Geena still doesn't know why she puts up with him, after all those years.
"Okay, I'm leavin' ta get some work done. I'll have the money I owe ya fer last night when I get back, ok? Really! I will! Oh, don't look at me like that..." That's what Badrach had said, earlier that day - dressed up in those old rags that he refused to throw away, with that huge weapon of his slung over his back and a cigarette stuck in his mouth. Unlit, of course, because he knows she'd never allow those disgusting things in her inn. "I mean it this time, ok? Now... could ya just get outta my way?! I've gotta get goin'!"
But Geena's no fool. She's heard a million empty promises just like that one, most of them from the mouth of Badrach himself. He knows that he's a dishonest man - a thief, but too uncivilized even for the Guild. She knows roughly what he does all day - he'll steal, lie, kill or whatever else he has to do to get his money, then he'll go out and get drunk and flirt with pretty girls and generally make an ass out of himself. It's the kind of lifestyle that so many people in Villnore seem to favor, and that's going to get him killed sooner or later. Sooner, most likely.
And she knows very well as she lets him leave that money for his rent is the last thing on his mind.
He'll come home that night, most likely, drunk off his ass on whatever he could afford that night and waving that bow of his around like a kid's toy. "Whaat... *hic* money? I didn't promise you no money! *hic* Ugh... think I gonna be shick..."
Or maybe he won't come home at all. Most of those "jobs" he mentions seem to involve a lot of travelling, and she's known him to spend days on the road at a time, guarding slavers or traders or whoever else could pay him as much as he wanted. Maybe he'll take a couple of those, just so he won't have to see her nagging face again for a while. Not that she'll mind, of course - it'll be good to have him out of her hair for a while, she'll tell herself. She'll just do everything she usually does. She'll cook, clean the inn, haggle with other would-be guests, and search their rooms for anything blatantly illegal so that she can return it to the guards. Otherwise, if they come to search her inn and find it, they'll toss everyone in the inn in some horrid dungeon somewhere until they got bored of hearing them scream to be let out. Badrach's room she'll pass by, as usual, since she'll know from past experience that she'll find more than she can carry.
Then she'll cook a late dinner, and make more than enough for her and the few guests that she keeps, leaving the rest on the table for Badrach to stuff himself when he gets home. Then, after a few hours, she'll remember that he probably isn't coming home that night, shrug, and leave most of the leftovers out on her doorstep for any starving children that might happen by.
But that's not nearly as likely as him coming home that night - stinking drunk, maybe even with a whore on his arm. His weakness for pretty girls is as bad as his constant drunkenness, and he loses all ability to tell which girls are pretty and which aren't once he gets drunk enough. And he'll be very drunk, if that happens - obviously drunk enough to forget just how much Geena frowns on bringing street women back to her inn.
"What - how dare you, you old... you old thief!"
"Wha..?" He'll look at her, blearily, arm around the whore's waist (who will very likely be cowering behind him, ready to bolt at any moment. Geena's attitude towards prostitutes in her hostel is practically legendary.) "But I'm jusht bring'n a friend ta sphend da night - "
And she'll snap, after so many months of him disregarding her rules, doing whatever he pleases in her inn, getting her in trouble with the guards all those times. "You can take that slut somewhere else!" she'll screetch, completely forgetting herself. "Get out of here! Get out of here right this instant!"
"B... but... Geena!?"
But she won't listen. She'll push them both out the door, and Badrach - who would usually push back at the very least, being a very unchivalrous man - will be too drunk and legless to do more than protest weakly. She will leave them both on the doorstep, and scream "And stay out, you old bastard!" before slamming the door and locking it tight. Then she'll fall into her old rocking chair, by the fire, and prop her feet up on the little table, and sit there for a while, brooding and trying her best to ignore him.
And he'll pound on the oak door for hours, screaming at the top of his lungs. "Geena... come on, Geena, lemme in! I can't stay out here all night! ... Ok, ok, the slut's run off, won't you open the goddamned door now?!? It's cold out here! I... I hurt my ankle, yeah! ... Come on, please?"
Eventually he'll stop, and she'll probably go to sleep right there in that chair, since it's as comfortable as anywhere else. Then she'll get up in the morning and find him, fast asleep on her doorstep, almost looking as though he'd been crying... but Badrach would never cry, or at least that's what he says. And then... well, she really doesn't know what she'd do, although she'd like to think she'd make him leave again.
Yeah, that's probably what will happen. Badrach isn't a good man - he's never claimed to be, and would probably insulted if anyone called him that. He'll push her too far any time now, and then she'll push back. Happens all the time - their constant bickering's proof of that.
But then again...
Maybe he'll come home quietly, mostly sober for a change, and she'll be sitting in front of the little fireplace, feet propped up - exhausted from a long day of cooking and cleaning and chasing off the thieving bastards that always seem to congregate around her inn, no thanks to him. She'll be thinking about everything, about how hard life can be in a city like Villnore, and she'll wonder why she bothers with it all. She'll glance over at him when he comes in, then back at the fire - and she'll think about throwing him out right then and there, but... no. Maybe later, she'll say to herself, when her feet and head aren't hurting so much. "So you're finally home," she'll say, weary-voiced, without as much as looking up again. "Dinner's on the table, you're gonna have to help yourself. You're not gonna get anything else out of me tonight. It's been a very long day..."
And he'll walk up to the little table that she's propping her feet up on, and drop a little parcel on it - so quietly that she won't even notice until after she's done with her usual spiel. And she will open her eyes, and notice it, and stare for a couple of minutes. "Badrach... what's this?"
"'This?' Ya mean that little package? Oh, uh, it's nuttin'. Just, uhhh... a little something I picked up today, ya know?"
She'll pick it up and unfold it - it won't be anything big, of course. Maybe a new scarf or bandanna for her hair, or maybe a cheap ring that would've been too small for her even had she been ten years younger.
And he'll look away, or he'll stare at the fire - anywhere but her face. She'll keep insisting, asking her usual questions - where did he get it from, how did he pay for it, how much did it cost - and he'll keep dodging them with all the grace and agility of a one-legged acrobat. "Uh, it was in the market. Yeah. And - what, no, I didn't do anything wrong! That merchant guy... he gave it to me for a discount! Yeah, a discount, cuz I... um... helped him move some boxes and stuff! And then... uh... look, it don't matter where I got it from! It's yours now, so just take it, ok?!"
And she'll finally relent, not quite smiling, but not frowning anywhere near as deeply as before. She'll carefully pick up the gift, not making any move to wear it or even put it aside... just holding it, looking at it and thinking. Of course, she'll know very well that he never comes by such things honestly, and she'll probably try to have it returned to its owner - she's an honest woman, and doesn't want any trouble in her inn. Besides, wearing a stolen scarf out and about the city isn't a very smart idea. But despite all that...
And Badrach, having absolutely no respect for such moments, will toss a heavy bag of worn gold coins and wrinkled notes on top of the old counter. "There," he'll mutter, maybe even blushing just a little. "There's the month's rent. Now... just let me go get some grub, ok? Haven't eaten all day..." And he'll keep saying things like that, sounding a bit like a surly, spoiled child who's being forced to go to bed early.
She won't be listening, though. She'll just sit there by the fire, thinking. Thinking about how even a man like Badrach - who at that moment will be stuffing cold chicken and potatoes down his throat at an alarming speed and shouting "Hey, this ain't bad! A little dry, but hell of a lot better than last night's slop!" with his mouth full - can sometimes have moments where he's not all that reprehensible.
And maybe she'll decide to let him stay... well, a little while longer. A week or two, until he can find another place. Wouldn't want to force him to sleep on the streets; he wouldn't make it through the night, the way he makes enemies.
Maybe that's what will happen. You never know.
A/N: I think I can safely say that I'm going to write more about this game, since I actually like all of the playable characters and a good number of the NPCs. Yes, even Badrach. It's amazing how writing something about a character can change's one opinions about him or her....
Valkyrie Profile and all characters are property of Tri-Ace. Not me, sadly, although I'd love to own a couple of those Lezard-homniculi that I saw in a fan-doujinshi once. *chuckle* Necro-boy!
4/25/02 (or so)