It has been a long day. Quite possibly it had been longer, but whenever Varos indulges Saphra for a training session, he always loses track of the time.
With the Twins holding the fort, as they say, and he knows well that they’re perfectly capable of doing so, the sightless clothier had taken some time to go through with other routines. They’re unpleasant, but he’s become rather attached to life, and when it comes to survival, you have to be prepared for anything. Those are words that have been practically drilled into him from his days in the orphanage. They’re words that Saphra’s always happy to remind him of whenever he pays the place a visit. Right before she puts him through hell.
He’d only finally left an hour ago, and hasn’t been at the tavern for nearly as long, but he’s not inclined to leave too soon either. Sighing, Varos sips from his mug, savoring the tang of ale, not his favorite, but it’ll do tonight. Or is it nearly morning? That’s the problem when places like this remain open. And although he could have preferred better company than what The Singing Mermaid provides, the place is the best sort for remaining anonymous, just another face wanting to drink the night away.
Although it’s unnecessary for him to do so, he sits with his back towards a wall, having chosen a corner table just by the side of the door. Not immediately seen, but offers, not that he needs it- the best open view of the rest of the tavern.
The Singing Mermaid. Ardul has only been in here once and it had got a bit rough. Someone deciding the de-armoured blonde needed some ‘special attention’. That didn’t last long, the blonde disabused them of them of that notion fairly quickly and it had given her room to at least get a drink.
The tall lean blonde, with hard planes to her face, steps through the door of the tavern wearing a tunic and leggings, her blonde hair falling down her back to just under her shoulders. There’s no mistaking the womans bearing or the way she assesses the room, a soldier. Her eyes land on the blind tailor and his positioning, a small smile tugging at the corners of her mouth as she heads to the bar and orders a drink.
Returning the table, the smiles still there, even going as far to touch her grey eyes. “That’s usually the table I sit at.” She says with amusement “It’s an inspired choice, given the surroundings.” moving to take the table next to him.
The door to the Singing Mermaid swings open and a for once un armored wolfen steps inside. He immediately goes to the bar for something stiff, coat hung over his arm. His pistol is in plain view but then that’s not really unusual on Rifts Earth and especially not unusual on the docks. Sailors tend to be armed. The seas are quite dangerous. More so than the land in some cases.
He glances over to Varos and Ardul, catching them sitting together and quirks a brow as he downs a shot of something clear and likely quite potent.
Varos pauses from taking another pull from his mug, grinning over its brim. “I’d move, but I don’t think my feet would be willing to agree with me at the moment,” he replies, barely managing to keep back a wince as he offers a shrug. With even that simple a gesture hurting, he doesn’t look forward to how sore he’ll be by tomorrow.
By the sight of others already in the room, he can better observe the winged woman who’s entered, filling in the rest of the details that he can’t discern from hearing alone. After taking another drink, he gives Ardul a nod. “That it is. I’d rather not be too careless in a place like this,” he admits.
The creak of the tavern’s door has him turning his head just slightly enough to give the appearance of looking in its direction, and he follows the sound of the Wolfen’s footsteps towards the bar before resuming his own drink. Seeing a glimpse of himself and Ardul as the Wolfen’s attention drifts towards them, Varos offers a crooked smile as he raises his mug as though in toast. He really has no idea why the look, but it’d be rude to ignore without acknowledgment of some sort.
Ardul’s wings are furled tightly against her back, but it’s still obvious they’re grey/black and feathered – likely not mechanical and she appears to be unarmed although a cylinder hangs against her right hip.
“Ah…” she says lightly to Varos’ comment and wince, taking a seat and then a drink from her mug. It’s hard to disguise the grimace as she does – she’s not found a decent drop of alcohol here in a while. “Were you dancing?” It’s … a joke. A poor one. “And that’s most prudent and wise of you. Vesper isn’t all that, from what I’ve seen of it, but still … it always pay to be careful. I’d ask if you came here often, but that might sound like a line …”
Seems there are cheesy pickup lines even on Iyesgarth.
“Ho, Hunter.” she says as Varos salutes him “Come and join me? And … ” she glances to the visored man in question, letting him fill in the blanks.
Hunter seems to have already had that idea. He approaches the table and kicks a chair out to sit in it. The coat winds up draped across the back of said chair. He’s not worried about anything that might be in the pockets, apparently.
“Hello Ardul. And…” Hunter doesn’t know who Varos is either. Varos is something of a known person about town but from the look of the wolfen he doesn’t run in fashionable circles.
Except for that red coat of his. It’s rather nice. Sturdy. Stylish. Well fitted. But that’s about it. Everything else on him says ‘traveller’. It’s all worn and used and faded.
The question, whether it be joke or not, still makes him laugh. That hurts too, but it’s not enough to dampen his sense of humor. “I might as well have been,” he grins. “It’s just been a long day.”
Chuckling, the young man nods his agreement with Ardul’s observations, his grin quirking higher at one end, amused at the unintentional pickup line. “Well, some do come to such places for that as well. Frankly, I wouldn’t mind terribly much if you’d been sincere.” He’s joking. Maybe.
“The more the merrier.” He turns his grin towards the Wolfen who comes to join them then, granting him a nod before offering the winged woman one as well. “Ardul and Hunter,” he intones after gleaning their names from their respective greetings. “Varos. A pleasure.” Beat. “Nice coat.”
“A long day. I can relate to that…” the blonde stretches a little and settles more comfortably into her chair, watching Hunter as he settles his coat and takes his own seat.
Grinning at Varos, Ardul shakes her head “Then it is unfortunate that I don’t come to such places to find … that type of … company.” She’s joking too. Maybe. Either way, she seems to be enjoying herself. This is a slightly more lighter side to the Winged Warrior.
As she moves, the light catches the scars that wind their way over her shoulders – front and back. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Varos.” she says as she looks back to Hunter “It is indeed a nice coat.” beat “Late job, Hunter?” It is late … and it’s not usual for her to be in these places at these times.
“Thank you. I’ve had it for a long time.” It certainly looks broken in, but it looks like it’s been well taken care of as well. How long exactly Hunter doesn’t say and Ardul doesn’t know but it’s not hard to imagine him in the New West with something like that. It gets cold out there sometimes.
“Late job yes. What brings you both out here?”
Broken in hardly means unfashionable, and Varos rather appreciates styles that are sturdy and functionable. He gulps down another mouthful from his mug, casting a brief smile at Ardul. “Mm, I could not fault you there. There are better places for that.”
There’s but the slightest pause in his drinking as his attention is brought to the scars, but he refrains from asking about them. He’s nodding absently as he wouldn’t be surprised that late jobs would bring late-nighters to enjoy a moment and a drink while they can. “It both shows and doesn’t,” he says regarding Hunter’s coat. “Excellent make, I imagine.”
Grinning again, he raises his mug in response to the Wolfen’s question, little below half-filled now. “Well it certainly isn’t the atmosphere. I’m just here to unwind.” However he does look forward to collapsing into bed later. “What sort of job?” he asks, unable to help himself. “-of course, you don’t need to answer if you don’t wish to.”
“I’m sure there are, if I was looking.” Ardul agrees with Varos, taking another drink from her mug and making a face as she does. It really isn’t very good. Hunters mention of the age of the coat has her looking “It’s certainly seen a hard time or two since I’ve known you. You look after it well…”
It had had a hole blown in it not too long ago. The Wolfen had mended it, or had it mended … quite skillfully too.
As to why she’s here? “A bit of column A and a bit of column B.” Given she’s not in her armour, it means she’s had time to change. “Got in from patrol an hour or so ago and found I couldn’t settle. I swear, I spend so much time in Vesper, I should probably take up lodgings here.”
“I’m a mercenary. I do work for the city sometimes. They had me out along the river making sure everything was quiet. Easy job. Patrolling on the Dogwood border. Nothing really to catch but bandits and smugglers.”
At the moment. Both nations still make a habit of regular military patrols though partly to keep an eye on the other city and partly to because there’s plenty of things out there that might stumble out of a rift and cause trouble.
A big old armed robot tends to be pretty good at dealing with both.
There’s a quiet laugh at Ardul’s opinion of the drink. Varos is inclined to agree. “Unfortunately that’s one of the better selections,” he smirks before swallowing the last of his own drink. He’s had much better, but tonight he’s not picky and it’s become his go-to whenever he does come down to this tavern.
“Patrolling? Ah, a mercenary.” He nods from Ardul to Hunter then. “Now, do you prefer the quiet days or those less so?” he grins, before turning his attention towards the barkeep to signal him for a refill. “Oh, do you not stay in Vesper? It’s not for everyone, but it is convenient.”
“The only decent drink I’ve had since arriving here was a bottle I found in my apartment in Sarens Rest…” Ardul shakes her head “… It survived whatever happened to the city, but it was quite good. Maybe I should scavenge more over there.” Which sort answers some of Varos’ question. “Mercenary, I suppose you could call me that.” There’s a note of sadness to her voice. “But it keeps me fed. Hunter introduced me to the work of patrolling and it suits my training.”
Even now, ‘relaxed’ in her seat, the blonde still has that martial air. Once a soldier always a soldier.
“I took an apartment in Sarens Rest when I got settled but the patrol work has me here as often as not. When they end late, I have to stay.” she explain, glancing to Hunter wondering how he’s going to answer Varos’ question. “Honestly, I prefer those … less so. But not too much less. Just enough to alleviate the boredom and let me practice a bit.”
“I also stay in Saren’s Rest when I’m not here. Lot of demand for a firepower platform like the one I drive for those doing expeditions into the city. Profitable work. Risky, but it helps me keep the bot running.”
Twenty six foot tall death machines are not cheap to operate. “And what is is it you do, Varos?”
“Ah, Saren’s Rest,” Varos muses. “I think-” He pauses as another mug of ale is plunked down at his table, exchanged for a couple of coins that he places on the battered, stained surface. “-that most anything might be better than what you may find here,” he continues, keeping his tone low, almost conspiratorially so as not to be overheard by the barkeep. Not that the guy has probably already heard such many a time before.
For all that he says it’s not the best, Varos still drinks it as he nods a little, listening to Ardul and Hunter share a bit more about themselves. Ah, but perhaps that does explain the woman’s scars.
“One does what one must, but such skills as you say are probably best to have, especially in such an unpredictable world.” He grins. “A bot, huh? I can only imagine. Although I think if you can manage it, as it’s not impossible, that finding lodging here in Vesper might be worthwhile, especially if you spend much of your time here. It would make things more convenient, certainly.”
He falls silent to take a long drink from his mug, deciding that this should be his final one since he’d rather keep his head clear for the trip home. “What do I do? I work on commission. Custom clothing orders,” he says, his smile faltering only slightly as his arm twinges with his gesture.
It might explain Ardul scars were they not ropey and long. It’s hard to tell with what she’s wearing, but there could be a number of them. Almost like she was … whipped. “Well, from what I understand about this world … ” How long has she been here? “… good alcohol is hard to come to by in general. So perhaps we can’t really blame the establishment.” Her tone is low but the amusement is still there. “Although this really is some of the worst I’ve tasted in my time here.”
Nodding in agreement as Hunter shares about Sarens Rest and his Bot “I’ve accompanied Hunter on some of those expeditions, his Bot is very handy to have around. It helps that it looks like him too…” she’s teasing the serious Wolfen
“You’re a tailor?” the blondes attention swivels back to the visored man “Or do you prefer some other nomenclature? I haven’t seen you in the Market when I’ve passed through there, do you operate out of Vesper?” She frowns as his smile falters, wondering what has caused that.
“Oh good. I’ll know how to look up next time some dayhowler tears my coat.” Hunter chuckles dryly. The drink here, is indeed not great especially compared to pre rifts fare. Most of it is either beer or wine and the latter is far more common. Complex brewing processes are usually only undertaken by artisans who specialize in such things. No one else has the time or money and ingredients that the world wide trade network used to make common are now very regional.
On the other hand, if one knows a good shifter, a hundred thousands worlds worth of other ingredients are possible.
Despite the pain, Varos still finds a grin easily enough. He sets his mug down to work his fingers around his shoulder, trying to give himself a bit of a massage. “Oh, the bot looks like him? Now I’m curious,” he laughs. “Well, if you do find yourself in need of some tailoring, we’d certainly be able to accommodate you.” Besides, he’s sure Raksha would love to see Hunter’s coat.
Turning his head towards Ardul, he smiles lopsidedly. “Professionally it would be a clothier, but we do handle tailoring as becomes necessary. My shop is located in the downtown area of the city. We don’t particularly advertise, but then we gain a fair amount of business by word of mouth, and I daresay the things we turn out for our customers speaks for themselves.”
“You might be seeing him a lot …” Ardul adds to that, still teasing the Wolfen a bit but noting Varos working his shoulder. It’s impolitic to ask about injuries though “Seems your dancing was a little vigorous…” she says instead.
“Clothier then and the downtown area. What is your business called? You know, just in case Hunter needs it…” because the tall, lean, blonde wouldn’t be considering having something made up for her. No, not at all.
“My dance partner tends to be rough.” He’ll leave it at that. “But again, it was certainly a pleasure to meet the both of you. Speaking of my business, I should probably make sure it’s not burned down since I’ve been gone,” he says, grinning despite knowing that he means it in a way. Stupid stalkers.
“It’s called Clothier Z. If you’re by there, don’t be a stranger.” Slowly getting to his feet, he bows his head at the both of them before slipping away from the table and towards the door, although not without flicking another coin towards the bartender on his way out, covering for Ardul and Hunter’s drinks.
The night air helps to clear his head, but his sore muscles remind him that it’s a long walk back, and not one he looks forward to.