[P] [M] Trapped in the atmosphere.
for Dorian!

WARNING: This thread contains material exceeding the general board rating of PG-13. It may contain very strong language, drug usage, graphic violence, or graphic sexual content. Reader discretion is advised.

Specifically, this thread is marked mature because of: Alcohol Use.

The blue-eyed Commoner had spent most of her time trying to be productive rather than socializing. This meant that she had actually spent more time getting to know members of New Caledonia when she was visiting. There was a certain amount of settling in that she had needed to do, though. Picking a place to live, putting the few things she needed in it, and then doing things that would benefit the pack long term. She wanted a list to present to anyone who asked: why exactly are we permitting this long-earred weirdo to live here? Arrows, pelts, studying the local fauna... she'd been busy.

She didn't have a particular aim in mind, though, as afternoon was dipping into evening. During the day she had been working on improving her stash of arrows. Branches were more plentiful than suitable rocks for arrowheads, though she had found a few. Bat figured she'd need to go somewhere rockier to look for more soon, though. Perhaps the mountains. Maybe she could take down a goat out there, too, and bring it back for the Cookhouse... it really was a shame she didn't like horses, because a horse would be very useful for carrying things like that back from a hunt further afield. Maybe she'd have to figure out how to get used to horses just for that reason.

It was with these thoughts in mind that she was headed toward the Cookhouse. Not to learn to ride a horse, but to see if anyone knew much about cooking goat. If she was going to aim to catch one in the mountains, she wanted to make sure someone knew what to do with the meat instead of just eating it raw. She wondered if cooking improved the flavor for goat. It didn't improve the flavor of everything, especially when it was over-spiced, but if her packmates liked that then she'd spice it the way they preferred. Tali did want to learn to cook more diverse foods instead of just "heat it up or eat it raw" as her two go-to options.

When violet eyes get brighter
And heavy wings grow lighter
I'll taste the sky and feel alive again
I lived my days just for the nights - I lost myself under the lights

A long day of pricked fingers and tattered fabric edges left Dorian a little despondent and in dire need of emotional correction. The fabric, he had known, would be challenging to set right without the edges fraying the moment he tugged on the seam. Naturally, the first tug after an hour of squinting and poking pulled half the length apart and shown him that he should have listened to his instincts instead of plowing ahead like a pig in the mud.

He felt stupid and abandoned the job for the day. It was easy to justify leaving the task when he had nothing else more pressing to work on and the experiment had clearly been a failure. What else was he supposed to do? Try again?

Well, maybe, but that seemed more like a next day sort of task than the same day. He had to soothe his bruised ego first.

He knew that with the right pressure his mood could sour in an unpleasant direction if he didn't stave off the frustrated depression that accompanied failure like a grim reaper. Seeing that stranger that had been staying with Liam for a few days (that he had very gracefully crashed into well after sunset), he decided that he had one option to salvage any sense of emotional wellbeing; forced socialization.

Pretending to be joyous had a miraculous effect after a while when the fakeness transcended into beautiful reality. It was a pity Soli or Naomi weren't the ones nearby because they would have tweaked his nose without him having to jump through hoops and left him rebalanced.

"Ahh, Tali! You did end up joining us, excellent." Dorian quickly looped his hand through her arm and linked them together. He pulled as he continued their trajectory to the Brass Potato. "Let's go celebrate, shall we?" He obviously had no intention of taking no for an answer and his determined pace was obviously difficult to halt.
In her musings, she considered what else she could acquire during a mountain trip. Possibly some herbs, though she wasn't sure there were any exclusive to the mountainous terrain. Certainly a few smaller prey animals, especially if she did trapping overnight when she slept. She didn't want to go too far, though. A wolf's pack was their home and she preferred roaming within the confines of their territory for the most part. It was comforting, to be somewhere that she felt like she belonged.

Bat heard someone else walking and turned to look. A familiar face was headed her direction, though there was much more light on it this time. Dorian Savoy, Councilor Savoy's son, the clothing maker. Her tail waved slightly as he came up alongside her and looped arms. At least this time when she was overtaken by the Savoy boy, she wasn't literally knocked off her feet. She still didn't have much of a chance for a greeting before he was tugging her along toward... somewhere? To celebrate, apparently. Tali wasn't entirely sure what that meant but was curious to find out. At the very least it was good to have company. Although she was having to stretch her legs to keep up, being several inches shorter than her companion. It wasn't unbearable, though, and presumably at some point they'd stop walking.

"Dorian, good to see you again. Where... uh... where exactly are we going to celebrate?" she doubted they were headed to the Cookhouse. That was more work than celebratory. They were heading that direction though. There was another building near there that she had heard was a tavern, though, so perhaps there? She had never imbibed before, but she assumed they also had non-alcoholic drinks. Maybe? Maybe she was wrong. Also maybe she would want to try an alcoholic drink. It wasn't as if she wasn't of age, and she could probably let her mind be slightly less than sharp sometimes.

When violet eyes get brighter
And heavy wings grow lighter
I'll taste the sky and feel alive again
I lived my days just for the nights - I lost myself under the lights

Battalion didn't fight him one bit when he hooked his arm with hers and pulled her along to parts unknown. Well, not super unknown since he was not dragging her into the woods for a mysterious cult celebration for the moon or the mushroom rings or whatever it was that cultists celebrated in the dark woods at night. His intentions were far more obvious and far less dubious. Kind of. Probably.

"The Brass Potato, of course. Where else do you think? The Fort?" he snorted as he merrily tugged her along, refusing to acknowledge anything to do with a disinclination to go to the tavern simply because he was going to go and she was going to join because he said so, damnit. Soli and Naomi, or even one of his siblings, were not within easy reach and Tali was. Obvoiusly, he wasn't going to go looking for anyone else when he had found someone so readily.

Her willingness was absolutely not important at that moment.

"A nice celebratory drink to welcome you and enjoy the fact that you did join us, though I sure hope no one made you, but still. A drink!" he hollered as they approached the door to the Potato and he pulled them both through into the darker interior. Only then did he loosen his hold on the woman and approach the wary looking Ridgewell at the bar.

"Two drinks for us, Ridge, please! Tali here is new and I want to celebrate that and absolutely nothing else please stop looking at me like that," he trailed off as he wilted beneath the man's icy glare. "Sorry, Ridgewell, sorry. I know, I know. Sorry." The man gave a gruff huff as he turned to grab something nondescript off the shelf and poured it into two smaller glasses before pushing them at Dorian. He was shaking his head as he turned to walk down the length of the counter, obviously away from the younger man.

Dorian's face was nervously amused as he gestured to Tali to join him and he pushed the glass toward her.
Bat didn't normally celebrate at all. She wasn't really sure how one even did it properly. What were the customs here? For the days she was fairly certain were her birthday, she had maybe taken an extra moment to savor the sunrise. There wasn't time for much else. Of course she knew others drank socially and ate feasts and had religious holidays... she just had never done any of those things. It felt weird to think someone wanted to celebrate her being here.

"Why is it called the Brass Potato, anyway?" she asked, remembering that she had been discussing that with Odie when he visited a few days prior. Maybe Dorian actually knew the answer and she could tel Odysseus when she saw him next.

The wolf didn't resist the direction, though her stomach curled with a mixture of excitement and anxiety at the idea of going somewhere that was known for its drink. Was now a good time to try alcohol? It seemed... fairly safe. She was in her pack's land, going to her pack's tavern, with a member of her pack. Dorian seemed fine, too. They had gotten along well the last time they chatted and she didn't doubt they would continue to get along well today. Was she safe with him, though? Bat liked to think she was safe just being in New Caledonia, but she knew that probably wasn't true. Even among friends, you weren't always safe. Especially if you consumed alcohol, which could inhibit your ability to resist certain situations. One drink shouldn't do that, though. She didn't think, anyway...

He pulled her through the doorway saying that they would have a drink to celebrate, which was what she had assumed he wanted to do. Before she could even ask if she could start with water - maybe just have water, after all - he was already heading toward the bar to get said drinks. She flicked her ears nervously, looking around the room with her heart beating fast. The four walls made her nervous. It smelled of other canines here, some that she knew and some that she didn't. Alcohol and food were also heavily featured scents. None of that was surprising, but it did feel a bit overwhelming for a moment. Tali took a deep breath and pasted a smile on her face.

By then, Dorian had the drinks and the bartender was walking away. Leon watched the bartender for a moment, thinking she had missed something in her moment of panic; whatever it was, though, she couldn't recapture the information. She took the drink Dorian nudgde in her direction and sniffed at it. "What is it? I, uh, haven't... haven't ever actually had a drink before."

When violet eyes get brighter
And heavy wings grow lighter
I'll taste the sky and feel alive again
sorry for the wait!
I lived my days just for the nights - I lost myself under the lights

Dorian didn't have an answer immediately for her when she had asked about the name of the tavern. It was mostly something stupid, he remembered, but couldn't quite recall what it was off the top of his head. It had to be something dumb considering the name was just so incredibly lame that one couldn't help but chuckle at it a little. Ah, well, he would just have to figure it out before they got too drunk to walk. If they got that bad, at least. He wasn't keen on the idea but Dorian couldn't say he was entirely opposed to it.

When he presented her with the drink, he expected her to sniff it and roll her eyes at the provincial nature of it. She had been part of a traveling caravan and he thought she surely would have experienced far more variety than they had in the middle of nowhere. The drinks available in Portland had been somewhat more varied, but even then some of the patrons had complained about the lack of options they'd found in other ports of call.

"Oh," he said simply when she admitted that she had never drunk before. That was.. really not the expected response at all. His brows furrowed as he stared down at the two glasses with their brown-hued liquid and sniffed it. Well, it smelled sweet beneath that alcoholic bite.

"Hey, Ridgewell?" he called over his shoulder, to which the man responded with a glance and a single grunt. "What did you give me?" The man behind the bar rolled his eyes and went back to the bottle he had served from to double check it. He popped the cork and sniffed it before closing it back up.

"Rum." His simple reply was met with a quick salute from the Savoy, who turned back to Battalion.

"Rum," he repeated with a crooked grin, like she hadn't heard the barkeep at all. "I didn't realize it was the first drink you'd ever have so I'm glad that it's not the worst one I could give you." Moonshine would have been a fatalistic mistake, but he would have tried to find something lighter, like a sweet wine, rather than hard liquor had he known. "I won't make you drink it but if you would at least toast with me, that would be great."

He raised up his glass slightly and cleared his throat with a dramatic flair. "Alright, here's a toast to our newest Caledonian, who may or may not have her first drink here. Here's to more new things for you!" And hopefully more productive days for him that didn't result in terrible work results.

Expectantly, Dorian kept his glass raised up for her, waggling it ever so slightly. 

Battalion hadn't felt comfortable drinking in her travels. Everyone around her was a stranger and that seemed like a recipe for disaster or worse. Imbibing and potentially losing any sort of control of a situation... it was risky when no one had your back. While they had kept her alive, the trading band she traveled with probably wouldn't have saved her from a dangerous situation. It would risk their hides, after all, and they weren't willing to put their own lives at risk for her.

She felt... more comfortable here, in New Caledonia. Everyone so far had been incredibly nice to her and accepted her into the pack with open arms. While she was sure that there were those in the group that could do her harm, she doubted they'd do it here. Publicly harming another member in the Brass Potato seemed like a way to get kicked out of the pack or worse. Although she was new... perhaps there were rules about that, too. It was always possible she was missing the very dark and seedy underbelly of New Caledonia. Either way, she felt safe enough with Dorian. Whether it was foolish or not.

Dorian didn't seem to judge her for not having had alcohol before, but he did seem a bit surprised. Maybe she had seemed more... worldly? Experienced? Did she now seem a bumpkin where before she had seemed wise? The girl felt her face flush with embarrassment, her ears flicking anxiously when he looked away to address Ridgewell. Perhaps she had marked herself as a bit less than she had been before in his eyes. There was no saving it now, though, and it had been better to tell the truth than to risk ending up blacked out on the floor too quick.

Rum, he said, she sniffed at it and it smelled strange. Not stranger than alcohol in general, but that same sharp scent she always associated with it. He raised a glass to her and she raised hers in return. "And to our pack, may it thrive and may we thrive with it." she said in response. Toasts were supposed to have a response like that, right?

She lifted the glass to her mouth and with a thought of here goes nothing, took a swig. Bat felt it burn all the way down and coughed with surprise at the taste of it. It was... strange. The sensation of warmth that chased the rum down into her belly, the way that it burned her mouth and her throat and her ears and her nose. All of her felt so strange just from that one sip, though the feeling dissipated quicker than she had thought it might. "That's... strange." she remarked, shaking her head to clear some of the lingering sensation from it. "Is all alcohol like this?"

When violet eyes get brighter
And heavy wings grow lighter
I'll taste the sky and feel alive again
I lived my days just for the nights - I lost myself under the lights

She didn't clink her glass to his so Dorian was forced to hide his disappointment over it and make it seem like he hadn't at all intended for her to do it in the first place. Obviously, he was completely and totally unbothered by the whole thing that was entirely of his own making. Absolutely fine with looking like an idiot for Ridgewell to see, though the man clearly had nothing to say about it since there wasn't even a snicker at the younger man's expense.

Battalion offered a toast in response; had she really never drunk before? Or had she just seen other toasts before and knew what was supposed to happen? Either way, Dorian took the drink to his mouth and downed it quickly without savoring the flavor of burnt sugar or whatever it was that made up the base of rum before it became alcoholic.

It wasn't that great but it wasn't there for savoring he reminded himself. It was there for getting him closer to blissful shitfaced forgetfulness, even if he wasn't aiming to find himself laying face down somewhere when dawn came.

He winced as he licked off his teeth, flicking it at his lips to try and clean away the flavor. "Like what? Brown? Sweet? Alcoholic?" he asked as he looked at his empty cup. He angled it around to watch the scant few drops swirl into insubstantial drops that were barely worth lapping at. "Burny?" It wasn't the best introduction, really.

"Nah, there's all kinds. I would have gotten a cider or an ale for you if I knew, but I don't know if we have either right now." He threw another glance at the bar but nothing enlightened him. "My uncle makes wine and other fermented things in Portland so we've had some of his stuff now and again. It's not usually as strong as this, but those are meant more for enjoying than getting drunk off of." A nice cider sounded pretty welcome after the burn of the rum if he were being honest.

Dorian set his glass down with a dull thud on the table. "I'll think up something better for your next one, but I don't know if you'll want it now." He made a face. "I don't reeaaaally want you to get a super bad hangover in the morning." Oh he knew what kind of woe that would be.

(Word Count: 387)

Battalion didn't even realize she'd accidentally not done the right thing with her toast, though she thought she caught a flicker of disappointment. Maybe? It was so hard to tell when she was too busy responding to the really strong reaction that her throat had to the imbibing of rum.

She was a bit embarrassed that he had downed the whole thing and she had just had a little bit. Crap, was toasting also supposed to involve chugging the whole thing? Bat quickly lifted the drink to her mouth and took another couple of quick swallows. She ignored the way it made her eyes burn, though she couldn't help the reflexive cough of a person unaccustomed to swallowing straight rum. That probably hadn't been a good idea but she didn't want an almost-full glass while he had a completely empty glass. She'd gotten it down to like... three-quarters full. That was better? Maybe?

"Burny is the word I'd use, yes." she said with a snort. She took another careful sip. It didn't burn as much this time. Tali supposed her throat was becoming accustomed to the way the alcohol worked. Apparently there were smoother options but they weren't in season.

Her head tipped slightly. "Don't we have apples in the orchard? Are they not usable for making alcohol?" it had seemed to her like they all fell and rotted into the ground without anyone using them except the earth to which they returned. "What kind does Liam make?" if Dorian didn't know, she'd have to ask Liam later.

The idea of a hangover was thoroughly unappealing to the long-earred Commoner who had seen its effects on others. It was even worse when someone was hungover in the trading group, because they almost always needed to travel which meant movement which was not great when hungover. At least that was what she had been told several times by those who had experienced it. She had also seen what happened when one had to travel hungover. She didn't have anywhere to be tomorrow necessarily, but still... she'd rather not sleep it away with a headache and an upset stomach.

"Do you drink a lot, then?" she took another sip. It was kind of starting to taste more pleasant, or she was starting to care less. Either way worked, really.

When violet eyes get brighter
And heavy wings grow lighter
I'll taste the sky and feel alive again
I lived my days just for the nights - I lost myself under the lights

Burny was probably the only word the younger version of himself would have used to describe the acquired taste of alcohol. Unfortunately, like most of his siblings, he had acquired said taste. It was probably not the best thing in the world considering addiction to it was obviously in their bloodline but there was something about drinking it that was not easy to ignore and avoid. Their mother might have been the more prudent one but that tempering had seemingly barely made it past the genetic selection stage..

"Others are better. Some are worse." He could only think to the disgusting monstrosity that Calan had subjected to him that one time; it could have stripped tar off the side of a boat. "Usually they're about this level." It was a middle ground of compromise.

Drinking the whole thing had not been the wisest of choices but Dorian was quite fond of making disastrous decisions. His life had seemingly been a series of such things and he had yet to see a truly terrible response to it all. Was he in a weird position where he had undeniably banged his superior at the Dye Studio? Absolutely, but he was still working there, wasn't he? So, clearly not the worst decision(s) he had ever made.

"I don't know exactly what he's made but I should ask. It might be good." Liam was another mysterious person to him; skilled in so many ways and yet did not struggle in the same ways Dorian had in his earlier adulthood. "And he's just one guy. I can't imagine he has so much free time that he can go harvest all the apples hanging in the orchard just to make cider." They needed more bodies dedicated to the task at a time to gather everything of useable quality before they rotted on the branch. Liam hadn't asked for the help and so Dorian knew nothing about what was needed, if he was even bothering with it either.

Being asked if he drank a lot made his ears heat up. Or was that just the alcohol doing it for him at the wrong moment? The way she asked made it sound like he had a problem. He certainly did not! Well, he had problems but alcoholism had not yet become one for him. "I.. don't think I'd say it's a a lot," he replied slowly as he made a face at his empty cup. Maybe drinking was the poor decision of the day? Unexpected. "But.. I guess, I drink enough?" His frown deepened.

"A-Anyway, that's not the point, aren't we supposed to be having a good time, celebrating your joining and not looking at my mistakes?" Please, stop poking at my mistakes.
Bat didn't think she'd make alcohol a regular part of her plans, though she kind of liked the way it warmed her belly. It was also starting to do funny things to her head. That made her both more anxious and intrigued. It was the thing she had always feared the most about drinking: what if she lost control? Who would catch her if she fell? It used to be no one. She liked to think that was changing, but she still wasn't comfortable enough to get wasted. Hopefully this one drink she was sipping would just give her what she had heard called a "pleasant buzz."

She made a mental note to ask Liam about what kind of alcohol he made. It'd be good information regardless, so if she ever found someone who wanted the things he brewed then she could let the other trader know. Maybe eventually they could even go trade together. His brews, her hides and arrows... simple but necessary things that others would surely want as long as they were high quality. "If the apples are any good, we should make it a pack thing to gather them. Otherwise they're just such a waste." she said, feeling her words tip over into an extra level of enthusiasm from what she assumed was the effects of the alcohol making its way through her system.

The wolf took a big swig of her drink - managing not to cough this time - when Dorian responded to her question in a much bigger way than she had expected. The question had been innocent, merely asking if this was something he knew a lot about. She was aware that alcohol could have an addictive quality to it that sometimes led to alcoholism, but it hadn't been what she was intentionally implying about the Savoy male. Her heart dropped and her ears flicked back in silent apology. Oops.

"Oh." she said softly, a frown creasing her lips. "I didn't... I wasn't meaning to be critical or, um, point out any mistakes." her ears swayed anxiously atop her head. Why would he take her to have a drink if he was sensitive about his alcohol consumption? That was a very strange choice. Regardless, she was more than happy to move on from whatever awkwardness she'd accidentally created around their hangout. "Well, er, joining has been great. I've been hunting and did you know there's actually a pretty big elk herd in our territory? Do you know if we've hunted from it before? It seems like, uh, it could use a good pack hunt to drop its numbers some."

Maybe he didn't want to talk about hunting, but she was scrambling for a topic to dash them away from discussing his mistakes, whatever that meant. After a deep breath, she took her glass and finished off her own drink. It made her eyes burn but maybe it'd help fuzz over the feeling that she had messed up.

When violet eyes get brighter
And heavy wings grow lighter
I'll taste the sky and feel alive again

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