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.

It's early evening and the colors of the sky begin to darken, allowing the first of the night's stars to twinkle on their own without being outshined by Rukbat's rays. The living caverns are typically full at this hour, so it's to no one's surprise that a certain trader hole up in the tavern, partaking of the establishments menu. Eizra sits at a small table in the corner, his coat resting upon the back of the chair as he begins to nibble on a meat roll while waiting for his order. He sighs, glancing around the room, watching for familiar faces or new ones that require noticing. The little blue flit perched upon his shoulder is too busy preening to notice the tidbit in his human's hands. He knows better things are coming if he's good and innocent. Evil creature.

Into the tavern slips a child on silent feet, dark clothes and somber mood cloaking him as well as nighttime shadows would. The only color to him is the young bronze firelizard on his shoulder, and the threads of copper and teal that weave through his Fort Weyr knot. Slipping up to the bar, the boy stands on his tiptoes and pulls a wooden mug from his satchel, setting it on to countertop with a bang to get the bartender's attention. Pale green eyes dart nervously and suspiciously around the tavern, but when they settle on Eizra his expression relaxes somewhat and he even nods a hello.

K'drozen slips into the bar a short while after the child, still clad in full riding gear, the brown rider glances slwoly about as if looking for someone.

Eizra pauses from his current meat roll as he spots the young man and offers a friendly smile and wave. The trader picks up his own mug, condensation dripping on the outside rolling down the smooth surface onto the tabletop below. He takes a long sip, letting his eyes dart after the brownrider that enters moments after. Surely, he's seen this one around before but he just can't put his finger on as to where. With a shrug, Eiz puts his mug down just in time for a barmaid to bring his order over on a tray. "There we are, 'ere ya go, dearie. Your stew, piping hot. Be careful now with the hot, don't want to go an burnin' yerself. There's some slices of fresh bread to go with it. Iffin ye need anything, don't be afraid to send for me." The elderly woman smiles, hugging the now empty tray to her chest before shuffling behind the bar.

Ezra glances briefly at the brownrider, but then the bartender is looming and the two exchange a few quick words. Harsh too, from the sound of Ezra's mumbled tone. Finally, with another bang, the boy shoves the mug back into his satchel and stomps over to Eizra's table, flopping into a chair with a scowl. "Hey," he says, eying the food greedily before pale eyes slip to the brownrider again, watching with open suspicion.

As soon as the boy takes a set, Eizra straightens up in his chair a bit, setting Keagan a little off balance. The flit chitters a bit with little beady eyes whirling red, but he settles soon enough before the preening resumes. The trader chuckles, lightly touching a finger to the little blues chin before glancing back at Ezra once more. "Trying to avoid the rush back in the weyr, too? It gets too crazy in there some times. If you know when to go, you can manage to get something to take back to your room, but finding the right kitchen workers at the proper hour can be a bit challenging." Whatever the issue might be, the boy will speak of it willingly if he chooses to. For now, Eizra slides his platter full of meat rolls towards his table guest. There's plenty and he's likely not going to finish them with the bowl in front of him, already.

Ezra frowns, giving his head a shake. "Was trying to sell him this mug I made," he mutters as he grabs for the meatrolls. He takes two, one to put into his satchel and the other to bite voraciously into. "He's not interested, the jerk," he adds, shooting a glare at the bartender.

Eizra pauses from slurping some soup off of his spoon and peers over at Ezra, curiously. "Maybe he needs a hundred of them. You should probably try and see if the weyr has a Steward or Headwoman, they don't need very many and will usually buy just one if that's what you have. If people like it when they see it, they'll point them in your direction. Stewards and Headwomen get lots of visitors."

Ezra sighs, digging into his satchel and pulling out the mug. It's, in a word, terrible. Roughly carved, it's lopsided and won't sit up straight, the rim is not properly sanded, and there *might* be a crack running down the side. "I worked /really/ hard on it," the boy laments around his mouthful of meatroll. "I already tried the Steward and the Headwoman. They politely told me to shove it."

Eizra takes a look at the mug and smiles. For someone not affiliated in a craft, it's still better than most people trying to figure it out on their own. Even though it might not function as a proper mug, it still resembles one. "Working hard is all you can do and what you should keep doing. Keep that mug, and use it to be your motivation. If anyone ever says they don't like something, ask them why and /never/ take offense to what they say. It's called 'constructive criticism'. In a way, you're making them do half the work because they're thinking for you and you know what to try and either change or improve on. That's what I did, and I got better because I knew what people wanted. So don't give up, Ezra." Eizra picks up his slice of bread, tearing off a piece before dipping it into the broth and popping it into his mouth.

Ezra snorts, shoving the mug angrily back into his satchel, and causing the bronze on his shoulder to flap his wings in mild rebuke and protest. Ezra ignores him though, glowering at the table top as he grabs another meatroll. "I don't like people telling me what they don't like," he mutters.

Eizra nibbles on the crust of his bread and peers over at the boy with a brow raised in question. "Tell me, Ezra. Would you like people to lie to you or tell you the truth?" He dips his crust into the broth and takes another bite before lifting his mug up once more.

That causes Ezra to freeze, lifting pale green eyes to stare almost uncomfortably intently at the trader. "The truth," he finally says, biting out the words as if they leave a bad taste in his mouth.

"Sometimes," Eizra begins while taking a sip from his bowl. "Sometimes the truth isn't going to be what you want to hear, but it will always be what you /need/ to hear. It's not always going to be pleasant. No. It's better to be disappointed than have someone tell you what you want to hear but tell others something completely different. That's not fair to you, or anyone, now is it?"

Ezra sighs, shoving another meatroll into his mouth. "I guess," he mutters. "So…" Here he hesitates, before he finally asks the trader his question. "What do you think of my mug?" Maybe somewhere deep inside he knows it's crap, but he still doesn't want to hear it.

"It looks like a mug." Eizra offers a crooked smile as the elderly woman returns to clear the dishes. "Anything else I kin get for ye, dearie?" The trader offers her a warm smile and taps his chin for a moment while in thought. "Well, may we please have an order of bubblies if there's any? For myself and my friend here?" The woman takes one look at Ezra and one can tell it's taking every ounce of effort on her part not to pinch those adorable little cheeks. "Of course! Coming right up!" Just as quickly as she appeared, the elderly woman vanishes into the back. The trader turns back to Ezra, folding one arm over the other on the table top. "It's only bad if no one call tell what it is, and yes, you do need work and you'll have it to what people want in time. Whenever you make something, it's not always how hard you try to make it, but what you put in the details. The Woodcraft Master didn't become a master over night. So be patient and never give up. Never let anyone tell you you won't amount to anything either."

Ezra leans back and eyes the serving woman with utmost suspicion when it even *looks* like she wants to pinch his cheeks. He doesn't relax until she leaves, and then he glowers at Eizra. "You sound like-" he starts, and then cuts himself off with a snort, grabbing for another meatroll. "Don't need a lecture," the boy grouses. "Need a /sale/."

"How ya gonna get a sale if people are afraid of you as much as you are of them?" Eizra offers a crooked grin before drinking what's left of his mug. Just as he places it down on the table, a fresh cold mug is placed before him, as well as a small mug of juice before Ezra. Then, finally, a plate of warm bubblies for each. "There ya go, dearies. Fresh from the kitchens. Enjoy." The trader rubs his hands together and peers at the woman before she departs. "I'll always come in and enjoy these bubblies if it means seeing you smile." She giggles and waves the young man off before vanishing in the back once more.

Ezra fixes Eizra with a long look that borders on pouting. "I'm not afraid," the boy protests, but with such force that it only confirms the trader's statement. He does try to give the serving woman a smile though, but it comes out awkward and twisted. But he tries, before he gulps at his drink and grabs a bubblie. "Jus' don't like folks near me, s'all. What's wrong with that?"

"If you see folks near you, you don't talk to them. Yet, if you don't talk to them, how are they going to feel comfortable enough around you to want anything from you?" Eiz takes a little bite from his warm bubbly before taking up his napkin. "Ya see, the key to being a successful business man, no matter what you do, is getting people to like you for /you/. The real, honest you. No one can trust a liar, they won't bring anything good. Be it attention or goods to sell. People just gotta get to know you, and you gotta get to know them. Build trust. Without trust, you got… Well, nothing."

Ezra slumps in his chair as he starts to get lectured again. But…there's food, and so he stays. He can't /ever/ walk away from food. "Maybe I sell stuff to traders and /they/ deal with people for me," the boy mutters, picking at the wood of the table with one of his fingernails. "Don't /want/ people to know the real me," he says harshly. Maybe he doesn't even know the real him.

Eizra chuckles and slowly nods as he takes another bite of his bubbly. "You can do that, it's called using a middle-man. Let me tell you, though, middle-man aren't free. They'll ask for some of what you make from the sale. It's both good and bad. Sometimes they'll try to sell it for a lot so they get a big share. Problem is, if they sell it too expensive, no one is going to want to buy it. It's safer to sell it yourself. When you get well known and a big reputation, people are going to want to come to /you/. Especially if they want something only you can make." The trader leans back in his seat, content. He glances around the room and things are relaxed. The same old patrons coming in for their gatherings and rounds. The same harper's playing a little tune on their string instruments and drums. "Of course, before you can be well known enough for people to want what you have, you have to know the real you first."

Ezra grumps, eying Eizra. "Why you always lecture me when I sit down near?" he asks of the older boy.

"It's only a lecture if you want it to be. Otherwise, call it 'food for thought'." Eizra chuckles and continues in on that bubbly, they're really stuffed and good tonight! "It's all apart of listening, doesn't commit you to anything, it just gives you things to think about in your own time. If you can't keep an open mind and think for yourself, then you might as well have someone tell you what to do all the time. Good guidance is hard to come by, and how you know if you got good guidance, is what good that happens to you buy listening and learning. Not always going to like or agree to it, but that's the truth."

Ezra sighs, slumping even more into his seat after he grabs another bubblie. "Even his lectures have lectures," he mutters to Alpha, offering the bronze a bit of meatroll, which the creature eagerly nips out of his fingers. "Tell me what you've been doing. Did you go anywhere exciting?"

"Lately? Just listening to the radio and writing down the race times and scores for my uncles. They like to go to the races but traveling doesn't let them do the things they want to do all the time. Since I stay here, I can make notes or write letters, give them to Keagan and he takes them between to the wagons." Eizra rubs at his stomach for a moment as he glances around the room once more. "Other than that, fixing damaged shoes. Sometimes people can't afford new ones but for a little bit, they can have the ones they've already got fixed to last them a bit longer."

Ezra frowns a bit, looking at Eizra for a long moment. "That's it? That's not exciting. I thought you were a Trader!" The boy sounds almost…accusatory. As if Eizra was there only to entertain him with wild tales of exciting Trader life.

"A trader doesn't always just trade goods, they trade services, too. That way, if I sell something, and it breaks, they bring it back to me, and I fix it. I get marks for the sale and later, for the repair. That's good business." Eizra chuckles and crosses his arms across his chest as he relaxes. "Different families sell different things and talk to many people around Pern. My uncles and aunties have lots of stories to tell on their journey's when they were young like us. We all live together to help each other out. No one should have to go out into the wilderness alone."

Ezra tilts his head at Eizra, confusion written clearly on his face for a moment. Then he stands, grabbing another bubblie to shove into his satchel. "Okay. Well, I'm gonna go…work on my mug or something… Um." Pause. "Thanks for the food."

Eizra smiles and slowly nods his head. "You are very welcome, and I'm glad you're not giving up on the mug. We all have to start from somewhere, we just have to keep going." The trader pushes the platter a little closer as he rises to his feet. "Take my other one, too. I'm too full to eat it and food should never go to waste." With a little wink, Eiz moves to the bar and pays the man for the meals. Food tastes better with company, after all.

Ezra snatches up the other bubblie without protest and then the boy is gone before the bill is paid.

'The World of Pern(tm)' and 'The Dragonriders of Pern(r)' are copyright to Anne McCaffrey (c) l967, 2000. This is a recorded online session, by permission of the author but generated on PernWorld MUSH for the benefit of people unable to attend.