The largest tavern in the slums of the vast city of Paryer, Sazhen's overarching capital, was aptly named the Drunkard's Haven. Not only was it a safe place for those who planned to drown themselves in rivers of alcohol, but in these dark times, it was also a refuge from the Purge. Armored patrols marched through the streets daily, sending most of the slum-dwellers indoors if they had no urgent business to do. The Purge soldiers were searching, first and foremost, for those who were obvious troublemakers: thieves, beggars, vandals, and prostitutes. Even while the rest of the citizens of Paryer slumbered, these militant men and women were searching for prey. When spotted, these aforementioned miscreants were either killed (as in the case of the thieves and vandals) or arrested (as in the case of the beggars and prostitutes). Usually, this would not be anything out of the ordinary: weren't those sorts of people taken into custody every day by Paryer's regular Watchmen? However, the Purge's soldiers were not regular Watchmen by any means. Everyone in Paryer, rich and poor, knew this and lived in terror.
Against the Purge, the Watchmen were helpless. Many were already slain.
What happened to those who were captured by the soldiers of the Purge? No one knew--or, at least, no one knew who had survived being seized...
That was why Per'dra Raliry watched her every step as she ventured out into the night. So far, the Purge hadn't targeted mere drunkards for elimination, but who knew what new steps they might take to combat "evil", "vice" and "wickedness" in the filthy slums of this city? With sly bitterness, the bard and duelist smirked at the fact that the Purge hadn't killed very many wealthy people yet. Their crap stinks just as much as ours does, she mused.
After dozing in fits and starts, Per'dra had decided to get dressed in her worn leather armor and head for the Drunkard's Haven. She wasn't going to get falling-down drunk, slobbering and collapsing in her own vomit. She simply wanted something to help her sleep, and get rid of the nightmares once and for all. No more roaring. No more growing unease. No Ralthen-poor boy!
When she entered, she saw that the tavern was already near to bursting!
"Rough night?" She caught the forty-five-year-old barmaid's eye and winked. Meara was an old favorite of hers: she knew all about Per'dra's dreams.
Meara gazed wearily at the crowd and beckoned Per'dra over. "Join the club! This place is open all hours of the day, especially with those butchers marching around." Clearly, the barmaid was no supporter of the Purge. "What can I fetch for ye, Lass Raliry? White wine? Red? Honey mead?"
Per'dra shook her head. "I had the nightmare again. That means I need something stronger--if you please..." Trailing off, she sat down on a stool.