Hey. Your favorite bartender here…
Alright, look, Ume Kauss, the collector who’s making a move for the Eternity Horn was in here a day ago, chatting with Dave. This was an awkward conversation to overhear–Dave kept giving me a look. It was a very specific look–the look of a man who wants me to get his companion drunk.
If Dave’s companion had been anyone other than Ume Kauss, a rich Centau, I’d have pretended I didn’t understand his looks.
I’m sure he would have fallen for it.
Anyway, I kept topping Ume’s drink off.
Dave wanted me to water his drink down. So I did.
Does that make me shady? It might. But these are political games, and I’m not neutral. What are my allegiances? Those are secrets too deep for me to dig up. If you want to unearth them, you’ll have to wait.
Ume usually gets friendlier the more he drinks. But his mood shifted and he got angry with Dave. What I overheard were claims that Dave had warned Cosma off the job for the Eternity Horn.
Dave denies it.
I won’t know more for a few days, because Cosma usually has her business go to her club.
But if Dave gets involved, he might bring her to my club.
This job is beginning to look like a slow-burn. I thought it would be on fire. But, nope.
I wonder how long it’ll drag out. How long do you have? Get another drink. We’re riding this one out together.
This is Torden. Have a whisky while I clean the bar, polish the glasses, and take inventory.
Charly and I have a party tonight, so I need to keep things immaculate. It’s the monthly Syndicate mixer, primarily a flock of smug Centaus, and they notice details like that. It’s their eyes–they’re trained to zero in on blemishes. A blemish to them must be fixed.
Not totally their fault, they also tend to overlook true flaws, especially things that should be fixed, if those things would be an inconvenience to them. Like class systems and social stratification.
Here’s your drink. Let me know if you need a refill.
I don’t do a lot of talking in this job, which suits me. I prefer to listen, to be invisible while others around me reveal their secrets. Bartender is almost a religious role, a spiritual healer in that way, bending an ear to the masses, taking on the weight of the troubles of individuals.
And when they are done with their confessional, I let it go. I can’t carry that. I am only here for their catharsis. You know this word? It means purging of emotions.
Who does this for me? That is… a very precise question.
I have my bar, where one I consider to be my nuparia–which is like guru in one of the many spiritual disciplines of the Yasoan–who listens to me.
I will you give you one tidbit. One piece to leave you with today. Not a rumor, but reality. Xadrian came through earlier today, asking me if I’d heard anything about Ume Kauss of late.
That was it.
Perhaps Ume will be here tonight. Xadrian said he would come back to find out if I learned anything.
If it helps Charly and Holly, well… we will see, won’t we.
Last week I told you that I was expecting Ume Kauss to attend the recent Syndicate mixer.
I was right, and he was here. I kept an eye on him when I could, and sent some of my ears to listen in as often as possible—a few of our servers and bartenders.
This is what I gathered.
Ume is looking for the Eternity Horn, and he’s got Cosma Kenyon lined up to get it once they pinpoint it’s location. They have narrowed it down to three families.
And yet, I know where it is. And it is not where they believe it is.
It’s suddenly the object everyone who knows anything is clamoring for. Why does Ume want it? Why is Xadrian looking for it?
Some people are content to just know the what—that it will fetch them a price. They will do the work, get the treasure, and keep it, displaying it with their other treasures, perhaps selling it to the highest bidder if they choose to.
I believe in something very different. I desire to know the why. Is there something more to the Eternity Horn? Does it hold a secret? Or is this only about the perceived value of the object?
Finally, I know that if I send Charly after it, she will succeed and get it. And then we will see what this Eternity Horn is worth.
That is my plan. Keep it to yourself. I have a vast network of eyes and ears.
Not a threat. I know you know this.
OUT SICK. Check back later…
(Sorry, both Torden and B-Ben came down with stomach bugs this week. What’s up with that? Are our bartenders being targeted? Hmmm… suspicious!)
It’s me, Ben, your favorite bartender in the 6 Moons.
I say that with all humility, of course.
But you know it’s true.
And plus, I bring the booze. And we all love booze.
So listen. I was out with a stomach bug last week. And I know this is going to sound one hundred percent like I’m a conspiracy nut, but I don’t think it was some random bug going around. It was like I was targeted.
Poisoned, if you will.
Why do I say that?
Well. Just before the pure night of misery struck (I basically slept on the bathroom floor; charming, I know), followed by a day of misery, followed by another night of misery…
Ume Kauss’s man was in the bar. Who’s his man? His manservant. Whatever. His errand boy. His cabana tender.
Yeah, it’s all like that. Just weird. That’s how some of the elites get, if you know what I mean.
I don’t know what he uses the manservant for, honestly, I was being flippant just now. Anyway, he was in the bar, hunched over a drink, acting like the world was crashing down on him.
So I gave him some TLC. Kept his drink full. Offered him finger-food, comfort food, you name it. I thought maybe Ume had fired him.
I also lingered around a few times to hear if he was passing info to anyone, and to listen to him if he wanted to vent. We got talking. I snacked a bit on the finger food–dried fruit, nuts, and cheese.
I noticed that he never actually ate anything. But he was alone a few times. Ample opportunity to slip something into the bowl.
That’s all I’m saying. For all I know, it was a bug.
But, I also heard Torden got sick.
Yeah, of course I know Torden. He’s one of the best. Plus, I know Holly. And I know where Holly spends her time. I keep tabs on my people…
Two sick bartenders. Think that’s a coincidence?
You may. But if you do, then you don’t know what the dark side of the 6 Moons looks like, or the dark side of people…
How’s that house special?
So, did you hear that someone was poisoning bartenders?
It’s true. I was one of them. I also know one of the barkeeps at Glassini was sickened shortly after myself, as well as one of our mutual acquaintances, Ben.
It was like someone was warning us.
The City of Jade Spires, while beautiful, has its share of darkness, an underworld that the Centaus ignore, though they are often a part of it.
Perhaps even the cause.
When one believes themselves to be above the law, when they design the laws and then intentionally ignore them, they have chosen to oppress those who follow them.
That is what the Centaus have done in the 6 Moons. They benefit from the rules because they’re outside them.
I believe that Ume Kauss was targeting bartenders, because he noticed that the Eternity Horn suddenly vanished, as though word spread that owning it was in his sights.
I’m not going to blame you, there are eyes and ears everywhere.
But I ask that you do me one favor: share with me what you hear, what you see, and I’ll know your allegiance. Do you serve yourself? Do you serve the crew that has adopted you as its own? Are you Holly’s and therefore mine?
It is said: no honor among thieves. But only the worst thieves live by that.
To survive as a sort of outlaw, we adopt a code. Your tribe, the family you made, will have your back as long as you have ours. That’s the honor here, among these rogues.
Enjoy your drink, friend.
ON VACATION. Will return again in 3 days.
Hey it’s me, Ben, the top bartender in the 6 Moons, hands down.
Good news for Ume Kauss, that is, I heard from a patron recently that the Eternity Horn has been found again, and this time (supposedly), Cosma Kenyon is making a move on behalf of Ume right away.
That’s right. The horn turned up, and she’s making a move in three days.
What I wouldn’t give to be a fly on the wall in that operation. I hear a lot of stories about these jobs going on all the time and I just sit here, polishing the glasses, pretending not to listen, hearing their exploits, imagining the ins and outs.
It’s got to be fairly exciting. But I wouldn’t know, at least, I wouldn’t know of late. Before I became a bartender, I did my share of exciting work.
My contacts are sending me the plans. Don’t ask my how I know what Cosma’s going to do, I just know. And I’ll give you all the details.