Cristiano Murdoch

Hidden Punishments

32 posts in this topic

Autumn 1.png

 

Date.png23rd August 949

Location.pngHalamsharal

Characters.pngCristiano, Ava

Players.png@Jax @Zyah_Rayne

Requirements.png1x1

Notes.pngFor the last two years Cristiano has been keeping a secret from his friends but only Ava is going to find out...for now

Links.pngN/A

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So, this was Halamsharal, the seat of Imperial power in this land of frogs legs and pompous oafs. Cristiano felt nothing for the hierarchy of Orlais ruling elite. He had made no oaths to them and so as he and Ava rode past the Imperial Palace he did not even spare it a glance, save for a brief disdainful look. 

He may have been a proud member of the Swords, the only Templars worthy of the name, in his opinion, but he was still a village born commoners son at heart, so he held no respect for any of the elite. They all pandered to the Mages in his opinion and if he could put them all to the sword then he would. Right now though, they were on the trail of a couple of mages, still on the loose from the Spire since the beginning of the War, just how they had survived this long without help from other mages or mage sympathisers was beyond him, but there you had it. 

When news had reached them of the wanted apostates, he had only been too happy to go looking for them, and he knew that Ava would too. She shared his views, better he ride with her than a bloody so called Traditionalist or a Shield. They were the only ones worthy of the name and so, it would be their hunt. 

Last spotted in the wilds outside of the Imperial City, it turned his stomach to even be anywhere near such opulence. These were not true sons and daughters of the Maker, their sins too heinous for even him to contemplate and maybe one day he would find out, if only to bring one of them in as a Mage sympathiser it would sate his sadistic nature. 

"I hope they are not too broken" he snarled under his breath "I want to know who their friends are" In his experience Mages fared ill when they were free, all their big talk and when they were free, they moaned about having no one to look after them...brats each and everyone of them.

 

 

 

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"If they are alive then we'll get the answers we want." Ava stated matter-of-factly. There hadn't been a mage yet she wasn't able to break and she always looked forward to a challenge. If rumor of the apostates were true then they were dealing with a clever bunch of mages, either that or these mages were very lucky. Regardless, their time was running short. Ava never lost a hunt and with Cris by her side they should make simple work of tracking the fugitives. 

Several miles into the wilds Ava frowned at the sudden change in temperature. "The Veil is thin in this area." She spoke aloud what Cris likely sensed as well. They'd been hunting together long enough to know how sharp the other senses were. The horses were spooked, another sure sign of demonic activity, and Ava was on high alert.

"Fucking mages have been playing with demons." It wasn't the only possible explanation for the weakened Veil but it was the one Ava was inclined to believe. Magic was the root of all evil and mages were nothing more than a means to unleash said evil. Dismounting from her horse Ava took up her sword and slowly advanced forward. The hairs on her skin were raised and she could feel magic being cast but it was difficult to pinpoint where. A heavy mist began to form around them and the female Templar swore under her breath. 

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Cris patted his horses neck as she whinnied and made to step back "Easy girl, easy" he cooed and dismounted, best leave them here. He hefted his shield and drew his sword, mirroring his partner and his closest friend. 

The hairs on his arm prickled as he felt the waves of latent magic and something else, something ugly, he picked his way through, his Templar powers reaching out like feelers. That was when he saw the first body. A young Templar knight, female, maybe 19 or 20, barely past their training. Then another older Templar, a Knight Lieutenant by the looks, necks twisted at unnatural angles. 

He gripped the hilt of his sword and swore under his breath although his voice trailed when he found the Chantry Sisters and the children. Orphans judging by the clothes they wore, the sigil of an Orphanage in Val Chevain. 

"Ava" he called, his voice choked. 

He was too late to save them but through him and his friend they would be avenged. 

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Her jaw tensed at the sight of her fallen brethren and a soft menacing growl left her when Cris brought her attention to the massacred women and children. "They will pay for this." Ava vowed before moving past the slaughter, following the tracks she saw on the ground. She noticed the scorched earth and her hand roamed over it. The traces of expelled mana was there but it was not all she sensed.

"These mages have opened the Veil." She spoke her thoughts to Cris that the mages may have become abominations. "Those killings were not done by mere magic. We have demons at work here." Either the mages brought them forth from the Fade or they had become possessed by them. "They do no leave this place." Ava had a way of speaking that did not leave room for debate. As far as she was concerned these mages were as good as dead. 

Ava took lead and brought them further into the woods. She noticed ruins hidden by moss and vines. Time had done its part in concealing what once was but it had recently been disturbed. Were they nearing some kind of temple? Glyphs were placed around the perimeter and Ava quickly dispelled them. "There." She pointed out what looked to be an entrance. She could feel the magic within. 

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Cris moved his hand to the entrance and closed his eyes, magic abound in here, blood around the entrance, With a grunt he dispelled the barrier, his lyrium blessed powers making short work of it. Moving through what he saw sickened him. A Chantry mother...a mother! Held up naked, her arms outstretched the fear on her face evident as the Demon of desire made its sickening touches over her chaste body. 

On the floor the bodies of the rest of the entourage and mages...half a dozen or so, abominations, all. With a roar he drove his sword into the ground, letting his nullifying powers come to the fore. Ava could have her pick of what she wanted but their magic needed to be killed first..oh he was going to enjoy this, he was going to make it slow and painful and he focused on the desire demon, but not before the naked horned creature snapped the Mothers neck and laughed. 

"A Templar...come my handsome man....come see what i offer" 

He snarled under his breath, these creatures had no idea what they were about to face, no idea at all, not one but two of the finest truest Templars in this maker forsaken hole. 

"I want nothing from you but your death!" he snarled and brought the wrath of the maker to bear. 

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As soon as Cris initiated the attack Ava ambushed the abomination furthermost from the others. With it singled out and weakened by Cris' dispelling Ava was able to run it through with her blades. But the others were quick to sense her and she was soon faced with three of the monsters at once. Ava was not shaken by this, in fact she taunted the enemy so she could line them up for slaughter. Her enchanted blades weakened the former mages as they neared her, the runes inscribed on her blades designed to dampen magic and combined with her flooding the immediate area with her Holy Smite her attacks were devastating. 

One fell... then another... 

Ava weaved through cluster of abominations, slicing and running them through. The seasoned Templars did not hesitate, they were steadfast in their pursuit to bring an end to the demon and her followers. Though they faced a desire demon Ava was not concerned. Her and Cris were devout and would not be led astray. They spent many years fighting side by side and they would not endanger the other or succumb to weakness.

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"Though all i see before me is shadow" Cris cut one of the abominations down as he made his way to the demon "Forever shall the Maker be my guiding light" He said it loud enough as a mantra to steel his heart. He reached the Desire demon, there was nothing this foul creature could offer him, nothing whatsoever. 

They had tried before, it was not the first time he had faced one, and it wouldn't be the last. "The Maker and Blessed Bride forever by my side" he growled as he brought his sword up to block her strike "Their hands on my heart to send you back to the hell that spawned you and yours creature"

He took its head off with a single powerful stroke, glancing at the mothers limp and very abused body he cursed himself for not being fast enough. That would have to be addressed, but later, not now. He  turned to face the next batch, the scriptures flowing from his lips like poetry, the Maker did not intervene, he never did, but he could give his warriors strength in his name, and in his name and the blessed brides name he would fight. 

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The fight between Templars and demons waged on, longer than normal for the seasoned Knights of the Maker. They were short a man and it made a difference when they were facing off against a handful of demons. Nearly a half hour later the final abomination fell with a heavy thump to the cold ground and Ava sunk her blade into one final time. Yanking it free she went to another carcass and did the same, and again until she was certain they were all dead. Cursed blood was spattered across her armor and her blades dripped of the foul substance. Using the last of her reserved energy she sent a final dispel throughout the area to Cleanse it but she could do nothing for the innocent that had already fallen.

Ava approached the broken body of the Chantry sister and covered her with the discarded robe near her before picking her up and throwing her over her shoulder. When they made it back outside where the other servants of the Maker lay slaughtered Ava and Cris went about making the Pyres for them. By evening the flames were set and the Templars gave last rights before heading back out.

"Lets go." She stated to Cris and led them to their horses. It wasn't until they reached a suitable camp site with a lake near by that Ava spoke again. "I'm going to get cleaned up." Even though they had been victorious against the demons the Templars' demeanor was solemn. Ava wondered off to the lake to wash up leaving Cris at the camp. It was their usual routine, even when Bryant was with them. The three would take a moment to themselves to reflect before coming back together in better spirits. 

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Cris set up the tents and going into his took his armour off, setting it to one side he would tend to his armours needs and blessings later. 

They had got to the abominations, but in his mind, had not got there fast enough. He reached into his backpack and removed a small cat o nine from the back. Innocents, children and sisters of the maker, Brother and Sister Templars had been slain because the magical freaks were one step ahead. 

Probably aided by the damn nobility who sympathised with them, or elements within the Chantry itself. He removed the last items of his clothing and took a deep breath. He needed to cleanse himself of his shame. The first lash on his shoulder. He gritted his teeth, he had done this time and time again, every time he had failed in his duty to the Maker, right now, he felt he had failed. 

Another further down, every time he pictured one of the dead the lash got harder. This was nothing to do with Piety, this was cleansing himself of the guilt. Each time he whipped himself he vowed to do better. He vowed to ensure that the Maker would see in him a steadfast loyal son. 

He hit himself again feeling the blood trickle down his back and let a sigh go from his lips and rested the whip beside him. 

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Standing directly behind Cris, partly hidden by some trees, stood Ava wide eyed and jaw dropped. Having returned from washing off, taking less time than she normally did, Ava was greeted with a sight that left her utterly speechless. The Templar stood watching as Cris whipped himself, how long he'd been doing it she wasn't sure but with the last lash she saw that he'd broken skin and was bleeding. 

Stepping away from the trees Ava cleared her throat, announcing her presence to Cris and walked toward him. She did not give him any time to cover up what he'd been doing. What she witnessed was not something she could ignore and she wanted answers. And when Ava wanted answers she was relentless until she got them.

"Cris. What have you done?" Her brow furrowed into a scowl and she walked around him so he'd have to look at her. That also meant she'd have to look at him and though they'd shared bunks before this was the first time she'd seem him completely naked and not just his torso. And why was he whipping himself naked?! "Are... are you punishing yourself?" Ava had to understand why one of her dearest friends would do this. And how did she not know about it! "When... why... talk to me!" She dropped her things to the side, her attention solely focused on her brother at arms.

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Ava's voice made him jump, so lost in what he saw as his Penance, he hadn't even heard her come up and cursed himself for his laxity. When she stood before him he knew that look on her face, when she wanted answers she was like a Mabari with a bone. 

He had spent months hiding this from everyone, considering it a private and personal penance between him and the maker, and there was no way he was going to get out of here without Ava getting her answers. The other side of that was she was near his clothes so he couldn't even cover his dignity, not that he had much left now. 

"Years" he told her, "Since the war started, and after. Its not all the time Ava, just when i have not been fast enough to stop the deaths of the innocent. It is my penance to the Maker and his bride for letting those abominations kill" he said with a snarl to his voice. 

Lyrium effected Templars differently and in Cris mind, for every mage bastard that was free and not in the circle or the grave, it was his duty to make sure they returned to either. If innocents were harmed that was on him, his fellow Knights could deal with this how they felt fit, this was how he dealt with it, he had since the day his mentor died and his belief that this was the way to cleanse himself was set in his mind. 

"It is how i cleanse my soul" 

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"What?" Ava was very confused. She wasn't judging but nor was she understanding. "This is cleansing to you?" The concept wasn't foreign to her but never in a million years did she suspect Cris was this way. Yes, she thought it was stupid because never in a million years would she flog herself. Where was the fun in that? Ava was used to delivering punishment. It was what the Maker wished of her, to be his hand and purge Thedas of the wicked ones. 

Ava picked up the whip from the ground next to him and inspected it. Where did he even get something like this? And how did she not see it until now? Cris had done well in keeping it hidden from his friends and it bothered Ava a little that he felt he had to. The three of them were close and she thought they shared everything with each other. "This helps you?" Ava lifted her eyes from the cat o nine to Cris who remained kneeling on the ground in front of her. The fact he hadn't risen up from the ground reminded her that he was also naked but she made no effort to toss him clothes. Ava wasn't going to let him off that easy. He would have to remain there until he explained how this helped him or risk exposing himself to her. At least in this position he could still cover himself. "Tell me how this helps you and then maybe I can understand." Ava's tone softened, hoping he'd trust her enough to do so.

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Cris scowled, this was his thing, how dare she? then he heard the rare soft tone and his anger dissipated. He got up and ignoring the fact he was naked stood before her arching an eyebrow before reaching for his uniform trousers. 

"When we met i was standing over my mentors body" he told her "You remember? everything i had done then had been for Susanna, my mentor, my friend and my lover" He pulled his breeches on and eased himself onto the floor "It was my fault she and the others had died, i was supposed to be watching thier backs but those freaks had come out of nowhere. So i atoned for my mistake when i was alone." 

He picked the small cat up and looked at it "Susanna started it, every time we all failed in our duty as Swords, her company and her Swords,  the rightfully appointed Templars of the Maker. Our souls needed to be cleansed of thier touch, our faith had wavered and needed to be reaffirmed. This was how to do it." He set it down "The Maker is an unforgiving god, he neither speaks to us nor coddle us, he expects and we do as he expects. That is what those of us that were in Susanna's company were taught" 

He shrugged "I haven't felt the need to cleanse my soul like that for months, that abomination defiled and murdered a chantry mother, the children, sisters and brother Templars, daughters of the Maker, I had to affirm my faith and my devotion," he raised his eyes to hers "I can explain it no other way"

 

 

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"And have you?" Ava asked, her gaze unwavering as she questioned Cris. "Have you affirmed your faith and devotion?" She was only asking because she wanted to make sure that Cris was not carrying any more of guilt over what happened to the Chantry women. Ava never knew that Susanna subjected the Templars under her to such treatment but Cris obviously believed it helped with their atonement. Maybe it did.

Ava's eyes drifted to the small whip and her brow furrowed a little as she tried to understand. How a Templar sought to reaffirm their faith was catered to the individual. It was something she learned long ago and accepted as long as it didn't deter keep them from fulfilling their duty. "Does it feel different? You said Susanna used to... hand out punishment. You do it yourself now." Ava looked hard at Cris as if trying to read his thoughts. "I need to know that you're going to be focused when we face off against our enemy." It was important for her, for all of them, that Cris' mind and soul was clear and not weighted down. If she could help him then she would. "Cris, if I can help you I will. And I won't tell Bryant or anyone else about this if that matters to you." She vowed to him.

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His eyes set on her and he nodded "I am fine," he crossed to where a bottle of ale sat and he downed half the bottle. "It will never interfere in the work we do, that i swear to you" He sat on his bedroll and motioned for her to sit down. "I would not ask such a personal thing of you Ava, not that i do not trust you, i do, but i haven't let anyone else do this since Susanna died."

There was an underlying implication that he did not voice. Sometimes this led onto other things. There was a fine line between pleasure and pain and for years he had atoned when he had to and then nature had taken over. It had certainly coloured his view on dealings with the heart that was for certain. 

"Seeing those kids, the future, i just..well you what i did" he shrugged a little "So now you know my own cleansing. I am sorry if it seems weird to you but we all have our ways of coping, thats mine" He was pretty certain that he would not need to do this for a while. He had no idea in any rational sense that his mentor and former lover had been so lyrium addled and deep scars from what she had seen, that it had been a form of control over her squad. 

 

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Ava settled next to Cris and listened to him to explain. "Look, if doing that is your... outlet then I'll respect it. Don't fucking understand it but I trust you." And she did, with her life. On more than one occasion they faced death together and it was their faith in the Maker and each other that saw them through. Their battle against the mages was never ending. The atrocities they've witnessed could not be forgotten and they had their own way of dealing it. For Ava, she took her frustrations out on the next cursed ones who deserved to be punished. 

"Like I said. I won't say anything." It would be up to Cris if he wanted to let Bryant know of his 'cleansing' ritual. Maker, she could only imagine how the other Templar might take that shit. Shaking her head she slapped Cris' arm with the back of her hand. "You got anything stronger to drink than water. I could use it." She smirked at him and winking, hinting that he owed her after what she'd seen. 

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Cris looked at her and nodded, He didn't really care what anyone else said, as long as she was ok with it. Getting up he grabbed a couple of bottles and after ripping the tops from them he handed her one. The fact that one of the side effects of this left him with urges, he chose to keep to himself. Ava didn't need to know that. She was his friend and there were somethings that he would keep to himself. 

For now. 

"Whisky and Brandy" he told her, "figured they would be strong enough. So what's next? please tell me i can execute a couple of Orlesian fops" Cris really did not like the Orleasian nobility, whether that was an inherent dislike because he was a Dog Lord, or the way they treated everyone around them like they owed them something wasn't clear. Ava would know he just hated the nobility, he was good with Ava though, she was a Templar, one of them and he adored her. 

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Ava accepted the bottle of brandy and took a modest sip. She liked to savor the taste and the heat that traveled down her throat to her belly. "Why does it have to be Orlesian? You do realize there are other fops in this world." She smirked as she brought the bottle back to her lips. "Its those fucking dog lords that need their ass handed to them. Especially their fucking so-called bastard King." She blamed a great deal of the Mage uprising on the King of Ferelden. Everything stemmed from Ferelden because of the Blight and it was clear he was a mage sympathizer. Who gave a fuck if he was a Grey Warden.

"What do you have to say about that?" She grinned over at Cris, wondering how he would take her snarky comments of his homeland. It was only fair and it was in good fun. "Tell you what. How about we make it fair. We do a little more hunting here in Orlais and then cross the waters and see what's going on in your neck of the woods. I'm sure there is plenty of cleansing opportunity there as well." Ava arched a brow. She was trying to keep conversation around his own personal 'cleansing' so inwardly cringed when she managed to reference the word. If it was something Cris had to do then she would not judge but support him... somehow. 

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Cris snorted a little, he cared little about his homeland, as much as Orlais, but she had a point. His mage loving king and a fucking grey warden to boot was to blame for the war, them and the Divine too. So no he didn't care about things like that. "you're right" he glanced at her and swallowed a large amount of his drink "The bastard King, the Grey Wardens who take mages without question. The Fucking Divine who wants to give them fucking rights, the only good mage is a dead mage, so sure, lets head across to my homeland because other than Tevinter they always seem to find safe haven in Fereldan" 

He lent towards her "Or does hanging with a dog lord, going into the lands that smell like Wet Dogs offend your Orleasian sensibilities" He was teasing now he took what she threw and he could throw it back, twice as hard "Besides the only cleansing i want t do to them is at the end of my sword, its all they will ever know, but um there's something else i need to take care off so unless you have a voyeur instinct in you i need to find a woman to fuck, side effect and the lyrium i took before you came back, sort of need to calm down a little. Any suggestions?" 

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Ava nearly choked on her brandy and ended up coughing a little as the liquor went down the wrong pipe. "Am I supposed to pull one out of thin air?" She cleared her throat and then smack him across his chest. Seriously, they were in the middle of nowhere. "And what do you mean side effect?" Based on his comment she didn't really have to guess what he meant and inadvertently her gaze drifted downward toward his crotch. "Really?" She turned her gaze away but did not hide her amusement at Cris' predicament. 

With a soft chuckle she brought the bottle of brandy to her lips and took another sip. "Voyeur instinct, huh? Tell you what. Lets see if its true. You obviously need to take care of your... ahem... problem. Why don't you show me?" She dared him, wondering how badly Cris really did need release. It was out of fun, her not really expecting him to do it but she enjoyed giving him a hard time. No pun intended.

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Cris took her teasing with the good nature it was but that didn't solve his immediate problem. He couldn't exactly stand up right now and he didn't actually fancy wanking himself in front of his friend. She had him backed into a corner, literally, so he had to find a way out. Waiting until she had the bottle to her lips again. 

He reached out and ran his finger the length off her neck then kissed it before sitting back and picking his bottle up. The smirk on his face. This might help, teasing her as much as she teased him, lets see how hard it got now. 

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Again Ava choked on her brandy and she cursed under breath as she coughed. Cris' little stunt surprised her and she cast him an incredulous look. What the fuck was he playing at? "Are you saying you want me to help you with your... problem?" Ava arched a brow at him and an impish smirk slowly formed on her lips. This was interesting change of events and she took a more generous sip of brandy while her eyes remained locked on his as she pondered if he was serious. "And what do I get out of it?" Well, besides the obvious. She wasn't going to make it easy for him even if it was a little fun between friends. Besides, the brandy had her feeling pretty good.

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He drained his bottle and picked up a whisky bottle, opened it and swallowed a generous measure of it. What would she get out of it? it wasn't an altogether abhorrent idea, but they were partners, warriors who strove to keep the normal folk of Thedas safe in their beds, from the ravages of foul magic. 

He shrugged and looked at her, with a deadpan voice said, "Well the Dog Lord could show the Orlesian Poodle how to do it doggy style" 


Was it the drink or the Lyrium talking he didn't know, he trusted her with this part of his private life, why not trust her with more. If Ava ever enquired enough she would discover that Cristiano's private life would make some chantry sisters and brothers blush in embarrassment, he had no time for the softly softly approach of sex or any other sort of game. he was a man who liked his playmates to be rough. The rougher the better as far as he was concerned. 

He wouldn't draw Ava into that however, he was happy to tease her. Until his body had calmed down enough.  He arched an eyebrow a crude man, but an honest man, and besides he always thought he might be out of Ava's league and Bryant might be more in her league. 

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"Oh, you better stop while you're ahead." Ava smirked, a devious glint in her eyes. She was not the cute and cuddly type and just because she was Orlesian didn't mean she lived any kind of posh life. "This so called 'poodle' will kick your ass." Ava was a soldier, a fighter, and was not shy about getting in one's face. "Besides, Cris. I might break you." She winked at him, completely unabashed by her making the comment. 

Some Templars chose to live a chaste life. Ava was not one of those Templars and she made apologies for it,  but nor did she openly advertise who she was fucking either. "Tell you what, lets make this interesting." It was just the two of them, cutting lose and having fun. After the day they had they deserved some down time, especially Cris. "If you can down your bottle of whiskey faster than I can finish my bottle, then I'll help you with your 'problem.'. But if I win then you'll be doing my share of the chores and polish my armor for the next month." It was a fair trade, at least in her eyes. 

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Cris arched an eyebrow, the first part of that deal sounded fair, the second? fuck he knew how many chores she had and how dirty her armour could get, that, that did not sound fair at all but, never one to back down from a challenge, he accepted. "It has to go straight down, no breaks and if you choke or splutter, you are forefiet, deal?" 

He grinned a little, course if he did this then it might be a moot point anyone cause alcohol and dicks never worked well together. Still he was semi confident he would win and this would be ... interesting. Very very interesting. 

"On three then...one....two....Three"

He put the bottle to his lips and began to glug.

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