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The Swan Song

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I wake up covered in a grey blanket. Seriously, does this inn have no concept of colour? I push the material off of me and slide on my ugg boots before stumbling out of my room onto the landing. Greeting me is and Johnson sitting at the table tucking into breakfast. As I sit down, Johnson nods at me and slides a plate of eggs in front of me.
“Sleep well Miss Swann?” he asks.
I nod. “It’ll take some time to get used to colour again after being in that room but I’ll manage.” Johnson chuckles as Haytham emerges from his room.
“Aah, Elizabeth. Are you nearly ready to go?”
I stare at him disbelievingly. “Unlike you Haytham, I like some time to actually register that I am awake before rushing off to go and get someone drunk.” I shoot him a smile. “I know you’re keen on finding a dress to match the necklace”
Haytham fires me a look while Johnson claps me on the back, laughing.
“Just give her a moment sir. I’m sure she’ll be ready soon.” Haytham nods walks down the stairs.
Johnson gives a low whistle. “If any of us tried that, the grandmaster would have our tongues.”

“Well. Will this suffice?” I ask as I emerge from the next room. Haytham sits on a chair wearing what I reckon is one of the most bored looks a face can produce. I teased him endlessly when we entered the shop, throwing dresses his way and exclaiming how pretty the pink looks on him and how the silver brings out his eyes. Which, for some reason, only threw daggers at me. I was enjoying this far too much. He looks around at me and scans up and down at my selection. A simple white shirt with flowing sleeves, a shire green vest, grey trousers and some delightful, dark brown boots.
“For someone who was so keen to see me in a dress, you show an immense lack of interest for wearing one yourself.”
I place my hands on my hips. “That is what every woman thinks when a bloke tells her to wear one.” I gesture to my clothes again and raise my brow questioningly. He shakes his head and sighs.
“It looks fine, though I would think a dress would be more suitable.”
“I’ll buy one when you wear one, Haytham.”
Consequently, we left without a dress.
“Right lass, are yeh sure about this idea?” Pitcairn tugs nervously at his simple coat I made him wear instead of his uniform as we sit in a small pub across the other side of Boston.
Sure? Sure? Of Course I’m not fucking sure. I have no idea on what to do. I don’t even know why I agreed to do this. Instead of voicing any of these thoughts, I flash Pitcairn a smile and nod. A moment later the pub door swings open and a man wearing grungy brown clothes stumbles in. Pitcairn nudges me and nods his head in the man’s direction. So that is Gall. I watch the man make his way to the bar and slap some coin onto the bench. We wait for his drink to come before the plan goes into action. I turn to Pitcairn and slap his arm.
“Oh so because I’m a woman you reckon I can’t hold my drink! Is that it?” I say to him with a raised voice.
Pitcairn laughs and slams his drink on the table. “Yes. That is exactly what I am saying.”
I gesture wildly to the patrons around me. “I reckon I could beat any man here.” I look around and see most of the people looking at me. Some men even looking rather eager to prove themselves. Of course I scan right past them and stop at Gall.
“Mate,” I call, walking over to his table and clapping Gall on the shoulder. “Help me make a point?”
Gall stares at me for a moment before he shrugs off my hand. “Nah girl. Be too easy to beat you.”
Well excuse me? At least Pitcairn was joking. I leer at him. “Strong talk mate.” I say, letting my Aussie accent creep through. “I’d rather see to believe. Unless you don’t want to be shown up in front of everyone, which I accept.” Checkmate.
Gall grips his pint and stares at the brown liquid before he downs it… alright. It begins
“Pour me another” he calls out, staring at me with muddy brown eyes. I sit opposite him and a crowd gathers around us, cheering as I too slug one down. A man whisks our tankards away before slamming more in front of us. We both grab for our drinks as the crowd stomps. I knock back the second one while he follows close behind. Another.
This goes on for several more minutes with the other people in the pub calling out support and passing money around. From what I can hear I am bringing up a lot of cash. I decide to have some fun and look in marvel at my fingers. The crowd hushes and stares at me.
“I feel something...” I mutter “a slight tingle in my fingers.” The crowd chuckles as I put on a horrified expression. “I think it’s affecting me.” Gall looks triumphant and slams down yet another drink. His smug smile falters when I shrug and tilt my head back, finishing another drink.
Towards the sixth drink I can see him slosh a bit over the sides as he drinks it, pouring more down his shirt that into his mouth. I’m not feeling too fantastic either. That ale is starting to give my head a numb, buzzing feeling and there most definitely is a slight tingle in my fingers. Another drink is brought to us and I feel faint at the sight of it. I sip this one slowly until it is gone. Gall pales slightly at the thought of another drink and slides off of his chair. A few men from the crowd hoist him up back into his seat. He lifts the drink up to his lips and holds it there, a sheen of sweat coating his brow. The crowd chants, waiting for him to take a sip, and then groans when he slams his mug down and raises a hand.
“I…I.. Submit.” He murmurs. The patrons cheer and I feel several hands slap my back in celebration. I make out the hazy image of a man stashing his winnings into his pockets. Soon the crowd disperses back to their own pastimes and Gall and I are sitting at the table, attempting to keep our heads up. I notice Pitcairn sidle into the chair behind Gall, listening in.
“So…” I grumble. “Whose arse did I have the honour of taking the seat out from under?” Gall waves a hand. “George Gall.”
I nod my head. “We’re new round here.” Pitcairn ventures, slipping onto the stool beside me. Judging by Gall’s state he won’t remember this in the morning. “Know any decent shops can spend my winnings at? Jewellery perhaps?” Gall raises his hand again. “Aye. There are some lovely ones near the town centre…give… give fine jewellery. Although I saw this fine one lot nong ago. Passed through my hands,” he scrunched up his face sluggishly. “Just yesterday.” I see Pitcairn stiffen and subtly lean closer. I stare in wonder, was that all the prompting he needed? “It was all… round with some sort of holey thing in the middle.” Pitcairn nods at me and I make a noise of thought.
“Sounds divine. Truly.” I slur. It really is a wonder he can understand me. “Know where I could purchase such a fine piece?” I hold my breath as he stares at me.
“Some bloke named Phillip Turner or something bought if off me yesterday. Gone now.” His voice trails off and he leans forward slowly, completely slumped against the table top. A snore tears itself from him. I look over at Pitcairn and see him rise towards me. He grips me under the arm and guides me out of the tavern. More like carries me than anything as I stumble into him and into the cold night.
“Pit...” I mumble “Pit my ol' friend, we should do this again.” I suddenly double over in hysterics and start singing Auld Lang Syne at my full belt while poor Pitcairn attempts to cover my mouth and drag me back to the Green Dragon.
“I AM TRIUMPHANT!!!” I sing as Pitcairn drags me into the tavern. I ignore the funny looks from the patrons and toddle up the stairs onto the landing where all of the order are sitting. I see Johnson clap a hand to his growing smile as I hit the railing and curse at it for stepping in the way. Hickey laughs at the sight while both Haytham and Charles share a look.
“What? Did two drinks make ‘er this tipsy?” Hickey chortles. I balance myself on the railing and attempt to draw myself to my full, and rather unimpressive, height.
Pitcairn smirks at me before turning to Hickey, “try six drinks, Thomas.” The lads all share an impressed look around the table and Hickey looks shocked. I turn to him and saunter past towards my room, throwing “and if you think THIS is tipsy, you should see the other guy,” behind my back before slamming my door shut to the sound of their laughter and collapsing on my bed.
The following morning wasn’t fun. I spent it in bed while trying to wash away the hangover with copious amounts of tea. I emerged well into the afternoon with a ripping headache. Haytham is seated at the table on the landing and glances up from his writing as I sit near him. He closes the book and I realise with a pang that it is his journal. I feel like I’ve invaded his privacy knowing that I’ve read it all. There will probably be some pages about me in there now though.
“So Miss Swann. How is the head?” I hold up my hand in a silencing gesture.
“Could you whisper?” I mutter at him.
“No. Not really. I think you’re spent enough time in recovery. Though don’t worry, John has already given a report on the information you… extracted.” I nod and lower my head into my arms.
“A job well done. I have Charles and Johnson going to retrieve the necklace from this Turner fellow at this moment.”
“Glorious news.” I mutter.
I can hear the teasing laugh before he says “How about a drink to celebrate?”
“Fuck off Haytham.”