"So, how about that new cothold?"

The voice was essentially a stranger's; Inyri had heard it a time or two before, not so much a regular as someone who stopped in on occasion. Some sort of trader. Wood things? She couldn't remember. It also didn't matter very much, as the man wasn't speaking to her but to another young lady seated at the bar.

Pretending not to hear, idly washing a glass that had probably been scrubbed shiny already, Inyri lurked nearby. A new cothold wasn't something that people were talking about every day. It stood out. And that was rare, these days, considering how little anyone said that ever stood out to her in conversations like this.

The answer that came from the young woman in the conversation was, conveniently, "No. There's plans for a new cothold? What are you on about?"

At just the absolute worst moment, a fourth party entered the equation — a customer, wanting to order some sort of Keroon wine. Inyri ended up at least half distracted, having to help him figure out exactly which wine it was, then getting him a glass and helping him with the food menu. She was good at the multitasking that came with this sort of thing, though, and so managed to glean some information from the man and woman at the corner of the bar.

The man, it seemed, had heard about the construction of a new cothold nearby, and after pledging his own services as a smith, had been sent out to recruit skilled workers and crafters to join up. Inyri wasn't really able to judge whether or not that was strange — she was used to people building new things, but wasn't a cothold awfully large? Then again, it wasn't as if they were talking about the opening of some major Hold. It was a cothold. People must make new cotholds all the time.

It seemed unusual that he was pressing his — well, not 'suit,' but eager campaign to get others to help build a new cothold onto a healer, though. The woman wore the knot plain as day (the man didn't wear any knot at all, which was also possibly confusing and possibly not; Inyri wasn't kidding herself into thinking she understood the implications, but made note to remember it anyway) and had just come in to order an early dinner before going back to some work. Delivering a baby, Inyri thought it might be. Or checking on a pregnant woman.

Why would a cothold in development need a journeyman healer of its own already? And was that something notable? For that matter, how many other times had Inyri seen this same man use this same line? She knew she knew him somewhere.

The answer was probably at least three times, over a long series of months, and so once she'd filled three more drink orders and put two into the kitchen, she seriously contemplated asking the man about it. Maybe he'd give her more information; maybe this cothold would have a spot for her, and she could run her own tavern instead of just being staff.

But when she looked at him, suave and handsome in a nice coat, eagerly giving information to the healer woman about how wonderful her contribution would be and how good her life could be, something gave her pause. Inyri didn't really want to run head-first into that conversation. She always said she was the type to give anything a try, just grab life by the horns and go for a ride — and yet suddenly she felt herself really, really not wanting to give into the impulsive urge to actually talk to him.

That didn't mean, though, that she wasn't going to listen.

Over the next hour, she found excuses to stick around that area, and even managed to serve food to the pair; the healer seemed to be taking the man's story seriously enough, even though Inyri could tell that he very clearly wasn't giving her very much information. He was dodgy. Unclear. The healer was eating out of his palm, too.

Inyri forced herself not to sigh, not butt in with 'don't you think it sounds a little strange, to just ask you something like that all of a sudden?' but when the man actually turned to her and acknowledged her presence, asked her a question, Inyri didn't give the answer she thought she should:

He said, "How about you? Looking for a new place to live? Exciting work, starting something from the ground up? We're looking for skilled workers of all kinds."

And she should have said: "No."

And she did say: "Let me get back to you on that."