|Series||Crossfire by Pixichi|
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Connie left Lance to go and play in the surf and headed into the tavern for a drink. She wasn't much of a drinker, but after the rotton day she had just had, she felt that she deserved it.
"Whats yer poison missy?" Asked the ruffian who worked the night shift at the tavern.
"Bloodstone Mary, extra cold." Connie huffed. The bartender nodded and went to work on the cocktail. Connie reached into her satchel to retrieve the proper amount for the drink, but as she did so, her hand found something else. Her guild seal. She hadn't used it in a years time, around the same time that she had retired from being a hero. Connies slender fingers graced the gold and blue lines of the mystical device, the memories of all her quests racing back to her. She remembered the first time that she had held the seal in her hands, feeling it vibrate and glow at her touch. Sometimes, she pondered why she had decided to retire in the first place. Being a hero was a very dangerous and difficult profession, but also one that she enjoyed. Was it truly what she wanted to do? Connies train of thought was interrupted by the bartender. He handed her the strong drink and then cleared his throat, his other hand outstretched. Connie filled his hand with the required gold and took a chug from the glass. The drink was bitter and had a sharp tang at the end. Connie made a face but then took another sip. It had been a hard and very long day. In just a few short hours it would start all over again, only difference was that instead of going home at the end of the day, she would retire to the upstairs bedrooms meant for travellers and prostitutes. She was going to miss her old house and her bed as well as all the other luxuries that weren't really all that luxurious, but had meant something to her. Her sword! In the panic of the fire, she had left her long sword, the memento of her journey in the house.
"That Reaver! One day I'll get him back, and when I do, I'll make him pay...I'll make him suffer..." Connie thought as she took another drink of her cocktail. She decided that come morning, she would go and look though the ashes of her home to see if the sword had survived. She had half-finished her drink when a gruff old man came in through the taverns double doors. He sat down next to Connie and she could smell the strong stench of brine and whisky all over him.
"One Sandgoose rum if ye please." The man said in a low deep voice. He took a second to study his surroundings and noticed Connie just as she was taking yet another hearty chug from her glass. It wasn't very often that the old man saw an attractive woman in the tavern, yet alone a woman who was easily putting back such a strong drink. He decided to make conversation.
"Rough day eh lass?" The old man asked directly facing Connie as he did so. Connie usually did not talk to people at the bar, especially about her personal business. But after the day that she had just had, she couldn't have cared less. She just needed to vent.
"You could say that." She replied, looking at the man. He was dressed in rags that were ripped and faded. His shirt was exceptionally worn, showing several tears along the bottom and jagged fabric which had once been sleeves. His face was covered in a thick salt-and-pepper beard, matted in most places, and atop his head, he wore a black pauper hat, which also sported much wear. The man continued to look at Connie earnestly with his striking grey eyes, obviously wanting to hear more. Connie sighed and then summed it up for him.
"I had just come home from work, which is here, at the tavern, after I had to spend the day hearing the overheated tales of my rival, whom I had the dishonor of seeing first thing in the morning. I was just about to make dinner when said rival, Reaver burned my house down with his birthday fireworks." Connie finished her long reply by finishing off the last of her drink. To her surprise, the old man neither laughed or jeered. He simply gave her an understanding look and then said, "Been there." Connie was surprised at his reply.
"Really? You've had Reaver burn your house down too?" She asked, slightly tipsy. The old man shook his head.
"Naw, but I had to put up with him for 30 years at sea. I'm his first mate ye see." The man patted his chest proudly. Connie rolled her eyes.
"Oh great. Just what I need. More fans of Reaver." She motioned to the bartender. "Another round!"
"Not a fan, more an old friend actually."
"That's worse." Connie muttered, taking a sip of her fresh brew. The old man chuckled and extended a hand to her.
"The names Claude lass. Me friends call me Clammy Claude." Connie reluctantly shook his leathery hand.
"Connie Remswood. Why do they call you Clammy?" She asked with a crooked eyebrow. Clammy Claude laughed.
"It's a long story actually...too long to tell at the moment. Pleased to meet yer acquaintance." He replied with the tip of his hat.
"How do you do it?" Connie asked after what felt like hours of silence between the two.
"Do what?" Clammy Claude asked her.
"How do you be friends with Reaver?"
"Reaver might seem like a son-of-a-hobbe, but he's not at all what he seems lass. Ye just have ta get to know him is all." The old pirate replied.
"There are several very good reasons I have for not getting too close to him." Connie snapped. Clammy Claude nodded. He knew that Reaver had a reputation. He knew him better than anyone.
"Is that why ye refer ta him as yer rival then?" Clammy Claude asked her. Connie shook her head.
"No, actually I take that back. Rivals not the right word. Arch nemesis is more the term I'm looking for."
"Ye be a cruel lass. What did ol' Reaver ever do ta ye that ain't worth forgiveness?"
"What makes you belive that Reaver deserves forgiveness, from anyone he's wronged?" Connie retorted.
"I have my reasons..." The pirate mumbled. Connie started to stand, but found the alcohol had begun to take an effect on her, and she swayed to the side before deciding to sit back down again. Clammy Claude looked her over and then smiled.
"Perhaps ye should rest for a while before ye go running off."
"Perhaps if you change the subject I will." Connie slurred.
"Alright. Connie Remswood. Yer a hero right?"
"Ex hero. I retired a year ago, why?" The pirate reached into his pocket and brought out a tattered yellow piece of paper. There was a blood-red wax seal atop it. An old-looking seal. It drew Connies attention instantly.
"What is that?" She whispered. The pirate pushed it towards her.
"I don't know. But it's as good as a death warrant fer me. I stole it from Reaver's study, right before we got ta port."
"Wait a second. You stole this and you want me to have it? Why?!" Connie asked confused.
" It's not like I can just give it back, he already knows its missing, I can assure ye." The pirate replied.
"Why would I help a thief?" Connie reasoned.
"Because yer a hero and I need you to!" Clammy Claude exclaimed.
"Ex hero. Why don't you just throw it away?"
"Because someone has already asked me to deliver it to you." Connie's interest was aroused.
"Who would ask such a favor?" She questioned the man, but when she looked up from her drink he was gone. All that remained on the table was the mysterious scroll.