NFG Season Two - The Red Dragon

[Toggle Names]

Description: Hawksley is hanging about at a pub in Cardiff while his friend Jimmy visits family when a young lady walks into the bar. The Welsh girl quickly takes an interest in the bar brawler, and the two spend an amicable early evening educating each other on gaps in their respective reserves of knowledge.

Following his trip to Amsterdam, Hawksley has since visited Berlin and Copenhagen and now finds himself in the Welsh capital of Cardiff, added to he and Jimmy's lad's trip itinerary on account of Jimmy's cousin, Dylan living there. Whilst Jimmy visits Dylan and his wife and kids, Hawksley has settled himself in a city centre boozer by the name of 'The Red Dragon'. He's currently supping from a pint of 'Brains Bitter' and typing in a 'What's Upp' chat with some of the other lads back in Cork. Mikey has a new girlfriend and the rest of them are eager to get the gossip.

The pub is pretty busy, as one would expect on a Saturday afternoon. There's a mix of students sitting in groups and sports fans who are settled in to watch the Plymouth Argyle versus Cardiff FC match on the big screen. There's also a few lone drinkers like the Irish lad himself.

Hawksley is dressed in a black t-shirt with a black leather jacket over it, blue jeans and black leather boots edged with black faux fur. The jacket was a Christmas present off his mammy and it fits him very well. It works as a lighter alternative to the woolen coat he'd taken to wearing in the latter weeks of his time in Metro City.

Between typing, the Irish fella finds his thoughts drifting to the encounter he had with Xander in Holland. Since then it's started to sink in that he's going to be expected to act as a mentor to the next generation of fighters and he is seriously concerned if he's up to the job. He's grand while he's only got himself to worry about but he's never been responsible for looking out for the needs of others. As a younger child he was always the one being fussed over and he tends to fall into the role of 'the fun one' rather than 'the responsible one' when in groups of friends.

Ah well, there's no point fretting about it, so there isn't. He takes another drink from his pint glass and checks out the photo of Mikey's new woman that he's just posted.

A young lady walks into the bar.

"Oof! Sorry, I didn't see you there!"

With her apology offered to the furniture, the girl with hair of a bright bronze hue takes her eyes off of the dark-haired slightly-older-looking fellow that she was staring at with wide amber eyes, cradles the book in her arms closer against her blouse, and sets her face with determination before intrepidly approaching the rising Irish fighting star. She's dressed in a red sweater vest over a long-sleeved white top and a green skirt, with a leather red satchel strapped across her body.

"Noswaith dda! I mean, hello!" the girl chirps up cheerily at Hawksley, her face brightening into a friendly smile. Even seated, the lad is a good half-head higher than her, and the girlish way that she holds herself makes her look a little smaller.

"Would you be interested in signing my book?"

She holds the book up to show the cover to Hawksley. Though the brown book only seems somewhat vintage, it has rather archaic-looking text on the front - all in Welsh - with the words 'Llawlyfr Anghenfilod' in stylized gold font across the front above a picture of a monstrous eye, with faux gold trim, and the words 'Dwnsiynau A Dreigiau' in red text above and below a picture of a horizontal iron sword. It looks a bit like a cultist's handbook, perhaps a knockoff Necronomicon, to be honest.

At the sound of the cheery voice, Hawksley looks up from the picture of the attractive brunette on his phone screen and responds with "Hello yourself!" to Tanwen.

Since becoming a New Fighting Generation star he's grown accustomed to being approached by fans and he was never a shy lad before he found fame. "I'd be happy to sign your book, cailin" he tells the bubbly bronze haired beauty, holding his hand out to accept it from her.

He can't help but notice the unusual appearance. To his eyes it looks ancient but then he's not much of a reader. "What does the writing mean?" he wonders. "Is it Welsh?"

He reaches into his pocket and pulls out a pen with the words 'Cork City Football Club' printed on it.

Tanwen sets the gently-aged tome down on the bartop, freeing her hands to assist her hips in mounting the barstool next to Hawksley's. She seems a little unsure of footing until she's successfully seated, at which point she brings her knees together in a ladylike manner and flips the cover of her book open.

"I think you've mistaken me for someone else. It's Tanwen, actually," she corrects Hawksley's address, "but Cailin sounds like a nice person!"

The words 'Tanwen Cadwallader' can be seen in black marker on the inside of the cover, denoting the book's ownership. The girl starts turning through the pages, revealing charts full of numbers, blocks of text, and images of fantastic creatures that appear to be labelled in alphabetical order in the same language as the front of the book.

"That's a very good guess! It is Welsh, actually. It's a Manual of Monsters. I wanted to get one in Elvish, but they didn't have any for some reason. They've got loads of elves who play, after all."

She gets to the D section, which appears to be dominated by draconic images.

"So, which sort of dragon are you? Obviously, we're talking brass, red, or gold. I'm guessing that you're probably brass, because you seem a bit of a roguish character, but well-intentioned, so probably chaotic good. Of course, I'm not very nasty, so their records clearly need updating anyway, but dragons are hard to find, so I can't really blame them."

Hawksley is about to offer the petite girl a helping hand but she copes with the challenge of the stool admirably given her short stature. "Cailin just means girl where I'm from" he explains. "It's good to meet you though, Tanwen. I'm Hawksley but I'm guessing you might already know that."

The Irishman watches as she flips through the pages, confused by the content. "Is it a game or something? I like the art. Are those dragons? It seems fitting with the pub we're in."

As Tanwen goes on to ask if he himself is a dragon, he laughs loudly. "Do you mean the breathing fire thing? That's just a party trick. Buck is a lot more dragon like than me."

He leans in to look at the images more closely. "Are they called brass dragons because they've got brass necks? Roguish? I suppose some might say that about me. What other traits do these brass dragons have?"

He takes another swig of his beer as he awaits her response. "Will I be getting you a drink by the way?"

"Yes! You're Hawksley Moore. Or is it Sir Hawksley Moore? I don't know if you've been knighted already," Tanwen muses as she taps a fingertip against her lips for a moment before returning her hands to the pages.

"Yes, it's called a role-playing game, but it's also the best source of information on dragons, and dungeons, too. It's Dungeons and Dragons. Not just dungeons and dragons, though. There's elves and goblins and little people. They call them dwarves in it because it was printed in two thousand three and they didn't know any better. Actually, there's not very much about dragons, either, but what it does have is very detailed, and it's got pictures. For instance, did you know that a black dragon can stagnate ten cubic feet of water once per day, making it become still, foul, and unable to support animal life? I've got a bit windy in the bath before, I have, but never so bad that nothing could survive."

She crinkles her nose a little at the thought, then curls her lips downwards at the corners when Hawksley claims that he's not a dragon.

"Really? Are you sure? I mean, you don't have to pretend you're not a dragon with me, you know. I'm a dragon, too, I am. And we're clearly in a dragon-friendly tavern. It's even called the Red Dragon, it is!"

She looks back at her book, hunting more facts about brass dragons. "Of course, they have brass necks. And brass everything else, too. They can also put creatures to sleep with their breath. Except dragons, of course, because dragons are immune to effects that put them to sleep. Except for Winn's lullabies. Those work on me every time, they do. Let's see... they also like warm deserts, and they prefer talking to fighting. They'll even put someone to sleep and bury them to the neck in sand so they can make small talk."

She looks up matter-of-factly at Hawksley. "Does any of that sound like you? I mean, maybe you're a brass dragon and you don't even know it."

She cocks her head to one side at the offer of a drink. "Well, you can get me a drink if you like, but I should warn you that dragons are very easily affected by sugar, caffeine and alcohol. And by dragons, I really mean me."

Hawksley almost chokes on his drink. "A knight? Me? You're fecking joking aren't you. I don't think I'll be getting called to the palace any time soon to see Charlie or even one of the less fancy royals. I'm not even sure us Irish people can become sirs."

He listens to her explanation of the strange book, a bit befuddled until the mention of Dungeons and Dragons. "Oh, I've heard of that, so I have. It's really fecking famous. Some of the lads in our school played it I think but none of the ones I hung around with. It was mainly the bright and brainy ones."

Tanwen obviously has a passion for her subject and despite it not really being his thing, the Cork fella can't help but feel compelled to listen. The sing-song Welsh lilt helps. "I did not know that black dragons can stagnate ten cubic feet of water once per day, making it become still, foul, and unable to support animal life" he parrots back at her. "They do say you learn something new every day though, so that's me sorted for Saturday."

He's laughing again as she confesses to farting in the bath. "We've all done that, darling. It's just the working class version of a jacuzzi I reckon."

There's a roar from some of the Cardiff fans in the pub as their team go one up against Plymouth. "The home team are happy" Hawksley comments. "Do you follow the game at all?"

As for the matter of him being a dragon, the dark haired lad shakes his head. "I'm not pretending, cailin. I'm really not one. What makes you think you are?" When he asks the question, a switch suddenly goes off in his head and he looks Tanwen directly in the eyes. "You're not in the en eff gee for season two are you? I met a fella the other day who talked about there being a dragon competing." Maybe the girl is telling the truth after all. There's already been a phoenix of some sort and a green goblin.

Whilst the Welsh woman finds more facts about brass dragons, the brawler becomes increasingly amused. "I don't think I've put anyone to sleep with my breath, although I'm sure I've had enough whiskey fumes on it to knock someone out at times. I am partial to an apple crumble or a bread and butter pudding after a nice Sunday roast. I like talking well enough but I much prefer fighting and I've never buried anyone in sand. I did throw a lad in a pile of mud once though. Does that count?"

Hawksley catches the attention of the bearded man behind the bar. "What have you got for the girl that doesn't have sugar, caffeine or alcohol in?" he checks.

"I can do you some water, I can" the barman says with a shrug. "Otherwise you're all out of luck. Fizzy or still?"

Tanwen appears a little taken aback by Hawksley's reaction to her off-hand comment on the subject of knighthood. "Well, I thought that anyone who proved themselves could be a knight! You're obviously a good fighter, and I thought you'd get along well with the King or Prince Will-I-Am. They seem like lovely humans, they do, and they're always letting Irish people join the royal troubadours."

She looks back at her book as Hawksley comments on his casual familiarity with Dungeons and Dragons. "Well, I've never been to school, but I do have some lovely friends who play. We like to dress up and pretend to be our characters. I play a bard called Tip-Tup. She's lovely, she is. I even learned to play the harp so I could pretend better. One day I'd like to be a real bard, but I'll have to brush up on my poetry skills first."

She beams a little as Hawksley seems edified by his newfound knowledge of black dragons. She then presses her lips together as he makes his remark about the working class jacuzzi. "It's not very nice, though, is it?" Then, in a half-whisper, she adds, "But it is sort of fun."

She looks over at the television, following Hawksley's gaze. "Oh, I love Dungeons and Dragons - oh, you mean football? Winn prefers rugby, he does. I don't like football very much, I don't. I'm not very good at kicking, and I don't like when you have to give the ball away. I usually prefer reading."

She scans the open page of the Welsh Monster Manual with a thoughtful expression, sucking on her lips. "Well, I guess I was hoping you were a secret dragon. There was already a secret phoenix in the New Fighting Generation, and Buck is either a dragon or a druid, so, well..."

Tanwen finally decides to close the book, unable to hide a sigh of disappointment. She brightens a little when she seems to alight on another thought. She slips the hardcover into her satchel and pulls out another, this one a newer red one that says 'Player Handbook' in English on the cover. She flips through it to a page titled 'Human' that gives an overview of the human race in terms of Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition. "You can sign this page instead, then." She pushes the book toward Hawksley. There's already two names on it: 'Winn' and 'Tom' followed by an unidentifiable squiggle of a surname.

"I'm really a dragon, I am. I might be the only dragon. I hope I'm not, but I've never found any others."

She sounds wistful as she makes her admission and slumps against the bartop, resting her chin against the wood.

"I'd show you, but Winn says I'm not allowed until the tournament. Dragons are too scary. Nobody's seen one in Wales in a thousand years, and there's even a dragon on the flag, but Winn still reckons that even Welsh folk would be frightened if a dragon started fluttering about without a warning. I think it's the Frightful Presence aura, I do. I've tried telling him I won't learn it until I'm fifty-one in human years, but he thinks it's too risky. I'm pretty sure I'm only forty-seven, but I wasn't very good at counting when I was a little slow wyrm."

She twitches her nose at the offer of water.

"I think still would be best. I like fizzy water, but it makes me burpy, and that's bad when you're a dragon and your bol is full of fire."

"I might get on with Harry I suppose. I reckon he'd be up for a mad night out" Hawksley muses. "I don't think the people who get knighted these days have to actually fight. The ones I mostly seem to hear about are businessmen, politicians, musicians, actors, sports stars. Those kind of people. I suppose I'm a sportsman of sorts but I'm talking about the type who've won an olympic medal or captained their team in a world cup win."

The barman goes to fetch a bottle of 'Brecon Carreg' mineral water for Tanwen whilst Hawksley listens to her chatter away. "So you're into live action roleplay then?" he checks. "Some of the en eff gee competitors had to dress up as Star Wars characters for one of the bonus rounds in Southtown. I was still in the tournament at the time, so I wasn't one of them but I bought myself a Han Solo costume anyway or Hawk Solo as I like to call it" he grins. "I'll show you it sometime if you like. You'd probably appeciate it. Unless you're just in to the dragon stuff."

He smiles at the mention of the harp playing, seeming impressed. "Did you know that the harp is the symbol of my country? It's a beautiful instrument, so it is. There's loads of famous poets from Ireland too. We did Yeats and Heaney in school but there's a hell of a lot more."

Plymouth Argyle have pulled one back, causing the crowd gathered around the screen to groan. "You're probably well out of football." The Cork fella comments. "It can break someone's heart, so it can. Who's this Winn you keep talking about? Is he your boyfriend?"

Hawksley watches Tanwen as she packs away the Welsh Monster Manual and produces the 'Player Handbook' from her satchel. As she turns to the page for humans, he nods his head. "Aye, that's what I am, with all the flaws and frailties that come with it." He produces the 'Cork City Football Club' pen again and presses the top down to reveal the nib. "Oh look, Winn has written here and someone called Tom. It's not Tom Jones is it?" he jests jovially, naming probably one of the most famous Welshmen in existence.

His own signature is easy to make out with both the H and M at the start of his two names exaggerated and looping. "There you go, cailin. You've only got another eight billion humans to go and you'll be all set."

The mineral water arrives along with a tall glass. "I didn't put ice in because that's from the tap and it kinda defeats the purpose of having the pure stuff, it does" the bearded barman explains. "Fair play" Hawksley agrees. "I've never thought of it that way but then I'm not sure I've ever ordered water in a pub."

Tanwen's claim to be a dragon has Hawksley in two minds. "You know, if you'd told me that this time last year, I'd have thought you were fecking mental but I've seen things since then that are very strange, so maybe you are a dragon." She seems sad as she reveals she's not met any others of her kind and he realises she'd sought him out to seek someone to relate to. "You'll be grand" he comforts her, rubbing her shoulder lightly. "We'll all look after you in the en eff gee. You're one of us now."

He starts to choke on his beer for the second time in one drinking session when the Welsh girl reveals herself to be forty seven. "Jesus. I thought you were about seventeen. How do you look so young? You're almost as old as my mammy."

Tanwen appears fascinated by Hawksley's description of the types of people who get knighted. "Oh. So, you don't think that I can get knighted by King Tom even if I win the New Fighting Generation? Well, I suppose it's a good thing I've been learning me instruments, then. I don't think I'll be captaining any teams or doing the Olympics. Unless they have a fire-breathing competition. I could probably get a silver, at least."

She nods her head a little at the phrase used by Hawksley to describe her hobby of preference. "Yes! LARP-ing, they call it. I'm doing it right now by pretending to be human. Tip-Tup isn't a human, though. She's a kobold, she is. I don't know how to turn into a kobold, though, so you have to use your imagination and picture me as a cute little dragon-person. Sometimes I bring me tail out to help with the pretending."

She tilts her head at the Star Wars commentary. "Oh, yes, I saw that, I did. It was like the biggest LARP I've seen on the telly. It's too bad you weren't in the costume for the tournament. You could have had a laser."

She beams at the remarks regarding the harp and its place in Ireland, before suddenly looking apologetic. "Oh! I hope you don't think I'm stealing your thing. I'm already a red dragon. I never thought how greedy it might be to be taking over two national symbols. I'd love to go to Ireland, though. I've always fancied meeting a leprechaun and finding a pot of gold. We could guard it together, we could. I've always wanted to sleep on top of a pile of gold, like a proper dragon." Somehow, she appears innocently sincere in what would otherwise be a terrible case of stereotyping.

Tanwen shakes her head at the question about Winn. "No, he's like my dad, but we're not really related. He's a fishmonger, he is. I was friends with his cat before I figured out how to turn human. He teaches me loads of things, he does. Like reading, and singing, and how sheep are lovely and not to be eating or setting on fire."

The girl who claims to be a dragon nods her head as Hawksley identifies his fellow signatories of her handbook. "Oh, you're a very good guesser, you are," she says as Hawksley names Tom Jones as the other. "I met King Tom by chance, I did. It was embarrassing, though. I forgot to bring a spare pair of knickers for throwing. I always keep one now, just in case." She pats her multi-pocketed satchel assuringly, then smiles at Hawksley's signature. "Tidy."

She immediately frowns when he points out that there are eight billion more to go.

"Oh, no! I thought I only had to get the ones who I really want to to sign it! Do you think I should be asking everyone here if they'll put their names in? I don't think there's enough room. It's already got writing all over the pages."

She's distracted from her distress by the arrival of the ice-free water and straightens on her stool. "Pure water? Is it like holy water? I'd better save some in case I run into any undead creatures, like Zarine. Can you put some in a bottle for me?" she asks the barman, holding the cup up to him.

She smiles appreciatively as Hawksley promises that she'll be grand and looked after, then furrows her brow a little when he asks how she looks so young.

"I told you already, I'm a dragon! I'm only aging in dragon years! It's like cat years, but the other way around. Oh! I know what will help."

She flips the pages of her book back to the earmarked section on dragons, then points a fingernail at a chart.

"See, this is how many years dragons take to get older. Forty-seven means I'm a Juvenile, which is the one before young adult, so I'm allowed to read Twilight once I'm fifty-one. That's when I'll get scarier, too. Only, I'm a bit smaller than a usual red dragon." She looks slightly embarrassed by the admission. "Anyways, give it fifty or so years and I'll be a proper growed-up dragon. I'll probably have to move into a bigger house then."

"I'm not sure who King Tom is." Hawksley admits. "The fella in charge now is Charles the third. (This pronounced like Charles the turd.) He used to be the Prince of Wales, so he did. Now William is. You know, the one who's married to Kate with the lovely hair."

He contemplates the matter some more, signalling for the bartender to refill his glass. "Come to think of it, you couldn't be a knight anyway. You'd be a dame. Like Judi Dench, Helen Mirren or Joan Collins."

He chuckles away at Tanwen's fire-breathing comment. "Maybe they have that in the Fantasy Olympic Games, along with unicorn riding, mermaid synchronised swimming and leprechaun tossing."

His beer arrives and he toasts the barman before taking a drink. "Talking of leprechauns, I hate to break it to you but I don't think they're real. Other than on the Lucky Charms boxes anyway. Did you know some people call me Lucky? That's why my beer is called Lucky's Fiery Ale. It's spicey as well as boozy. It's what you might call lush but given your sensitivities I won't suggest you try it. It would be grand to have a pile of gold but I'd probably be after spending it rather than sleeping on it."

By the sound of the crowd, Cardiff have let another one slip past them. Hawksley throws the football fans a sympathetic look and then returns his focus to Tanwen. "Harps aren't my thing, cailin. I don't own them or anything. It's just a symbol we use. I tell you what though, if you're worried about upsetting me, play me a tune sometime and we can call it even."

The mysterious Winn is explained and Hawksley thinks he must be an open-minded fella to take the dragon girl under his wing. "He sounds like a good role model. Although I have to say, I'm quite fond of grilled lamb chops myself."

The brawler looks back at the book. "Nah, I wouldn't bother doing that. I was mostly just teasing you, cailin. I think it's grand to just get people who are important to you to sign it. I'll consider myself in esteemed company with Winn and Tom Jones." When Tanwen brings up throwing knickers, Hawksley starts to laugh hysterically. "Ah gawd, you're an absolute fecking scream, so you are. I have heard about women doing that to the old fella back when he was younger like. Isn't there a song where they reference it too? Something with that singer with the sexy voice." He shrugs, unsure of the title.

"So tell me the story. How did you and Tom meet? Did you audition for The Voice? I fecking love that show. We used to have our own Irish version but it stopped a few years back, so now I watch the British one."

Talent show talk is interrupted by the bemused barman being back with the partially filled bottle. The same one he poured the water from in the first place. "It's not holy water, it's not," he explains with a frown. "It's from the Breccon Beacons though, so it's filtered through the rocks in the mountains. That's what makes it so pure."

When they're left alone again, Hawksley huddles closer to study the chart in the book. "Well who'd have thought it" he exclaims, shaking his head. "So I best stay on your good side for the next four years then, so you don't get all scary on me. I don't fancy having a dragon as a rival. I wouldn't bother with reading Twilight when you get there though. If it's anything like the film it will be a load of shite."

"You do know him! Tom Jones. He's the King of Wales. And I don't think it's very nice for you to be talking about King Charles like that, even if he is English. And Prince Will-I-Am isn't married. At least, it's never been mentioned in any of the magazines." Tanwen seems to get a bit lively around the subject of royalty and Welsh princes. "And I'm not old enough to be a dame! I'd rather be a knight. I already know how to use a sword and shield. I've practiced, I have."

She puffs herself up a bit as she makes that assertion, before looking slightly bemused at Hawksley's description of the Fantasy Olympics. "Don't be silly, Hawksley Moore. They wouldn't have leprechaun tossing in the Olympics," she declares with a huff. "It's too mean."

She listens to Hawksley speak about leprechauns and Lucky's Fiery Ale. "Well, you probably thought dragons weren't real, either, but there's not just dragons, there's goblins, vampires, druids, and Suzakus. I think there's definitely leprechauns, there are."

She seems to get a thought in her head when Hawksley suggests that she play a tune for him and starts digging in her satchel.

"Well, you shouldn't grill your own lamb chops without the owner's permission," she warns Hawksley as she rummages. She turns uncomprehending eyes on Hawksley as he starts to laugh and calls her a scream. "Oh, you're talking about the Ballad of Tom Jones, you are. At least, I think so. I like singing that one, but if I'm being perfectly honest, I would've thought a ballad about the King of Wales would be a bit more epic. Maybe he should have commissioned Bullet For My Valentine to write it instead."

She shakes her head at the question about an audition on the Voice. "No, I never. I met him knocking about Cardiff, I did. I asked Winn if - oh, thanks."

She finally pulls out a small oblong polished object covered in small holes and raises it to her lips as the water is set down next to the pair. The revelation that it's not real holy water elicits a frown. "Well, at least I can save it for later, I suppose," she says as she turns her frown upside down. "Now, before I forget, I'll play you a tune. This is called the Bolero of Fire. It seems appropriate." She covers some of the holes on the instrument and puts her lips to a tube protruding off the side. She pipes two quick notes, repeating them, before playing the same interval with two higher notes. She waits for several seconds, swaying to an unheard rhythm, before playing the same pattern again. A few seconds later, she dips her head.

"That's all of it! It's better with the piano and drums, mind. I don't know very many songs on the ocarina."

"Oh, because he's the Welsh people's popular king rather than the official one?" Hawksley nods. "I understand now, so I do. I haven't said anything bad about Charlie boy like. I'm not much of a royalist but I've not got any personal problem with him."

As Tanwen spells out the name of the prince again, Hawksley realises who she means, now he has some context to work with. "Ah, the fella from The Black Eyed Peas. I was talking about the bald lad with the three kids. Charles and Diana's son. I'd rather meet Will-I-Am than William. He's off his fecking rocker. I bet he's a right laugh."

He can't deny that all of the dames he mentioned are of considerably advanced years. "Now let's see then" he says, pulling out his phone. "There's a woman by the name of Ellen MacArthur who became a dame at only twenty eight. It looks she she sailed around the world on her own. That's fecking brave."

He slips his phone away and starts drinking from his glass again. "So you're a sword user then? We had a couple of those last time. Nobody with a shield though. Here was me expecting you'd be all flying and fire-breathing attacks but perhaps you've got some of those too. I like to mix things up myself."

Is the Irish fella offended at being called silly for suggesting tossing leprechauns? Not for one minute. "I suppose it would be a bit mean like. As for the little fellas existing, you've got me bang to rights there. I had no bloody clue that dragons, goblins and vampires existed. Druids I do know existed. We had them in Ireland. Suzakus, I've no idea what they are."

He continues supping. "The Ballad of Tom Jones. That's the tune I was talking about. With Cerys Matthews and some lad from Liverpool. My mammy would know his name. She's well into all that nineties stuff."

He watches as Tanwen produces the pipe and starts to play. The tune is a simple one and not something that he recognises but Hawksley appreciates the effort all the same. "A piece with fire in the title seems a grand choice for us both, so it does. It was a pleasure to listen." He compliments, once she's done performing.

Tanwen beams as Hawksley expresses his appreciation for her dainty musical interlude. "Thanks, Hawksley. I thought you might appreciate it, I did."

She didn't really follow all of that about some bald man who sounds like he might be some sort of legitimised bastard in the Welsh royal line that she was unaware of, and she does think that a lady who sailed around the world on her own at twenty-eight sounds brave, and she doesn't really know what a Suzaku is either. There are two issues that have been raised that are more pressing, though.

"Now, I won't tell you any of my fighting secrets just for buying me a nice cup of water, Hawksley Moore," she finally chides, taking a sip before she continues, "but I will trade you one secret for another." She leans conspiratorially close to the taller fellow, pushing up a bit so she can whisper the question. "What does 'fecking' mean?"

By one interpretation, she's never heard a bloke from Cork curse. By another, whoever this 'Winn' fellow has never taught her about the birds and the bees. By yet another, it's some sort of weird come-on from a girl who thinks she's a dragon.

Does Hawksley dare find out which?

Of course he dares find out. This is Hawksley Moore we're talking about! Quite how he does though, might be a bit of a balancing act.

"Well when I say fecking, it's where other people might say fucking." He starts to explain. "It's a bit more friendly than that though. Less aggressive I'd say. They even said it on Father Ted, so they did. Well, mostly Father Jack. Whereas fucking can also mean sex, as well as it being a curse word, fecking isn't that, though we do use it for other things. Like, you could say I fecked a ball at him, if you were throwing a ball at a fella so. Or I fecked a few cans from the shop, if you were stealing them."

He glances at Tanwen, not sure if she'll be getting all this but he carries on regardless. "Most of the time I use it it's just in casual conversation, though if I stubbed my toe or something, I might shout feck. Even my mammy does at times."

Plymouth Argyle add insult to injury by scoring a third goal in the game against Cardiff. It's not too long after that the final whistle is blown, sealing the Welsh team's loss. "Ah, that's a shame for the fellas" Hawksley remarks, knowing Dylan, Jimmy's cousin will be disappointed with the result.

"Did what I say make sense?" he checks with the dragon girl.

It's probably clear from the fact that Tanwen's wide eyes can only seem to expand to their limits as Hawksley speaks that her mystification is magnifying moment by moment. When Hawksley finally checks in with the dizzying dragonette, she's gone nearly cross-eyed. It takes a couple of blinks for her amber irises to reset themselves to their usual positions, her expression blanking as she answers in a single word:


She smiles slightly.

"But that's alright! I'll tell you one of my fighting secrets."

She props an elbow up on the bar so that she can lean closer, her back to the barman, wanting to be sure that confidence is clearly kept with regards to the knowledge she's preparing to impart. She cups a hand so that lip-readers in the bar won't be able to glean her trade tricks.

"I do a bit of flying sometimes."

Leaving it at that, she then folds her hands demurely on her lap, sucking on her lips to hide a smile that escapes through her eyes as she looks around the bar with all the mischief of a schoolgirl who's shared a naughty new word with one of her peers.

Hawksley laughs loudly, slapping his hand on the bar. "Ah well, feck knows how to explain it to you then."

He looks towards Tanwen as she readies herself to give him her secret, his expression one of curiosity. Once the cat is out of the bag, so to speak, he beams broadly at her, lowering the volume of his voice. "See! I knew there'd be flying involved."

The Welsh lass is looking pretty proud and pleased with herself after that revelation. Hawksley is only half teasing when he asks her. "Can you teach me how? Ah sure, it would be grand to go soaring through the sky, so it would."

His dark eyes go a little dreamy as he imagines the experience.

Tanwen jumps a little when the bar is slapped, but quickly relaxes. The cheeky expression fades when Hawksley asks her about teaching him how to fly. "Oh, sorry. I don't think I can. I only know how to fly 'cause I've got wings, haven't I? I mean, you can't see them right now, but I do."

She brights a little as the optimistic gears start to spin in her head. "If you ever get some wings of your own, I could teach you, though. And if you wait until I hit me growth spurt, I'm sure I could take you for a ride somewhere, I could. I'm too small to carry an adult about at the moment, but any decade now, I'm sure I'll be able to manage."

She offers a hopeful smile.

She's very sweet this strange girl and Hawksley can't help but continue to smile at her, despite the disappointing news that she can't teach him to fly.

"Ah yeah, wings would help," he concedes. "I'm not likely to get those anytime soon, so I'll just have to wait another decade for my dragon ride. I'll be thirty one by then. I might even have myself a wife and kids. Maybe you can take them for a ride too," he enthuses.

He drains the last dregs of his 'Brains Bitter' and wipes his mouth with the back of his hand. "I'm gonna have to be going now, Tanwen. It's been a pleasure to meet you though. You're very entertaining and enthusiastic. Those things will serve you well in the New Fighting Generation. I'll look forward to meeting you again wherever the feck they send us all. Look after yourself in the meantime."

He gets down from his stool and hovers for a moment, hesitating over whether to give her a hug. He decides to just go for it. "You look after yourself. I'll be seeing you."

With that he's wandering towards the exit of The Red Dragon, off to meet Jimmy and Dylan for a meal and a night on the town.

Tanwen's expression becomes a little more serious as Hawksley reveals that he's about to go, and she quickly gulps down what's left of the water in her glass - which isn't all that much, since half of it is already in a bottle - as if it's necessary that she finish at the same time as her conversational companion. She wipes her own mouth with the back of her sleeve, which is fine, because it's only water. She's just in time to find herself getting hugged by the fiery Irish fighter. Her eyes go wide as the social boundary is broken.

He may be about to regret that.

Suddenly, before he can escape, Hawksley finds himself with the so-called dragon girl's arms wrapped around his middle and her cheek buried against his chest, eyes closed in bliss as his hugging prowess is challenged. The first actual evidence (eccentricity aside) of the girl being more than she seems is shown in the power behind her cuddling - not painful, but like a vise adjusted to trap without crushing.

She's very strong for her size. Also -

"I love cwtches, I do," Tanwen says with a sweet smile, before releasing Hawksley to be on his way and waving. "Hwyl fawr, Hawksley Moore! I'll be seeing you as well, I will!"

She starts carefully sliding her books into her satchel, then looks around the pub. "I wonder where all me mates are?"

She breaks into a smile as she notices a group of eccentrically-costumed young people pass through the front doors and lifts a hand in greeting, waving frantically.

"Hello! I'm over here!"

She'll have a story to tell her gaming group - along with a new word to try out.

Log created on 08:10:07 01/20/2024 by Tanwen, and last modified on 08:36:32 01/23/2024.