'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.

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.

Another few come in to escape the freezing rain outside, hurrying through the door both to get within the warmth and dryness of the tavern and also to /keep/ it in. Among the small rush is [[character:Th'ero]]] himself, dressed in his gear that he reserves for patrols and other outings that take him into the forests and mountains more then the offices and council chambers. Pausing by the doorway, the Weyrleader brushes off some of the rain water from his jacket, then kicking some of the slush and mud from his boots to keep from tracking the worst of it through. Satisfied, he runs a hand through his now wet hair (does the man not know of hoods or hats?) and ignoring some of the looks he earns for being there, turns his head to glance idly over the room. It won't take him long to spy the Inyri and Ezra at their table, gaze darting curiously to the two canines laying on the floor but the frown reserved for the state of Ezra's jacket. Turning, he slowly walks over to their table, pausing within a respectable distance to incline his head and greet them both, "Evening," he murmurs in a low voice, offering no smile though his tone seems welcoming enough.

The canines are at least — well, okay, the /male/ canine is tied to a chair, the female is just mostly behaving well. If paw-wrestling counts as behaving well. And it does well enough that Koren, the tavern owner, isn't yelling at Inyri to put the canines or her friend outside. "I'm pretty confident in it, though," she's telling Ezra. When the Weyrleader approaches, she looks up, and seems to be caught between standing and not standing. "Evening, sir," she says, deciding for then just to keep seated. "I'm finishing off my break, but I'm sure if you'd like to order something Darni can help you —" Wherever he's gone. Back to the kitchen, presumably.

Ezra continues to eye Inyri for a moment, and then his head turns when Th'ero approaches. The boy sits up a bit straighter, and without preamble launches right into a question. "Did'ja get my letter?" No sir, no salute, just the question and his almost hungry gaze. Zoi sits up and wuffs softly at the Weyrleader, tail and rear end wagging as she gives him a much more energetic and friendly greeting.

A clear, beautiful voice is singing outside… what it's singing is anything but beautiful though. It's incredibly bawdy, the kind of stuff that mothers cover their children's ears over and make maidens blush. The girl such a voice belongs to comes blowing through the door, pushed on a howling gust. The door bangs shut behind her, leaving a puff of cold air in its wake. Zapallie sheds her coat in the middle of it, shaking drops of water from her hair as she hands it up to dry wherever's convienent, but not necessarily polite. "What's a girl got to do to get a stiff drink in here?" she hollers. There's a pretty nasty bruise on her cheek, it looks fresh, and promises to get darker.

The kitchen is busy. The kitchen staff are working in the busy kitchen. The tavern is filling up more and more. Inyri's salad is … almost gone. So she sighs, and stands up, brushing off the front of her pants, and calls back, "What kind of stiff drink did you want? We've got plenty!" in a voice whose tone is as audible and matching to Zapallie's. As a result, Durahiko the canine barks again. Just once. "Shush, you," she chides.

For whatever reason - maybe Edani didn't like what the kitchens are serving for dinner tonight - the senior apprentice with few marks to his name is apparently going to be eating here tonight. He's not dressed in his dusty work clothes, having stopped by the bathing caverns and donned, not gather best, but nice shoes, pressed khaki trous and a crisp white shirt that's less formal with sleeves rolled up to his forearms and collar unbuttoned at his throat. He enters a just after Zapallie and is stepping towards an out of the way table in a fairly dim corner when she calls out. Dark eyes shift her way warily then narrow a touch at the mark on her face. He should not do this, but he does it anyway. He takes the two steps to her side fingers reaching to brush her elbow and says lowly, "Say please. And I will buy you one."

"I did," Th'ero turns his head to regard Ezra with a renewed frown and longer look. "We will have to discuss it soon. Later tonight, perhaps." The Weyrleader doesn't correct the boy either on his lack of salute or formality, his gaze already flicking back to Inyri and now the bronzerider does smile faintly — if one corner of his mouth barely quirking up can be called a smile. "I am fine for now, thank you." he tells her, giving her a studious look next. "Are you new to the tavern?" he asks, noticing now that he doesn't fully recognize her, though lately he has had little time to socialize in the Gemstone. Glancing about the room again, hardly a second has passed before he adds, "Do you two mind if I join you?" Because that's not awkward at all! Before he does take a seat though, he does crouch down just enough with his hand curled with the back facing out to offer to the two canines to sniff. He's been around them enough to know better then to accidentally spook them.

"Been around a few months," Inyri tells the Weyrleader, with her open-welcoming sort of smile. She's friendly! And harmless! And everyone wants to tell her everything, that too. The mention of a letter has just her left eyebrow quirking for a moment, before she relaxes her expression and gets back to the business side of things. She'll likely ask Ezra about it later, either way. "You're perfectly welcome to, sir, and because I might as well just get to it — what can I get you?" Besides canine nose good, because Durahiko is definitely going to that hand for some sniffing.

Ezra squirms, not liking the talk of 'later'. He frowns through his curtain of stringy hair, and is about to say something when Zapallie enters. "That's her!" he shouts, springing to his feet and POINTING. "You know about Stonehaven!" Wow, way to make a scene. Zoi was starting to try and nibble Th'ero's fingers, but when her boy is pointing and shouting, she starts to bark.

Zapallie glances aside at the hand on her elbow. The touch is gone before she can even flinch reflexively from it. "Hmm…" she hums, considering his quiet request. "I never beg, darling, but you do clean up nice, don't you?" she gives him an appreciative up and down. "I suppose one little please won't hurt my reputation too much…" Of course, flirting is interrupted by pointed toddlers. "Oi, it's the bitty-bit from the snow. Didn't you get the coat I sent you, kid?" an eyebrow raises. She's not denying his accusasion, just…deflecting.

Edani is bracing himself inwardly, waiting for an explosion. When it doesn't come, he lets out a breath and a slow smile tugs at his mouth instead. So much for being able to predict her moves! "Thanks," he says for the compliment. "A lady should neither beg nor demand. And saying please is not begging," he says firmly. "But it does work wonders. This way?" If she'll allow, he'll step back and let her precede him, gently steering her with a light touch to her elbow to the table he wants. They'll pass right by where Th'ero, Ezra and Inryri are and he pauses to say hello with a nod to them all. "Weyrleader, Inyri, Ezra. I see the pups have survived their first night in your care. Did they get names yet?" That table is just beyond theirs and so while they answer, he steps to pull out a chair for Zapallia.

Durahiko will get a brief scratch to the head or just beneath the chin while Th'ero glances up distractedly to Inyri. "Well," If she insists? "I could go for pint of that wickedly strong stout, if it's available." It's the Weyrleader's favorite and loved by few others, considering it's overly strong taste, foreboding blackish-red tinted look and the fact that it really hits hard for those not able to handle their drink. Thankfully he glances down to the canines again to keep his fingers from being nibbled on by Zoi, but the barking has him rising swiftly to his feet and then giving Ezra a sharp look for his outburst. As the boy points, Th'ero turns to see what has riled him so much. As he causes a scene by accusing Zapallie outright, the Weyrleader's frown grows heavier and his whole demeanor changes in an instant. "Sit down, Ezra," he says in an oddly firm and low tone, commanding but not overly harsh. Most who know him know that it means he expects it to be followed without question. Zap is given another cursory glance, eyes narrowing a little as Th'ero recalls her vaguely from their brief encounter in the library. "So you two did cross paths?" he asks dryly in response to Zapallie, ignoring the remark conerning Ezra's jacket. He'll be getting to that too, if he remembers. To Edani, the Weyrleader nods briskly. "Evening," he murmurs in much of the same manner as the gesture.

Suddenly, things got interesting. Inyri is standing in limbo, not sure if she's going over to the bar or watching the exchange between Ezra and Zapallie, or — well, when in doubt fall back on your job. "I'll go get you that," she says, and then to Zapallie and Edani: "And what for you two?" While she's waiting for an answer, she drops her tone again just to address those nearest her: that being Ezra and, more specifically, Th'ero. "Also — Weyrleader — I was asked to let you know if I heard about anything exceptionally unusual in the gossip, and I think there's something I might have overheard —" Typical Inyri, just making the complicated more complicated. But when else would she get a chance to casually run into the Weyrleader?

Ezra gives Th'ero a rebellious look, but then he flops into his chair and grabs for his pink, fuzzy drink. Sip. "Yeah," he says to Zapallie, "it's PINK." But he's still planning on using the fabric to enlarge his current coat. Which will loot so stupid it's not even funny. He perks up a bit though, giving Inyri a long look. "About Stonehaven?" The boy's got a one track mind, and doesn't seem to care if he's asking folks to talk about sensitive subjects in public. Pale eyes flick to Edani, and he smiles a little bit. "Zoi."

"Well, there's been some debate on if I'm a lady or not," drawls Zap, amused. When he touches her elbow she twitches away and then slowly eases back to consent to the touch. "And a gentleman to boot!" she chuckles, not exactly in the nicest way… She's still Zapallie, after all. Still, she sits down in the seat he pulls out and regards the boy and the man with equal parts appraisal and suspicion. "So's your drink," she informs Ezra blandly. "It was what I could get that would fit you, alright?" Inyri gets her next look. "Uhmm… I like what he's ordering," she says, nodding to the Weyrleader.

Edani is aware of all these undercurrents, of course, but not having been there - where ever there is - that Zapallie and Ezra met, he has no idea what the pointing is all about. He's tactfully ignoring that as well as the correction the boy is getting from the Weyrleader in favor of getting Zapallie seated and then sitting opposite from her. "I try," he says dryly about being a gentleman but makes no remark about her being a lady save to murmur, "I see." To Inyri's question he says calmly, "Menus please," then nods to the young woman across from him, waiting for her to order before saying, "Ale for me as well." His eyes flash with amber glints when he smiles back at Ezra. "Zoi. A strong-sounding name. I like it." Then he leans back in his chair to consider his table mate. "Buy you dinner also?"

And things are about to get a whole lot more interesting. Th'ero cocks his head a bit to the side when Inyri drops her tone and his mouth draws down into a tight line, brows furrowing. "I see," he murmurs low, pitching his voice so that only she may overhear it. "Tend to your duties first… then come and tell me." Which could be the Weyrleader just trying to be nice and not get her in trouble with Koren, not that the tavern owner would be daft or foolish enough to chide her now. The real reason, however, could just be because the bronzerider knows he'll /need/ that drink in three, two, one… Ezra is given a stern look, Th'ero watching him carefully as the boy takes on that rebellious look and only turning away once he settles down again. When he drops the name of his cothold though again, the Weyrleader only smirks. Not much to be done about it now. He's taking that seat now, one that will give him a view of all of the assembled group and even before he's settled himself, his dark eyes have locked on to Zap again, especially when she does admit to getting Ezra a new jacket. When she orders the same drink, he snorts softly, mouth quirking back into a half-smile, half-smirk. "You may regret that," he drawls, trying to ease some of the awkward away and likely failing.

"Ale for everyone, plus menus," Inyri chirps, pretending she's not getting ruffled at /all/ by the mayhem that's going on around her. No, she's good. Inyri is collected. She's got it together. There isn't even a falter in her voice — okay, so maybe there's a tiny one, for a second, but she gets it under control fast. She's also not really getting ale for everyone, just for everyone except Ezra and herself. She doesn't actually speak in return to Th'ero's request of her, just nods her head once slowly to him in acknowledgment as she slips away from the group to get their drinks together and a menu or two for Edani and Zap.

Ezra shifts in his seat, more of a squirm, and glances at Zapallie. "Thanks," he blurts out, because his mother /made/ him say thank you /always/. And to not would cause him too much guilt. "Thanks," he says to Edani, too, though his is more genuine. Pale eyes flick from the man to his date (?!?!) and then to Inyri, frowning. Edani is a player? Not that the tween knows such words. But he sees where attention goes. Then he's silent.

Mayhem? This isn't mayhem. Yet. Zapallie flashes a quick, toothy grin to Eddani. "If you're buying, I'm eating." After this, Th'ero gets her attention once more. "Ohh, I regret all kinds of things, Weyrleader… " Eyes flick to Ezra, and she drawls, "I suspect I'll need something stiff tonight though." Is that a smile tucked into the corner of her mouth closest to Edani? Oof.

Now Stonehaven, thanks to Ezra, Edani knows about and thus when the boy mentions the ill-fated cothold, a look of concern for the kid darkens his eyes. The expression is eased when Th'ero has things well in hand, a flash of approval in the glance he gives the Weyrleader. "Thanks Inyri," he says with a genuine warmth and a brief touch to her forearm as she brings the menus. "I want to check on your pup later if it's alright." He totally approves of Zapallie eating because ale on an empty stomach… well he's worked hard today and having to cart a boneless Zapallie to wherever she needs to go later wouldn't be something he's up for. "About that," he says, choosing to take her comment another way, "How did you get that shiner?" Quietly asked.

Th'ero leans back into his chair, arms crossing losely over his chest in all appearances calm when he's anything but. The Weyrleader is subtly keeping tabs on all, watching as Inyri leaves to gather the drinks and menu, observing the other tavern occupants and customers briefly as well as he does. Ezra is given another look, but the boy has gone silent now. Feeling a touch guilty for being so blunt and rough with him, he smiles faintly. "So you're the proud owner of a canine now, hmm?" he asks, trying to ease into some form of discussion but it's a fumbling affair all the same. He can manage a Weyr but he cannot speak easily to a young child, go figure. Any remark on his jacket is kept carefully withheld, but he does keep giving the state of it a vague frown. Zapallie's remark has him looking up and over to where she sits across from Edani and that hasn't escaped his notice either. "Most do have past regrets," he replies in a drawling tone, not quite rising to the bait but giving her a lingering and suspicious glance all the same.
With her return, Inyri first gives Edani a small smile due to his having thanked her, and then places the tray she's carrying full of ales down on the table and distributes them: "Three painfully strong stouts, and another fizz for Ezra." Nothing for her, but she's still got her fizzy drink and salad to poke at. "Oh," she adds, leaning against her seat rather than sitting in it, just in case someone else comes in, "yeah. I did name him. Durahiko. Sorry, I'd forgotten to mention it in getting orders."

Ezra gazes at Edani with an expression that is mixed, but it's mostly envy. Here is a man who knows how to talk to women. He's, like, TOUCHED two in the last five MINUTES. Ezra reaches down to ruffle Zoi's ears, but even though she's a girl it's just not the same. He sighs into his drink. "You don't wanna look at Zoi too?" he asks quietly, like he knows the answer already because he's not a hot girl. Did he just think that? He blushes, and then it's all way too awkward and the boy slides off the chair, scoops up his canine, and bolts back into the sleet.

Zapallie shrugs her shoulders at Edani's question, reaching up to graze her fingers against her tender swollen cheekbone. "Some redheaded chit popped me one cuz I called her brother fat." And she even looks smug! Oh so slowly her gaze turns towards Th'ero and her lips curl up just as slowly. That smile, it's so dangerous. And then she drops a bomb, letting it linger and explode. "You regret a lot, when you know Laris."

Painfully strong. That draws a smile from Edani but he shoots Zapallia a faintly concerned look. He takes his, sips, rolling the beverage around on his tongue for a moment then swallows. "Very nice," he says lifting his glass slightly in a silent salute to Th'ero for recommending it. "Oh I do, it's just that Inryi's-" And there goes Ezra running from the room, leaving Edani staring after him with bewildered surprise and speculation. The boy cares? "Durahiko," he nods to the belated answer. "Nice. Has he… kept his food down? He'd a little problem with that yesterday." Which is why Edani wants to see him but he'll set him straight on that later. He shifts back to Zapallie then, giving he a level look. "How's the redhead?" The tone he's using he thinks she's probably dead. He's just nudging the menu her way in a tacit plea to please order something, opening his when she name-drops Laris. Who - also thanks to Ezra - he has heard about. Forgetting the words before him, he just stares at her.

The sudden departure of Ezra throws Inyri off a bit; she manages to regain her composure long enough to say, "Yes, he's been eating well —" and then she's cut off by Zapalie's revelation. She's also quite frustrated when about six thousand other customers clambor for her attention at once: how is she supposed to hear the end of this if they're calling for her? Her apt skills in picking up the gossip all the time will have to serve her well, because all she can say to the assembled group is, "Excuse me," before she's off to deal with the rest of a rowdy group.

"Thank you," Th'ero murmurs to Inyri when she returns with the stouts, straightening in his chair just enough so that he can reach for the mug, grasping it firmly and as he raises it, he tips it slightly in a respectful gesture before lifting it to take a sip. He hardly grimaces for the taste or harshness and as he lowers it back to the table, the grimace that does come to his lips is for Ezra's abrupt departure. The Weyrleader had only just begun to form a reply, but then the boy has bolted and he can only sit there, awkward and uncertain if he should follow him out into the sleet. But that's the perks of being a dragonrider, so he likely passes his concerns on to Velokraeth and the bronze may pass on word to others, Wiyaneth perhaps, if needed. With nothing more to be done on that matter, Th'ero simply looks to enjoy his drink though he doesn't forget Inyri's earlier remark. He gives her a pointed look, gesturing with a slight motion of his head for her to step closer again, only to give a slightly frustrated sigh when she's claimed instead by a hoard of customers. Drat! Then Zap has dropped that bomb of hers and instantly Th'ero has gone tense in his chair and the look he shoots her is narrow and as sharp as any well honed blade. His expression darkens and when he speaks, his voice is oddly calm. Too calm. He's obviously restraining his temper, holding back in an effort not to draw more attention to them or worst of all, cause a scene. "Is that so?" he says cooly. "And you would have first hand experience, then?" Time for the cryptic games.

Cue Kimmila! The Western bluerider sweeps in, shaking sleet off her jacket and stomping mud off her boots before long strides are carrying her towards the table, where she easily slides uninvited into the chair that Ezra just vacated. Convenient, that. Green eyes flick to Th'ero, but the smile and greeting dies on her lips when she sees his posture and expression, and she instantly seeks the cause of that. She can guess, as her gaze settles where the bronzerider's is - on Zapallie.

Zapallie acts like nothing just happened, like she didn't just namedrop public enemy number one as she takes the menu and gives Edani a sweet smirk. "I didn't touch a hair on her pathetic head. Did have a nice chat with her superior at the guard house, though… Seems they frown on attacking people without provocation." A sip of ale is taken, and she looks thoughtful before taking another sip and nodding her head. "Very so," she says, almost affably. "With Laris?" she shrugs and smiles more at him. Kimmila gets her notice though and she lifts her eyebrows. "Oh my, the nosy lady from the library. Come to kick me out of the tavern too?"

Edani should be a lawyer. He eyes that sweet smirk of Zap's with a touch of distaste as he quotes her, "'Without provocation' being the operative term there. I'm surprised, frankly, that you settled for talking to her superior. The way you were offering to stab me for K'drozen because I said he was arrested, I'd think you would have gone for her throat." Waitstaff being what they are, someone is there to help with the dinner rush and so he orders some sort of broiled fish entree, reaching with a gentle touch to recall her from needling the Weyrleader and order so the woman waiting on her can go. The comment to Kimmila, who he's just nodded at, draws a short sigh from him and he asides to the waitress with a wry sacrcasm, "Might have to make hers to go." Brows then lift at Zapallia in a 'Really?' sort of way. Does she like sleet that much that she wants a picnic?

Th'ero doesn't even notice Kimmila arriving and usually he doesn't outright ignore the presence of his weyrmate. Needling the Weyrleader so he loses his temper is probably not the best of ideas and Zapallie is really pushing his resolve not to simply storm over and ruin their little dinner. In fact, Edani being there is probably what's keeping him from just hauling Zap out of there and into custody and interrogating her immediately. Drink forgotten, his hands have fallen to his side and balled into tight fists, while his gaze remains fixed and unmoving. "Yes," he says bluntly, almost snapping the reply. He's in no mood for games, apparently. Then he blinks at her last remark. Nosy lady? Now he glances to his side, relief crossing his features but only briefly before it's replaced by another heavy frown that soon deepens into a scowl. "You two have met?" he drawls slowly, but his comment wasn't directed wholly to the bluerider and more so towards Zap.

Kimmila reaches over to gently rest a hand on Th'ero's thigh beneath the table. Lips twist up into a smirk but then her expression hardens, eyes narrowing when Zapallie name-drops again. "How do you know Laris?" Forget the library!

Zapallie gives Edani a little shrug. "I was bluffing," she says, sipping her ale more. She turns and orders fried tubers, and nothing else. Cheap date. "It's part of my image." Of course, that darn image. "Eh…" she gestures vaguely in response to both questions. "Yes," she says with a firm nod to Th'ero. "Unfortunately." And Kimmila gets a sarcastic smile and a tilt of her head. "I ate him. He was tasty."

Color Edani surprised by that admission. Oh sure, he had assumed that Zapallia was bluffing but he never expected to hear her admit it. He just settles back into his chair and gives her a rather intent study, clearly nonplussed, dismayed and… intrigued. Approving though, he is not. All that strong ale and just fries to go with? When the alcohol hits her nearly empty stomach the reaction is going to be enhanced. And he's worried about that. Zapallie's flippant reply to the Weyrleader has him closing his eyes briefly. Maybe he won't have to toss her over his shoulder and cart her drunken form out of here after all, because she's itching to get hauled out and tossed in the holding cell at this rate. It's a good thing his ale is strong. He needs it.

Sorry Edani, but the dinner date looks to be ending rather spectacularly and not in a good way for anyone. Th'ero has had enough with Zapallie's flippant attitude and ends the game, despite Kimmila trying to keep him calm by reaching out. In fact, the bluerider's question likely fuels the Weyrleader's decision and with a brisk stride, he closes in on the other table. "If you'll excuse us," he says, cold and hardened gaze sliding towards Edani as if to dissuade any protest from the Beastcrafter as he reaches out with a hand to clamp it down on Zapallie's shoulder. Hard. Provided, of course, the girl doesn't evade him. "But I have a few questions to ask your… friend here." And don't think he's off the hook either! Poor Edani is likely to have a visit as well later, to be questioned. One can never be too cautious right? Or is it paranoid? Bluffing or not, Zapallie has caught Th'ero's attention and now, regardless if she wanted to or not, will be hauled away and out into the sleet and straight to a special little room by the cells. Lucky her! In his temper, he doesn't bother ordering Zap as it should be obvious enough what is to come. He does give a sidelong glance to Kimmila though, something passed between them unsaid in some private signal between Weyrleader and bluerider. Backup? Probably. And before more can witness the events unfolding (oh the gossip!), Th'ero will lead them all out of the tavern, expression grim and mood darkening ever further.

No, Edani wouldn't think of protesting the Weyrleader's actions. By this time he rather thinks Zapallie has it coming. He meets the Weyrleader's eyes with an understanding and a clear conscience, not really even considering he'd be guilty by association. So yay! He'll be surprised when those questions come. He is going to sit here and eat his dinner when it comes. And because he is paying for them, Zap's fries. And then drink the rest of her ale. Because by now he certainly needs it.