An Unfamiliar Demon

Once again, I find myself wondering just exactly how I am still alive. Leaving aside the debate as to whether or not I am technically alive anyway, I really sometimes wonder how I survive. Yet more damned fool bravery, riding to the defence of others. It’s going to get me killed some day…

But, I would still do it. Call it a white knight complex, call it stupidity, call it an over-developed sense of honour, but I can not, and will not stand by when people I care about are threatened. Yesterday, the threat came in the form of a demon. I’m fairly certain it was a demon anyway. A dark figure, flashing eyes, rather more antlers than were strictly necessary. Oh, and did I mention the hell-hound at his side? Aoibheann spotted it first, after we heard what sounded like a hunting horn, and started trying to overturn tables to block the entrance to the tavern and claiming that we were closed. Despite the lack of weapons, rather ironic, given the conversation I had had with Aoibheann earlier, I did my usual protective thing and placed myself between her and the demon. I advised him that the tavern was closed. He said something about seeking a brighter jewel among the clods and seeking other prey. He seemed more intent on Aoibheann than on me, but I stood my ground and told him that there was no prey here in the tavern, and if he sought to hunt for something, he should try the forest. In the meanwhile, I was trying to advise Aoibheann to get inside.

Then, she pushed me towards the demon! She babbled something at the demon, telling him that he could have “our beautiful barmaid, Natalie” and pushed me towards him. I don’t know if this was a panic reaction, or some deeper desire to be rid of me, but she tried to get the demon to take me! When I was already, placing myself in his path. Lord knows, I don’t expect gratitude for the things I do, but this just seemed remarkably strange behaviour. I will allow that she seemed almost incoherent with fear, so perhaps was not entirely in full control of her actions, but it was alarming nonetheless. Fortunately, the demon was not interested in me, presumably not falling for the idea of me being Natalie, and after making various further threats, disappeared in a cloud of black smoke.

Shaking with reaction, I went back to the bar and poured myself a large rum. I barely noticed the blonde woman who had apparently wandered up while all this was going on. Once I had a drink inside me and started to calm down, I saw her and Aoibheann and bade them both come inside. Aoibheann was still babbling and barely able to move, so I poured her a gin, took it out to her and made her sit down. She was so shocked that she dropped the glass, claiming she wasn’t thirsty and soon ran off up to her room.

The newcomer was Ofeelia, as she later introduced herself. She would only have a glass of water, despite my offering her my usual newcomer’s free drink. She hailed from Romania, and had apparently escaped from some wolves on her way to here. By some strange coincidence, she knew Bremerhaven, and even knew of the Blumengarten, though I did not recognise her as one of the staff. Of course, given the nature of time here, she may have known it in a different era. She was pleasant enough company and her accent was quite charming.

Another demon, or possibly drow, turned up. But, beyond asking where he was, did not say much and vanished again soon afterwards.

I do not know what I am going to do about Aoibheann. I had been meaning to talk with her earlier, but Vedis was there, and then the demon turned up. It was quite an odd conversation before that. She had some bottles on the bar, which she had been planning to have the children use for target practice. I told her about the time Father tried to teach me to shoot, but that I didn’t really enjoy it that much, not being a fan of weaponry at the time. I told her I was more interested in being a poet and then she made some comment about how I could be manly and a poet. I am not quite sure what she meant by that. Later, we were talking about using swords and she commented about how she wasn’t sure if women could handle swords properly. Looking back on the way she said it, it almost seemed as if she was implying that I was, in some way, a woman. I don’t know if that was related to her later trying to sacrifice me to the demon as the barmaid Natalie, but there is something seriously odd going on in that woman’s head. Whatever it is, it has to be sorted out before something really stupid happens.

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