Storming the Tavern

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.

SOMEBODY. GAVE. LEIRITH. A. HAT. No, really. A big, obnoxious, 'we made feathered plumage out of really long fabric and it looks RIDICULOUS(LY AMAZING)' HAT. And the queen has been absolutely insufferable since receiving Nassir's gift, all the more unbearable because Risali is trying to settle into her new role as Senior Weyrwoman and half of the complaints sitting on her desk have been in regards to her own dragon. So maybe Risali is in the taverns to escape; to pretend, even if it's just for five glorious moments, that responsibility didn't find her in the midsts of a flight, and that Leirith isn't still out there being a nuisance TO THE WORLD. She's tucked away in a corner, nursing something that looks suspiciously non-alcoholic, somewhat hidden by a cowl pulled as she drinks. MAGICAL HANDWAVE. THIS IS NOT THE RISALI YOU ARE LOOKING FOR. Nevermind that four of these five minutes ago, she came through the door cursing, having to use that ENTIRE TINY BODY to push the door closed because a storm's a-brewin', AND IT'S WINDY, YA'LL. That's probably what the foliage in her hair is from, definitely not a failed attempt at camouflage.

Ah, storms. It's amazing what they blow in. Sometimes, it's treasure. Sometimes, it's Niko. Same thing, really, right? As he pushes open the door to the tavern, the wind snatches it from his grasp, sending it slamming against the wall and drawing irritated looks from the bartender and at least a few of the patrons. The bluerider gives voice to a muffled curse, offers a lopsided grin of apology, and goes to wrestle the door back into its proper place. "It is," he declares to all and sundry, "very windy out there." If the self-opening door didn't give it away, the bird's nest of curls perched atop his head certainly might. Futilely finger-combing it back into no semblance of order at all, the lanky photographer approaches the bar, storm-gray eyes studying the offerings thoughtfully. "Hmm. I need something with a bite." NO, RISALI. NOT YOU. Wait. Maybe…

Not more than a few moments after N'kon enters, the door opens again. The form is tall, willowy, and completely hidden, or at least her face is. Much as Risali did a few minutes before, the not-quite-so tiny figure struggles to close the door. Managing to fight the wind successfully, she turns and brushes well wind-mussed hair from her face, revealing Ariadne. The visiting harper Appy looks around, trying to find someplace to sit.

MOOAHAHAHA! RISALI IS DOING HER JOB SO WELL, and she's not about to quit now. So while N'kon comments on the weather, and Ariadne fights doors and the unkindness of weather - and wins — Risali tries to make herself even smaller (which is quite the feat, when you consider that she's already smol). But nothing good lasts forever, not her solitude, not her drink, not her peace of mind, not the unerring hush of a not-yet-filled-to-capacity tavern. Innocuous attempts to be… well… innocuous are abandoned, the Weyrwoman's head snapping up, grey eyes going wide, fixating on the door as if she can hear something coming - something terrifying, something big, something that only deigns to appear on those unsuspecting Tuesdays when nobody thinks terrible things can happen; it's something that has her out of her seat and catching N'kon and Ariadne by the elbows of their sleeves as she moves with not-quite-long-enough-strides towards the door, because they were unfortunate enough to be in her purview, and even more unfortunate enough to be familiar. "Brace," she manages on a whisper, perhaps a tremor of something there as she lets them go and pushes her own tiny body against the door - drawing looks from others, of course, but certainly unfazed as she looks between dragonrider and harper. "BRACE." It comes with more force, more volume, more command right as the door shivers with a BOOM. PUT YOUR BACKS INTO IT.

NOT Risali! What part of 'NOT Risali' did she not understand? Too meta? Too meta. N'kon squawks as he's unceremoniously dragged from the bar, actually reaching out one hand to grab at - and miss - the long wooden top. "Hey now," he snarls, jerking ineffectually at his elbow, "geroff m - ah." Abruptly realizing he's snapping at the weyrwoman - no, Weyrwoman - the bluerider clamps his jaw shut and tries for a less irritated expression. He almost manages it, even. Her first whispered command earns only a puzzled look, then, as she demonstrates, he plants his hands against the door, still confused but willing enough to play along. For now. Then, the door shudders, vibrating under his hands, and his stormcloud eyes go wide. Twisting, he plants his shoulder into the wood instead, feet still fortunately shod in riding boots digging against the wooden floor. "Do - do I really want to know?" he pants. No. Probably not.

Ariadne hasn't even had chance to do more than look around before the tiny weyrwoman has grabbed her and pulled her to the door. "Um?" That's all shje managesa to get out, even as N'kon protests more vocifirously. But when Risali braces the door, the harper gioro gets the idea immediately, and is quickly holding it agasinst whatever disaster approaches, be it storm, threadfall, or nosebump from a Golden dragon…

BOOM. Risali shifts, pressing her back into the wood, digging heels into the ground as arms go out wide on either side of her and those grey hues find N'kon. THUD. "Did you really snarl at me?" Risali asks, as if they are not bracing the door against some untoward horror, as if the door is not shuddering, and shivering, and making thunderous sounds loud enough to drown out the howl of a storm racing towards its crescendo. One arm bends at the elbow, coming away from the door to point where there would have been a knot if Risali was any kind of a respectable Weyrwoman - but she's not. She's just Risali, pointing a finger at N'kon that translates into a soundless (and not at all serious) threat except that it's short-lived because another rattle at the doors has her tossing that hand back into place. Like she can bar this from happening. "Hello, Aria. You look lovely today," Risali manages between the grit of teeth, twisting again to push her own shoulder and the side of her face against the door, turning to look at N'kon, deviance in grey eyes and that smile. "You really don't," comes with a hint of laughter, a sure sign that whatever's out there probably isn't nearly so scary as one might think. « MINION. I JUST WANT TO SHOW THEM MY HAT. » Not even remotely. "How is your wing treating you, N'kon? Enjoying your craft still? Aria? Enjoying the weather?" All cheerful, like she's not making them brace a door against her dragon.

"Maybe I snarled. At something. That was vaguely you-shaped - before I knew it was you-shaped." N'kon must be fairly rattled - and flustered - by the situation if that is the best response he can muster to the weyrwoman's inquiry. "To be fair," he points out, shifting again to plant both shoulder blades against the door as he hooks his heels against the wood and stands firm, "I was hardly expecting to be accosted in the middle of a tavern. At least," he adds, always painfully honest, "not until I'd had a chance to get a drink or two under my belt. There's an order to these things, you know." And she VIOLATED it. And him. Not that he's protesting much, smart boy. And there's Leirith - NO SURPRISE - and the young man winces slightly as the booming in his skull briefly drowns out the booming against the door. "Oh," he musters bravely, "it's all sorts of wonderful. With Tsari, I've been able to find some truly magnificent shots. As long as I'm home by tea," he mutters under his breath - a restriction that is clearly NOT HIS IDEA. "And how are you - ah - enjoying your new position?" No, he's not smirking at her. Not at all.

Ariadnes eyes widen as the tavern is suddenly telepathically Leirithed! "Minion…Is she trying to get to me?" She shifts position bracing even more sturdily, and looks down. "Um, dshould I slip out the back and try to get away from her?" She cabn't help shaking her head as Risali sem to have a normal conversation in spite of the golden battering ram.

"You snarled at me," Risali says, in tones that might be accusational if not for the fact that Risali sounds amused by the entire thing. "Is that really why your master let us keep you, N'kon. Did you snarl at something vaguely him-shaped too?" The Weyrwoman's tones are teasing, giving way to a delicate snort for the word 'accosted' and hushed laughter for the very-accurate reminder that Risali did things out of order. "Fine, Nikolan. I will buy you four drinks and convince Aria here to dance for you if it will make up for my lapse in Tavern-etiquette." Which is when Risali turns again, pressing her other shoulder into wood, bracing against another thud as the harper inquires after who is the minion and whether or not she should flee. "Leirith calls me her minion - it's just a thing she does. So you're fine. She just -" « IT IS A VERY NICE HAT, MINION. YOUR JEALOUSY IS UNBECOMING FOR ONE SO DISAPPOINTING. » Booming laughter, and Risali making a face at the door before she finishes her sentence with a dry, "-impossible. She's just impossible." You know who else is impossible? N'KON. Risali SHUFFLES ALONG THE DOOR TOWARDS HIM, turning when she's probably alarmingly close, and then stomps down on his foot with her foot. Don't worry, she's barefoot, so it probably doesn't hurt that much. And then she has the audacity to look smug about it. "Shut up, N'kon. I hate you." She's teasing, if the smile is anything to go by - and then that smile fades, gives way to something wry and self-deprecating. "It's…" No. The smile comes back, albeit forced. "You should show us some of your pictures sometime. I miss seeing them."

"Who do you think taught me to snarl so effectively?" N'kon deadpans, storm-grey eyes snapping with amusement even as he grunts beneath Leirith's latest assault on the door. "He let you keep me because I promised him pictures of the weyr's ladies, of course." He comes by it honestly, at least. His gaze flickers to Ariadne consideringly, before he offers a broad grin to the Weyrwoman. "With all due respect to the good harper," and he nods his head to the apprentice, barely hiding his laughter at her sudden panic over the queen, "I think I'd rather partner you on the dance floor." Nope, that isn't a blush at all. He's just red from the manly effort expended keeping the Weyr's senior gold from breaking down the tavern door. "Someone might take it a bit less poorly," he adds a bit hastily, gaze sliding away from the goldrider. Such an interesting pattern of woodgrain this floor has. As the Weyrwoman's foot comes down on his - whether in retaliation for his poor taste of question, or of questionable flirting - he winces all out of proportion to a stomp he probably doesn't even feel through his riding boots. "Sorry," he mumbles. "I'm an idiot. I know - " What he knows, he keeps behind his teeth, and instead finishes with, "I've taken loads since graduating. Remind me, and I'll bring you the albums." Grunt. "Should we just," grunt! "go see it?" he asks plantively.

A shake of head sees golden tresses flowing about again, as the young harper goes from alarmed to bemused. "I see… And I'm sorry for being rude ma'am, and I thank you for the compliment." She takes a breath, or at least tries to, but ends up giggling as tiny, bare foot lands on the larger one of the bluerider. Visitor to the weyr she may be, but she quickly is getting used to life here…

"Well I give it a solid 6 out of 10," Risali informs, gravely serious, as if this is not a matter one is capable of forming jokes about. Except, you know, she can't keep that slow smile at bay for long enough to nail it. "It would at least scare some poor, unsuspecting grandmas, but you didn't show nearly enough teeth for it to be effective against rule-breaking, I make my own order, tavern-patron accosting… mes." And the Weyrwoman is reaching out to catch N'kon's bottom lip between forefinger and thumb, pulling with gentle pressure, tugging back and forth before she lets go to focus on the task at hand, hand coming back down on the door as it shivers again. From there, she mouths, 'Don't you dare laugh,' to the bluerider, reaching out to gently smack his shoulder, giving him her most stern look before it falters behind a blink, lips parting in a gentle 'o' of surprise as grey eyes jump up to grey and - and she lets it go, greets N'kon with another one of those deviant, slow smiles as she says, "That's just because neither of you have seen me dance. You run a hard bargain, N'kon, but fine: four drinks, and one dance." A beat, and softer, "You're not an idiot, it's okay." BUT GIVE HER A MOMENT, because Aria just called her ma'am and Risali is turning to face her with amused exasperation. "Faranth, it's not ma'am. Look at me." And Risali will wait until the harper lifts here eyes, regardless of how uncomfortably long that could potentially be. "It's not ma'am, it's not Weyrwoman, it's not - LEIRITH, STOP -" A beat, as Risali draws in a breath, but blessedly, Leirith seems to relent. "It's not Lady Xanadu, either. It's Risali, my name is Risali. Please. And you're very welcome." And tentatively, Risali eases her insubstantial weight from the door, eyeing it without much trust for one, two, three heartbeats before hands go to hips and those eyes find N'kon again. LOOK AT HER LOOKING ALL SMUG, like they just VANQUISHED A BEAST. "Do you really want to go out there?" she drawls. "Leirith's going to make you admire her hat."

Crestfallen - sad face and all - Niko accepts the Weyrwoman's disappointment with his failed snarling with little grace. "Well, I'm out of practice," he replies, sulking slightly. "I've hardly had to snarl at all for over a turn! You took me away from all of those apprentices, and I got out of practice." Sure, turn it on Risali. After all, it's her fault he was stuck at Xanadu to begin with! Or something like that. As her fingers close lightly about his lip, he barely stops himself from the instinctive nip that reflects itself briefly in his eyes if not in actual action. The smack draws a more genuine response - a slow, toothy grin that's less about humor and more about appreciation; he does not, however, laugh, as bidden. Barely. When Risali, however, agrees to a dance, he stutters slightly and just gives her wide blue-grey eyes, as if not quite certain whether to be pleased or run screaming. Instead, as she turns to berate - ah, inform! Aria of her ma'am misstep, he takes the opportunity to drop his chin to his chest and let out a long sigh. Someday, he'll learn. Probably not today, though, as he eases away from the door, leaving his hands pressed lightly against it behind his back. "Not really," he admits, a bit breathlessly. "Tell her if she leaves the poor bar alone, as soon as the weather behaves, I'll come and do a session shoot of it." Bribery! Also, not learning. There's definite not learning in there.

Ariadne looks down as shes lectured. It's easily the first time she's ever gotten in trouble for being polite and respectful. "Yes, ma..erRisaali," she says contritely. As the Queen seems to have stopped trying to get in, she relaxes moving away from the door. "Anyway, I do apologize. It's just Mother and Father would flay me alive for calling any weyrwoman, let alone a Senior Weyrwoman, by her first name." As N'kon and Risali continue /their/ exchange, she peers abut.

Risali doesn't respond to quips about removing apprentices from snarling purview, thus stunting the growth of what assuredly would have been unrivaled snarling capabilities except to smile, biting down on her bottom lip as if fighting back laughter, grey eyes wickedly amused for all the banter. And maybe it is just in N'kon's eyes, but Risali presses a hand to his cheek anyway, leaning in just a little closer as she breathes, "Better." And she lets go, returns his smile for shoulder-smacks, and isn't even polite enough to tell him in meta that he should DEFINITELY RUN SCREAMING. Instead, her attention is on Ariadne and - a soft exhale through her nostrils as she tries to amend what she definitely did not intend to come off as a scolding. "No, you didn't… Aria. You don't need to apologize to me; you didn't do anything wrong. But I'm…" A pause as Risali searches for works, as she looks to N'kon as if she might find them with him - helpless, at a loss - and then back to Aria as she settles on, "I'm more than my knot. I'm more than my title. I'm not…" A helpless gesture with her hands, as if fingers might somehow define words she cannot summon in explanation. "I'm not just a queenrider, or a Senior Weyrwoman, or somebody who wants to exercise so much authority over other people that they call me 'ma'am'. I don't…" want to be treated differently, she doesn't say, but catches herself. Maybe because it's turns too late coming, that sentiment. So instead, Risali smiles - soft, muted, apologetic. "I know, and I'm asking you to just call me Risali, unless you see me wearing a knot." Because she can compromise, see! And right now? NO KNOTS. But then she's looking back to N'kon, and that humor remains mute — there, but quiet. "Well, now you've done it. She heard you, and she's never going to forget it. But come, I owe you both drinks, and then we can go look at those pictures, N'kon." Don't mind Risa; she's just looping an arm through N'kon and Aria's both, leading them to the bar, and then later, departing to look at pictures - or alone. Sometimes things happen.

N'kon's famous for not running when he should - but if Risali wants him screaming, she'll need to do better than this. There's a decidedly vulpine cast to the bluerider's smile as he peers down at the weyrwoman, although the sentiment softens, edges towards compassion as she wrestles to explain a concept too often bred out of Pernese children. "You are Risali," he says simply, one hand raising to hover briefly above her shoulder, not quite touching - where she takes liberties willingly accepted, he hesitates yet; respect, or simple uncertainty. "Sometimes, we all need to be just who we are, not what we are." His eyes flash to Ariadne, to see if the young harper understands. As Risa's arm loops through his, he laughs - a bit breathlessly, a bit uncertainly, and allows himself to be tugged towards the bar. "I never forget a promise," he murmurs - to her, to Leirith. Then again, who knows what'll happen after those promised four drinks?

Ariadne nods, and is about to say something when one of the harpers up on the stage, and motions her u, holding out a gitar. She smiles , a bit surprised. "I guess I need to do a turn whie you two dance…" She stands and heads up, taking the istrument, settling down to play. She's fairoy good, but what really impresses is her vice, as she sings as well…

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