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Linette Botten

Ferren's Keeper
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154
#1
((OOC: Satinalia 9:35, Early Evening, @Ferren Bairston ))

Fuckinalia.

That was the term Linette and Ferren had for the fucking carousing amateur 24 hour party. People pretended (ok, some really didn’t pretend) to lose their inhibitions and really cut loose. What it meant more times than not was that someone ended up drunk face first in hopefully their own vomit.

Amateurs.

But better to be in Highever than Denerim for the holiday even with all those uncomfortable memories Linette associated with Highever and Satinalia. Hard not to think of the date and not think of her Antivan slice of tattooed muscle. That was way in the past, though. She could push those thoughts aside in favor of new memories Ferren and she would no doubt make on this evening. The pair that mocked together, platonically stayed together.

The boat ride to Highever had been relatively without incident. Someone had dropped a fish accidentally at her feet and she may or may not have squealed a more high pitched squeal than Riane presented with a pony. The damn fish ended up smashed against the deck floor soon enough, Lin boot stomping it to really, no seriously really, dead.

People were already out and about, people that would never dare to go to Sarim’s Luck during the regular year walking down the pathway from the village to the seedy tavern just on the water’s edge of the docks. Another time she might have taunted them but not tonight. Lin had a Ferren to go find and she walked past them with a roll of the eyes and a gruff snort.

The smell of wine and stupidity, an incredibly hard scent to scrub away, wafted on the cool evening’s breeze as Lin wound her way through the village of Highever to Ferren’s house. The place was much as she remembered it - not nice. Ferren was good with a hammer just not the kind you needed to fix actual domestic shit. Working her little lock pick magic, she let herself into the house. Sure she had a key, but using her lock picks was just faster.
 

Ferren Bairston

Guard-Captain of Highever
Staff member
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139
#2
For the first time in a long time, Ferren had considered just saying "fuck Fuckinalia" altogether.

It wasn't that he didn't want to spend time with Lin. He did. But he also wanted to mope a little more, and she wouldn't really let him do that. It wasn't as high on the list as shaving his head, but it was pretty far up there. So was breaking furniture, which Ferren hadn't done yet. He'd spent a lot of time and money getting decent shit in his house again. It seemed stupid to trash it all just because he went and got his feelings hurt.

Still, when he knew she'd be in Highever for Satinalia, he'd thought about making up some excuse. It probably wouldn't have worked, and Ferren wasn't much of a liar on the best days, but going out and pretending to enjoy himself just wasn't high on his list. Or it hadn't been, until his meeting with Fergus. Wasn't like he was eager to put himself back out there or whatever yet, but being around a friend, seeing he was appreciated by people who weren't Mara helped, gifts or not.

The gifts were why he headed straight home after leaving the castle, though. That and he figured Lin would probably be there already, if she was anywhere. Most likely already raided his cupboards for booze and made herself at home on the couch. Which was fine, because as far as Ferren was concerned, it was still her home. Even when she was away.

Arms full, he had to lean the new hammer against the wall so he could open the door. It was unlocked, because of course it was. Handle was a little loose in that way that said she'd picked the lock, too, and hadn't just used her key. Nothing unexpected. It'd be a little weird if she hadn't forcibly entered the place, honestly, and at least she didn't have his habit of shoving himself through a window when he locked himself out.

Shoving the door open with his shoulder, he grabbed the hammer and leaned it against the wall right next to his old one. He didn't need to look to know she was there, and the fact that she was made him glad he hadn't come up with some stupid excuse. It was good to know he still had people like Lin and Fergus in his life. He'd shut himself off from them before--he wasn't planning on doing it again.

"One o' these days I'm actually gonna learn t'do that," he said, nodding to the lock. "I mean, I know y've tried to teach me before, but eventually it'll stick, right?"

This was probably the time when he would've hugged her, if they weren't who they were. But neither of them were big on the traditional sort of hug. A mug's distance away was just fine, save the shittiest of situations. Ferren wasn't sure this counted, so he laid out the new clothes and boots on a table--not an eating table, mind--and flopped down beside her on the couch.

"Been here long?"
 

Linette Botten

Ferren's Keeper
Staff member
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154
#3
Ferren was not an untalented kind of guy. He knew how to grow a majestic head of hair. He was damn good in a bar fight. He had quite the stomach for drink. But for each talent there was a counter; something Ferren was utterly the worst at. Lin had learned to never ask him to cook. To certainly not ask him to help her with interior design. And, as evidenced by his return to his home, never depend upon him for stealth. Ferren was about as subtle and sneaky as Nathaniel Howe was bright and airy.

She lounged on the couch, that same damn couch gifted to her by Diago all those years ago, and waited on her friend to tromp his way into the main room of the house. Besides him already knowing she was arriving today, she made sure there were other signs that Linette was in residence. Wouldn’t do to surprise Ferren. Surprises with Ferren sometimes lead to people seeing body bits no one needed to see.

"One o' these days I'm actually gonna learn t'do that,” Ferren noted as he entere the room. "I mean, I know y've tried to teach me before, but eventually it'll stick, right?"

Lin snorted. She had tried to show him how to pick a lock. She wasn’t always going to be around to help him out of a bind, after all. But like cooking, design and stealth, Ferren couldn’t do locks either. No matter the efforts, his hands just didn’t want to nimble. “We both know it won’t,” she replied.

If they were anyone else, this might have been the moment that the pair hugged. That was what best-friends with only friend benefits often did. Neither Ferren nor Linette were the hugging sorts, though. Not usually. Dire circumstances might push them to huggies and maybe even a comforting snuggie. Nothing about this particular Fuckinalia implied anything of the sort would be necessary though. Instead, Lin scooped her legs beneath her, bending them at the knee, to make room for Ferren upon ye olde memory couch.

"Been here long?”

“Just long enough to not need a drink but for the thirst to start building.” In other words, Linette probably beat Ferren by no more than ten minutes. Her head tilted, a crooked grin pulling at her mouth. “So what you get?” Fergus was one of those gift giving types of people and there was no way that Ferren didn’t get some kind of gift from the Teyrn. And she had one more thing to ask too, “And how long before you are ready to go out? It’s stupid out there and we need to show people just how dumb they are."
 

Ferren Bairston

Guard-Captain of Highever
Staff member
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Posts
139
#4
“We both know it won’t."

Not a way to put him down, just a statement of fact. Ferren couldn't argue. "Aye, it won't."

He settled on the couch, exhaustion working its way through him. He was already getting too fucking old. Didn't feel old. Not until the end of the day after bottling up everything he was trying not to think about. Emotions were dumb. They made him old. Lin wasn't old, though, and not-old people didn't like waiting. He remembered. He was one, once upon a time.

“Just long enough to not need a drink but for the thirst to start building.” So about ten minutes. Not too long. “So what you get?” she asked, grin filled with the sort of barely-restrained mischief that said the most important question was still coming, “And how long before you are ready to go out? It’s stupid out there and we need to show people just how dumb they are."

"New hammer," he said, brightening a little. "Dagger, too. Some clothes that aren't, y'know. Falling apart. Fergus is... well, you know how Fergus is." Slipping a hand into his coinpurse, he pulled out the carved mabari figurine. "Got this from Riane. Cute, isn't it?" Well, Ferren though it was cute. "He know you're in Highever yet?"

Fergus would probably have gifts for her, too. He had gifts for everybody. Speaking of... "Got something for you, too. If you're wanting t' go out, though, can always wait for a bit. Your call. Just give me a few minutes t'change. These clothes smell like work and professionalism," he said with a scoff.

He headed upstairs, and with every step he took, his mood seemed to drop a little bit more. Being around Lin helped, but as soon as he was alone with his thoughts, they went back to wondering if he shouldn't just stay home. Dumb idea, considering. He knew it'd make him feel better to get out. As he washed off his face, though, he looked... well, older than he usually felt, for one, but that was beside the point. He just looked... not like himself; not really. Scrubbing his hands over his face, Ferren tried to get that to change. He forced a smile, but that didn't help, either.

Letting out a sigh, he just finished up, changing into clothes that weren't falling apart yet, but that he wouldn't miss if somebody tripped into him and introduced him to the contents of their stomach. Seemed likely, since by "stupid" Lin likely meant people out drinking who didn't have the constitution for it. Either that or people being sappy and in love or whatever, though Satinalia wasn't really the holiday for that.

Which reminded him, he probably needed to come clean. Heading back downstairs, he drew in a breath, then just... said it. "So uh, y'should probably know before we go out, but... Mara an' me? Not a thing anymore." He rubbed at his jaw, knowing he was about to lie. Poorly. "I'm fine. Just... don't let me do anythin' too stupid, alright?"
 

Linette Botten

Ferren's Keeper
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154
#5
"New hammer,” Ferren replied. "Dagger, too. Some clothes that aren't, y'know. Falling apart. Fergus is... well, you know how Fergus is.” Yeah Linette knew how Fergus was. He liked to give gifts to those that were important to him. Put a lot of thought into those gifts too.

From within his coin purse Linette was going to get Ferren to hide better one of these days, he withdrew a little figure of a mabari. "Got this from Riane. Cute, isn't it?” Ferren would think it cute but Linette was hardly going to tell him otherwise. Not when the gift came from Riane, whom Lin knew he adored. Kid wasn’t bad for a kid, Lin could admit. Not Riane’s fault Lene was her mother.

"He know you're in Highever yet?"

Linette shook her head. “No, but I figure I’ll go visit tomorrow.” The type of stuff they had to speak about wasn’t the stuff for holidays. Soon, Lin’s service to Fergus would be at an end and she would entirely be in the King’s employ. That still felt weird to think about. Linette Botten, spy-not-master for the cheese eating, James-pretending, King of Ferelden that had seen her tits.

Speaking of tits, or not seeing her tits as the case may be, Ferren added, "Got something for you, too. If you're wanting t' go out, though, can always wait for a bit. Your call. Just give me a few minutes t'change. These clothes smell like work and professionalism.”

Nothing about what was on the menu for the night involved professionalism. Eau du Upright Citizen was not to be the parfum of the evening. She nodded and waved a hand to dismiss Ferren to go get his trouble pants on, “Bring back my gift after you get decent.” The only kind of decent that mattered. “Then we can go.” He couldn’t drop something like he had a gift for her and not let her have it.

She shouted loud enough for him to hear upstairs after he was gone. “I got something for you too.” Because of course she did. There were only a couple people out there in all of Thedas she felt the urge to give gifts to. Ferren was one.

Ferren also wasn’t one that took long to get ready and he returned to her shortly with a new outfit on and a fresh confession. "So uh, y'should probably know before we go out, but... Mara an' me? Not a thing anymore.” He scrubbed his jaw with his hand and said the worst lie ever. "I'm fine. Just... don't let me do anythin' too stupid, alright?”

Didn’t need a nose to smell the ripeness of that bullshit. Ferren was the type that fell fast and hard and often for the worst kind of women. Mara was a Grey Warden and that put her pretty high up on the list of shitbags in Lin’s mind. She had yet to meet a Grey Warden that hadn’t proved themselves some sort of asshole. But for Ferren, she bit down her thoughts on Mara and hoped that for once, things would be different.

Seems they weren’t.

Rather than call Ferren on his lie, though, Lin allowed him another gift and did not pry or waggle a finger of I told you so in his direction. Nothing she said couldn’t worse than the way she knew he beat himself up over the whole affair.

Instead, she tugged her mouth into a smirk and jumped off the couch to approach him. Teasing, she asked, “Now if I stopped you from doing stupid things, what fun are we going to have?” Someone else might have hugged their friend at this point. Lin did one better; she leaned forward on her toes to reach a hand upward and rubbed her fingers in those silken and magical curls atop Ferren’s head.

“Now, where’s my gift?” Priorities, yo.
 

Ferren Bairston

Guard-Captain of Highever
Staff member
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139
#6
Ferren knew she hadn’t liked Mara. Hadn’t liked Kali much, either. And while Lin wasn’t all that shy about telling him… pretty much anything, she’d kept most of the dislike to herself, in both cases. More so with Mara. Probably since he’d been in pretty rough shape after Kali.

He didn’t actually expect the “I told you so, you fucking idiot.” Lin could be mean sometimes, but she wasn’t cruel. He did expect something, though. Ferren, your dickrometer really needs to point away from these types of women. Ferren, you can’t keep doing this to yourself. Ferren, you’re totally going to beat me to that ‘old and alone’ age. Because you’re old.

She didn’t say any of that, but when she stood, the smirk told him she was going to say something, “Now if I stopped you from doing stupid things, what fun are we going to have?”

He snorted, a smirk tugging at his own lips. “Fair enough.”

She ruffled his hair affectionately, then prompted him for something that had nothing to do with Mara, “Now, where’s my gift?”

Ferren’s smirk turned into a broad grin, and he held up one finger to ask her to wait. The gift was tucked away in a cupboard. Why? Ferren actually didn’t know anymore. Not like thieves weren’t going to go through his cupboards. Maybe he’d just liked seeing it there when he opened the thing every morning.

Either way, he pulled out something wrapped in a pretty cloth--he hadn’t bothered with the fancy Orlesian paper that cost a fucking fortune for something that was meant to be ripped into. It wasn’t a large gift, in size or cost, but he’d had it specially made, and he thought he’d done all right.

“Happy Fuckinalia,” he said with a smirk, handing it over to her. “Now where’s my gift?”
 

Linette Botten

Ferren's Keeper
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#7
A you-just-hold-on-missy finger extended, Ferren bade Linette to wait while he went to rummage out her gift that he apparently had stored in a cupboard. If he was trying to hide it from her, he had to know that would have been of the first places Lin went looking.

He returned to Lin with her gift wrapped in a swath of cloth that might have made a nice dress if there was more of it and a person was inclined to wear such things. Either way, cloth was far more practical than paper. Linette never understood why people would spend good coin on something that was just going to be torn up and discarded.

“Happy Fuckinalia,” proud Ferren offered along with the gift. “Now where’s my gift?”

“Ladies first,” Linette preened. He could just gird his loins (in a totally platonic way) and wait on her to open her gift first. Carefully, she pulled back the cloth to reveal a dagger someone else might have gone ‘huh’ at.

Linette, however, was not someone else and she smiled broadly as she wrapped her hand about the handle carved to mimic the shape of a flute. She had needed a new dagger for sometime and the one she held was not only high quality but high friendship.

“Can’t wait to ask people if they want to see me play my flute.” Not that Linette was one for threatening violence outside of a good, all Fereldan nut kick. That wasn’t really violence so much as justice most of the times, though.

Turn about was fair play. She set the dagger down atop the couch and reached for the pack she had rested upon the ground. Digging inside, she withdrew a small wooden box made of rosewood, having also eschewed wasteful paper wrappings for her gift to Ferren. “Happy Fuckinalia to you too, Ferren. Here’s your gift."
 

Ferren Bairston

Guard-Captain of Highever
Staff member
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Posts
139
#8
The smile when she opened up the cloth told him he'd made the right choice. Not that he doubted it, but it was nice to have it confirmed. Despite how sour his mood had been lately, that brightened him a little. Couple of drinks, bit of trouble, and he'd feel like himself again for the first time since leaving Denerim.

“Can’t wait to ask people if they want to see me play my flute.”

"This is why y'should never trust anybody who can play an instrument," he said, waggling his fingers to illustrate.

In Ferren's experience, minstrels were some of the most dexterous people alive. He'd lost a few coinpurses to them when he'd been younger. Fortunately the coinpurses he'd lost to Lin had been by choice, save a few card games here and there before he'd wised up to the fact that he couldn't bluff to save his life.

Setting the dagger down, Lin went to get his gift. Even though he wasn't sure he needed all these gifts he was getting--or deserved them--he couldn't help but feel the tug of excitement. Besides, Lin's gift would probably say something more than just "hey you're an okay person," the same way his had for her.

“Happy Fuckinalia to you too, Ferren. Here’s your gift," she said, then handed him a box that was nice enough all on its own.

Ferren ran his fingers over the smooth surface before opening it up. He automatically recognized the shape of a flask, because of course he did. But it wasn't just sitting there in the box. It had an expertly-tooled, black leather cover. "Damn, this is nice."

Tucking the box it came in under one arm, he took the flask from the cover to look at it. Light enough to slip into a pocket, but nice quality metal. He turned it over to see if there was a smith's stamp on it or something, and that's when he saw a small sleeve. One eyebrow arched as he glance up at her before investigating.

Inside the sleeve was a small comb made of strong, perfectly white bone. A big grin immediately took over his features, and he wasted no time in testing the thing out, using it to comb out the front of his hair. The comb he had usually snagged a little in his curls, but this one slid right through.

"Been looking for a new one," he said, holding up the comb. "Thanks."

He wasn't going to get all misty-eyed, but there was a fondness in his face most other people weren't privileged to see. Especially lately. He also very carefully put everything away, shutting the box and placing it on the table. The last thing he needed was for somebody to try and lift it off of him while they were out. He could keep the flask and comb on him starting tomorrow, when it wasn't Fuckinalia.

Speaking of...

"So, any thoughts on where we're going? This a tavern sort o' trip, or a 'start at the tavern and end up someplace else' trip?" He was pretty sure he knew the answer to that. "Y'said there were already people out and about. Where are they mostly? Sarim's Luck?"

Fishing a key out of his pocket, Ferren motioned for the door. Changed and combed, he was as ready as he was going to be on short notice, and he could admit he was actually looking forward to it now. Mostly because it felt like forever since they'd both been in Highever long enough to get into some trouble.
 

Linette Botten

Ferren's Keeper
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#9
"Damn, this is nice."

Linette could not help the smile blooming upon her lips. Sure, she was not typically a giver of the gifts, but damn if it did not feel good to know she picked out a good gift. Gifts weren’t always just for the giftee after all.

Ferren had only scratched the surface of his present, though, and noted the special pocket on the backside of the flask with the arch of his brow. His grin soon matched Linette’s as he eyed the comb. "Been looking for a new one," he noted, "Thanks."

People made a lot of assumptions about folks like Lin and Ferren. Some of those opinions the pair brought on themselves with the way the handled their lives past and present included. If it walks like a duck, maybe it doesn’t give a fuck or some shit. But there was more to both of them then the stereotypes they personified. Linette was more than a loud mouthed, cursing boiling teapot. Ferren was more than a ball of a sad sack of a puppy with one ferocious bite when over kicked. They had sides many people were not privileged to see. Sides that they let on those few close to them see.

Maker, Linette loved that stupid man. Platonic life partners for….life.

Neither were the type of dwell within sentimentality for long. Another trait they shared. Ferren changed the subject from their gifts to another type of giving all together. "So, any thoughts on where we're going? This a tavern sort o' trip, or a 'start at the tavern and end up someplace else' trip? Y'said there were already people out and about. Where are they mostly? Sarim's Luck?"

Lin wasted no time in giving her reply as she followed Ferren to the door. “Let’s start at Sarim’s and see where the night takes us.” Hard and fast rules were for followers.

How long had it been since they had been out together in such a capacity? A long time. Linette tried to place the last time they had been out on the village together as she surveyed the road just outside their house (and it was as much her house as his). Adulthood had gotten in the way of mischief and they certainly needed to do something to fix that sad state of affairs this particular evening.

“Bet no one can kick us out of a place now given you being the high and mighty Guard-Captain now,” she noted. Sure, people still could oust them from a tavern. Question was, would they?
 

Ferren Bairston

Guard-Captain of Highever
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139
#10
Cleaned up, dressed down, and decently combed, Ferren stepped out of the house and committed himself to a night that would definitely be memorable, no matter what else it was. Hopefully not the sort of night that would have landed him in a cell were he not Guard Captain. They could skirt the edge of that. Not like they hadn't come up with a system or sorts to do just that.

And even getting tossed into a cell and having to explain himself to Cavagh in the morning was better than sitting here feeling sorry for himself. At least he wouldn't be alone. And probably wouldn't be sober.

“Let’s start at Sarim’s and see where the night takes us," she said, following him out.

Ferren locked up like a good citizen, and made sure his keys were on him. No need to have Fergus boost him into his house again like he had in Denerim. Though probably no need for that anyway. Lin could pick locks. She just might decide not to if he lost his key somehow, so Ferren made sure it was tucked at his side, trapped by his belt.

"Works for me," he said as he put his keys away, then started for the direction of the docks.

The streets were already a mess, even this far out. Lots of people around who couldn't hold their mulled wine or whatever they were handing out by the bucket at the nearest tavern. He had to sidestep a guy who stumbled out of an alleyway drunkenly singing some song or another, then ended up grabbing the man's collar to keep him from falling face-first onto the cobblestone.

“Bet no one can kick us out of a place now given you being the high and mighty Guard-Captain now,” Lin said of his do-goodery.

"Few places around here probably would," he said with a soft snort, "but those aren't places I plan on going to anyway. Rest o' them... aye, I suppose the job has its perks."

It meant there were people who called out to him. Guards and just people who lived in Highever. It felt a little weird. Usually the reputation he and Lin had was... well, not the most upstanding. They hadn't been kicked out of places before just because they were regulars. Now Ferren felt like he had a lot more attention on him, and though he returned the call-outs warmly, he still kept on walking with Lin.

"Used to being damn near invisible in Denerim," he mumbled. "Big change being here. Not a bad thing. I mean it would be for you, since, y'know." The sneaking and spying and stuff. "Just always kinda surprising."

Sarim's Luck was more crowded than usual, filled with sailors and merchants and other tradespeople who'd decided to spend the holiday in port. They had to push through the crowd to get to the bar, making their way through the usual sorts. The sailors were loudly telling tales that were maybe a little true to men and women who were either ignoring them, or just listening in hopes of getting them to head over to the brothel once they were drunk enough to give up their coinpurses. There was a game of cards going on that was already pretty rowdy. Ferren heard two fists slam down on the table, coins and tankards clinking. Out of habit he glanced over there, but the other people at the table managed to calm the big guy who'd obviously lost the hand.

"Somebody call you, Captain?" the elven woman on duty asked, casting a dubious glance out to the patrons. "Hasn't been any trouble here. Nothing we can't handle, anyway."

"No uniform," he had to practically yell over the noise of the crowd, and tugged at the collar of his plain shirt to prove his point. "Friend and I are just here t' drink these fools under the table." He grinned at that, pulling out some coin to pay for said drinks. "Though if y'do hear of any trouble, I'd like to know about it. In the no-uniform sense."

Ferren slid a few more coins over the bar. When the server went to fetch drinks, he leaned against the bar--sticky, but not nearly as filmy as the Mug--and looked out into the crowd. "Figure that'll give us a lead eventually. Anything promising out here?"
 
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