swirls of ink long driven into fair skin. A slab of muscle cut from his chest to his hips, distinct and sure. The club-like size of his fists sure, knuckles battered from skipping off teeth and bone, and thick with fresh blood. His quarry struck a table awkwardly, threw one hand over it an attempt to keep himself standing, and failed to slump forward to his knees with his head bent across the surface. Deaglan followed. A ruinous visage. His beard was longer than his forearm and a knotted, greasy mess. One eye was swollen nearly shut. A crowd followed them. Another, joining it, rose from tables and the bar to surround the pair. Deaglan reached him with stalking strides and took hold of the table's edge with one hand. The other knotted in the sailor's wild, unkept hair. CRACK! He drove the man's forehead to the table's edge once. CRACK! CRACK! Again and again until he went still and the bearded ruin released him, letting him slump to the floor. His chest rising and falling in the ragged, steady rhythm of unconsciousness. His shoulders heaving, his eyes pale as glacial ice and dangerous, Deaglan found his money from the crowd's foremost and snatched it up. His sneer could have curdled dairy.

Meri was not unaccustomed to barroom brawls. Once when breaks into this bar, she is to her feet the moment she hears the commotion. She knows a fight when she hears one, having been in a few herself. Her cloak is snatched up and then her drink, not wanting to lose any of her scarce possessions...nor a single drop of alcohol. Blue eyes remain trained on those brawling, red lips pressing together thoughtfully. Questions of how this fight started briefly ran through her mind, though Deaglan snatching up his money ultimately answered that. Gold. The root of all evil. What fight was not about money? If it was not about money it was about a woman. The blonde lingers on the outskirts of the brawl, watching, having no reason to intervene. For the moment, this proved more interesting than any mermaid tapestries. Even once the fight died down, Meri kept to herself. Between the snarl and the greasy beard, Deaglan was not exactly approachable.

Deaglan paid the crowd little mind. Little, mind you, save the few skirts in attendance nearest him. Most were the rough-looking sorts. They'd give you a night for the coin but leave you with a little something unwanted to remember them by. He pawed a hand through his beard, which didn't make it half-through before the tangled mess of it snagged his fingers. Still, it somehow improved that awful mess before he threw a couple coins on the bar and retrieved a tankard. The keep muttered something about a salute, insisted even, but Deaglan wore silence and the flinty stare well enough that the keep wisely left it alone. Some folks just poured the kind of crazy, the kind of unhinged mad violence, that made them not worth teaching a lesson. Deaglan, by design, was one of those people. Blond hair and a drink didn't escape his glance, though, and soon he was invading the table that'd been hers alone and finding a seat there. The spare drink in hand set. He gestured for her to sit beside him. He didn't have a kind or pleasant manner. The only feature distinguishable besides the mess of his beard and the bruises were the bright, glacial blue eyes that stared out from his face. Maybe it'd have been handsome before the beard came. It'd be hard to tell.

Astrid had found a temporary haven within the Broken Barrel minutes before the fight flew in through the doors. She had time to order a drink and begin enjoying it before the battered man was thrown into the edge of her table. The woman didn't have time to utter a curse, or yell about the wasted glass of whiskey that now rolled empty on the floor before she was hauled back by a stranger to ensure a relative modicum of safety. As the crowd circled around the brawlers, Astrid's cries to stop were lost amidst the jeers and whoops of excitement. Only once the fight had ended and saw the man unconscious on the floor, the girl sped forward and dropped to his side to check vitals and the extent of the damage done while periodically shooting a steely glare toward Deaglan. Eventually, a participant from the crowd recognized the beaten man, uttered his apologies and scooped up the assumed thief to carry him else where for healing purposes, or perhaps just to let him sleep off the pains and headache. "My god," she growled as she passed the Deaglan's table on her trek to the bar, sparing him yet another disgusted glare. "Whiskey. Yes another, mine got ruined."

Meri scrutinized the man that just invaded her table. Though she lifts a brow at Deaglan's behavior, there is a hint of amusement evident those baby blue eyes. She could decline the offer but after the scene that Deaglan created upon entering, she had no desire to rile the man any further. He was already in a mood. Booted feet carry Meri back to the table she occupied, cloak once again slung over a chair before she sinks into a seat next Deaglan, against her better judgement. "Well, honey, if ya are gonna be my drinkin' buddy for the night, ya oughta go givin' me yer name. Only seems fair," is what the blonde says with a charming smile and a wink once she is settled into her chair. Astrid is spared a brief glance. Brief. A majority of her attention is on Deaglan. Meri was not about to let her attention stray long from the man who seemed to be a bit off his rocker.

Lita shoved her way through the crowd at the front of the bar. Stupid bastards always had to block the ruttin' door. The crowd gave her pause but it was that smell of fresh blood and the sight of that man's head being slammed against a table that made the corner of her lip turn in a little sneer. Fingers of her right hand twitched, itching for that dagger sheathed at her thigh. She looked to the bar, dark eyes searching for Simon there. He caught her look and shook his head a little. Fine. Wasn't her business. She was padding barefoot towards the bar when someone grabbed her right wrist. She stiffened, muscles rigid with surprise as her hand closed around the stranger's wrist. But her fingers recognized the brand burned against the skin. One of Cal's boys. He leaned close and mumbled something in her ear. She didn't answer, just gave his wrist a gentle squeeze in affirmation of her understanding before the kid was heading for the door. Lita made her way to the bar, managed to end up between two strangers who she paid little mind to. She sighed and waited for Simon to head her way. "Usual." she said with a little smile. He nodded and as he moved away she glanced over her shoulders towards where a woman was kneeling by that beaten man. Poor girl. If this much churned her stomach, she was in a bad place. There was a little smile on her lips, perhaps a comment there she shouldn't make about the girl's naivety. She managed to keep her mouth shut. Simon slid a glass of honeyed whiskey in her direction, along with a wrapped package. "Thanks, love." Lita managed as she took the glass in hand and tipped it in Deaglan's direction. "Cheers." she said in congratulations as she emptied. "Same." she said as she slid the glass back towards Simon. The barkeep gave her a look, a lofted brow and a little smile and Lita rolled her eyes at him. "Same." she repeated.

Deaglan heard the mutter, felt the glare. It wasn't guilt that drove him to act. It couldn't be. Guilt would imply some feeling of responsibility for it all, some awareness, and there wasn't. The man's drink was paid quick attention, a hefty pull drawn, the leather jerkin revealing hints of sleeve-like tattoos drawn up his arms. Lots of bare spaces, sure, but he was no stranger to ink. No stranger to much - save the world as it was now. He knew mostly the Darkness. How it spoke. How it breathed. How it felt. He knew the Darkness. Still, he paid for the girl's whiskey. Turning, abruptly, from the blond as she sat - and then back as he took Astrid's (though he didn't know her name, yet) drink and set it into another seat at his table. The Darkness willed it. Willed him to everything. He followed the ebb and flow of it as he could to sate it, to keep it from overpowering him when he needed to guide it the most. The balance was a delicate one. A pained one. Sweet words. The blond had his ear, then his eyes, the sharpness of her features. The glint in her eyes. He wasn't much for talking. All things considered, really, he was awful company. The ale he pulled from ended up in his beard. It washed into the dense hair, clung to the greasy mass of it. The wildness of him overwhelmed anything of substance. "Deaglan." He said to her. Then, his attention rose. Lita. He knew her. She'd no memory of him. Still, his eyes cut across her. Oh, yes. He remembered. The Darkness hadn't been so thick in him then. He'd been capable of himself, or something near it, but that'd been months ago. He'd asked for ink. For her to give him something. And he'd never returned. Hadn't thought to. The memory was fickle and stuck to him now. It'd be gone soon, he knew, but for now he managed to tip his ale. Some managed to slosh over the lip and land on his thigh, which he paid no mind. "Ain't much sport in it." He conceded. The sailors were eager game but hardly made a good shake at it.

Astrid was sickened by the sight of the fight merely because once it had entered the bar, it lacked necessity. It had only roiled her anger because she had lost a good drink because of unnecessary violence, and because of the stoic nature of Deaglan as he walked away from the downed man without a glance back. Brute. Lita as regarded with a quick glance and a tight-lipped smile, and she happily coiled a hand around her glass and threw it back with as much speed at the woman who shared her taste in poison; Deaglan's offer of whiskey had been acknowledged with a withering stare and a soft snort. "Another as well." She requested as she slid the payment across the bar to Simon.

Meri merely offers Deaglan a smirk and a nod in acknowledgement that she heard his name. Her own name was not given so freely. It never was. Especially not to men who seemed intent on inviting all the ladies of the Broken Barrel to the table that was originally hers. Meri offers up little more in the way of conversation, she was not entirely a woman of many words either. It took her a bit to warm up and consider chatting. Raphaline was the only one who had managed to get on the tattooed blonde's good side. Blue eyes bounce between Deaglan and Astrid, once again lifting a brow, half-expecting Deaglan to take to her reaction unkindly. Lita is regarded with a nod of her head and a wink before her attention slides back to Deaglan. Red lips are thoughtfully pressed together as she studies the man's features. While she had initially been intent on silence, the blonde takes one for the team and attempts to lure Deaglan into some form of conversation, hoping that it might be enough of a distraction to keep him from causing any more mayhem for the night. Lest Astrid lose another drink. Or worse. "Deaglan," she repeats. "So ya are a fan of tattoos too, eh? I see some work there. Just on yer arms? That the only place ya got ink?"

Lita never did pay for her drinks. Occasionally she gave Simon money for a tab she no longer kept track of. She felt those eyes on her and she turned towards Deaglan again, dark eyes narrowed slightly as she tried to place him. It was no use. But her eyes fell a little to admire his artwork and then he remembered. Not him, but a canvas, standing in the foyer of her shop as she traced the lines of those tattoos, imagining the new ink she could add to those blank spots. He'd never come back and she'd never thought again about him. She remembered the work though. There hadn't seemed to be much sense to the tattoos he got, no overall theme, but the work was always masterful. At least he wasn't getting ink'd by some drunken idiot somewhere. She'd remembered thinking him selective in that way. Obviously he hadn't been the same way about his personal hygiene. Not that she cared about the outward appearance of the man, so long as that artwork remained. Had to focus on the important things. Her reverie of that work was broken by the sound of a second drink being placed in front of her and she turned to smile a thanks at Simon. She lifted the glass to her lips and her dark eyes flickered over her shoulder again, to that blood stain carving abstract patters across the table and floor. No one had bothered to clean it up yet. Or maybe just didn't want to while Deaglan was still in the bar. A wicked grin tugged at the corner of her lips and she scoffed under her breath. "You know there are easier ways to win a pissing contest. You coulda just whipped it out on the bar and measured it." Lita's a charmer that way. "What if you'd lost? Would you have had to shave that god-awful dead squirrel clinging to your chin? It's a piss poor excuse for a beard in these parts. That kid had a right to try to kick your ass. No, no." She tipped her glass and finished the drink, tapped her index finger against the rim. "No, he had a damn duty. No man should be able to walk away from that travesty without throwing a punch." There was a little glint of a challenge in the corner of those dark eyes, an amusement in her voice. Lita managed a little wink in the blonde's direction after all that. No sense in being rude to the girl.

Deaglan would have managed an answer to Meri. His eyes cut to her, the intentions rose up. And words, fickle and without favor, seemed destined to come. There was a part of him, buried under all the Darkness, that needed it. It lurked. Lived. Twisted through him, clawed for purchase, lost. Instead, he felt himself slipping. He was tired. A fight wasn't wise. The last fight he'd had with a girl had been with the Captain. She'd taught him, the hard way, what a vampire was. They'd beaten one another. She'd recovered faster. He was already aching. His eye still swelling towards closed. Still, he rose. The Darkness rose up with him. In him. He smelled money. "You got a man you want to put into a fray, Needler? Some poor bloke to get beat up? Fifty gold. If he can put me down then you can try and shave it. Fifty gold when I win. I'll give you ten back if I accidentally kill him."

Astrid had settled rather primly into a bar stool, and tried to enjoy her drink this time in a slower fashion. Unfortunately, Lita's words saw her snorting with laughter and she turned to cast a simpering smile onto Deaglan as she regarded the ratty beard. "You wasted my drink only because someone was intent on doing the community a favor." She clucked her tongue softly, the irritation she felt melting away until all that was left was a relatively pleasantness. The bet the bearded man threw up was met with an amused grin, "If only I knew how to box," she muttered more so towards herself than to him or Lita. "It surely is a shame."

Lita turned in her seat a little to take a better look at him. Dark eyes gave him a once over of disapproval and her lips pulled back from her teeth in a little laugh. "You amuse me." She tapped at the rim of her glass. "I doubt your worth that possibility of fifty gold. No bloke, though. Too much trouble. Your want shyte done right, you gotta do it yourself. You win, you can have your gold. I win, you lose the bird's nest." She lofted a brow at him, more amused than worried, until Astrid's words cut across the room. "Boxing wouldn't help you much around here, girl." She didn't mean offense by the word, she just tended to call women girls. Old habit. "You see, boxing, while ruthless, is a sport. There's skill involved. I doubt most folks 'round here could handle such a thing. Least of all this one." She was still watching Deaglan.

Meri attempted to reach out to grab Deaglan by the wrist. Why she was intent on preventing him from entering this fight? She did not entirely know. Probably because as a fighter, she knew that he was in no state to fight. Then again, as a fighter, she wouldn't back down either. Still, she tried, "Hey now. Ya just invaded my table and now yer ditchin' me to go off brawlin' again? I think ya should just keep yer ass planted right where it is."

Deaglan rose entirely then, though his height was average. Still, he flexed his hands. The cracked, cut flesh across his knuckles split anew where scabs had formed and would surely bleed. How many fights had he seen in the last three days? Fifteen? Twenty? There'd been a time when he'd never fight a woman. The Captain, salty as could be, had all but begged for it before he'd broke. But that'd been weeks ago and the Darkness was thick in him now. He could hardly remember the old world. The old him. The life. Instead, there was only -them- and this terribly foreign new world. And, before them all, his debt. The debt. It drove him. He rose and shed the ruin of his jerkin to the table in his stead. How many bruises did he wear? Countless. His rugged frame was a masculine creation, born of hardship and stubbornness, and strong. But it was badly beaten. He made no grimace. No complaint. He met eyes with the blonde, held that glance for a moment, before he turned aside. Words were not his strong suit. He communicated in actions. They were his trade, his measure, his means. Already people cleared from the pair. His chin lifted in gesture. "Come on then." His right eye had finally lost its battle with the swelling and closed.

Lita was grinning joyously as Deaglan moved to meet her challenge. She was tall but she was lithe, not much to look at as far as muscles went but her size made her limber and she was quick on her feet. The new vampirism helped with that, too. She knew this bar like the back of her hand. Not as well as she'd come to know the Kraken, but well enough to move in. She slammed her empty glass down against the bar. "Well hot damn, son." said simultaneously with that noise. Simon gave her another one of those looks. He was right. The Cap'n would be hella pissed- and jealous- when she found out Lita was not only fighting but was intentionally picking fights with people. She reached out slowly, tentatively, and touched his wrist, not threatening, just enough to get his attention. "You know, I really hate to embaress yah in front of the pretty blonde, there." But then that smile was turning up at the corners of her lips and she'd reach for his wrist, an attempt to twist his arm sideways. Not disarming, she was still toying with him. "On second though, no I don't.

Meri sat back in her seat and watched. What more was there to do? She was not about to interfere and she could not focus on Astrid. Astrid had left the building.

Deaglan tucked his chin. She'd find as the distance closed he fell into a very crisp stance, hands up and his eyes sharp. She'd find as he closed that reaching for his wrist opened her up. She'd find, when his body exploded into a tight ball of motion, that he wasn't the sloppy brawler she'd expected. Tucked in, he lay coiled, and all at once he uncoiled as his left hand dropped and arced in a short, tight hook meant to bury his hand into her liver. He'd put a hard beating on the first vampire he'd faced. His strength unnatural. Born of Darkness. But already muscles flared with fatigue. Pain arched through him. Everything inside of him that still felt like -him- screamed warnings. Protests. The Darkness urged him on. Slathering. Wild. If the hook landed he'd try and double it up with another. If she evaded, and he was still in a place to follow, he'd come with an overhand right meant to take advantage of her guard dropping some. He was quicker than a human should be. Stronger. But he was wounded. And while he'd not a firm grip on what a vampire was or what they could do, the broken ribs would be something that those of amplified means might sense.

Lita was little surprised by that first left hook. She wasn't one to underestimate people. And where that first vampire he faced might have been able to take those punches, Lita knew better than to try. She didn't have the build or even the muscle that the Cap'n knew. She had to rely on movement. Fluid, like water. She moved with that punch, let the momentum of it carry her so that her center of gravity shifted with that punch and the rest of her followed after, as if that punch had simply moved her through space. She could feel the little bloom of pain through her body but she knew it would be a lot worse if one of those punches ever landed solid against her. She was more ready for that second one, moving away from the bar, out into more open space and she drew her right hand back and then drove it forward with a cross meant to knock the momentum out of that second punch, change the direction of his fist. She ducked, moved her weight to the balls of her feet and as she crouched her left elbow came upwards to block his right fist. If successful, she'd roll her weight forwards a bit, into his guard, shift her weight to her left foot and bring her right knee up into his groin, her arms tucked close to her body.

Deaglan found himself matched in quickness. Preternatural. Inhuman. She couldn't have been human and with the realization that part of him that knew his limits roared, begged, pleaded… The Darkness won out. It was doing so more and more frequently, now. He wasn't as quick as he should have been. As he could be. The slope was getting steeper as he realized, with deadly certainty, that she'd the means to end this at any moment. Her strength revealed itself in the way she absorbed his blows, the way she met them, and then she was in close. For a moment he could smell her skin. Her hair. He could remember when they'd been all kind words and banter in her tattoo shop and he'd felt nearly alive again. Then he felt her body against him, instinctively tried to slide back from the knee, and ate it solidly in the belly instead of the groin. It lifted him onto his toes, cut his air from him, and his ribs responded to the ripple of impact that rolled through them by sending pain white-hot through every synapse. Wounded, unable to veil it, he separated from the Needler entirely, left arm dropped to cover those ribs. His face never greeted her with a grimace. His eyes were wild and intent. And he came on again. Deliberate. Measured. His right hand cocked. Waiting, now, for her to lead in the hope to counter.

Meri puffs away at her cigarette as the fight rolls on, ashing it directly onto the floor. What more could you expect from a woman found in this classy establishment? Two fights in one night. This place was a real winner. Meri's features are filled with curiosity, curious as to who would actually win the fight. Unfortunately for Deaglan, if she had been betting, she would not be betting for him. Lita would get her money, if only because the woman was in better shape than he currently was.

Lita felt a sense of satisfaction flood through her and for a moment she forgot to tell that smug part of her brain to shut the hell up so she could focus. For a moment, she paid more attention to what she'd done and not enough attention to what she should be doing. So when she realized in the next second that he had his arm cocked, her body moved, reacted before she could tell herself to stay put. She moved in quick, a little step to the left, trying to catch a blind spot with his right eye all swollen shut like that and her left hand aimed a quick jab for his shoulder.

Deaglan had hoped for that. A wounded animal was sometimes the most dangerous sort. She'd circled to her left, into his right hand, assuming his blind spot would trump instinct and experience. It wouldn't. Boxing, brawling even, was a match of instincts. He corked a looping hook as she came around left, willing to eat that jab, willing to soak up the damage and use it to turn his body more violently into his blow. Had he been able to summon The Darkness proper, to use it rather than let it use him, he might have ended things there. Hell, he still might. The advantage of violent strength and feral instincts was that it was capable of surprising you. The widow maker, a colloquial term for the blow, seemed poised to knock her proverbial block off. But something happened, and he pulled up some, throwing depth into the punch so that it angled towards her temple. He'd have to evaluate later why he didn't want to strike her in the face. The Darkness wasn't pleased and let him know it.

Lita saw that movement. One thing about being an informant, you got into a lot of sticky situations and you learned to get out of them. Fast. Always have an exit strategy. A plan. And a plan in case that should fail, and then another. It was how she'd learned to embrace that fluid nature, to find freedom in it. And it was the only thing that saved her now, as she caught movement out of the corner of her eye and though she didn't know what it was, she was suddenly forced to react. To move. So she went the only way she could. With his right side blown by that jaw and his left fist occupied by trying to knock her lights out, she pressed forward, thrust her head towards his face to headbutt him, aiming her forehead for his nose as her left fist drew back to aim a second jab for that same spot on his shoulder.

Deaglan wouldn't yield. That was the worst of it. He'd worsen this entire beating by refusing to quit. He wouldn't yield. And then he woke, his back upon the Tavern floor, aware that he was staring at the rafters. Aware that he could taste the copper of his own blood. He must not have been out long because he knew what'd happened. She'd hit him with the crown of her head and his lights had gone out. Just so. He must have fallen straight back because his legs were straight before him. Still, he sat up, let his eyes cut out and up over her. If she expected him to sneer or snarl - he didn't. Instead, he remained where he was, letting himself gather all those lost faculties while the Darkness raged. It took time but he rose, slow but steady, claiming his feet. "Not here." He said simply. The crowd pulsed and moved around them. Alive. He'd not have himself shaved for their entertainment. And he needed a bath, proper.

Lita wasn't gloating in her victory this time. Rather, she'd managed to not show concern as he'd fallen to the floor. She waited. A few of Cal's boys had lingered to watch the fight and she was standing with a couple of the younger kids when he climbed to his feet. "You're awake." she managed. She handed the package she'd gotten from Simon earlier to one of the kids. "Tell 'im." she said and the kid nodded, then the two left the tavern. "Right then." She was about to say something else but then he said those words. She wanted to roll her eyes at him. Instead, "Fair enough. Sanctuary it is." she nodded her head sideways towards the door and headed out, not bothering to wait for him to follow. It wasn't far and he might remember the way.

Deaglan caught a smiling sailor on the way out. And by caught him, he quite literally caught him. The right hand broke the bloke's jaw, removed two rotten teeth, and sent him spinning to the floor. He couldn't understand how a condition could turn hundred pound beauties into killers. He'd seen killers before and they'd not been of this sort. But despite his desire to drink himself stupid and avoid the entire mess, he felt it wrong to shirk the entire wager. The Darkness sneered at it. He embraced it. And, on her heels, kept pace.