Serving Trays Are Perfectly Modest

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. Behind it are drinks for those not inclined toward ale, as well as a door leading to the small kitchen where snacks are made and a back room that probably holds yet more ale.

It's early in the afternoon but that doesn't mean it isn't too early for a drink or ten. Every weyr and some holds have their establishments of choice, often filled with locals and strangers at these places are few and far between. One such stranger in passing is settled in a dark corner, his back not quite to the wall, but turned enough it would take some effort to look at his face. He reaches up, scratching the side of his face covered by hair parted over it and just as quickly, it's smoothed over. A pale gold curtain from prying eyes. Sometimes a man just really wants a drink… or three. The stranger leans back in his chair, humming a little tune as calloused fingers wrap around a small glass. He tilts the amber liquid from side to side, holding it up in the light to send halos floating back and forth across the table before throwing it back and draining it empty. It's placed carefully down on the table, atop two other glasses to create a pyramid. Just as the stranger clears his throat and wipes his mouth with the back of his hand, a tray is spotted out of the corner of his unconcealed bright green eyes and he smiles warmly, paying the barkeep for three more glasses and a tall cold mug of ale. Once the man is gone, the first of the small three is taken up and brought to his mouth.

It's definitely a little early to be kicking back drinks, but Risali is here regardless - and this time she's looking for somebody, instead of dancing, and singing, and drinking until she can't remember what her face even feels like anymore. It's her inattention that causes the accident: a half-step backwards, right into a barkeep with a tray of half-full glasses that tips despite the keeper's best attempt to keep it balanced and goes. all. over. Carrick. ALL OVER HIM. And Risali. Mostly Carrick. For a moment the she-banshee stands dripping booze and exuding anger at the man who couldn't keep the drinks on the tray and, the poor man knowing Risali well enough, pauses much like a deer in a wild feline's line of sight. One, two, three, and there's a hissed exhale of, "I'm sorry," for the barkeep (who looks alarmed and then tries to wave it off), and then Risali stiffly turns to see the damage ALL OVER CARRICK'S PRECIOUS HAIR AND FACE. One, two, three - pppfffft. Risali bites down on her lip hard, but she can't seem to stifle the laughter that bubbles up regardless, and then she holds out a hand as if to ward off THE AMUSED SPIRITS seconds before she starts using her very damp tunic to mop up some of his face. Awkwardly intimate, somehow - and a good way to keep him from looking at her face when she can't fend off the smile. "No, I'm sorry. That's really not funny. My apologies. Can I get you… a drink? Or maybe a new change of clothes?" She's trying HARD OKAY. But it's a little funny.

Well, there's more than one way to get a drink and this is one of those ways. Carrick just sits there, hand held up mid air with a glass of his own when the sweetest rain fell across him and for a split second, he hesitantly licked his lips to be sure it was in fact booze and nothing that was partially digested as those sorts of things tend to happen in establishments like these. He sighs, tossing back his drink and putting the glass on the table with a thud before twisting around in his seat and peering at what could possibly be the source… That's now cleaning his face. With her clothes… Question is, is she wearing something under those clothes and is he going to have any eyesight left by the time she's done assaulting his face with her tunic. If the man is going to die, at least let him have some memory to die with. "Augh, s-s-stop, stop, STOP. I'm fine. The clothes are fine and I think I have drink left but if you keep wiping peoples faces with your tunic like that, I can't guarantee a pretty little thing such as yourself will have much tunic left. I, uh, appreciate the face cleaning though. So sweet." Precious. Carrick manages an awkward smile and turns back to his table long enough to get the last small glass waiting and the look on his face quickly shifts from amuse to skeptical behind that curtain of wet hair. After he tosses it back, he turns, with the same awkward smile there. "So… Is this tavern always this… entertaining?" He even goes so far as to rest his cheek on his hand as his elbow sits on the back of his chair. Another barkeep comes over and quickly wipes down the table, drying it, taking the empty glasses and RUNS FOR HIS LIFE.

UNFORTUNATELY FOR BOTH OF THEM, Risali does not have on anything under that DABDABDABING tunic; a fact that seems to elude her right up until she's being told to stop because he APPRECIATES THE FACE CLEANING and, mid-laugh, Risali freezes. Her tunic is still pulled away from herself as two facts fall quickly into place: she is wearing nothing under her tunic, and her tunic is now wet, and then she makes a strangled little noise in her throat as the man drying the table is accosted for a serving tray when he ISN'T NEARLY FAST ENOUGH. And so here we are: Risali oozing as much embarrassment as she is booze, awkwardly standing there with a serving tray hugged to her chest like it's a life preserver (and trust me you, it is - for Carrick). It takes a moment, maybe two for Carrick's words (or even the fact that he's still talking to her) to register in Risali's mind, and then she blinks grey eyes at him seconds before freeing up one hand to push booze-wet hair away from her face. "Oh, I… This tavern?" DUMB. And Risali bites down on her bottom lip before slipping into a chair opposite the skeptical man behind his curtain of wet hair. "It can be." Brows furrow for a moment, as if Risali is trying to think, and then she shifts again, uncomfortable (and probably waiting for her shirt to dry). "Sometimes there's music and dancing, sometimes there's idiotic and depressed bronzeriders who don't know how to treat a woman and need a mop bucket turned over their heads, but it's usually pretty quiet." A pause, as she studies him for any signs of familiarity, and then softly questions, "Are you from around here?" She's had bad luck with strangers.

Carrick can't help but offer her a roguish crooked smile but a quick lick of his lips smooths it out into a little something less blatant. He turns back to the newly cleaned table, the barkeep managed to clean and dry even the other chair before vanishing into the unknown. "I promise I won't take the tray. That'd be very ungentleman like of to uh, liberate it from you." Carrick reaches across the table, fingertips slipping through the handle of his mug and he pulls his glass closer to him, leaving a trail of condensation in his wake. For a moment, he looks at a clean and dry part of his sleeve and chews a little on his lower lip, but releases the material from his curled fingertips and takes a sip instead. From behind that glass, he stares at her intently, watching her facial expressions with an almost eerie devotion as though he's trying to commit her to memory. "A little music and dancing is par for the course in any tavern but to see a mop bucket dumped on a rider's head, now that would be downright entertaining. So much so," he says, sliding his mug to the side as he leans across the table just a little bit. "So much so that I might lose my composure. You know, losing your composure in some places could be welcome, and others… Not so much." Carrick leans back into his chair, pulling his mug back and quickly draining the contents. That green eye peers over at him, and he begins to laugh deep and quietly. "Oh no, not from here. I travel with traders. It's often not healthy to stay in one spot too long. Don't you agree?"

And quick lick of the lips to smooth that roguish smile into something a little less blatant or not, Risali catches it, furrows her brows, and then brings one hand down on the table-top with a pointed look, reaching out to hold his drink when he reaches for it so that his attention is forced back to her. "Good," Risali offers up when he promises not to take the tray, "because you'll leave this tavern less of a man and ugly enough to be a wherry if you try." And she lets go. But she is blushing, and she is dropping her attention to his lips, lips that hold her attention as much as his own teeth do before she blinks back to the here and now and quickly focuses on the distraction his drink provides when he pulls it over - right back to his face when he drinks and her eyes lock with his. It's in that moment that something goes down Risali's spine, a kind of chilling tingle that gives life to gooseflesh down her arms and sounds off an internal klaxon of warning in her head; it's enough to quicken Risali's breath - a reaction that could surely be misconstrued given her focal points leading up to that moment - and results in the harper looking away as she rubs at one arm while still hugging the tray in place. It's nothing, she tries to tell herself, aside from that hint of stranger danger. "You don't often lose your composure?" she tries then, voice tentative in a physical manifestation of her sudden nervousness - a sign she tries to hide behind a quick smile, a duck of her head, and a clearing of her throat. "I mean, what kind of a life are you living, Mr. 'I travel with traders, it's not healthy to stay in one spot too long,' if you don't let go everywhere? Even when it's inappropriate?" One, two, three, and Risali is back on her feet, coming around the table to her new 'friend' as if to prove to herself that she is being ridiculous. "Lucky for us, this is the perfect place for letting go." And Risali leans down until that thick, curly hair is covering Carrick as much as it covers herself, so that she can whisper, "Now dance with me, or you'll be the second man I have to tip dirty bar water over for not knowing how to treat a woman." Tray, just for the record? Still in place.

Carrick doesn't have anything to say about the wherry comment, instead, he provides a visual of another kind. After his drink is relinquished, he murmurs, "I noticed you said I would be ugly after the point. Very… thoughtful of you." One should never take candy from strangers, and one should never give candy to strangers. The dangers are one in the same. As for losing his composure, she'll have to try a little harder than to threaten him with a good time. Complete with tray. When her hair covers his face, he only stars back, chewing on his lower lip while he looks into her eyes with his and he places his hands firmly upon the table top. "Who am I to keep a lady waiting?" he says quietly, at almost a whisper. Another round of drinks is quickly dropped off upon the table and Carrick picks up another small glass, only this time he only takes a sip. They can wait. This time, he takes her elbow, guiding her to the open floor where the music is already underway. The lights are low and he turns to her, peering down at that face before him and he steps in closer, pressing himself against that tray. It's a good quality tray, likely carved out of some expensive wood. Nice colors, though he prefers less the earthen tones and more the ash colored hues. "Thank you for protecting my virtue with a tray. So chivalrous of you."

Oh, Faranth, but Risali found herself a quick-witted one. The harper opens her mouth as if to protest the perceived compliment, bites down on her bottom lip to keep herself from being rude, and then allows Carrick to take her by the elbow and lead her to the dance floor (a notably marked difference, since Risali is used to leading). Still, she doesn't step back when Carrick steps in, though she doesn't displace her arm keeping the tray pressed to her chest either; what Risali does do is place one hand on the man's arm just above the elbow, giving him a smile that's as distracted as it is amused. "Are you in need of protecting, Mr. Trader? I actually am doubting that your virtue is in tact at all." And then she's turning her head to snap her fingers, making them change the music to something a little quicker paced before she turns her eyes back to the man with a wicked smile and breathes, "Keep up." And there she goes, twirling around him with the practice of a harper taken lessons on dance, catching him every now and again to pull him back to her with a laugh (and her tray still pressed firmly in place) if he doesn't know the steps himself. One and two, and one and two, and Risali even throws her head back to sing some of the lyrics with a soft cheer that rises with the noise of the crowd until she's focused on the trader again. "So what is it that you trade anyway?" she shouts over the increase in noise, to be heard as she uses her free hand to push hair away from her face and out of her mouth.

"Oh dear, I'm afraid this poor delicate flower is going to have to prove himself," he says, a hand draped dramatically over his forehead before his steps begin to move in time with hers. One thing a man learns while living in cotholds and traveling with caravans is people love their song and dance as much as they love their drink. What he lacks in voice, he makes up for in stamina and it's no small feat to keep up with Risali, but he manages. "Oh, I don't trade, I only travel with them. I work for them in exchange for the ride. Manual labor, helping to fix or haul whatever they need so I can get the miles behind me without using my feet. Mostly I help the traders with livestock herd from one location to the other. Some people prefer traders to Beastcraft for the transporting. I like taking the scenic route. Not everything is blissful on dragonback." Carrick reaches up, brushing a few stray strands from her face that she missed with her attempt of getting her hair from her mouth and he touches her cheek slowly when he does. The man smirks, shaking his own head a little bit to get his own hair out of his mouth before smoothing it down. There's no sense in moving it out of the way, it'll go where it wants, when it wants. "So tell me," he asks softly, that crooked smile slowly curling at the corner of his mouth. "Do all the ladies of Xanadu dance with trays as well as you?"

And for Carrick's words, there's laughter with which Risali rewards him, cheering and clapping one-handed (which is really just her banging on the tray) when he manages to keep up. "You've got rhythm, Mr. Trader! Surprise, surprise!" Still, she listens to him speak with mischief and delight in her every movement, impish deviousness driving her to take a more challenging step even as she asked, "So where are you going?" - right up until Carrick's brushing the hair from her face and going over her cheek too much slow. The harper falters in her step, crashing into Carrick when her feet have too much momentum to immediately obey STOP! and causing her to drop her tray between them when she slams into his chest. For a moment, she just stands there, pressed uncomfortably close with grey eyes wide and blinking their confusion, chest heaving before her cheeks flare with embarrassment. She leans down with a stiff, careful motion, bringing her knees to her chest when she reaches out for the tray that's slid a fraction of a distance away, bringing it back to her chest as she stands. One hand goes out then, as if to put distance between them, and there's fury in the way Risali speaks even though she doesn't quite raise her voice. SHE'S LEARNING! "Don't. Flirt, I mean. Don't flirt with me. I have a somebody, and he is my person, and he is my favorite person - understand? He's handsome, and he's charming and I l-iiike him a lot. So, don't. I am apologizing, we are having fun, and you are very handsome and very charming and it's disarming, but don't." And then just like that, Risali is turning to grab another charming lady from the crowd, who looks thoroughly confused when Risali shoves a tray into her chest and then pushes her right into Carrick. And there's that smile, biting even as she keeps it friendly with a mock salute. "Now you can find out how talented Xanadu's ladies are with a tray." And with another flush of embarrassment, she's bringing her arms over her chest and stomping away from the man. She was LOOKING FOR SOMEBODY, darn it. SHE WILL DO THAT AND, NOT FINDING THEM, NOPE THE HELL OUTTA THERE.

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