The Regular Nonsense (DA2, Aveline + the Kirkwall Crew, 1000 words)
Thanks for the suggestion from @zevodactyl for fluff about Aveline dealing with the Kirkwall crew’s mischief! :)
It’s a good day for a shit storm.
It’s just something about the air, or maybe the way the people in the city hurry this way and that, going about their business, many of them with shifty eyes and leery faces. Aveline takes one look at the market in Lowtown and swears. Yes, it’s going to be one of those days.
She’s quick, concise, with her orders. Guardsmen down to the docks, searching for smugglers bringing in new filth to layer on the city’s old. Maker, as if it didn’t have enough of it! She sends them in pairs to Darktown, only her most experienced. That’s a sure place for a new recruit to get knifed in the kidney, and she hasn’t got any spare kidneys around. Patrols in Hightown, as well; it might attract a better class of thieves, but thieves and worse are busy in the Hightown squares.
She makes the rounds herself, too, making sure that nothing is missed. She shoulders her shield and touches the mace at her side, ready to kick the arse of anything that tries to wiggle past.
She catches up Merrill in a Lowtown alley, blithely observing a spindly plant growing out of a barrel. “Oh Aveline!” she says brightly. “Would you believe it, elfroot’s growing here. In Kirkwall, of all places!”
“That’s lovely, Merrill,” says Aveline. “But would you happen to know anything about those bodies there?”
Merrill sniffs, looking at the crumpled corpses against the wall. “Oh, them. They were trying to steal from the children begging. They thought I might be an easy target.” She winces, looking down at her ripped robes. A spectacular bruise blooms on her arm. “At least the children got away! I gave them some biscuits I got from Alina’s stall and sent them back to the alienage. They’ll be safer there.” She plucks some of the elfroot from the barrel and claps it against her arm in a hasty poultice, smiling. “That’s better.”
Hoelbrak has a gift shop for tourists. It’s true. How else would I have found this?
I picked myself up a little something during my stay at the Wolf Lodge.
In reality, it took me the better part of a week just to figure this bloody thing out. 2 weeks total, start to finish. Few things are more beautiful than craftsmanship done by hand. Sadly I couldn’t afford the epoxy resin to perfectly seal it so it only works for cool beverages. I’ll shed a tear in the morning when I can’t drink my coffee from it.
25th January is Burns Night, so Algy borrowed a volume of Robert Burns’ verse from his assistant, and settled down to read it. There wasn’t a dry spot to be found anywhere, as it had done nothing but rain and rain and rain for days on end, so as Algy was not a great fan of Burns in any case, he flicked through the volume as quickly as he could…
The famous poet wrote in 18th century Scots, a language which is no’ very easy to understand unless you speak it :) And his life and work have little to do with the Scottish Highlands, as Burns was very much a Lowland person and poet. But Algy felt that he ought to do his duty nevertheless, and as he turned the pages he was relieved to come upon a familiar verse, which in fact the poet did not write himself, but merely recorded from an older tradition. Algy has provided his own translation beneath the original, because he knows that although this is sung all over the world, few people actually know what it means. Perhaps if they did, they would not sing it at New Year, because it really doesn’t fit :)
Should auld acquaintance be forgot, And never brought to mind? Should auld acquaintance be forgot, And days of auld lang syne!
CHORUS: For auld lang syne, my jo, For auld lang syne, We’ll tak’ a cup o’ kindness yet, For auld lang syne!
And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp! And surely I’ll be mine! And we’ll tak’ a cup o’ kindness yet, For auld lang syne. [Repeat chorus]
We twa hae run about the braes, And pou’d the gowans fine; But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fitt, Sin’ auld lang syne. [Repeat chorus]
We twa hae paidl’d in the burn, Frae morning sun till dine; But seas between us braid hae roar’d Sin’ auld lang syne. [Repeat chorus]
And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere! And gie’s a hand o’ thine! And we’ll tak’ a right gude-willie-waught, For auld lang syne. [Repeat chorus]
Algy’s translation: Should old acquaintance be forgotten, And never brought to mind? Should old acquaintance be forgotten, And the old days long ago! 
For old times’ sake, my dear, For old times’ sake, We’ll drink a cup to friendship now, [2, 3] For old times’ sake.
And surely you’ll pay for your pint mug! And surely I’ll pay for mine! And we’ll drink a cup to friendship now, For old times’ sake.
We two have run about the hillsides, And plucked the daisies fine;  But we’ve wandered many a weary foot, Since the old days long ago.
We two have paddled in the stream, From morning sun till dinner time; But broad seas have roared between us Since the old days long ago.
And there’s a hand my trusty comrade! And give me a hand of yours! And we’ll take a hearty good-will swig,  For old times’ sake.
Algy’s learned notes on the translation :)
 “Auld lang syne”… “lang syne” is a compound which means all of: the years of long ago, old times, and memories of the past. “Auld” simply means old. So although the phrase “Auld lang syne” is repeated for the purpose of rhyme, the sense varies slightly according to its place in the song, owing to the richness of the meaning.
 Although the “cup o’ kindness” is usually tranlsated literally, that isn’t really quite accurate, and it’s unlikely that “kindness” as we now understand it in English is what was intended - it probably means something like a drink to their friendship.
 How should “yet” be translated in “we’ll tak a cup of kindness yet”? It’s usually just repeated as it is, but Algy feels this isn’t right at all. The meaning in Scots would either be something like “now as before” or “at the present time”, and either could apply here - take your choice!
 Algy is never quite sure about the translation of “pou’d the gowans fine”, so he has left it ambiguous. It’s usually translated as “plucked the daisies fine”, with the intended sense of “plucked the fine daisies”, but in Scots the word “fine” is also used as an adverb to mean to do something well. For example “I mind it fine” means “I remember it well”.
 Algy sees a pun in the phrase “ right gude-willie-waught” which is often missed, especially when the first hypen is omitted. A “willie-waught” is a hearty swig, for example of ale. By using a hypen after “gude” (meaning good) in addition, the idea of goodwill is joined with the compound noun “willie-waught”, so it’s both a “very hearty swig” and a “goodwill swig” at the same time.