Friday, December 20, 2013

Day Six Hundred: Spite

So much for a cheery gift-giving celebration.

Thanks to the accommodating (and costly) people of Cheem, we managed to turn the base of the Stalk of Cheem into a wonderful little party, emulating the bash we had last year 'round the golden tree of Pubton. We set up tables and chairs, Bora and a few in-town chefs cooked up a wonderful meal, Edmund led the music-makers in song and verse, Daena bantered with guests from the docking bay of the Dauphine, and Celine topped it all off with a fantastic dance number on the icy pond. The girl knows how to spin on her toes, lemme tell ya.

Everyone showed up, including the residents of Cheem, who decided to have a little gift-giving fun amongst their own ranks. We welcomed them with food, drink, and no small amount of merriment. Within an hour of starting most people were on their way to smashed, and I'm pretty certain the collective noise carried on the wind to towns a hundred miles away in every direction.

I knew I didn't have much time to retain order, so I stood on a table and yelled for the crowd to PAY ATTENTION FOR ONE DAMNED SECOND, YA LUBBERS. They turned to me, raising ther mugs, many of their joyfully cursing me for tearing them away from their hot, hot homes. I cursed them back -

- and then decreed that Allofusmas was now, officially, underway. We needed to get the gift-giving over with before the night devolved into too much booze-related carnage.

Surprisingly, this managed to somewhat sober the crowd. Everyone seemed quite excited to exchange gifts, and they put on their best faces while walking up to the surprise recipients. The results were, in general, fairly awesome:

- Libby received a set of whittling tools from Jeffrey's old bannerman
- The bannerman received socks from me, these depicting Jeffrey punching me back - a little reference to last year, y'know
- I received a big wheel of smelly cheese from the hat lady, with a little note again apologizing for losing my son - no worries, ma'am, wasn't your fault
- The hat lady received, duh, a new hat from Morris, this one a big, goofy-lookin' cow
- Morris received a jug of milk from Celine, which I'm pretty sure he chugged on the spot
- Celine received a year's supply of hugs from Plato, because he's apparently broke
- Plato received a big bite on the butt from his rat for being so cheap
- Aaaaand the rat received a dollop of cheese from my cheese wheel, because, well, the rat wasn't included in the drawing, being a rat and all

In addition to all this, Libby, Fynn and I all exchanged presents of our own. I got Libby a shiny new axe and Fynn a snake person action figure; Libby got me some new underwear and Fynn an orc action figure; and Fynn got me a human action figure and Libby a sky dwarf action figure. (Pretty certain he'll be playing with our action figures. Sly boy.)

Everything was goin' just peachy for about ten minutes. Then the crowds began to part as everyone was admiring their gifts, and I noticed two revellers still on their feet: Jeffrey and Grylock.

Jeffrey had a present. Grylock had a present. They watched one another at a distance, clearly unsure how to proceed, neither looking terribly happy about the situation. Worst random luck ever.

I was on the verge of bringing the two together, as, y'know, some kinda mediator, when Grylock broke the ice first. He strode across the snow, thrust out a bottle-shaped package, and turned up his nose.

"'ere," he said, sniffing. "For ye."

"Th... thank you." Jeffrey accepted the gift. He handed another bottle-shaped package to Grylock. "For you. Happy... Allofusmas."

"Yeah, I know, damned silly name. Gimme that." Grylock ripped the paper from the bottle of liquor and barked a laugh. "Ha! Near the same as what I got ye, ponce. At least ye've good taste."

Jeffrey removed the paper from his present. It was, indeed, almost exactly the same wine, though from a year earlier. "Heh. Maybe... maybe we can try it out, some time. Together, you know."

Grylock grinned. Setting his present in the snow, he grabbed the bottle out of Jeffrey's hands, popped the top, and poured a healthy dollop of bubbling white into two mugs from a nearby table. "No time like the now, eh? 'ere, we'll try mine first, then break out yours. Go on, majesty, to yer health."

As I watched man and goblin clunk their mugs together and take a long drink, I felt a stirring of pride in my throat. Pride and happiness. If Grylock can forgive Jeffrey, I thought to myself, then maybe Jeffrey can start to forgive himself as well.

That's when Jeffrey began to cough.

And gag. 

And wretch.

And then he fell over.

But Grylock did not.

The crowd pressed in around Jeffrey, their fun forgotten. Celine got there first, impassive but attentive, leaning over her father and rolling him off of his back so he wouldn't choke on his vomit. Jeffrey's eyes goggled in their sockets, veins popping, and he cried out constantly for 'Water, water!'

Everyone was so focused on Jeffrey that they did not notice Grylock edging away from the scene. But I did.

Tearing across the snow at the goblin I grabbed him by his collar and lifted him, fully aware that he could use the poisonheart at his side to run me through. "You green FUCK! WHAT DID YOU DO TO HIM?"

Grylock grinned, coughing a little but otherwise fine. "I drank to his health. Didna say it would be good health, did I?" 

Lords above.

Grylock's under house arrest. Celine's watching over him. Jeffrey's in the infirmary, and he's expected to make a full recovery. Apparently the poison was only enough to give him the equivalent of violent nausea. Nevertheless, Daena's calling for Grylock's head on a platter.

Yay. Happy Allofusmas, everyone.


Dragomir the Incredibly Irritated

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