#winning

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.


The evening is progressing well in Fort Weyr, with darkness having already overtaken day as the last silken sunset hues having long faded. That means that the Gemstone Tavern is heaving with revellers, who have settled in to enjoy the night's entertainment - a relatively well-known band who play toe-tapping, getcha-on-your-feet tunes to ensure a full dancefloor throughout the night. But not everyone is dancing, not just yet. Thys, her cropped hair slightly ruffled and her cheeks blushing red, is propping up the bar with a glass of ale in one hand, and another hand the keeps dipping into a big bowl of chips on the counter beside her. She's watching the dancers in between sipping and scoffing, a keenness in her dark eyes as they follow the twirling and the spinning and the general having-funning that's going on.

Why-oh-why is Ashwin here? No, really? Why? He hasn't the foggiest. He came along with another rider who ended up ditching him for something-or-other and with nowhere else to go and not really wanting to go back to Xanadu he comes a'wanderin' into the tavern. Not that he goes much farther than the door for a bit or the very first window. He's someone who likes to watch the last dying light of Rukbat slip beneath the horizon. Then he's heading to the bar, finding he has to elbow a little and jockey for some space. On his left is the blushing, bemussed Thys. And he doesn't say anything quite yet, raising an eyebrow or two at the scoffing.

Thys is polite, and she acknowledges Ashwin's presence beside her with a bright smile (brightened undoubtedly by alcohol), and a nod of her head. It's not until she's scarfed down another handful of chips that she realises she's been watched in a very judgy-looking way, and so she wipes of her chip-greasy hand on her trousers, then turns to face the brownrider. "I don't believe I've had the pleasure of meeting you, sir, which suggests that you don't reside here in Fort Weyr. So, welcome. Would you care for some chips?" The bowl is picked up, held out to him, and Thys grins encouragingly.

Ashwin has to have a look at Thys now. The blushing was enough to start him considering it but, well, doggone it she offered him chips! "Oh, hello." It's unclear if he's saying this in reference to ~Thys~ or to the bowl. A handful of them are taken, but only a handful as he's not a potato sort of guy. "Your assessment is correct, too. I'm not from here. This is maybe, if I'm remembering right the third time I've ever been here." He leans back, brow furrowing more as he openly surveys her. Not in a lascivious fashion, but in a 'what-have-we-here' sort of way. "I'm Ashwin. Brown Rinxyth's. You…. you look like trouble. Can I call you Trouble?"

"Ashwin, brown Rinxyth's, welcome to Fort Weyr." Thys sets the bowl of chips down on the bar between them, within easy reach. "I look like trouble?" That surprises her, but also amuses her as she mulls it over while taking a sip of her ale. "I suppose you could call me Trouble… it'd make a change from 'ma'am' or 'weyrwoman'. Trouble. Hrm." She taps her chin thoughtfully, then laughs. "But I have to ask, why - or how on Pern do I look like Trouble?"

Ashwin nods once or twice during her ponderence of this, he even checks off on his fingers once or twice as though he was preparing his reply. Aaaaand he steals another crisp. "I feel properly welcomed." He leans a little into her personal space to steal another crisp and then faces the bar, resting his elbows off on it as he properly checks off on his fingers to make his points. "Let's see. You are at least a shade drunk, you're friendly, you've ~freckles~, and you're a weyrwoman. Any and all of those are grounds for being trouble. Trouble." He's grinning to himself as he flags down a server. "Whatever swill is on special today." He points at Thys. "And whatever she wants."

"I want," Thys says for Ashwin's benefit, since the bartender's already gone to fulfill the order, "Cromese ale." Not a typical goldrider drink, perhaps. "And I am not drunk, sir. I'm merely… merry." Hence the rosy cheeks and the big smiles that are being offered to her guest! "I do have freckles though. And I'm friendly. And I'm a Junior. So…" Up comes her hand, so she can tick off fingers now. "That's one, two, three out of four. Or should it be three out of five, if you're considering trouble to be a trait?" She leans against the bar, propping herself up on an elbow. "You should go to Ierne. That's where real trouble is."

Both drinks are brought back quickly and Ashwin dives into his like it is some sort of life saving mission. "I said at least a shade drunk, merry counts. So four out of four. Even if not, three out of four is a healthy majority. You're trouble." Then it's his turn to scoff. "I was at Ierne. I did my best to find trouble and couldn't. People don't come out of hiding much there." His eyes flick to the ale and her big smiles are returned with at least moderate ones from him. Ashwin will neeeever come right out and have a genuine smile, nope. "Anyway, Trouble. Thanks for the welcome." He steals another chip. "And these."

"Dear Faranth, you ought to go there now. Since that new Weyrlord was voted in…" Thys rolls her eyes, then downs what's left of her ale so she can pick up the new glass. It's held up towards Ashwin in cheers. "Thanks for the drink, Trouble-seeker. Here's to three," she's quiet adamant about that, but winks all the same to show it's all in good humour, "out of four. And to welcoming new people to my home. And to telling you that I'm actually a Thys, not a Trouble." Ching ching. "You said you were at Ierne. You're somewhere else now?"

Ashwin clinks glasses with large amounts of amusement and even a smile. "You can be both, you know. A Thys and a Trouble. Maybe I even mean trouble as a compliment." Truth is? He absolutely does. Trouble in this case means she's distinctive enough to stand out from the crowd and actually be, you know, trouble. "Xanadu." His drink is killed off without mercy and banged down on the bar and quickly refilled. "There's something witty that could be said if I'm a Trouble-Seeker and you're Trouble, but I'm going to hold my tongue and say it in so many words without saying it instead."

Thys smirks. "Typically I'd have a tongue capable of twisting out a wonderful answer to that - something witty and wonderful and not at all flirty," that word is emphasised as she leans a little towards Ashwin, grinning crookedly, "but quite frankly, my tongue is tired. And…" Her gaze unfocuses, the tell-tale sign that she's in communication with her lifemate. "Rhenesath tells me that Rinxyth was part of her last flight?" The goldrider squints closely at Ashwin's face, no doubt trying to recall. "She tends to favour browns. Perhaps you ought to try your luck again?"

"Isn't that why saying things in so many words is way better for tired tongues?" Ashwin quips right back. He leans towards her as she does likewise. "There's a comment that could be made about ~that~ too." About tired tongues. Bad Ashwin. Whats he says then catches him a little off guard and he withdraws about an inch. "Well." He says carefully. It's almost as though the aplomb has gone out of him a little bit. "I usually don't let him chase golds. It's complicated. He got away from me that particular time because I'd been drinking." He squints back at Thys, good cheer restored, and makes a face at her. "You'd have probably not been happy with the results."

"You're awful." And yet Thys is laughing at the suggestiveness surrounding her tired tongue. "I've never been unhappy with the outcome of a flight before," she admits with a shrug of her shoulders, and a coy smile that makes her cheeks colour a little more. "So maybe come here and drink next time she's glowy. Like I said, she's got a thing for browns. Two out of three catchers have not only been brown, but they haven't even been Fortian… your odds are pretty decent." She looks him up and down, eyes roving over his figure. "I wouldn't complain, either."

"Yup." Ashwin says, clinking Thys' glass again. "It's in my job description. Ashwin, Brownrider, also awful. If I had business cards I'd print that there." Her coy smile? It gets a positively, downright charming one in return. And yet, the suggestiveness dancing around their conversation, the almost-but-not-quite request to come back and drink, and he still doesn't seem to engage in actual pursuit. Just more teasing, keeping the conversation light. "Clearly she favors the underdog. Well, guess that rules us out because we're not underdogs at anything." The charming smile becomes a smirk. "Naw, we'll prolly have to pass. You're pretty captivating, what with that blush, those freckles, that smile and all, and I'm sure Rhenesath is all tail and wings but like I said, it's complicated. A little more complicated for a bartop conversation with lots of people around to hear."

Thys might look disappointed for just a moment, but then she shrugs it away. "Well, Ashwin, it's entirely your choice, of course. I'd hardly try and force someone into participating in a flight… but the invitation's always there. And you're welcome in Fort whenever you want. And you can invite me for drinks, whenever you want. If you want." She winks, then takes a sip of her drink. "I keep meaning to visit Xanadu. Some of the candidates came here. Perhaps I'll be able to attend the Hatching, see if they make anything of themselves… Will you be there?"

Ashwin smiles .. looking a little bit more relaxed. Delicately, he places a pair of his fingers on Thys' chin unless of course she moves or tries to ward it off. "Hey." He says, quickly. "Don't look like that. Not nearly as pretty when you've got a frown on." He's totally dead serious and the hand is taken away and returned to his drink. Then that relaxed smile again. "Sure. Where do I invite you to drinks to?" He really is new at fort. "I'll probably be there. There's one in particular that I'd like to see how they turn out. If you're going to show up, maybe I'll make a point on that and be there."

"Faranth, Ashwin, I was hardly frowning - you ought to see me when I'm in business mode." And being the serious frowny goldrider. Rawr. "Anyway, I'm pretty still when I frown. Or when I smile. Or when I do this -" 'This' being her sticking fingers into her mouth to stretch it, while her tongue pops out and she goes cross-eyed. She laughs after, shaking her head before knocking back a bit more of her drink. "Let's call the Hatching a tentative date. I only met a handful of the hopefuls, but which do you have your eye on?"

"Business mode." Ashwin echoes. "Pfft. Business mode. I don't want to see your business face." So what face of her's does he want to see? "Or.." His eyes grow very very large and he recoils away from her a little. "…fuh." Nope, no actual words in response to that one. Just another hurried drink. "Well, good news and bad there." He says, cough, moving right along. "Bad news, it's a secret who I have my eye on because I have a bet . . but the good news is … sure we can call the hatching a tenative date, but why wait until then? Can't we just, you know, drink a whole bunch more and wander off and talk?" He pauses. "And I really do mean talk. None of that other stuff."

"You want to drink more and wander off to talk tonight?" Thys contemplates the proposition, head canted to one side so her floppy forelock falls across one of her eyes. "I have tomorrow off. I was planning on spending it in the forge, but I could spend it in bed with a hangover instead." She grins, then holds out her glass for another cheers. Lots of them going on right now! "To drinking stupidly and talking nonsense, because I'm absolutely positive that's what our night holds. And… we're going to need more drinks. Barkeep!" An order is placed, fulfilled as a priority… the perks of being a goldrider, yay!

"Spending mornings in bed with a hangover is always a good thing to do. Why would you even hesitate to think about it? It's even better with someone to share the company, but like I said, none of that tonight." Sensing the next round coming he quickly downs what's left and pushes the extra glass away. "So, forge. You make metal things?" He wonders out loud. "When you're not drinking stupidly, talking nonsense… and being trouble?" Ashwin is leaning his elbows on the bar now, occasionally glancing past Thys as someone walks by. Just idle curiosity of who is about.

"I'mma Smith, when I'm not doing goldie-things. Jewellery smith. Pretty shardin' good, too - lotsa marks." Thys pats her pocket - even though it's currently empty. "Gonna be a journeyman soon, too. Maybe in another month or two. It's weird, being the lowest rank in one craft and nearly the highest in a Weyr. Never know where I stand." She shrugs, holding up her hands in a 'who the heck knows' gesture. "What about you, Ashwin? Wingrider? Crafter? Man of Mystery?"

Promptly, Ashwin holds out both hands to Thys. There is an interesting assortment of rings on his fingers, several different metals, each with a different stone. The craftsmanship of each suggests that they are not store bought or anything like that but each one he had made by a seperate person for a seperate occasion. "Yeah, politics stink. I like to stay genuinely useless, it keeps me out of trouble." A little smirk at some unknown joke. "Man of Mystery suits most appropriately. I don't do much of anything, and the bare minimum when I have to."

Oh look, shinies! Thys reaches out to capture one of Ashwin's hands, holding it up so she can examine the rings he's wearing. "Interesting," she coos, squinting closely at one in particular that's caught her eye. "I'm fond of rings. They tend to be the most common commissions. Nice stones you've got, too… my family's in the Minecraft, mostly. I know my gems! Where did you get them all from? Do they have stories?"

"They all do." The bluntness of Ashwin's answer is almost suprising, there's just something in his tone that suggests no exaggeration, nothing but the truth. "A couple of them I found. Most of the others remind me of a person or a place I've been. Interesting times, interesting people. The lapiz lazuli I found at West Bay Hold, had their crafter do it for me. The jade reminds me of someone that broke my heart, so on and so forth." There's a little pause while he thinks, then adds.. "Why don't you make me one?"

"I do have an ale-brown topaz that I've been thinking of doing something with…" Inspired, Thys taps on her chin as she thinks… and then she grins. "But you couldn't afford my work, Ashwin. Ash. I'm going to call you Ash, because Win is a little too arrogant." She winks. "Would an ale-brown topaz remind you of this evening?" To demonstrate the colour she's talking about, Thys holds up her glass of ale to let the nearest light filter through it. "That's what it looks like."

"I didn't say that I didn't have money, I said I was useless." Ashwin points out, pride just a touch wounded. "Ash works." He's a little guarded now though the smirk comes back. "Someone recently asked me why I didn't take an honorific. I told him if I did, it would have been 'I'Win'. You can totally call me win, though, because I'm full of it." Yes, and tiger blood. "Hmm." Ashwin proceeds to attempt to steal her glass and drink it. "… if it's going to remind me of this night, I need a lot more of these."

Thys's glass is an easy conquest, given that it's not full. "I'win. Dear Faranth. The arrogance." She's teasing! And laughing as she orders more drinks. Keep 'em comin', boss! "Full of win, and full of booze. I'll stick to calling you Ash, I think. Short, simple, and kinda cute." Is that an eyelash flutter for Ash, or is there just something in Thys's eye? "Are you going to need a lot more of my ale, or a lot more topaz rings? I'd say the ale's probably a better bet. The rings… well, even with marks, I'm very expensive. Or… I mean my work is very expensive. It's not like I sell myself, or anything."

Ashwin attempts to jostle Thys with is elbow. "You can call me I'win if you want." He'll deal with Ash though, it is his name afterall and he kind of is stuck with it. The corner of his eye notices the flutter and it gains a smile, but his left hand also gains another of her drinks. "I'll switch to these if you don't mind. You've pretty good taste in drink. Not to mention company." Another round goes by before he feelst he need to say anything again. "Yeah, nothing about you strikes me as cheap." It's so.. deadpan and neutral, who knows how he means it? But now, since they are three or four drinks past when they started? "So, you want me to drag him here that bad, huh?"

"This is from my home holding in Crom," Thys shares, when her taste is complimented. "As for my taste in company, well, I think you chose me to stand beside, brownrider." It's true! Also true: "I'm absolutely not cheap, but that doesn't mean I'm demanding, either. Not one of those prissy Holdery types." If her clothing is any indication, she's actually pretty low maintenance, what with her outfit comprising just simple trousers, a shirt, and battered workboots. "Wait… drag who here?"

Thunk. That is Ashwin's forehead hitting the bar. "I'm sorry. I thought I was being smooth, but either I've drunk too much or too little or maybe it's you." He lifts his head, mops his brow and has another drink. "Mm, well, to sidetrack a moment, it's good. Family make it?" Then he heaves a little sigh. "I meant, do you really want me to drag my brown's ass end to your gold's next flight that bad. I'm considering making an exception even if I can't…. I don't mind the ~flights~ it's the drama after that always gets to me."

Thys's expression turns to an 'Oh!' when she understands. "Rinxyth? Well, absolutely, if you're keen. There are very few riders I would deny the opportunity to." Which suggests that some have been told absolutely no way are they allowed to participate. "I wouldn't worry about drama, not unless it rears its head. And of course, catching's not guaranteed, so there mightn't even be any, and besides, Rhen won't be rising for… well, at least a turn. She seems to be pretty consistent at going up, oh, once a turn or so." She pauses for a drink, then shakes her head. "No, actually, my family don't make it. Someone else does. Mine just drink it."

"I wouldn't say I'm keen." Ashwin corrects. "You're pretty and all. Just considering the idea. It'd usually be a flat out no. Like I said, it's complicated. The whole flight thing is complicated. Rules, drama, I hate morning afters. You wouldn't know it from talking to me now but I'm typically alot more private. Flights feel like giving something up, sharing a piece of yourself before you are ready." There's a bit of a faraway look in his eyes as he thinks. "You know, I always wondered. Speaking of sharing yourself, preferences and all. What happens if your gold gets caught by a female ridden brown? Not many of them out there, but it's always a possability. Only ever heard of it happening once."

"There's no pressure," Thys assures, reaching out to pat Ashwin's upper arm gently, hopefully reassuringly. "It's just a flight, at the end of the day. I would hope no-one involved in any of Rhenesath's would ever cause trouble or drama, for anyone." She shrugs her shoulders gently, then raises a brow at the question. "Well… I suppose if it happens, it happens. I've never considered that sort of direction before, but I understand it's possible, and with Rhenesath seeming to prefer browns perhaps it's more possible for me than for others? Honestly, I can't imagine it feeling any different in the throes of it all…" And here she laughs, a nervous little chuckle. "Though I wouldn't have the slightest clue what to do. And my sorta-boyfriend would probably… well, Faranth. I don't know what he'd think."

Ashwin lifts up both eyebrows all of the way. "Sorta boyfriend? C'mon, that's a little disrespectful? Either is or isn't." A little, tiny, itty bitty smirk. His demeanor seems to have changed a little for the quieter and he is looking hard at the ale. "We men are pretty simple at heart. He'd probably just be upset he missed the chance to watch." Ale is swirled, contemplated, and drank. "What about outside of a flight? Does the idea turn you off?" The finished, empty glass is placed on the bar and he reaches for her's again. "I suppose…" He says, quickly. "I'm curious because I always heard if you rode gold, you were absolutely arrow straight. Bronzeriders occasionally catch male ridden greens, but.."

"I say sorta, because… it's complicated. I believe you understand complicated?" Given their conversation so far, and all. Thys is smiling, but there's a little sadness to the expression. "He's been at the Hall for a long time. I've been here. We're both busy, and… you know how it goes. Complicated." She shrugs, then forces her grin a little brighter. "But you're right, he'd be more upset he didn't see, and… no, the thought doesn't turn me off, as such, but it's also not really something I've ever considered. Though I think, if I did think that way…" Dark eyes check their surroundings, seeing who's within earshot before she leans in to whisper, "Inri. I'd think that way about Inri, I think."

"Mm-hmm." Ashwin agrees. "Complicated." He understands complicated, and in fact, what's likely to make things less complicated is the fresh ale that appears in his hand. Whatever he is thinking about placates him slightly. "So does that mean, if you have a kinda-sorta boyfriend I ~shouldn't~ be sizing you up for future drinking and late night discussions?" Discussions. Yes about winning. He is going to say something else, when he leans forward to meet her and hear that whisper. "Inri, Inri. Hmm. I don't…" Her gold will feel the request from his brown for an image, and if given he will relay it. "Yeah, she's pretty. You gotta be the exception to the rule. Neat."

If loose tongues start wars, Thys had better hope no-one overheard her little confession. "I've never really thought about it though, honestly. If there are women there during a flight, it never even occurs… anyway. It's a bridge I'll cross when I come to it." She picks up a fresh glass of ale, and takes a hearty sip before answer the question posed to her. "Like I said, it's complicated. I'm not weyrmated. Ever turn or so I'm guaranteed to sleep with someone else. I don't belong to anyone other than Rhenesath, and so future drinking and late night discussions is absolutely on the table, if I don't have work the next morning."

"Good. Maybe the next time we talk I can explain a little of the it's complicated. Why I don't do gold flights. Usually it's something people just find out, but.." He ponders a minute. "What makes Inri different than the others? If you thought about it, what would you like to do with her? I mean… there's … doin' it, but could you cuddle her afterwards? Could you kiss her? If yes and yes, you're probably a little both ways… first time I've ever seen a goldrider feel that wy." He is not being as quiet as her. After a minute he stands, slightly wobbly. "I need to go. The guy that I came here on duty with finally reappeared from the whorehouse or wherever he was. So, we need to get back to Xanadu. I owe you some drink, and some complications, ok?"

Thys goes a little pale when she's asked to give details. "I… I don't know? I've never thought about it," she repeats, looking a little flustered… and with her rosy cheeks a stark contrast to her pallid nervousness. What if someone overhears? Then there seems to be relief at the end of the tunnel. "Oh, well, yes. Yes, you owe me drinks, and complications, and… a visit. And a maybe-date! Send word when you're coming and I'll make arrangements. You're alright to between, aren't you?"

"I'll be fine." Ashwin says. Impulsively, he reaches out to try and hug her, lips just brushing her ear as he whispers into them. "You should think about it." And then, mysteriously, he's gone, off to collect tiger blood and win soe more, just enough cash to pay his bill left behind him. He's weirded her out a bit, his mission is fulfilled.


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