Fort Weyr - Gemstone Tavern
The dim lighting by the flicker of candles lining the walls is enough to offer a view of a room decorated in such a way as to be tastefully appealing. Each piece of furniture and decoration is chosen to accent another piece, and so on and so forth, matching and tying the whole room together in a theme that's separate, and yet at the same time unified. Tables line one wall, dimly lit by candles hanging in sconces all along. The bar along the far right wall is made of richly toned mahogany, tooled by a master and polished to shine with the soft glow of wood at its finest.

Candles strategically placed add to the atmosphere, accenting, punctuating. Towards the back is an open fireplace, constantly burning with a bright light, warming the tavern on cold nights and serving as a gathering place for patrons' story-tellings. Across the room, lush pillows and soft-covered floors promote relaxation at ease. Just before the pillows is a long stage, so full of its own vigor and memory - nicks here, marks there, scuffs from footware and other things - that it's possible to imagine the shows put on for the patrons without necessarily seeing the performances.

Even Stewards occasionally get some time off work. Even at Fort Weyr. And that is, undoubtedly, why Zhirayr is discreetly hidden in the back of the Gemstone Tavern, in disguise… because he's wearing a shirt that's actually navy blue. Shhh, don't tell anyone. He's got a drink, he's got his feet kicked up on a stool, he has a plate that used to have some sort of crumbly food on it — and with his head down, he's kidding himself that nobody recognizes him, at least not so far. The staff, it seems, has been willing to let him get away with it, for however long it is he's been here tonight. It remains to be seen if it's going to last, considering there's supposed to be a performance on stage a little bit later. For now? Peace, quiet, and beer.

So long as he isn't wearing Harper blue then Zhirayr should be perfectly safe (from misunderstanding)! The Steward should know that if the Weyrleader can sometimes "hide" in a crowd within Fort Weyr, it's possible for anyone. Kind of. That peace he's enjoying so far will be quietly intruded upon by the arrival of Rayathess. Not that the Journeyman Harper announces himself beyond the simple motion of taking the nearby seat and setting his mug of ale in front of him. A nod of recognition will wait until Zhirayr makes eye contact but his cover isn't blown. If there's one soul here who can appreciate trying to fade into the background, it's this man.

Mum's the word, apparently. The Weyrsecond enters the tavern and his brown eyes sweep the room casually, as is his habit. Perhaps he's looking for someone, though it could just as easily be checking to be sure a few certain folks are not there. Avoiding a brawl does, on occasion, have its benefits and by the benign expression on his face, he's had a good day and would like to keep it that way. At any rate, he doesn't hail Zhirayr across the room, instead making an order at the bar, then ambling, ale mug in hand towards that corner of the room. It's Rayathess he greets first, with a, "How's your brother these days, Rayathess?" Zhirayr will get a nod as he hooks a chairleg with his foot, pulls the seat out and sits.

Another harper, of younger turns, quietly enters the doorway, and gets no further for a few awkward moments. Unfamiliar territory notwithstanding, there's at least a singular recognizable face, and one of known background association as well. A crease of a smile crosses dry lips, and a creature of lizardkind lifts head off of comfy shoulder to look as well, though at what he knows not. Beyrl wanders on into the room, and would in a beeline head, if not for table obstacles, so weaves through them like a needle through thread work, toward the other harper he wanders.

"Fair question," murmurs Incognito Steward — Or Rather, Let's Just Call Him The Man In Not-Harper Blue. D'ani gets a nod of greeting as well, at some point after the similar nod that Rayathess has already gotten, because apparently nods are what all the cool kids are doing to say hello these days. (Or something.) And then Zhirayr picks up his mostly-now-empty beer stein, holding it in front of his face — you know, 'drinking' from it — as someone seems really intent on finding, um, one of them, anyway. Please Let It Not Be Him.

The gesture of a nod could just be that — a polite gesture too. Nothing cool or secretive about it! Rayathess is just trying not to intrude on Zhirayr's incognito evening or perhaps he was working his way towards proper conversation. He's a Harper, he always has motives. Why else would he sit beside the Steward? "What is?" he asks with a faint smirk, seemingly amused, only to nod his head again to D'ani and raise his mug of ale to his lips. "Ezra's fine and so is his family and Stonehaven. Busy, of course. Dare I ask how you've been of late?" He must have an assumption! Seeing Beyrl honing in on them, Rayathess will tip his mug towards him. Hello!

It could have just as easily been a grunt - they're men after all. As it is, six words having been uttered (a plethora!), D'ani lifts his own mug and takes a pull. It's a wonder the conversation doesn't lapse into silence after he says, "Good." That'll suffice as both response regarding Ezra and how he's been, right? They could also call the Steward O Nameless One. That won't draw any attention at alllll, will it? Only… there's an exchange between Rayathess and Zhirayr to which D'ani tips his head quizzically curious and opens his mouth, then closes it, remaining silent for the moment because here comes Beyrl, who gets a lopsided smile for hello.

Despite intentions to interact with an associate of past life, Beyrl suddenly finds himself lizardless, as the rapacious reptile suddenly takes off out of the area, smelling bacon nearby. Must hunt, must find, must feed face and share with master! Beyrl, returning smiles rather quickly, darts out of the doorway. "Return, King! … King, don't eat those! She may have been in some unfavorable place with them!" his voice calls out, fading down the hallway quickly.

Just as Beyrl is leaving, Anrila is entering. Beyrl is not the only one darting out in the other direction, though — there is someone else leaving with a drink, and that person is not just in a hurry but also not completely sober. He's the one who collides with the young woman as she (and her own, far better trained firelizard) enter(s), and as a result Anrila is almost immediately drenched in beer. She makes a sour face, eyes squinted and eyes all screwed up, and with a very displeased huff-and-sigh, finds her way to sit by her brother, her boss and … a complete stranger who oddly resembles Fort's Steward.

Zhirayr only rolls his eyes a little bit at Rayathess' question, but — hey, no harm, no fowl — foul? — either way, That Loud Obnoxious Kid is leaving, and so they're safe from being assaulted. Or, uh, interrupted. Let's go with that. "D'ani's," is all Zhirayr actually says this time, from safely behind his really-mostly-empty-now stein, and then — oops, collision in the doorway. He winces. That's going to leave a stain, isn't it.

Rayathess won't even have to get up to go to his sister's "rescue"! She comes right for him and he'll be a smart man and choke back the snicker and hide the smile. The end product is a concerned frown that isn't… wholly convincing. "You alright?" he asks, while trying to signal a server down to bring some cloths for Anrila. Glancing back to D'ani and sidelong to Zhirayr, the Harper snorts. "Talkative bunch." Smirk.

D'ani simply watches Beyrl's precipitous exit for a long moment. Or listens rather, though he does see that beer mishap (Near Beer?), his comment is a wondering, "Huh. So the kid can get to the verbal point when he needs to." Then he snickers. He silently offers over a linen napkin to Anrila as she sits. In sympathy. Because even though the entire establishment reeks of beer and she now fits in, she's going to be sticky when she dries. He does flash Rayathess a look and a smirk and elaborates on his previous answer, "Found a weyrmate?" Not a question, but the raised brows do ask, 'Better?' Oh look - a whole three words!

Really talkative bunch. At least it's normal that Anrila barely speaks, though in the company of Rayathess and D'ani she usually does more of it, and she's … stopped being afraid of Zhirayr, who she actually met when she was about ten by crashing into him and spilling a drink on him at a Gather. How history repeats! He may not remember, but she definitely does because she wanted to die. "Gross," she says in response to whether or not she's all right, taking the napkin with an appreciative smile and respectful head-nod and wiping as she continues, "My shirt isn't all right. Who found a weyrmate?" Can't be Rayathess. Tyani's not a dragonrider.

"I would guess D'ani," Not-Zhirayr, Really, Just Look At His Shirt answers dryly (unlike Anrila's shirt), "except that from his tone it seems he isn't quite sure." He pushes his little bowl of pretzely things over to where everyone else can reach them, because obviously added salt is what everyone needs in a bar. There's a loud noise outside, then, catching part of his attention, but — well, for now, at least, it probably isn't the bacon-thieving firelizard, and it hasn't come inside.

"Could be worse?" Rayathess drawls to Anrila but that's as far as he'll push the teasing or commentary. He is genuinely concerned in the end. "If the guy stuck around, I'd say he owes you a new shirt." Or complete outfit. To D'ani, he quirks a brow and though he gives a small smile it may actually be the second genuine expression so far this evening. "Who's the lucky lady then?" Clearly the Weyrsecond meant himself and Anrila will get her answer from Zhirayr, because it's true. Definitely not Rayathess.

Of all the moments for Ha'ze to walk into the bar, it's that last one that he hears first. With the slightest draw in his voice, "Who is tak… oh." But see, then he realizes exactly who spoke, and who is being referred to. Rayathess and D'ani get ignored in favor of "Anrila? What happened?"

Of all the gin joints and bars in the world, eh Ha'ze. Speaking of, D'ani's over the other bronzerider's absence at the goldflight by now and so he's greeted with an amicable, "Evenin' Ha'ze," even while the rider's aborted question goes in one ear and out the other. And this is supposed to be a relaxing evening, so he lifts his mug, drains the last of his ale while lifting his hand to signal the barkeep for another. "Mmhm," he acknowledges to Anrila, Rayathess and Zhirayr. Guilty party of one! "Who else?" he says with a smile after his swallow. And that leaves the door wiiiide open for names-guessing, doesn't it? Speaking of doors - that noise is heard and there is a concerned glance tossed thata way, but his attention soon returns to the table.

Anrila's pants are, at least, relatively unscathed. The guy probably does owe her a new shirt, because it's a pale blue and is going to stain for sure — though she very well might be able to pull it off as some kind of bizarre new trend once it's been washed a few times. "I will bring the caprines to your party," she tells D'ani with a shy and maybe a little bit teasing smile, "On leashes." Ha'ze gets a welcoming look, followed by a shrug and, "I was a beer receptacle. Accidentally."

Zhirayr sets his beerstein down — completely empty, finally — and claps his hands together for D'ani, three times, very slowly. Golf clap. "Congratulations to the happy couple," dryly. "I'm sure you're going to need it, judging by your expression." Which means two or more very different things, depending on how closely someone hearing him is looking at D'ani's expression, really. That noise outside is happening again, this time with some loud thumps. Maybe this is why Zhirayr isn't actually guessing who D'ani roped into a weyrmating.

"Evening," Rayathess' greeting is all the more terse but he's playing 'nice' for now even if being ignored. Lifting his mug to his lips, he'll take a moment to enjoy some of that ale (Faranth knows he'll need it) before snorting softly at his sister's remark to D'ani. "Sure that's wise? Don't know if I've ever known caprines to be on the guest list of a party — unless they're the main course at dinner. Sorry…" Apology comes swift, along with a grimace just in case his sibling isn't much for that sort of humour at the moment. The commotion from outside was missed before but it's hard to ignore loud thumping. He frowns and sits forwards in his seat, all while muttering: "What now?" Indeed.

Ha'ze holds off on flipping Rayathess off for the sake of Anrila being right there. Friendship not lost there. "Here." Ha'ze, because the player doesn't waste a chance for that PB to go un-shirtless, pulls off his shirt, smelling just faintly of dragon and fresh herbs (someone's been hanging out on his ledge!) to offer it over to the woman. "Did you knock Inri up, and that's why she's agreed to this?"

D'ani flicks a bland look at Zhirayr but anything he'd have said is trumped by Anrila. "Caprines… to my…party?" It's said without inflection on either end, which is telling, really. One, caprines and two, party. Which he hadn't actually thought to arrange. Maybe he'll need luck rather than packpats? Anrila's shyness - and his manners - prevents him from pointing out the obvious (no, not that the goats ought to be diapered if she does). "I'm.. I… uh. Sure that'll be…fun." He'll just make sure he gives Inri a broom with a bow on it or something. His fresh ale arrives and it's lifted as Ha'ze's question is made. Aaand there goes the wonderful foam head, blown out in the sputter that follows it. "Not…unless… " Nevermind, there's a woman present.

Correction: there was a woman present, but she is actually getting up to go to the lavatory. Because Anrila is a little bit too much of a proper Hold girl to change her shirt in the tavern proper. But she does grin at Ha'ze and accept the 'gift,' and is pointedly not looking at his chest while doing so. "Thank you," she says with a little laugh. "You're very kind. And I mean, they could easily get to that weyr. The caprines. They would certainly be happy to have dinner, no matter what it is. I am going to go and change," she proclaims, and that's when she actually hops up to go do just that. In the lavatory. Not at the table.

Zhirayr really wants to slowclap again, but that might draw too much attention. And. There's that noise — and now there's the head of a runner, coming into the tavern, and that can't be right, and at least the whole beast doesn't come in. But. There's a halter on it. And that halter has a rope tied to it. And there's a human attached to the other end of that rope, carefully — ever so carefully — feeding it out around tables and chairs and people who are either staring blankly or trying to get out of the way (and occasionally tangling that rope up, somewhat) and then the person is … handing the end of the rope … to Zhirayr??? What??? There is nothing in this that makes any sense at all. It's a good thing his beer is gone, or the bringer-of-gifts would also have a new beer stain on his shirt. "Here you are, Steward, everything's in order," the man announces sunnily, and bolts out a different door while Zhirayr's hand is still reflexively tightening on the rope. "What," Zhirayr says, flatly. Just. What.

Rayathess just rolls his eyes when Ha'ze finds an excuse to take his shirt off. "Typical bronzerider…" he grumbles. "Sorry D'ani, don't mean to offend." Given the Weyrsecond is a bronzerider too but one the Harper actually respects. NOT SORRY for Ha'ze. Watching Anrila leave and not exactly able to protest anything, he'll just get enough time to down his ale before Zhirayr's surprise gift is delivered. The Harper will be one who gets out of the way but doesn't go far. Oh no. This is too good to miss! "Secret admirer?" he inquires with a smirk to the Steward. "This has to be a first." And it's going to be news, isn't it?

…. "Yeah. No." Ha'ze takes one look at that runner and he's not going to have any part of it. Nope. Look over there, a dart game. Maybe he can make some bets and make his last eight marks (Kainaesyth, stop giving away Ha'ze's clothing to sad holder children, he's out of money) into something more. And ignore the runner over there. Because. What?

"None taken," says D'ani to Rayathess, although he hardly seems offended by either Ha'ze's chest or the bronzerider's previous question. No, see, he's busy eyeing that runner head askance then mildly asiding to the Steward, "Gonna need a shovel." He sits, calmly drains his mug in a few long swallows, wipes his mouth and rises because…prudence! All hell is about to break loose, isn't it? In that case, he'll just take that same back door the delivery dude just did and leave the Horse Whisperer to work his magic. No one will notice a large bouncer type leave his dart game and follow the Weyrsecond out, right?

When Anrila returns, it's to Ha'ze abandoning the group for a dart game — makes sense — and D'ani departing to escape the fact that someone just brought (part of) a runnerbeast inside the tavern. She sits back in her seat, wearing a Ha'zeshirt like a very short dress over her capri pants, and gives Zhirayr a funny look. "You know that runners aren't allowed in here," she informs him, as if while she was gone he had gone outside, gotten the runner and come back. "I think that might count as being inside."

"Yes," Zhirayr tells Anrila first of all, because he's been too busy what-ing to answer anyone else yet, "I am aware, and no, this was not my idea, and also what — " But the answer to 'what' is basically 'well, what are you going to do about it now, Zhirayr?' And the answer to that question is that he's realizing he can't just keep sitting there holding the rope, it's a little bit awkward and a little bit obvious, and just dropping the rope isn't going to fix anything, and — and — Crap. "I did not ask for this," he mutters, and is not a horse person, thanks D'ani, and gets up and starts gingerly trying to gather the rope again before the damn runnerbeast tries to bolt out of the tavern. Or come inside and start ordering drinks, for that matter.

Rayathess amused as he is he can't help but feel a little sorry for the Steward, given the Harper is figuring this is either a gift or a terrible idea of a prank. "Either someone is pulling quite the joke on you, Steward or you actually were gifted a runner. Not too bad a looking animal either." Granted he's not the expert here! That he leaves to Anrila. "Could get a good price?" If the runner is that unwanted! No loss there. Who doesn't like a few extra marks? "If you'll excuse me? I've something I must attend to." That he only JUST remembered about now. Rayathess is going to make an exit much like Ha'ze and D'ani… rather quietly. If there are whisperings of a certain Harper burning documents later, well… accidents happen right? It's also Fort. When are things NOT burning (or exploding or people dying)?

D'ani is out there in the dark being accosted for, well, not exactly losing a bet, but because the bouncer won a game. Whiiiich D'ani bet the dude wouldn't win. Not that he remembers because it was late, there was a flight, a bed, LOTS of whiskey, a predawn adventure, MORE whiskey, a predawn staff meeting and then yep, more whiskey. Here. And so please ignore any yelps of pain or thumps out there folks. Or black eyes. Or bruises, broken bones and missing limbs. If you see a freshly-dug grave and don't see the Weyrsecond anywhere, then you may inquire. He may or may not be able to fill you in. It's been that sort of Fortian night where folks lose their shirts and others gain a runner for no reason. Par for the course.

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