You Have a Story ((story))

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You Have a Story ((story))

Post  Izdazi on Mon Aug 10, 2015 2:34 pm

“You are drinking to forget,” the pandaren said as he overtopped her mug with more of the frothy brew.  “This brew isn’t for forgetting.”  

“That might explain why it’s not working,” the huntress muttered back.  She stared at the bubbling froth and hoped that somehow among the cacophony of sounds emanating from it, answers would be heard.  

Somewhere amidst the turmoil of thoughts, the quiet sounds of the bubbles popping and the loud sounds of a busy night at the local tavern, the night elf became aware of his stare.  As she expected, when her silvery eyes glanced up, they were met with his.  

“You have a story,” he announced with a smile.  He pulled a chair out and promptly sat on it.  Her sensitive ears heard the wood strain at the sudden weight it was suddenly expected to support.  

“I want to be alone,” she replied.  She didn’t say it with any hostility.  Indeed, it was difficult to be hostile to someone who seemed so sincerely friendly.  But nor did her tone invite debate over her desire for solitude.  

Well, apparently, to this pandaren, there was still some question as to whether she wanted to be alone.  Instead, he sat there, hands folded before him and eyes set on hers.  

Good old, Rule Number Three.  Annoyances: Every time you look up, there's one staring back at you.

“I like a good story,” the pandaren said.   He abruptly pulled a small keg from his bag and set it on the table.  “A story for a drink?”

If he’d been anyone else, she would have told him to get the hell away from her.  She wanted to alone.  To be lost in her thoughts.  And to maybe forget them.  

What better place to be then the Trampled Leaf Tavern.   Odd name for a tavern in Darnasus, no doubt.   It used to be call something different.  And its cliental used to be much more refined.  

It used to be a quiet place where kal’dorei to get together and share stories and drinks.  

Now it was loud, rambunctious place, better fit for a goblin town than the night elf capital city.   Indeed, she was the minority here.   There were humans (ugh, the smell), dwarves (ugh, the smell and the volume) and gnomes (ugh, the smell, volume and creepy laughter).  And amongst them were a handful of draenei and a few worgen who preferred looking more wolf than human.  And sometimes, like tonight, an odd pandaren or two.  

And they were all loud.   They were all boisterous.  

Drunkards were busy spinning impressive yarns about the meaningless quests they’d just returned from, never mind that most were repeat customers who’d spun the same yarn not a week ago. Peels of laughter would assault her ears, sometimes painfully.  

She enjoyed it here.  No one cared who she was.  She kept her yarn to herself.  And she’d generated a reputation as someone who preferred her solitude in a place not meant for such things.  

Oh, there’d been a few who tried to flirt with her.  Most took her steely gaze as a signal that they should leave her be.  The rest took her verbal warnings as a further sign to leave her be.   The more insistent ones usually woke up the next morning with a dreadful headache, a bruise on their forehead and a complete lack of memory as to how it got there.  

“This is one of my most favorite cities to visit,” the pandaren declared without preamble or subtext.  “So much harmony here.  And the weather is wonderful.  Don’t you think?”

The huntress glared at him for a moment before finishing the rest of her ale.   Without a word, he refilled her mug from the keg he’d fished out of her bag.  

“You have a story,” he repeated conversationally.   “I love a good story.”  

“What makes you think my story is good?” Izdazi asked before realizing he had suckered her into a conversation.    

“You are here.”  That was it.  That was all he said.   As if that explained how her ‘story’ would be so good.  

“I’m here, because I want to be here,” she said.  To her confusion, he simply grinned wider and nodded emphatically.  

“I am also here because I want to be here,” he replied.  “I enjoy the night elf culture.  

“And yet, you’re in probably the most dwarven and human populated tavern in this part of world.”  

“And so are you,” the pandaren said, pointing at her.  “You were here yesterday, and the night before that.  Judging by the people giving you a wide berth, I’d say you’re a regular,” he explained, while helping himself to some of the ale in the keg he’d brought.  “Must be forty people in here.  Only six are night elves and two are working.  The others are having fun with their friends, laughing and sharing exciting stories.   And then, there you are.  In this corner.”

“Maybe I don’t have any good stories.  Maybe mine are boring,” Izdazi retorted with a smirk.  She took a tentative sip of the ale.  The peppery taste was strong and almost burned her tongue, but the aftertaste it left was actually worth it.   She felt the drink warming her as it traveled down her throat.  

It was actually one of the best ales she’d ever tasted, and that was based off a sip.  

The pandaren chuckled.  On the other side of the tavern, the human who’d been telling his story while standing on top of a table, finished speaking.  There was a resounding applause and hoots.  The festivities got louder when he announced he’d buy the next round for his friends.  

“This tavern is already full of exciting tales of heroism and valor,” he said once the cheering had died down.  “Maybe, what I need, is a boring story.”

Izdazi shook her head and took draft from her mug.   This guy wasn’t going to leave her alone, but strangely, she couldn’t bring herself to just brush him off.  

Finally, unable to ignore his stare, she set her mug down on the table.  

“My story isn’t good,” she warned.  “You may die of boredom.  I’d hate to be responsible.”

The pandaren laughed.  It was a strong, healthy, earnest laugh and one that brought the first genuine smile to her face that day.   He refilled her mug before taking another drought from the small keg.  

“It starts on a dark, clear night,” she began.  

“Not a stormy night?  You seem like the ‘stormy night’ kind of person,” the pandaren interjected.  Izdazi narrowed her eyes at the interruption.  

“I think there were distant storms in the horizon, but where I was, it was just a dark clear night.  It should have been a quiet night, too.  But I’m never that lucky.”   And so, the story she tried to forget slowly started to make itself known.
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