These two characters fun to work with, especially when they’re together. They create their own humor by simply being who they are, I just put the words down on the page. Here, they go out for a night on the town together, and you may see some similarities to our beautiful port city.
Remember, to leave me comments with ideas for future stories that fit these guidelines.
Bilious clouds, pregnant with the promise of rain, slid past the moon above, stealing the dim, bluish glow that reigned over the night. At such times, Arlukent and Chaetor were forced to view the world by way of the street lights that lined the thin driveways winding through the apartment complex they resided at.
“He’s right around the corner,” Arlukent mumbled, his eyes transfixed on the phone cradled in his palm.
Chaetor paused the game he’d been playing on his own mobile device, releasing his tongue from the hold of his teeth, pulling it back into his mouth, and setting aside his quest to blast space aliens from the cosmos with vibrantly colored rays. He cast about for the signs of the approaching car and soon noticed two beams of light. Following was the front of a black sedan that reflected the surrounding lights with the intensity of a fresh polish. The lights washed over Arlukent and Chaetor sneered. “You seriously had to wear that ratty robe? We’re going to a bar, old man.”
“You can’t see it now, but I’ve disguised myself with magic. See?” The elderly man before him suddenly vanished, a man in his early thirties replacing him. Arlukent now possessed a chiseled jaw, young but roguish eyes, a thin nose, short, dark hair styled into a sweep of small spikes, and stubble that covered the lower half of his face. “The illusion doesn’t work on dullards, in case you were wondering.”
With that last word, the Arlukent Chaetor knew returned, wearing a devious grin. “Oh, I’m the dullard? Got it. Bet that illusion doesn’t help the soldier downstairs stand at attention, old man.” The emphasis he placed on that last bit dripped from his tongue.
Arlukent chuckled and swatted at the air. “It doesn’t work on you because I want you to be able to pick me out while we’re there. Just in case you go and blunder the night and I have to save it. I do not, however, retract my statement about the lack of your wit.” The old wizard waved a hand at the black car as it pulled up and swiftly threw open the door then ducked inside.
Chaetor’s retort was left without a target so he merely exhaled into the night and shook his head at the visage of the beaming old man staring through the car window. “I’m the idiot. He’s the idiot,” he grumbled as he walked around the car.
A single rain drop splashed atop Chaetor’s head, right between the part in his shoulder-length black hair, as he opened the car door and lowered himself within. Arlukent had surely already given the Uber driver their destination as the car lurched into motion as soon he slammed his door shut.
The apartment complex the two lived in fell away, and Chaetor suddenly lit upon a thought. “You’re someone famous?”
Arlukent leaned over as though he’d realized Chaetor was there for the first time and whispered, “We’re both idiots, at times.”
“What?” Chaetor asked, confused beyond all understanding but ready and willing to accept the verbal challenge that was soon to ensue. “Oh.” He remembered the words he’d whispered before getting into the car and realized Arlukent had somehow heard him. Of course he had. Espor, the god of knowledge, blessed him with wizardly ability and amazing foresight.
Chaetor shook his head intensely to dislodge the roots of an argument growing in him and grasped onto his initial statement. “The illusion you’re wearing, it’s of someone famous. He was in a movie recently. Dead Lake? No. River? Dead River?” Chaetor’s mumbling grew louder with each failed guess.
“Deadpool?” The Uber driver announced. “You talking about Deadpool? Awesome movie, bro!”
“Thanks! Yeah, that’s who you’re being? You’re going to have the entire bar ripping each other to pieces to get a hold on you!”
Arlukent smiled wryly. “I have ways to keep them off me, but it’ll make for one hell of an interesting night. And no, I can’t change your appearance, as much as I’d like to.”
Time flowed inexplicably fast as the two bickered, the driver throwing them odd looks whenever they referenced their gods or a curse commonplace to Zepzier. A thrill shot through Chaetor as the car came to a stop and the driver called, “Here! Now, who’s paying?”
Arlukent was already out of the door, leaving Chaetor staring at the mass of people standing outside the bar beneath a sign that read “Flannigan’s”. Chaetor grumbled about specific aging body parts of Arlukent’s and how he prayed they’d simply fall off at some inopportune moment as he pulled out some cash.
The booming bass of the music within the building shook the ground, igniting a smile of anticipation within Chaetor. There were just so many opportunities within. So many gorgeous, blushing women for him to wow. He’d discovered persuading a woman to bed much more difficult in this time and place when compared to his days upon the stage travelling Baronfall. All the more reason to try harder, he’d surmised while making his strongest efforts .
A long line of those waiting to be let into the bar halted Chaetor, but only for a moment. He suddenly noticed Arlukent only a few steps from the bouncer standing within the open gate of the tall brick wall circling the entrance to act as an outside patio and the side of the building.
Chaetor hustled after the old man, humming in fear of being too slow to tag along. Eyes gawked and jaws nearly slammed into cement as those amassed outside stared at the big movie star whose identity Arlukent had pilfered for the night. This wasn’t the first time he’d used this particular bit of wizardry, albeit never with such a well-known public figure, and yet he’d never utilized it to entice a woman. Wasted talent, Chaetor had remarked. Wasted on the old and ethical.
Just as the bouncer slid aside from the entrance, mouth agape, Chaetor caught up and slapped a hand on Arlukent’s shoulder. The brutish man sporting a long orange beard clacked his teeth together, cleared his throat, then asked, “This guy with you?” Already he was reaching out to seize Chaetor’s collar.
Arlukent raised a hand, cast a thoughtful look over his shoulder, shrugged and said, “He’s alright.”
The two shuffled past awestruck bystanders like so much cattle amongst their owners, and Chaetor disengaged from the fake actor before the waves of people came to suffocate him too. If need be, he’d stumble back into Arlukent and use his stolen fame to lull a woman to him.
The bar, which was a moment before packed, emptied all at once but for a few patrons too shocked to move. Chaetor slipped past scantly clad women and muscle bound men to the side of the U-shaped bar. The bartender took some convincing, but after a few snaps and finally a flick on the collar bone, Chaetor earned his glass of whiskey and leached a squat bottle of brandy that was barely within reach. The theft was barely a challenge as every eye was turned Arlukent’s way. The beaming idiot of an old man came through smiling and waving, chattering with whomever came close enough and laughing boisterously. As he walked the people before him split apart as though he and they were magnets of the same charge. Magic.
Chaetor spent the first ten minutes working on his alcohol. By then, the numbers in the bar had nearly doubled. As sudden as they had crowded him, the people turned from Arlukent as though he’d just become invisible. Chaetor quickly spotted him and dashed over to the table he lounged at. “All done for the night?”
“Just taking a break, my good boy. Letting you a moment to have the fun. Besides, that is tiresome, if not enjoyable.” Arlukent raised a hand and a glass of wine sparked into existence between his fingers, smoke wafting up to the ceiling. Red lipstick marked his cheeks and neck.
“You’ve got a little something…”
“I know. Isn’t it marvelous?”
“Could be if you’d use those tricks right. Hold this.” Chaetor slipped his halfway empty bottle of brandy onto the tabletop before the wizard then turned and ducked away into the massive crowd. Across the room, the floor vibrated with the music and the dancing feet of those brave enough to display their graceful talents, or lack thereof, for all to see.
Alcohol dimming his senses but drawing him closer to the music and it’s rhythm, Chaetor dove into the middle of the dance floor. Half an hour went by and he’d retrieved several phone numbers, a peck on the cheek, and a dozen scowls from the battlefield. He spun free of the gyrating mass of dancers and leaned against the bar, sweat beading on his forehead. Once he’d procured a beer, he moved along to a scene nearly as enticing as a woman.
A board of varying green and red felt covered shapes comprising a circle as a whole drew him. A few women watched as nearly a dozen men competed with one another. It took a moment for Chaetor to understand the nature of the game. Winner retained his throne, defending it with each newcomer, while the loser slammed a bottle or shot glass.
Chaetor sipped his ale, sure that he wouldn’t be forced to ingest it all at once due to a loss at this game. A dart sailed through the empty space between pinball machines and a low wall that cordoned off pool tables and thunked as it hit the board. It wavered in place for a moment before standing fast and resulting in a score of fifty-one. Cheers erupted and squeals of pleasure squeaked from the women watching in anticipation.
Chaetor took it all in and found his targets; the blonde haired gentleman with gauged ears and the short, albeit curvy lady with tattooed arms and full lips. Her auburn eyes caught his and he winked at her, causing a smile to spread across her fair-skinned face.
Still looking at the girl, he taunted, “You’ve better than that, I hope,” turning on the blonde man as he did so. The competitor who’d lost skulked away after lifting his shot glass to the sky above his lips and draining it.
“Wait your turn, buddy,” he replied, turning from Chaetor as though he didn’t exist.
“If you really need to hold the title for another minute or so, go ahead. I’ll be waiting for when you want an actual challenge.” Those assembled bristled but remained in place otherwise. They knew they’re turn wouldn’t come until later as the holder of the title spun around with a frown plastered to his face.
“You talk big shit. Better be able to back it up.”
“Always do. Always can. Come on, now.”
Chaetor sidled up next to his competitor making sure to stand near the attractive woman leaning against the wall next to him. He imagined pressing her up against the wall in a different manner and nearly forgot what he was doing. The blonde man sighted, one eye closed, practiced several mock throws, then let fly. Forty-five.
Hushed praise rippled throughout the ranks of those watching. Chaetor swaggered up to his place behind the marking line at his feet. He grabbed a dart from the shelf near his hip, placed it between the fingers and thumb of his right hand, stared into his competitor’s eyes, and flicked his wrist. The dart sped from his hand and struck loudly. By the way the color drained from blonde man’s face, he knew he’d done well. He turned to the board and beheld a sixty. Exactly what he’d aimed for.
“Twenty dollars,” the blonde man blurted as he whipped a bill out from a pocket and slapped it down on the table before Chaetor could reply.
“Done!” Chaetor pulled a matching bill from his pocket and smacked it atop the first. Onlookers cleared the board and Chaetor made the first throw, this time staring at the board. Accuracy was more important this time. Forty.
The blonde man stepped up, concentration etched into the creases of his forehead and throbbing vein in his temple. He let fly. Fifty.
The hoot of victory that escaped him had Chaetor rubbing his ear. He snatched the cash and pocketed it with a grin wide enough to show off his metal capped molars.
“Again,” Chaetor said.
“What? I’m not dancing with you, man. I think I saw a guy over there who might-”
“With her.” He turned and looked at the woman he’d zeroed in on.
She blushed, at first with anger and embarrassment. Then, her surrounding friends urged her on and Chaetor added, “Only if you want to, of course.”
Timidly, she nodded and a smile lifted her pinkish cheeks. The others hollered with approval and the blonde man took his stance. He put his all into that throw, adjusting his feet several times to strike the perfect pose, licking his lips incessantly, cocking his head into a better vantage point. The dart leapt from his fingers, sliced through the air, then stuck smack in the middle of the board for a double bull. Fifty.
Despite there still being room for Chaetor to best his opponent, hitting the bull’s-eye promoted a cacophony of shouts, hoots, and squeals to rip through the bar, drawing most of the eyes in the establishment.
Chaetor prided himself on winning in style, and winning often. He stepped up to place his toe on the line along the floor, tipped his bottle up and finished his ale in several large gulps, slammed it down, grabbed a dart, then took five steps back. Sighs of disbelief echoed. He sighted his target, looked away from it and into the eyes of the pretty lady he’d be dancing with in a moment, then tossed the dart.
A relative silence captured this side of the bar, besides the music bumping throughout the entire building. Chaetor strode to the side of girl he fancied and draped an arm over her then spun and began walking away. Her eyes remained fixed on the dart as it hit the board with an audible thwack then wobbled in place for a moment.
She whipped her head around, staring into Chaetor’s eyes with wonderment, her mouth a perfect O-shape. “How did you…” She trailed off, words escaping her.
“A dance first, if you don’t mind? I’ll reveal my secret afterward.”
In short order, Chaetor discovered her name to be Tricia, a slender, short woman with a mouth like that of a brutish tavern thug. They danced, writhing against one another, twisting and flowing together, for the better part of half an hour.
Chaetor extricated the two from the dance floor by spinning a woman from their path and sending her stumbling into a male who wasn’t at all upset about the intrusion. They leaned against the bar, Chaetor’s eyes lingering on Arlukent as he chattered with a few smiling faces. Obviously he was nothing more than a dashing young fellow with his current disguise.
Chaetor waved over the bartender and ordered a drink for himself and Patricia.”It’s Trina,” she called over the din.
“My middle name. It’s Trina. I prefer my friends to call me that.”
Chaetor was about to comment on their newfound friendship when a hard pressure landed atop his shoulder. He rolled with the blow immediately and the blonde man stumbled into him as he slipped drunkenly forward. Chaetor palmed him in the jaw and shoved him away roughly, sending him careening into the perimeter of dancers.
“How’d you do it!” he demanded as he pushed off the wall of people, tipping forward as he did so. “How’d you beat me like that, and know it?” His words slurred thickly as though the syllables were getting stuck behind his teeth and he had to force them out.
Chaetor shrugged and said, “I’m just that godsdamn good.”
Chaetor expected anger, but not an immediate fight. The blonde man lurched forward and threw a haymaker with his right hand. Chaetor slipped beneath it but noticed the drunkard’s fist come within a few inches of Trina’s face. She staggered away and cried out in fear.
Without another conscious thought, Chaetor reached under his shirt and pulled a knife from its sheath near the small of his back. The blade left his hand like a bolt of lightning, albeit not in the direction he’d intended. The sharpened steel knife shot from his fingertips and up to the ceiling, digging into the rafters. A collective cry of alarm came from the assembled people.
Chaetor cast his eyes around and found Arlukent training a reprimanding gaze on him, shaking his head. Chaetor was about to get into a pissing match with the old man when he was reminded of his assailant, who was either too drunk or too dumb to run from a man who’d just revealed a weapon. White light flashed before his face as his head snapped back. The darkness that threatened to close in abated, however, and Chaetor felt his rear slam down hard onto the wood floor.
He was conscious enough to roll over his shoulder and spring to his feet, shame burning in him as blood began to leak from his nose. Then, the bouncers came.
Chaetor turned one last glance toward Trina, who seemed equal parts crestfallen and disappointed, then began to make his exit. The blonde man rushed forward with his arms outstretched to grab Chaetor around the waist. Chaetor stepped his right leg back but his foot sprung off the floorboards as though it were a trampoline and then his knee slammed into the blonde man’s face.
Chaetor’s opponent collapsed, an unconscious heap, as the large bouncer with the red beard came to grab him in a massive hug. He dropped to his left knee and pushed off his right foot to slip around and behind the man. Another was there to seize him and he faked right then leapt up and left. His feet came down on the bar top and he took a single bounding step, knocking over glasses and bottles, then flipped off and to the ground.
Neon green letters lit his objective and he sprinted for the exit, sliding and twisting around and past bar goers. The cool of night graced his cheeks and he was out the gate and sprinting toward the parking lot packed with cars. Arlukent was walking leisurely along the sidewalk.
“Use a flying spell or something, old man. We gotta get the fuck out of here!”
“What for? We’re invisible.”
Chaetor slowed down to a brisk walk then spun and trotted backward. The bouncers were running in his direction, but they bypassed Arlukent, nearly slamming into him, as if he didn’t exist at all. He stopped and smiled, sure that they’d run right past him in their attempt to apprehend him.
Chaetor lifted both hands in an obscene gesture at the bouncers, flashing them a toothy smile he knew they couldn’t see. “Oh yeah, you little shit!” growled the smaller, quicker one.
“Shit!” Chaetor called then shot a scornful look at Arlukent.
He burst to the side to avoid the sweeping arm of the bouncer then found himself dodging cars. Arlukent watched the mad race through the stuffed parking lot and called, “Did I say both of us? I meant just me! Just too much an idiot to say the right thing sometimes I guess!”
A dark skinned fellow who had been recording the incident with Chaetor and the bouncers on his phone jumped in surprise, as Arlukent truly was invisible. “Oh, you’re fine, my good man.”
“What the…” responded the videographer as a trio of women walked past him toward the bar.
The women screwed up their faces into scowls and were a moment from laying into the man before Arlukent hollered, “Godsdammit!” after running into a thick spider web he hadn’t seen.
Both the man and the group of women yelped in surprise and took off in opposite directions like an arrow from a bow. Arlukent wiped the silky strands from his face and couldn’t quell a smile and chuckle. He shrugged and continued on his way, watching Chaetor leap across the hood of a car as the bouncers attempted to trap him between them.
“You, my friend, look the idiot,” Arlukent whispered. He looked off toward the cloud-filled sky as it began to pour rain. “What a joyous night.”