Title: Enter!...or not
Kier Te'Hal - July 11, 2011 04:07 AM (GMT)
Seven or was it eight?
It’s not like the number really mattered but he had already watched too many people enter the tavern. Between the strange looks and his irritation at memorizing every detail on the tavern door he was ready to go home. Kier would really much rather be home practicing his swordsmanship then being here, but it’s not like he could turn back now. His sole purpose for being at this very tavern was to follow the advice he hadn’t wanted but accepted none the less. He was told to practice his inability to socialize by talking to people in a social environment. Apparently the barracks didn’t count, not that he really talked to anyone there as well.
Currently he was standing in front of a popular tavern; Kier had successfully stood outside the door for the past fifteen minutes. He couldn’t decide if it was even worth the trouble to enter at all, it didn’t bode well with him. At the same time leaving would be bad, he would more then likely have to provide details of his enlightening adventure and lying was not something he liked to do. Maybe he could talk to the people who were about to go in? Most already seemed to think he was some crazy person standing outside and not entering, he probably gave off the impression of a mugger.
Kier ran a hand through his hair his eyes leaving the door, it had now been twenty minutes and he still remained outside. Why simply entering a tavern was so hard he would never know, there was just too many people in there. Even if he was being pessimistic, it was doubtful that he would even talk to anyone. More then likely he would find his own little spot in the corner and just watch everyone else. Worst case scenario he would buy to strong of a drink and like the light weight he was, pass out on his table. It would be better then waking up in someone’s bed, even more awkward if it was another mans bed.
Alright, he would just go in and spend about five minutes watching all the drunks. Then he could quietly leave and be on his way home. Finally making up his mind twenty five minutes later Kier placed his hand on the door knob taking a breath before opening the door.
OOC: I'm a little rusty, sorry if it sucks
Teak Rulynn - July 11, 2011 10:34 PM (GMT)
It had not been a good night. Teak had really wanted to go home and sleep for eight hours straight, but as she’d been passing through the fish market someone had pulled her aside and asked her to source some cheap and quiet labour for some illicit deliveries due in the docks in the morning. She’d been so tempted to say no, but it was too good a deal to pass up on. It hadn’t taken too long to sort, but it was later than she wanted and she’d drunken more than she should.
Not too much though. Drinking was usually necessary to seal a deal, but despite years of practice she still wasn’t any good at it. That was annoying to her, and she tried not to let people know. It was a weakness. She’d escaped them anyway, and made her way through the busy room to the door, pushing past two sharp-eyed women and a bad thief who was too nervous and trying too hard to be nonchalant. She was surprised no-one else had spotted it yet, and she mused wistfully as she went to grab the door handle.
Her business – her life – meant she dealt with people all the time. She was good at it, good at reading people and picking the right response. Sometimes she wished she could interact with people the way others seemed to do it, with honesty and uncertainty and the general hope that they wouldn’t do or say something stupid.
Teak pulled on the door just as someone else pushed it open. The double forces inflicted on the heavy oak caused it to bounce off her wrist painfully as she stepped backwards, a soft yelp of surprise escaping her. She blinked, rubbed her wrist with her other hand and glared at the person in the doorway.
“What the hell are you doing?” She snapped irritably. She regretted it almost immediately and bit her bottom lip, wrinkling her nose slightly before offering a small smile. “Sorry, rough night. I’ll be out of your way.”
Being nasty to people could come back to bite you, she’d learnt that years ago.
Kier Te'Hal - July 12, 2011 06:49 AM (GMT)
The yelp of surprise startled him.
That voice was undoubtedly female or else a very high strung man, he would prefer the latter. In his limited experience there was nothing scarier then an enraged female, especially an incapacitated one. The options before him were slim; he could shut the door and leave which would be terribly rude. Or option two would be to apologize and find some way to make it up to her; Kier wasn’t really fond of either of these options. It sounded like ‘a lose all’ situation, so he might as well save his dignity and make it up to her. Kier had missed most of what she said; only catching the last part about her going to be out of his way.
Making up his mind in record time he let his eyes travel towards the face as his voice did the same, ”I’m so sorry about that, are you….blue” His train of thought was broken, everything he had decided to say was lost as his attention focused on her hair. It was blue…not sea blue or even sky blue, it was just blue! It might have just been him or maybe the weird lighting of this place but he was definitely seeing blue. Was that even possible? It was just a little bit…weird, not that he was very normal being able to understand the emotions of animals.
Scratching the back his neck he turned his eyes away from her suddenly feeling quite conscious that he had been staring absent minded at her. ”My apologies, it seems I’m being quite rude. I’ve just never seen anyone with your hair color before…I hope I haven’t offended you and you’re not hurt from earlier.” His Aydin accent slipping in, he was too embarrassed to pay it any mind right now.
Teak Rulynn - July 12, 2011 11:23 PM (GMT)
Teak was aware of a startled expression and a man in the doorway, but she didn’t pay much attention. She looked down, rubbed her wrist, pushing with her fingertips to find the edges of the bruise. It wasn’t much, and she glanced up again to catch the tail end of his initial apology. Which, it turned out, was not the traditional kind of apology.
She kept telling herself that one day, she’d have to let go of the blue hair. It was too recognisable, too easily connected to her name and her reputation, and it was time consuming to maintain. But ... she couldn’t do it. Teak loved her blue hair. It was the only part of herself that was ever true and visible to everyone, and sometimes being noticeable was as important as being able to vanish. Of course, it was an old trick of the whorehouses, dying hair in unusual colours to attract attention and punters. An old trick though, and not a common one these days. It told her something about this door-wielding figure though; he wasn’t a wealthy man, a violent man, or a desperate man. Two out of three in his favour.
She tucked a strand of loose hair behind her ear as he looked away, muttering another apology as he did so.
“Apology accepted, twice over.” Teak had caught the hint of a familiar accent in his speech – Aydin? – that betrayed his refugee status. She didn’t much care about that, and she tilted her head slightly as she considered him for a moment. He looked nervous, slightly uncertain and almost as though he were afraid, although of what she couldn’t guess, but there was a balance in his stance and a sense that he could take care of himself if required. She found herself intrigued by such an odd combination. “It’s definitely blue, by the way.” Teak grinned, a quick and genuine smile of amusement that vanished as quickly as it had appeared.
So, a marginally embarrassed and apparently uncomfortable refugee in a tavern in the middle of Kyha, and that was so common she couldn’t think of any good reason to stay. But she did. “Drink? I think you owe me one.”
Kier Te'Hal - July 13, 2011 05:40 AM (GMT)
It was one way to meet people.
Ram the door in to them! Not that he foresees making many friends with this method, he was just lucky she didn’t seem to mad at the moment. Perhaps because he hadn’t hit her in the face, he had been told girls were quite sensitive there. Not that he would know anything about it, Kier tended not to pay attention to such things. A person’s appearance mattered little including the color of a person’s hair, who was he to judge, Kier was just a simple solider.
His eyes found their way back to her face as he registered her acceptance of what was really a complete accident. It was a relief to say the least; he had been so tense trying to think of what he would do if she didn’t accept his apology. Kier didn’t do well with guilt, in fact he was really easy for people to guilt him into doing favors for them. Yes he was aware of his own problem and no, he still had not come up with a solution to said problem. Kier would worry about that another day, at present he was somewhat entertaining a lady or so he thought. Maybe he was just standing in her way? He was still blocking the door, so should he move?
“It’s definitely blue, by the way” What was? Oh! That’s right, her hair, she was con firming his earlier shocked stare at the discovery of a new hair shade. Kier’s hand found the back of his neck, a nervous habit of his as he gave her a small smile to hide his embarrassment. ”It’s quite unique or maybe I just haven’t been getting out enough” For all he knew, blue hair was the new trend that he had missed, not that he was interested in having blue hair personally. No, Kier was quite content with his dark brown hair, he was not particular about it nor interested in changing it. New images didn’t suit him, it would just draw more attention to him and he really didn’t want that.
Kier listened quietly too her and for the first time in a while answered without giving it too much thought, ”Of course, order whatever you would like” Extending his hand he offered to escort her to whatever table that was open. He really wasn’t familiar with tavern customs, so perhaps he was being too formal and polite but it was something that he couldn’t help. He may be terrible at dealing with people, but he is always friendly to strangers. Now that he thought about it, wasn’t he supposed to ask for her name? Would that he rude? It may seem like he was hitting on her? Maybe he was if it was possible to hit on someone without realizing it. He would file that away for later, for now; manners always required one to introduce oneself first before asking for a name.
”My name is Kier, Miss?”
Teak Rulynn - July 13, 2011 05:07 PM (GMT)
This ... this was a challenge. Teak had never met someone like this. She dealt with people all the time, everybody with layers and levels and shades of self, but almost everyone was predictable. And yet she couldn’t guess what Kier would do next. His comment about her hair was kind of self-deprecating, and she wasn’t used to that either.
She accepted his hand lightly, with the hint of a smile on her face. This was terribly polite, especially for this part of town, formal and endearing and she wasn’t going to complain. She didn’t wait for him to lead the way though, they’d be waiting forever for people to move if they tried being polite. Instead she pushed through the crowds towards a small empty table in one of the smoky corners, keeping a firm hold on his hand as she did so. She tapped a barmaid on the arm as they passed, met the woman’s eye and they nodded to each other as Teak rolled a coin into her palm. It disappeared with the barmaid as she turned back to reply to Kier. “I’m Teak.”
She wondered, as they slipped past a group of arguing fishermen, exactly what she was doing. When was the last time she’d tried to make friends with someone just for the sake of it? He was kind of cute, but she wasn’t interested in picking up random men in taverns. Well, she wasn’t interested in picking up random men today. She also had a suspicion that if she tried flirting with him he might run away, and she didn’t think making someone flee from her would be something worth remembering.
The table was small, with a split midway through the circular top and something unidentifiable soaking into the wood. The chairs were thankfully clean. She sat down, and let go of his hand to tuck her hair back behind her ears again. “I hope you drink ale, Kier. There isn’t much else here.” Her tone was slightly rueful. She wanted to ask where he was from, but she thought that might seem rude so she refrained.
Kier Te'Hal - July 14, 2011 01:51 AM (GMT)
Kier didn’t even have time to consider where to go before he felt a tug at his hand, he let her lead him through the crowds of drunks and those who didn’t fall into the above category. It was probably for the best, he really didn’t know his way in these establishments. Had he come to a tavern before? Yes, but the time between was so great he always ended up forgetting what to do or expect. Tonight was a fine example; he was not here of his free will or not completely. He had no desire to come but he would have felt guilty ignoring the advice from his comrade even though he had mentioned earlier, it was unwanted advice.
He had missed her exchange with the barmaid, being too busy examining their table where they would spend some time talking. Or he assumed they would talk, what else was there to do? His eyes returned to her as he heard a name escape her lips, ”It’s a cute name” Unique much like her hair, but perhaps that why it just seemed to fit her.
Kier had contemplated whether he should have pulled the chair out for her not, but perhaps being over polite might be annoying. So he had resisted and waited for her to sit before taking his seat, another one of his weird manners. His eyes fell to the table once more, it smelled kind of funny and he could almost taste the alcohol in the air if that was even possible. If he stayed here long enough he might get drunk off of the fumes people breathed out. He glanced at her briefly with a slight smile as she mentioned ordering him a drink, wasn’t he supposed to be treating her. ”That’s fine, I really don’t have a preference”
What was ale again? An alcoholic beverage obviously but he couldn’t remember what it tasted like or if it was strong or not. This was bad, he finally got an opportunity to talk to someone and yet the doom of passing out from his drink loomed in his way. Maybe he could get away with just sipping it every now and then? That would make him look so incredibly….girly, so he would either have to sacrifice his pride as a man(which was debatable) or his conscious. The barmaid had already made her way to their table setting down the two mugs with a smile before heading off again. His eyes fell briefly to the bubbly drink before turning to his new companion. Perhaps small talk would take his mind off of the evil beverage but he didn’t know what to say. What did people normally say in these situations? He wasn’t sure what to ask her without crossing the line of too personal.
”So…what is it that you do? You seem familiar with taverns”
Teak Rulynn - July 15, 2011 11:43 PM (GMT)
She caught the tail end of a smile in response to her comment, and failed to repress her own smile in response. The barmaid appeared again to prevent her from responding, as she placed the mugs down on the table and distracted them both.
Teak looked down at the tankard and wrinkled her nose in distaste. “That does look ... um ...” She tried to think of something suitably descriptive and couldn’t. The ale was dark and frothy and considering she’d already been forced to drink a half pint earlier, it was also distinctly unappealing. Alcohol of any description rarely was, but this seemed to be stretching to new ... depths? She watched doubtfully as a droplet of liquid ran down the outside of the mug, leaving a damp trail in the general grime coating it. She was saved any further contemplation by Kier’s query, and was glad of it.
“Taverns are an unfortunate by-product in my line of work.” She told him brightly. “I am a negotiator, and sadly many of my negotiations seem to require presence of alcohol to be successful.” That was all strictly true, although perhaps not entirely honest, and it did avoid answering the question quite adroitly. She could vaguely remember a saying recited to her in youth, about how you should never tell a stranger all of your secrets, because you never know how strange they might be. She couldn’t remember now whether that originated on the mainland or in Escova, whether she’d heard it at home or out on the streets, but either way it seemed suitably apt.
She picked up her mug gingerly, caught the scent of the ale and wished she hadn’t. She couldn’t think of any reason not to drink it; everyone else in the room looked to be alive and well (... so far), and she’d paid for it. That cancelled out all lesser protestations. Teak looked over the top of her mug at him, her blue eyes bright curious. “What is it you do? You seem equally unfamiliar with taverns.”
Kier Te'Hal - July 16, 2011 05:30 PM (GMT)
One word could be used to describe it...disgusting.
Kier was no longer surprised he had forgotten what ale had tasted like; he probably had not wanted to remember. He would have to just force himself to drink it, she had paid and he couldn't bring himself to waste her money. Though he had caught a similar displeased look on her face towards the poisonous drink, which made him wonder why she would order something she didn't like. That’s right, earlier; she had mentioned there wasn't much else.
Note to self, find a different tavern for the next crowd surviving adventure.
His focus was brought back to her as she began to answer his earlier inquiry. A negotiator? He hadn’t known that could be a job but then again what did he really know anyways. It sounded like something he would not be good at, considering it involved alcohol and talking with people. Truthfully her answer didn't tell her much about her work but it wasn't his business so he would not push the subject further. Picking up his mug he took another light drink not really liking how the putrid drink slid down his throat.
Kier was started by her question but he let out a soft chuckle none the less, "It shows that much" He didn't realize it was so obvious that he didn't know his way around a tavern. It was the truth but he wished it could of not been written all over his face, probably meant he stuck out really mad. Sticking out in a crowd meant attention, very much unwanted attention. "I'm a soldier Miss Teak. One who is extremely bad with people and crowds." Socializing was something Kier was bad at, but he was working on improving. In truth most probably couldn't see him as a soldier when he was not in uniform, he really didn't give off the aura of a warrior.
Teak Rulynn - July 21, 2011 10:25 PM (GMT)
Teak was well practised in avoiding questions she didn’t want to answer, even when asked innocently by strangers who probably couldn’t care less about her reply. Besides, what else could she have said? Teak was a negotiator. Of sorts. Maybe facilitator would have been a better word, or diplomat, or just a fixer of things to make the world keep easing past. And that meant she had to be good at spotting the little details which gave away the tiny hints at weaknesses.
“One of my few skills is being able to see when people are worried.” She said conspiratorially, smiled, then waved it away lightly. She tucked her hair behind her ear again; the stray strands kept brushing against her face and tickling her cheeks.
She sipped her own drink to distract herself, and wrinkled her nose again as she swallowed some more of the bitter ale. Ordering good ale was not something she was well practised in, obviously. She listened to his reply and nodded thoughtfully; a soldier was always worth knowing, even the honest ones. It didn’t surprise her anyway, she’d thought he looked too balanced for an average man. Soldiers trusted their bodies in ways that other people didn’t. She caught his self deprecating comment at the end and smiled.
“Extremely bad? No, I would have only said ... maybe slightly bad?” Teak made a so-so gesture and then grinned to show she was joking. She spun the tankard around on the table top absently, curiously. “In whose army do you ply your trade?” She’d not seen his face around the barracks in Kyha, although that meant little these days. The growing rebel quarters in the cities and the islands generally had only been matched by the increase of recruits into the army. Long gone were the days when the whole town knew every soldier by face, name and rank.
Kier Te'Hal - July 22, 2011 03:03 AM (GMT)
That was a relief
It seemed she was just good at reading him like a book and not everyone else...well at least he thought everyone else couldn’t. Kier suddenly felt more self conscious so he did what any slightly nervous person in a crowd full of strangers would do. He let his eyes roam the people in the tavern, they didn't seem to be paying either of them any mind.
Satisfied he returned his attention to her with a small smile, "No I'm afraid I am really that bad but I appreciate the compliment." He had not caught on to her joke but he hadn't taken it wrong either. Taking another drink he did his best to not grimace at the taste that seemed stronger with each new gulp. Kier lifted his eyes from his foul drink to her, "Kyha's, I haven't been to the capitol very much" Recalling the few times he had gone to the capitol seemed like a blur, it probably hadn't been very important.
"Do you know lots of soldiers? Not that I'm implying anything! There just seems to be allot and some not very friendly" Captain Karun had come to mind but Kier would not speak ill of him, he actually respected the man regardless of his personal beliefs regarding lineage.
Teak Rulynn - July 25, 2011 01:31 PM (GMT)
“Maristheum is a fair trek for those of us who haven’t got a horse to beg, borrow or steal.” She’d only once travelled to the capital on horseback, and it had been a marked improvement over walking, although not sufficiently enjoyable to make her want to travel more often by foot or hoof. She was out of her depth in the country, and although Maristheum was comfortingly busy and loud, she didn’t know her way around as well as she knew the roads and people of Kyha. She always dealt with her occasional necessary excursions to the capital as swiftly as possible.
A cool breeze drifted across her bare forearms and she glanced up; the door was open as a stream of people entered the tavern, swelling the already busy room and increasing the noise level. Teak tucked her feet under her chair, in case of careless footsteps trampling her toes, before returning her attention to Kier.
Soldiers? She knew a few. There were a lot she didn’t know at all, and there were plenty who she’d do anything to avoid. There were those who held rather to the barbarian themes of warfare, even in these civilised islands. Her favourite was the quartermaster in the Kyhan barracks, who in the traditions of quartermasters everywhere was not averse to making a little money on the side, and did it in a cheerful and remarkably honest way. “I know a handful personally, and maybe a handful more by name and face.” She shrugged. “It seems they’re sending plenty to the capital for the troubles there.”
Teak lifted her tankard off the table, and as she did so someone from the crowd stumbled backwards into her, bouncing off her shoulder. She cursed under her breath, regained her balance but the drink did not, spilling the dark liquid across the table. She reacted swiftly, pulling the tankard upright and saving perhaps a quarter of the original contents (and frowned, unsure whether she’d have preferred the whole lot to have been lost) and then looked around irritably for the idiot who had stumbled.
Apparently she couldn’t do anything tonight without someone walking into her.
Kier Te'Hal - July 27, 2011 07:39 PM (GMT)
That it was.
Kier preferred Kyha over the capitol; he really never had much reason to travel there except for orders. There was nothing there that he needed, his family was in Kyha and he always preferred being closer to the sea. At times it made him feel like he closer to his homeland, even if it was silly.
He followed her eyes to the door seeing the new flood of people poor into the already crowded tavern. Kier was beginning to think he really had picked the wrong tavern to come to, there was just way too many people here for comfort.
To make matters worse while he wasn't paying attention some guy bumped into Teak spilling her ale. He would of stopped the man if he had been paying attention, but there was just too many people. Kier rose from his seat with a sigh, he really didn't want to be involved in such a troublesome situation but he couldn't just stand by after the man didn't even apologize.
Walking over to the man whom he could only recognize by his back, Kier grabbed him the back of his shirt dragging him back to their table. Doing his best to ignore all the stares he was getting, once he reached their table he let the man go and pointed to Teak, "You owe this lady an apology"
Teak Rulynn - August 5, 2011 06:30 PM (GMT)
Family. Oh, bittersweet, break my heart, to bring up family. But Teak didn’t need a family, did she? She was getting along just fine on her own. She occasionally missed the variety of women who’d had a hand in her upbringing, especially her mother and the mistress, but –
Wait, what was he doing? She looked up from the morose contemplation of her spilled ale as Kier got to his feet, suddenly wary. He pushed his way into the crowd and she nearly got to her feet to follow him, astonished and confused, before she realized what he was doing and sank back into her chair. This was rather delightfully unexpected; she couldn’t find it to be annoyed at Kier’s apparent need to – what? Get her an apology? Normally she might have been infuriated by the assumption she couldn’t take care of herself, but really, it was a smorgasbord of endearing, entertaining and amusing all in one fun bundle.
Teak couldn’t suppress a wicked smile as the clumsy idiot was deposited in front of her. She folded her arms and tilted her head sharply, observing the stranger from beneath her lowered lashes. His expression of bewilderment was slowly replaced by a dawning comprehension and (if she wasn’t mistaken), anger, but she was before him and Kier was behind him, and there was an increasingly large number of people watching them. “Well?”
He glared at her, hesitated, and then muttered an almost intelligible apology. She almost made him repeat it – her lips parted, the sound almost created in her throat – but she sensed movement in the crowd, and glanced up to see a subtle but definite shifting of certain individuals heading towards their small table. Ah. The people who had been watching them a second before suddenly became interested in their drinks, the ceiling, the door, the barmaids, anything but this little scene. That suggested trouble was on the horizon, and Teak realized, with a slightly guilty thrill, that her night was improving by the minute.
Kier Te'Hal - August 6, 2011 12:18 AM (GMT)
Folding his arms across his chest he waited for the man to apologize to her, his eyes never leaving him but staying on the alert. They were getting a lot of unwanted attention and with that usually came even more unwanted trouble.
Kier let out a sign shaking his head with a frown, such a half ass apology was not acceptable but he said nothing. He would have forced a better apology out of the man but the atmosphere in the room had gone tense. Letting his eyes drift around the room was all it took for him to know the situation, letting out another sigh he gave the man a little shove forward.
It figured the man wasn’t just some random drunk; he just had to have friends who were probably irrational and would not this end peacefully. This was probably another reason he hated taverns, people tended to get violent when the situation didn’t call for it. Taking a step closer to Teak he watched the men finally assemble in front of them. Six were before them but there was no telling if anymore were lingering between the other patrons. Kier remained on alert but decided to address the men infront of him, ”Can I help you gentleman with something?”
Teak Rulynn - August 11, 2011 04:47 PM (GMT)
Teak caught sight of the clumsy drunk’s face, the edge of his smirk as he glanced up to see his friend’s gathering. She resisted the urge to punch him, and Kier shoved him to his feet, saving her the trouble. She shifted in her chair as the group emerged from the crowd, leaning forward to look at them. Six. Not too bad a number. Big men, broad shouldered. She’d guess fishermen, or dock workers. Men who lifted and hauled, but didn’t walk so much. They were drunk, and outweighed her, and they looked at each other with something akin to amusement before one replied to Kier.
“Gentlemanlike. Best let my man up, friend.” His voice was slightly slurred, but his accent was thick and instantly recognisable. Sathyr, and therefore fishermen, probably spending a little of their catch profits before heading home. A little more dangerous than a citizen would be, because there would be no repercussions for their actions. Soldiers and lawkeepers didn’t cross oceans in pursuit of wrongdoers.
Teak considered palming one of the knives tucked into the top of her sturdy boots, but it would be too obvious for her to bend down, and a palmed knife was nearly as dangerous to her as to an opponent. She stood instead, took a step forward which brought her shoulder to shoulder with Kier. The rest of the tavern’s patrons were studiously ignoring them, although she spotted a few glances their way. Too many people, too risky.
“You’re a long way from home.” She said, warily. They looked at her, some dismissive and some amused. A couple shifted their weight, clearly seeking a fight in a way that the others were hiding. She wasn’t sure how she would get out of this one, and she wasn’t sure she could trust this soldier to help her.
Kier Te'Hal - August 15, 2011 03:47 AM (GMT)
Kier frowned, he really didn't like dealing with drunks.
The man had asked him to let his friend up but his friend was already standing by himself. Giving the man a little nudge towards his friends, he watched him stumble over to them.
Kier eyed Teak before returning his attention to the men, he would prefer if she didn't get involved but who was he to tell her what to do. He would prefer if this could end peacefully and he would do his best for that result. "How about I buy you gentlemen another drink" Granted they didn't deserve it but if they would back down then it was worth it.
Teak had said something about them being far from home, so were they foreigners like him or just from the surrounding islands. Should he give a threat then? If it works then they might back down without him having to buy them drinks but if it backfired then it would just provoke them. Kier wasn’t sure so he decided to just wait for their reply to his offer.
Teak Rulynn - August 15, 2011 10:40 PM (GMT)
She caught a glimpse of Kier’s side eye in her direction, and felt suddenly amused. A mark of how much they were strangers, even if they were currently on the same side, as much as this could be called a side. They didn’t know each other at all, were just casualties of an errant door and a clumsy idiot (who gently bounced off a few strangers before making it back to his friends).
And then Kier offered them a drink. A novel approach, certainly. There was a moment where it could have gone either way, stillness despite the movement and noise of a busy tavern. She held her breath, kept quiet and still, and then the leader nodded with the gravity of a man making a momentous decision. She exhaled softly before turning, hailing the barmaid with a waved arm and a shout. The tension remained, but she could feel it slowly easing, diffusing into the smoky tavern air.
The barmaid appeared a moment later with an armful of tankards, looking as harassed as ever, but Teak thought she could spot a relief in the set of her shoulders as she passed their mugs around. Teak passed her a few coins in exchange for hers. One of the men grabbed the barmaid by the waist as she retreated and she dodged out of reach with the ease of one much practised at such, and their opposition make a toast in a dialect so slurred that even Teak couldn’t make it out.
She raised her mug and drunk as much as she could stomach, which wasn’t much. There was much back slapping all around and Teak was aware that the man who had made a grab for the barmaid was leering at her in an unsubtle way.
She turned around and dropped her tankard on the table, muttering quietly to Kier as she did so. “I think I’m going to make a graceful exit.” She smiled at him brightly, swiftly. “You owe me eight brass for those drinks.” She wasn’t sure if he could hear her; the man with the beard was loudly attempting to begin a conversation on what appeared to be the price of cod on the Kyha docks, although it might have been something else altogether.