Clean Hands and Practical Gifts

Xanadu Weyr - Wanderin' Wherry Tavern
It is often whispered in the crowds that converge here, that a certain Weyrleader was asked what he wanted in the remodeling of the pub that was not so long ago given a refreshing. He muttered back over the rim of his ever-present mug, "I don't care what you do with the place, just so long as there is plenty of ale." With that in mind, cask after cask of ale lines the walls of the tavern, the remodeler's idea of a jest. As they age, the casks bring a real rustic atmosphere to the pub, along with the deeply wooden flavor that seems to be the theme throughout.
The lighting is dim, as it should be in all good pubs, and the tables and chairs are plentiful. A long mahogany bar, intricately carved with runner beasts, stands vigilant duty at the head of the bar, lined with stools for those patrons that seek the bartender's company.

It's getting colder. Autumn's grip remains strong on Xanadu. The mornings are crisper and brisker, and the nights are cold. It's evening now and outside, the wind blows in chilly gusts, making any indoor place seem inviting. The Tavern is of no exception. It's warm in here, and it smells of food as people dine on fingerfoods and dinners while immersing themselves in conversation. Ka'el is here, off duty, unwinding from the day. He sits at a table with a small scattering of others, mostly men around his own age, and has been in conversation with them. From the at-ease looks on their faces, it's likely whatever the conversation's topic was, it isn't work-related. But now, Ka'el is getting up and makes a gesture to the bar with his near-empty bottle before departing his table to head towards it. He leans against the countertop before sliding in to a stool. The barkeep is tending to someone else. Ka'el doesn't call for his attention. He's patient and will wait. His drink is brought to his lips and swallowed down in the meantime, fingers tapping to the beat of music that plays. The bar isn't incredibly crowded, but there are enough people here for it to not be considered 'empty'.

Autumn has it's beauty, despite the crisp cold, and for some, they are glad that the season seems to be lingering on. Winter, after all, is all snow and ice! Indoors are certainly favoured however and where else but a Tavern to whittle away a few hours before night descends? Kiena doesn't frequent the Tavern often, save for these occasions where it is "empty" and yet not. A comfortable balance, where the Weyrsecond can enjoy some solitude and yet… not be entirely alone. She had tucked herself up in one of the corner tables, nursing a pint of ale and lost to her own thoughts. Her jacket is folded beside her and over one side of her table and at times, her gaze or even her hand rests against it, as if reassuring herself it (or something within it) is still there. Movement snaps her out of her thoughts, a habit of being cautious of her surroundings being one thing Kiena has never truly overcome. Recognition follows and draining the last of her ale, she'll gather her jacket and pint and drift silently to Ka'el's side. "Fancy finding you here, Weyrleader." she drawls, stressing his title just enough to make it teasing. Somewhat.

A lone Weyrleader isn't a common sight, and thus when a pair of brown eyes notice Ka'el sitting there alone, they linger. It's a perfect time to corner him! And ask him things without having to go through those necessary hoops just to be seen. And maybe, if she's lucky, steal him away to a quieter setting to really make him pay attention! The woman, who sits some seats down, is beginning to make her move. But that's when Kiena moves in and she loses her nerve, quickly turning back to her friends. Maybe next time! .. Or she'll make an appointment like everyone else. Ka'el's eyes are drawn up to Kiena, not that woman down the way, and he grins. "Fancy that indeed, Weyrsecond," he smirks in return, quirking a brow at her as he gestures to the empty stool next to his. "Seems like we have the same grand ideas at the same time." He lifts his bottle to her in silent toast. "You look stable. Focused. No water in your eyes or wobble in your step. I can take it that y'haven't come here to drink away a bad day, have you?"

One has to move fast when Kiena is around if they wish to hold audience with the Weyrleader! The Weyrsecond hadn't meant it, truth be told, but her attention wasn't on who might be approaching Ka'el at the time but rather the bronzerider himself. She's not here to pester him with work or steal him away to a quieter setting. Well… maybe that last one. Sorry random strange woman, another time! Grinning back, Kiena will slide into that seat and rest her jacket over the bar beside her. Her empty pint is lifted in toast and then she's motioning for a refill should she catch the bartender's attention. "Oh, I've had a few but I am good at holdin' my drink." she muses with a chuckle to her voice. "And so it seems we do share alike thoughts, huh? Or… coincidently you were here and I just happened to be do damn lazy to trek all the way home without something warm to eat and drink first. Nah, no bad day. Just… it is comfortable in here. Quiet but not isolated. Can still think and so I did." Nothing more. "You? Not keepin' you from nothing, am I?"

Oh good, the bartender is paying attention! Once Kiena gestures for her drink, Ka'el requests another round for the table he abandoned, and another bottle for himself of course. He grins at Kiena's assurance that she can handle herself while drinking, and he nods in agreement. He has no reason to believe otherwise! He's yet to even see her tipsy. "Lot on your mind?" he asks, making no indication that he's heading back to that table he left. "And no. I've a long, lonely night of nothin' at all planned, other than probably oiling Kanekith. Soriana has overnight duty, so I've nothing really to go home to." Other than three firelizards and a big bronze dragon, though apparently he's more in the mood for human company. He gestures to the table of guys, some familiar members of Quasar, others not so much. "Takin' a moment to feel like just like another face in the crowd while I can." He grins crookedly at her then leans an elbow upon the countertop.

Tsk for abandoning that table! With her pint now properly filled, Kiena pulls it close as she turns to rest her side against the bar's edge and face Ka'el for easier conversation. A tipsy Kiena is a sight indeed and naturally a wild card as far as her temper goes, when fuelled by too much alcohol it may as well be playing a game of roulette. "Mhm, you could say that?" she drawls cryptically with a shrug of her shoulders and her eyes drift to where her fingers tap against the rim of her pint. "Ahh, what a pity. No wonder you came here, though being home and in quiet has it's merits, y'know?" So sayeth the recluse bluerider! Yet she understands. Part of why she is here and not hiding in her weyr is that need for some form of interaction. "But it does suck, regardless. Soriana's on overnight, huh? How… is she doing?" Kiena asks, hesitant only because the last time Ka'el mentioned her, Inkfoot had passed. Her eyes lift when he gestures to that table and Kiena cranes her head a bit to glimpse those faces. Or is she nonchalantly browsing? Could be both. Maybe she HAS drunk more ale than she ought. "Can't fault you for that." she admits with a crooked smile of her own when her eyes glance back to him.

"Better…" Ka'el replies in answer to Soriana's well-being. "She misses him…but…she's doing better. I thought maybe another tunnelcat would help. We were going to look around in Keroon, but plans changed. M'not sure if she would've wanted to get another one anyway. Not yet." But she is better. And busier. Seeing his weyrmate has turned into drive by meetings, their schedules are so opposite and busy and hectic! Which leaves little time for much conversation or anything else. Perhaps it's why he came here, immersing himself within others instead of lingering at home with nothing to distract his mind from what he misses. He takes another swallow of his drink, his eyes on her while her eyes are on his table. He didn't miss that cryptic response of hers. A response that said little but much at the same time. Gradually does a brow arch up and it remains that way when her eyes do return to his own. "You gonna make me ask?" he questions with a vague smirk yet a pointed look to go with it.

Kiena nods her head and looks genuinely pleased to hear from Ka'el that Soriana is recovering from her loss. "At least the offer is there, if she does choose to look for another. Glad she's doing alright. And you? How've you been of late? Outside of the Weyrleader bit." she muses. Which means… no talk of work? Gasp. Is that even possible? When he questions her with that pointed look, Kiena just leans back and lifts her pint to her lips with a feigned innocent look. What? Chuckling under her breath, she'll keep the pint held between her hands, one elbow propped on the bar as she keeps her eyes focused on Ka'el. "I might? Could be an entertaining drinking game. Though I've no intentions of drinking you under the table or having to drag your intoxicated self back to your office." He still owes her for that, doesn't he? Not that Kiena minds and she flicks a hand dismissively. No, no games tonight. "If you're dying to know, then I'll talk. I visited Western and spoke to Zi'on," She pauses to hold up a hand and signal for him to let her finish, in case that sparks the desire to interrupt. "Since the girls were asking to visit with him. It… was awkward but civil. I met his new, ah… girl." Awkward. "He's not changed in the slightest. Not sure if I am happy or pity that girl. Or both. But it's none of my business. So the girls are with him for the next few sevendays. That's just been on my mind a lot. It's… odd." She shrugs and another sip of ale follows. Kiena is oddly unconcerned and she is not seeking reassurances. Something else has her on edge and whatever it is, is in her jacket because that is where her gaze keeps drifting. Eventually Kiena can only steady herself, set her pint aside and reach into the folds… and withdraw a good sized cloth wrapped bundle. Which is promptly handed to Ka'el, should he clue in and take it, since Kiena is trying to keep it 'low key' and hidden. "… and belated gifts." she mumbles by way of explanation. "Don't have to open it here…" Her head jerks towards the "crowded" tavern. Too many eyes, perhaps? Or does it matter?

He definitely owes her, bigtime, for that night! Ka'el scoffs at the memory (or lack thereof?) of his drunken stupor and whatever came with it. The dancing. The singing. The stumbling. The slurring. "You had an unfair advantage that night of /not/ having a sand-bound bronze wantin' to gallivant after a gold," he says. “Even the playing field, and I'll have you slung over my shoulder to drag back to your weyr," he snickers, the thought of himself doing so making him smirk. Oh, that'd be a night filled with scandalous rumors, for sure! His amusement lingers though remains muted now that she continues to speak. She visited Western. Snort. That's enough to wipe a grin from the face, and the mentioning of Zi'on definitely would've had him interrupting her if it wasn't for that hand. As it is, his words are stalled by her gesture, but his expression says it all. The slightly set jaw. Lowered brows. The crinkling of his nose, as if smelling something unpleasant. And the look doesn't go away as she continues. If not, he looks more incredulous. "What? A girl? Shardin' shells, after what he said to you when he was last here? What was it…He can't get over you?" A snort. "Good riddance. Now if he comes here and tries to bother you with all that again, I've reason to personally show his arse out," he says lowly. No need to bring attention their way by being overly loud. His mouth twitches at the knowledge that the twins are over there, but there isn't much he can do about that unless the other Weyrleader does something foolish. He's thinking on that when Kiena slips something towards him. He blinks out of his thoughts, giving her a questioning look as he takes the bundle. Gifts? "..For?" he says with lifted brows. And he doesn't have to open it here, huh? "But I can if I want to?" Prying eyes and all? Apparently that doesn't matter too much to him. Maybe he needs a distraction from his thoughts that linger on Western. He begins to open the gift.

"HA! I'd like to see you try. It's a loooong way from here to the coastal road, you know." Kiena chuckles. Oh, the rumours indeed! Just what they both need. NOT. Kiena will watch, maybe a tough warily, as Ka'el's expression shifts as she mentions Western and Zi'on and all that occurred there (even if a very watered down retelling). Her nose wrinkles too and she scoffs, lifting her pint to take a good deep drink of it. Ahh, that's better! "Apparently he's been messin' it up with the girls in Western. As I said, he hasn't changed and shards if I care much anymore. Wished 'em the best and I wash my hands of that." Kiena's smirk turns to a vague smile for Ka'el's reassurance on tossing the Western bronzerider out if trouble starts up and she spreads her hands out in a dismissive manner again. "Doubt he will. Doubt he'll care much to come this way now, save for the girls. But thanks all the same. Enough of him." There are other things to discuss or… in this case drop out of the blue. Namely, the gift! Kiena leans back on her stool, trying to act the part of nonchalant when truly she's on edge. "Turnover? Turnday? Something between friends? Does… it matter?" she drawls with a crooked smile and a wave of her hand. Details! "Of course you can. It's yours." And when it's obvious he's going to open it, Kiena's gaze darts about the room and she struggles not to fidget or chug her ale (or both).

… not that the gift is inappropriate. Hardly! It may be obvious what it is even before the final layer is pulled back. The shape, the weight… to a trained smith it'd be obvious that the mysterious item is a tool. More specifically: a dagger. Sheathed, of course and simple in design, both hilt and blade, but skillfully crafted all the same. No Master work, but it'll serve, either as decorative or… as a tool. "Don't know if you've already got one or… what. 'N if the balance is off, I can see it corrected. But…" Kiena clears her throat slightly and another shrug of her shoulders to dispel her fumbling. "… was all I could make that could be, well… practical."

Maybe Ka'el can wash his hands of it all too. It'd be a good thing, him not feeling as if he needs to 'do something' about the Zi'on problem. For in his mind, he is a problem. A problem for Kiena, and thus a problem for Ka'el too. Friends are people to defend and protect from things that are hurtful, and he has felt it his duty to do so for her. Why he's felt it so … vehemently, he's not sure. Kiena is … his friend. His good friend. A friend who he feels deserves far more and far better than she's received thus far from anyone. The Western Weyrleader was and is a personified representation of the bad things. Perhaps, with whatever new girl he's found for however long his interest holds up this time, Kiena will be right in saying that his desire in coming to Xanadu to stir up trouble will whittle down to nothing. It'll be a win-win for everyone except whatever fool he's managed to deceive this time. Seriously…don't those Western girls know by now? But that's their problem, not his. Right now actually, Ka'el has no problem but instead has a gift that is steadily becoming unwrapped. His brows lift as more and more of the bundling is peeled off, and indeed he begins to get an inclination of just what lies beneath those last few layers. And.. it is! "Woah…" He lifts the sheathed weapon up, his eyes roaming over the design of the sheath as he turns it over in his hands. The blade is eventually pulled out, and that too is inspected with hungry eyes. Weaponry! His favorite! "It doesn't matter if I've already got one," he says, not looking at her, still hypnotized by his gift. He sets the sheath down upon the counter so that his free hand can run along the flat of the blade, feeling the surface, exploring the hilt. "I haven't got this one. Til now." He grins, eyes finally peeling away from the blade to turn to her. "It's brilliant, Kiena. Shardin' excellent! How long'd it take you?"

Kiena seems ready to move on from all the past concerning Zi'on and her crumbled relationships. She'll remain civil as needed for her daughters sake but beyond that and what rare times duties will require her to cross paths… she will not venture often to Western. Friends are people to defend and protect and that is something the bluerider has come to understand over the Turns. Now that she actually HAS friends, true and trusted ones. Who knows why girls still fall for Zi'on, given his reputation MUST be known all through Western. Shards, other Weyrs know too! It will just be one of those unsolved mysteries. Kiena's not about to pick at the theories, her attention is on Ka'el and that gift and his reaction to it. Which is… positive! More than positive. Kiena's posture relaxes and she is back to being her usual self (genuinely this time). She'll sip at her ale while he inspects the blade as she suspected he might. He'll probably note the small stamps, familiar to any as a note that the dagger HAS been inspected and approved by proper ranked Smiths and passed. Kiena would have had to have it approved, or else risk her position. "You starting a collection too?" Kiena laughs, her grin crooked and relaxed. Inwardly, she is beyond pleased that Ka'el appears happy with his gift. "You're welcome." she murmurs and then exhales in thought as her eyes drift ceiling ward. Give her a moment… she's counting? "Shells, uh… months? Dunno. I never tallied my time. Worked when I could, when I finally settled on the idea."

Ka'el carefully slips the blade back into its sheath, the look on his face nearly giddy. A new weapon! A new weapon to play with! "Thank you!" he finally says, though yes, those two words were implied with all of his gushing, oohing and aahing! At the length of time she says it took her, he whistles an exhaled breath while nodding. "Months? Awww, you cared enough to stick with it for so long?" he says, playfully batting his eyelashes at her. "Seriously though… this is the best. Thank you, and thank you again, and thank you a thousand times more. I couldnt've asked for anything better." Grateful eyes squint with his grin, and abruptly does he relinquish his seat, rising to stand. "Come on. Order yourself somethin' to go. It's been forever since I've done anything close to smithing. I can at least take a trip down memory road with you, huh? I can show you my collection," he says, nodding to the door. "An' you can eat at my place. I'm alone all night anyway and I'd like the company. Plus, I never get a chance to go over my old stuff anymore. It's junk to anyone but a smith." And somehow, he suspects that Soriana wouldn't appreciate a floor littered with knives and daggers and welded pieces of twisted metal as much as Kiena might! And so, as long as Kiena agrees, Weyrleader and Weyrsecond will depart the Wanderin' Wherry, a box of food in tow, to head off to the coastal road for a sort of party only a smith would appreciate. And if anyone has anything to say about the two of them disappearing together for the umpteenth time this turn, they're definitely not saying it … at least, not to their faces.

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