Who Metan, Th'ero
What Metan attracts attention to himself, wins a bet and gets himself Searched. In other words? A typical evening in the Gemstone.
When Spring, Turn 2711
Where Gemstone Tavern, Fort Weyr

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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.


Dim lighting, crowded tavern, eyes easily distracted by patrons' coming and going, the Gemstone is an ideal place for Metan to enter and hunker down in for a number of hours. He's got his hood up and shadowing his face until a full sweep of the space gives him an 'all-clear' from potential run-ins. For once, there are no creatures at his side. He eases his way towards the bar and orders himself an ale. He lets his hood drop, waving off any of the bartender's comments about the purple bruising of his cheek. His grin is crooked, a handicap from an old injury perhaps, and not necessarily to add to his charm. "C'mon, man. Don't fuss so much. It was worth it." He takes the bartender's offered shot in stride and then eases himself onto a barstool.

There's another who haunts this tavern on a regular basis and usually when he wishes to "escape" but is unable to stray far from the Weyr itself. Th'ero has settled himself in his usual corner, the farthest towards the back so that he faces inwards but no one can be placed behind him. It's an excellent vantage point, really. Especially when he's in a brooding mood and not really wishing to be bothered and can see trouble coming his way. Tonight though, he's on the lookout. For what? Who knows. Metan might have expected to go unnoticed and may have succeeded if his comment to the bartender wasn't overheard. Even just a snippet is enough and the Weyrleader's intrigue is piqued. He's not wearing his knot or his usual riding gear and while dressed all in sombre shades of black, grey and neutral, earthy tones, there's nothing to peg him for who he really is, unless someone knows him by frequenting the Weyr. He'll leave his coveted spot and approach the bar, picking a stool next to Metan's while signalling the bartender. "Rough night?" he asks, voice low and quiet spoken, faintly accented not in Fortian, but more westward towards the Emerald Isles.

Metan's mid-sip of his ale when Th'ero settles in next to him. His brows lift in acknowledgement, but it's not until his thirst is quenched and the ale is lowered that he will answer. "Not really," he drawls, grin crooked as his accent hints of Tillek in more pronounced ways than he normally falls to. If he recognizes the Weyrleader, nothing flickers to give that recognition away. "Made enough in the fight to warrent a drink," he adds, assuming the other man might be poking at the reason to his bruising. His grin hefts higher as he adds, "I usually do." He falls back to sipping his ale, not one to pry, though he does angle a few side-eyed glances at Th'ero as he drinks.

"Pit fighter?" Th'ero asks casually but careful to keep his voice pitched in a way that their conversation doesn't carry. His reaction isn't one of surprise or open staring for the bruising Metan is sporting. It was noted and then ignored, though it's still part of their discussion. "Or underground?" He'll receive his ale from the bartender and if Metan is looking then, he'll notice that the Weyrleader favours a rather poisonous looking drink; it's a dark enough brew to look almost black and the foam looks reddish in tint. He'll take a good swig of it too and barely pull a face for it. So it must be good? "You usually so up front about your winnings?"

"Sure. If I'm upfront about them, I generally earn a few people looking into them who want to cut my purse. Then I'll take them and whatever they've knocked off in their thieving," Metan answers all-too-easily. He's finished his ale and is signaling for another, though upon it's refilling he won't chug it as much as he did his first. He eyes Th'ero's glass and tilts his head to the side, much like a firelizard might, as he appraises the liquid. "Is that palatable? Looks a bit rough." He sips from his far lighter ale and adds, eyes dancing with his restrained humor. "If I told you I fought in the underground, you want to rig a bet and come out as equal winners?

Th'ero doesn't quite chuckle but there's a bemused sort of shift to his expression as he looks away and ahead, to the back of the bar. "Proud too, huh?" he drawls, almost as if to mock Metan for his show of confidence; or was it bragging? Noticing the interest in his drink, Th'ero sets it down and slides it over to Metan. "Most can't stomach it," he warns the man and now there's a quirked brow for the offer. "Perhaps." he seems to consider it for a moment. "Though… I'll give you my wager first? I bet you cannot finish that drink." He points to the vicious looking ale, still filled almost to the brim. "Without either passing out or vomitting or just plain quitting. If you can? Then we'll talk rigging bets and whatever else." There may be a pat to a pocket then. Clearly he's well off, right? I mean, look how he's dressed! "If you can't… I take whatever is left of your earnings."

Metan's too quick to take the challenge, whether or not he was bragging of rigging fights and partaking in them. His grin is a crooked flash and then it's gone as he hefts up that ale and begins to chug it down. He's not immediately green-looking from the endeavor, but halfway through the contents hes starting to look like he's regretting the Chug-A-Thon. Still, he hefts it down and looks away from Th'ero to compose himself. It'd be rude to show the grimace directly to the finely-dressed man to his left. He clears his throat a few times, fist-bumps his chest, and lets out a loud belch before he looks back to Th'ero. "I shouldn't have done that," he shares, his eyes going a little glassy from the alcohol he's so quickly consumed. It'll only lead him to more bragging. A hand is offered. "I go by Metan."

Th'ero isn't the one wearing the look of horror on his face. It might be the bartender or a few of the closer patrons who've noticed the exchange of the ale. Yes, the ale is *that* notorious by reputation! No, he just sits there and watches Metan seal his doom and while he barely shows a smile, inside the man is probably laughing himself silly. Well, well! He's certainly impressed that he managed to do it after all and not end up puking — yet. "Considering the name of what you just so skillfully chugged is lovingly known as 'Black Damnation'? No, you shouldn't have. I'd advise drinking any more or mixing with say… Cromese Curse. I might actually fear for your health." he remarks dryly. Eyeing the offered hand, Th'ero considers for a moment before taking it in his own in a grip that's perhaps just a bit too firm. "Th'ero. Well met, Metan. You were saying something about the underground?" He doesn't grin, but there's an implied one.

Metan is too far into his cups to censor himself, though he does remember to lean in and whisper to Th’ero in reply. “Underground. Talked to a guard at th’Weyr about it once. He thought I was jokin’,” he pauses for dramatics as his lips curve into a wide grin, “but I make good marks doin’ it.” He’s clearly intoxicated now as he keeps dropping syllables and slurring at awkward times. Maybe that’s why he doesn’t immediately register Th’ero’s name with the name of the Weyrleader at the Weyr he resides in. He’s also far enough that he doesn’t hesitate to reach for his ale and sip it. Oh, he isn’t puking yet, but it’s likely on it’s way. Unless the man drinks heavily all the time. Which, from his wiry-shape and lack of a gut, may not necessarily be true. The bartender doesn’t refill his glass again, no matter how much Metan may want to beg for more. He blinks a few times as his ale gets turned into water. “Is this magic?” he demands, squinting at the cup and then looking at Th’ero. “It’s water.” Stating the obvious for the win.

“Happen to remember the Guard’s name?” Th’ero asks and continues to feign that he *knows* these things and that he’s not trying to gather information for all the wrong reasons. Really though, he probably knew about it and turns a blind eye to fighting rings because, well… there’s worse things in the world. If it’s true and the Weyrwoman ever found out though, it’d be his hide for sure. There’s probably another game afoot here too and, truthfully, he might have done better to be certain Metan was sober for it. Ah well, too little too late. “You’ll want to slow it down a bit, at least for a moment? I’ve an offer for you.” Another one! They didn’t even get around to discussing the details of the previous bet he just made. Reaching into that pocket he’d patted earlier, he pulls out what is clearly not the marks Metan may have been hoping for. It’s a nice, crisp and clean white knot, that is just quietly set to the surface of the bar and slid forwards with a few of his fingers. That ought to sober Metan up better than any water, right? Or maybe now he’ll puke? Both? “While I think it’s rather unwise to Search someone in your current condition, I cannot get Velokraeth to shut up on insisting to at least extend the offer. So the choice is yours, Metan.” Who he knows so very little about, aside from him being an outsider and a fighter. “You’ll have to give up fighting for a bit if you choose to Stand as a Candidate but… consider it a challenge?” More like another bet.

“Dunno. Ross, Ruff, Ruddy,” Metan tries on different variations of the name with a frown for thought. His brows are still down and his wheels are still turning in his head when Th’ero makes his offer. “Shit,” he lets out with wide-eyes and blinks a few more times at Th’ero and then stares at that knot like it were more poisonous than that ale he’d so recently chugged. He happens to look more pale than when this conversation started - but that can be blamed on his intoxication level. “Do you get paid to Stand?” he asks, not the most eloquent in his thought process and then he scrubs his face, hard a few times. “Excuse me, sir,” he tells him and heaves himself up from the barstool. “Nature calls.” He jets off towards the nearest restroom facility and takes his time to return. He does come back though, so Velokraeth needn’t worry that his chosen candidate was prepared to flee when faced with the challenge. He’s dumped a serious amount of water on his face and hair, droplets still linger along his neck. The color seems to be returning to his face and he seems a bit less boozy than when he left. He likely puked his guts up. “I guess I’m game to give it a go,” he declares, offering Th’ero his hand to shake. “If you do place a bet in my favor, yeah?”

Th’ero tucks away all those names, just in case one proves to be useful. It’s no longer his main concern, however and it’s obvious that his attention is solely on Metan and the answer to be received. The Weyrleader is in no rush and seemingly endlessly patient, at least for now and in this particular case. “Candidates receive a small stipend but not much. Most of what you need will be provided. You only have to ask the Headwoman or Steward and provided you’re not requesting anything too outlandish, there shouldn’t be a problem.” There’s only a smirk when Metan excuses himself but he doesn’t seem the least bit concerned. Even if he had run? Velokraeth would not have chased and the Weyrleader would have taken the answer as being a simple: no. No need to waste time or effort on something so painfully clear. “Always do place my bets on those Velokraeth selects. He’s not often wrong.” Yeah, he’s gloating a bit but when someone’s been at this sort of thing for the amount of time he has? Kind of a given. He’ll take Metan’s hand and shake it, briefly, before letting go and gesturing for him to follow. If he’s noticed the droplets of water or the more sobered state he says little. He’s probably just grateful he wasn’t puked on. “If you’ll come with me? I need to return to the Weyr and I can at least guide you in the right direction towards the barracks. Unless you need to gather anything? Speak to anyone?” Last call, last chance.

“No, I mean- I’m certain I had a reason for being here,” Metan tells Th’ero with a shrug and that half-smile of his, “but it’s not entirely worth my while to stay. Not when I’ve got it clear that I can’t really take on any other fights anytime soon, right?” He has a small sack he collects from the floor near the chair he was sitting in. He hefts it to his shoulder and gestures for the Weyrleader to proceed him. “You needn’t bother yourself with depositing me there and showing me around. I’ve been staying at the Weyr for a while now. I’m sure I can figure out the where-to and how-to of all of this,” he says without any hesitation. “Can even walk there myself, actually.” He glances towards the bronzerider and lifts his brows up as a thought registers. “Unless that’s illegal? Cheating? I mean, if I have to go back by dragon, I suppose I won’t complain. First time for everything.” He’ll keep up the inane chatter as they go along, whether or not he’s formally dropped off by the Weyrleader. He’s more sober-looking but likely, from how much he talks, there’s still enough booze on board to keep him from recognizing what he may have agreed to.

Th’ero blinks but his expression remains unmoved from the usual stoic neutralness he keeps it in. There is, however, a brief moment where he almost smiles. It’s still a smirk but it just hints at something more. “That was my fault for assuming you were from outside the Weyr. No, it’s not required that you follow me then OR ride on Velokraeth. Unless you wish to cross that off a personal list?” Get a sample of what he could possibly be in for? It’s a joke but the Weyrleader doesn’t push the issue. Once they’re outside, they’ll part ways after a few moments of inane conversation, Th’ero allowing Metan to continue on to the Weyr while he goes to Velokraeth; who just ends up being the ugliest looking bronze likely living on Pern. Whatever keeps them there, it’ll be some time before they return to the Weyr itself, another Candidate claimed under them and for a barracks that is rapidly filling up.


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