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Tiffany Korta

A very Bedlam Christmas

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The Bar

December 2016

 

Bedlam wasn’t always the most friendly place for superheroes so it was always nice to have a place where you could relax in relative safety. Such as place was the Bar, it didn’t have any official name, that despite attempts of the authorities to close down had managed to thrive for quite sometime. The place itself wasn’t that impressive just a series of mismatched tables and chairs, and bar stocked with relatively good liquor, a battered pool table and a jukebox all stuffed into whatever rather bland building the bar had currently been relocated.

 

Even a place like this wasn’t immune to the holidays and an effort had been made to make it more festive with a few decoration across the bar and a rather sad looking tree. But more importantly to celebrate the drink reduced in price.

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The Bar's reputation was a bit mixed, but in a city like Bedlam, that was a downright compliment. It didn't seem too full right now, either, just a couple scattered patrons at corners. 

 

Then, the door opened, and someone stepped inside. A man in a long coat with a hood walked inside, his head held down for a moment, before he reached behind himself and closed the door. Then those hands slowly reached up, even as the man (whose beard could be seen even if his face could not) slowly began walking toward the bar. As he walked, he started singing, barely more than a whisper, his Southern twang somehow making his gravely voice all the more menacing. Especially when the words became a bit clearer...

 

"He's making a list. He's checking it twice. He's gonna find out who's naughty or nice..."

 

A few steps away from the bar, he threw back the hood in a sudden gesture, revealing a hat upon his head, no mask, and a face that seemed tailor-made for the not-quite-crazed grin upon it. He finished the verse as he took those last few steps.

 

"Santa Claus is comin', to town...."

 

He slid onto a bar stool, grinning at the bartender. For a few moments, he glanced around at whoever else was there, before leaning in a bit, his voice low as he spoke (instead of singing).

 

"Bartender. On this fine evening, I would request...."

 

He paused, his grin dropping a bit, and his voice a bit quieter still.

 

"The largest possible glass of milk I can get."

 

 

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Osla reclined in a booth in the corner, feet sprawled up casually on a small stool. She was wearing a plain white t-shirt, a pair of skinny bluejeans, and a chunky pair of black combat boots, her blonde hair tied up tight in a french braid at the back. A battered looking leather jacket was slung casually over a nearby chair. In one hand, she had a paperback held open with her thumb, an intimidatingly large stein of beer in the other hand. There was a distinct possibility that it may have just been a repurposed jug. 

 

At the sound of someone singing, her nose wrinkled in irritation and she glanced up. Her frown deepened as her sharp hearing heard him ordering a glass of milk? In a mead hall? Midgard indeed had some strange, strange customs. She blew a stray strand of hair away from her face with an audible huff, before flicking one page carefully over, and taking a long slow swig of her beer.

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Judex got a really long, odd look from the bartender, to which he responded with a smile that was equal parts "mysterious" and "creepy", but finally the bartender relented and made him up a fairly large mug of cold milk. It was fresh and everything; folks this time of year liked eggnog and other such things, so it was fresher than normal for this place.

 

Once Judex had his drink, he put down a couple of bills and moved to the end of the bar, which happened to put him closer to Osla. Once he sat down in a stool, for just a moment his whole personage just seemed to....slump. As if tired, weary. His head bowed, and though Osla heard no sound she could faintly see his lips moving. Perhaps a prayer of some sort?

 

His moment finished, and Judex proceeded to drink deeply of his mug of cold milk. 

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Luthor banged open the door to the Bar and stumbled in, his hands and face numb from the blustery, cold wind that blew off Lake Michigan. He closed the door firmly behind him and flexed his nearly-frozen fingers, telling himself again that he was going to buy some nice, thick gloves once the winter clothes went on sale. Every year, there was something more important to buy.

 

He walked up to the bar, taking a seat well away from the big white guy with the big white guy beard and the... White Russian? Something involving milk, at least. He pulled a slim and much-folded bill out of his back pocket and tapped it on the bartop. "Just a bottle, man. Whatever you've got behind the bar." The bartender nodded and brought up a brown bottle, leaving it and swiping up the money. Luthor picked it up and didn't bother to check the label before he opened it with a single twist of his left hand. He took a long, slow pull, doing his best to ignore the sour taste and focus on the alcohol.

 

As he waited for the booze to warm him up, he looked around the place. This wasn't the sort of locale that the police would frequent -- which was a big part of the reason he was willing to be here -- but it was always possible that he or Lena had pushed in the teeth of someone in here. In fact, in some neighborhoods it would almost be a certainty...

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Liam Conners

 

Through the door came a well built man that could have quite easily have fitted in on Asgard and six foot blond giant, in a slightly crumpled suit that seemed somehow appropriate. As he made his way to the bar his giant suggested that he’d already started celebrating the holidays, and he was apparently arguing with himself

 

“Nonsense Doctor I am still perfectly fine for several more beverages as you put it.” ironically he slurred the words as he spoke “You may not enjoy the holidays so I shall for both of us.”

 

He finally managed to make it to the bar and banged on the surface.

 

“A beer if you would barkeep. And drinks for my fine friends here.” he scooped up the two heroes beside him in a large friendly hug

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Luthor was enjoying his beer in quiet when he felt something behind him. He was halfway through turning when a big arm came around his neck and started pulling. He panicked; in a moment he was back in city jail, getting jumped by the Devil Rays. He grabbed the first thing to hand -- his beer -- and turned into the grapple, yelling and aiming his blow square at his attacker's face. He didn't wait to see what the effect was. He ducked out of the grip and turned into the next blow, putting all of his significant weight behind it. Luthor had learned that running away didn't work in prison. You needed to put the other guy down, and hard enough to make everyone else afraid of you. So even though he didn't want to start the fight, he was resolved to end it.

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Osla had raised her eyes from her book as Luthor had come in, and had just folded over a corner to mark her place. Setting down her book, she rose with her drink in hand, to cross over to the bar and greet him. It was then that the newcomer jovially threw his arms around Luthor and... it suddenly got violent.

 

Her stride quickened as she crossed the bar, not quite quick enough to stop Luthor's first blow upon the man, but she confidently crossed into the space between the two large men. Osla's knuckles tightened around the handle of her jug as she roughly planted it in the chest of the large blonde man, fixing him with an unblinking stare, blue-grey eyes hard. To Luthor, she planted a hand firmly on his shoulder. "Luthor? He's just drunk. There's no need to fight," she said, her voice quiet and level. 

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Judex had been pondering going over to at least give a polite "hello" to the young lady in the corner, when a large, surly man walked in and sat down at the bar. Judex gave him a smile, a nod, and a raise of his mug of milk. Otherwise, he left the grumpy fellow alone. Not everyone found cheer during the holidays, sadly.

 

Then another big man came in, ordered a drink, and scooped himself and the surly man into a bear hug! He managed to leave his drink safely behind, not spilling even a drop, as he was pulled over. 

 

Then he was thankful that he'd kept his coat on, as a bit of beer went flying, and slid off the leather fairly easily. It wasn't hard to free himself when the man grabbing him was busy almost starting a bar fight. Thankfully the young woman intervened; she seemed to even know the surly fellow! As she implored for peace, Judex himself spoke up.

 

"Indeed! This young lady speaks truth! 'Tis the Season, my friends! Less fighting, more relaxing and celebrating! Or at least drinking, if that's your game."

 

Any menace that big, bushy black beard of his might have exuded was undercut by the milk mustache his mustache was wearing. 

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The man didn’t seemed overly bothered by the blow, in fact it didn’t seem to do him any harm whatsoever. But he wasn’t totally clueless as his smile faded and his tone was a little more serious, though there was still joy in his voice.

 

“Of cause I apologize I did not wish to startle you... yes, yes I was just going to say that.he seemed to be talking to an unheard voice “Let me make it up to you by buying you a drink, let me buy you all a drink for you troubles.”

 

He leant on the bar to talk to the barkeep as if he was slightly embarrassed to mention it adding.

 

“I’d like a slippery nipple, it’s for a lady friend she will be here very soon.”

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Luthor pulled back from the big man, breathing hard, hands balled into fists. No one was attacking him, though, which wasn't what he expected. He was wrong-footed, and when Osla stepped in the illusion broke. He wasn't in jail anymore, he wasn't surrounded by hardened convicts and uncaring guards. He was in a bar, there was tinsel and green boughs strung up. The man who had grabbed him wasn't a gangbanger, he was just another guy.

 

Luthor stepped back and forced his fists down. He still didn't relax, still couldn't get his heart rate or breathing under control, but he very consciously stood back onto his heels. "Man. You just... You shouldn't grab a guy like that." He ran a hand over his face and through his beard, trying to calm his body down. "That's not healthy, man."

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A stranger entered the bar, pulling a carry-on bag behind her; she was medium height and rather slightly built, and appeared to be of Eurasian descent. Her clothes suggested money, leather accessories with lots of tweed. She stopped her boots up and down to knock off some of the snow, then headed over to bar.

 

"Hullo! Bourbon, if you please, neat. Maker's Mark, if you have it."

 

Izzy was newly arrived in Bedlam, literally just off the train from Chicago; the trail of the 'Black Dragon' had led her all the way from Lahore to Istambul, and then from there to Paris and New York. Dragomirov was a sharp customer, always one or two steps ahead. Her sources told her that he'd joined the Vorovskoy Bratva, and was now working under the Red Queen, though the former SIS agent doubted he'd be satisfied to be her 'lapdog' for very long.

 

There was a bit of a dust-up taking place nearby, but Izzy decided to be diplomatic and wait on the sidelines for now, in case one or another of the parties got in over their head.

Edited by Heritage

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Elias was here for reasons.

 

Specifically he was asked to be here by some very quiet people in suits to come.  He'd argue and question what was happening.  But he was there, stepping into the bar, young, but hardly fresh faced, already lined with the recent and previous ordeals.  And some scars.  Hands thrust into the pockets of his hoodie was clearly chewing gum and looking over everyone there.  Not that he looked out of place, having that wary, bleary air that permeated a lot of people in this town.

 

No he was hear because he wasn't a suit, and didn't come across as someone working for, with, or under a governmental aegis.  He moved to the bar, taking off gloves as he did so, but leaving the stocking cap on.  "Beer."  There was some not quite convinced looks back at him, but he didn't have the nervousness a kid would have, that and he had an ID moved across with the crumpled bills as he got a PBR or whatever, and then moved to the side to be out of the way, slinking like someone who was clearly not wanting a fight.

Edited by TheAbsurdist

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When her drink came up, Izzy flashed the bartender a smile. "Cheers!" Seeing that the tense situation had more or less resolved itself, the newcomer cleared her throat and addressed the small group. "Sorry for the bother, but could any of you recommend a hotel where one might not be stabbed? As you can tell, I've just arrived, and I've yet to learn all the perils that Bedlam has to offer."

 

She took a sip of her bourbon (Jim Beam; that'll do nicely, guv!) and patiently waited for a response; some might think it foolish for a woman traveling alone to admit she had nowhere to stay, but Izzy could take care of herself. And sometimes, looking like a mark could lead to rather educational experiences, especially if one was hoping to learn about the local criminal element in the first place.

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Judex laughed as things settled down and everyone focused on having fun or relaxing instead of fighting. He scooted over as more folks entered the bar. When the new gal asked about a hotel, he chuckled before he spoke up.

 

"I'm afraid that the hotels with low personal risk aren't cheap, miss. Maybe we can point you to ones where you only need to sleep with one eye open, instead of two?"

 

He smirked at himself as he sipped at his milk, still keeping an eye on this motley collection of party-goers. As much as this counted as a party, anyways. 

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Izzy smiled sweetly as she raised her glass in salute. "Cheers, mate!" Then she frowned slightly as she looked more thoughtful. "Well I wouldn't go so far as to say 'money is no object', but I would say that I'm willing to pay a bit more if said hotel meets certain essential criteria." She began to count off key points on her gloved fingers. "Central location, preferably near downtown, appaling housekeeping, and windows one can open with minimal effort." She shrugged and chuckled. "Now I realise these criteria may sound a little...what's the word I'm looking for...'suicidal', I suppose you might say, but my work does require a certain amount of...flexibility." She smiled at a private joke. "So, any suggestions along those lines would be greatly appreciated, mate."

 

The newcomer took another sip of JB and savored the fire as it slide down her throat; her father would be appalled, but she'd grown rather fond of American whiskey.

Edited by Heritage

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