The Hook is Baited

Wayside Inn

It's not the fanciest of places. In fact, it's quite the shabby dump, but the light coming from the windows is a stark contrast to the bite of chill air outside, the scent of something hearty simmering enough to draw one inside despite the disreputable air of the isolated, ramshackle building on this lonely trace.

Once in the common room the odors assailing one's senses are a mixed bag: spilled ale, sour wine, the charred flesh from some roasting mishap earlier in the evening mingled with acrid sweat, smoke from the hearth in the room that doesn't draw correctly and cheap perfume. Several rough tables, fashioned by an inexpert hand have mismatched chairs that were either built crookedly to begin with or wobble because the floor is uneven in spots. The entire back side of the room is taken up by a bar and tall stools that have seen better days. The usual bottles of spirits, albeit cheaper, crowd mirrored shelves built into that back wall. Behind the bar stairs lead to the shadowed landing of the second floor and underneath them is the entrance to the kitchen.

The skies begin to darken as the sun dips lower on the horizon, the mid-autumn winds turn colder as the light fades and the warmth it offered seemingly with it. And on wards in this fading light does a small group of mounted riders ride hard and fast over the plains and foothills and seemingly without pause. Having just successfully raided and stolen from the stronghold, the ragged group of assorted folks, including a few fresh faces had been led into the grueling pace by their so called 'leader' or at least a rough enough fellow by the name of Biran. Roughly thirty-five Turns of age, he is not a tall man and while his build is lighter then most, he's well muscled and strong enough to hold his own. Dark brown hair, thin and long in length is now falling loose from the leather tie he had used to hold it back and repeatedly falls to cover his blue colored eyes. His beard is short and scraggly, doing little to accentuate his rather plain features, though it doesn't help that the man is literally humorless. He is a rough looking sort and his gruff manners and lack of tact only complete it.
Reining in his mount with a bit more sharpness then needed, he wheels it about to face the others now catching up from behind. "Well stake 'em over by the trees. You there," And he promptly jabs a finger at one of the younger looking of the bunch. "Stand watch and if you value yer hide, they and all our supplies best be there. I see so much as a single hair out of place and I'll make it that you regret it." Satisfied by the younger man's meek nod, Biran turns to the rest. "The rest of ya come with me. We'll be shackin' up in that tavern there for the night. Don't get too comfortable… we move out at first drawn," Giving them all a lingering, sharp look the man kicks his mount into a canter and proceeds down to the grove of trees not far from the rather poor and rundown looking "tavern" this backwater place has to offer.

The mounted group would not be the first to have raided the stronghold and it's quite possible they would've heard of someone beating them to the punch. Outside the shack and shambles that someone has called an Inn, there's two more runner beasts near the small paddock that the Inn offers, the riders looking gaunt and road worn. The one was a thick shouldered man, scruffy, with a hint of suspicion behind his eyes as he talked to the Innkeeper's boy, who was offering to look after their mounts. The hood of his cloak was thrown back behind him and he was holding the reins of both of their mounts. His saddle bags seemed to be strange upon his ragged leggy runner-beast. The saddle bags looked in brand new condition, over stuffed. In fact, the raiding party might take notice of an emblem on the saddle bag, exact as the ones found at the stronghold. The only difference is that the mounts didn't seem to belong to those guards back at the stronghold. Easier to steal food and supplies than actual runner beasts.
"Aye… ye know iffin ye be havin beds in thar? We be havin a long hard ride 'n t'would be nice fer a heel of bread 'n a mattress." This spoken from the scruffy well built man, who only looked armed with something stolen from the stronghold - a long bow and a quivar strung over his shoulder.

The second of the pair near the paddock is a rather average looking person, female from the shape, though covered from head to toe in a long cloak whose hood has been drawn tightly around so that all that can be seen peeking from the blackness are a pair of dark eyes. The female stands nearby the scruffy well-built man, though she seems to be remaining silent for the moment. The female seems armed, as well, with a pair of bone-blades strapped to either hip, though no other weapon is visible upon the strong woman's body. As her partner speaks, she nods to is words. "R'ckon we be mighty grateful iff'n we kin crash 'ere fer th'night, Sir." Her voice is nothing out of the ordinary, a bit deeper than one might have expected from a figure appearing so very female in shape. After that initial comment, however, the woman falls silent once more, allowing the man to procure the bed for the night.

In contrast to the wariness of the innkeeper's boy in the open door of the tavern appears a woman, half-sprawled against the doorframe. "The longer ya be making them stand in the cold haggling, the later we have to work. Let 'em agree to the night's price over a hot bowl of stew and a cold ale." The woman, pretty enough to fool a man into thinking she's a lady, is fair-complexioned and sweet-smiling. Everything about her says 'soft' - her face is framed in loose waves of brown-gold hair that tumbles to her waist. Dimly seen from the light filtering past her, expressive brows frame shadowed, grey, thick-lashed eyes. Wide cheekbones are divided by a straight, no nonsense nose. Giving hint to the resiliency within, are her firm lips and a strong jaw. The rest of her is of mid-height, and she tends to the soft and curvy rather than the willowy or obviously muscular - features that might cause others to misjudge the strength she does have. "Come on in lads." Her hand motion beckoning them all includes Jaye, who she seems to be mistaking for a boy.

Leaving the runners staked among the groove of trees with the one young lookout to stand guard throughout the night, Biran leads the rest of his band up towards the tavern. He is armed, likely from stolen weapons though the only one visible is a long, sheathed dagger strapped to his hip. The others have similar knives as well and are all dressed in a patchwork of clothing, none looking too fresh or well tailored. One heavier-set man looks to be Biran's relation, likely a brother but five Turns younger. He speaks out to the Innkeeper's boy as well, all grins and humor compared to his broodier sibling, "Oy, lad, I hope you got room for the lot of us as well!" he chimes in, regardless if he's interrupting and ignoring Biran's glares. The others remain silent, eyes carefully watching the eldest brother. Obviously what 'power' there is among him resides in Biran and not Bryhin. Biran however catches sight of the emblem's on the saddlebags and instantly his blue eyes are darting to each little detail before fixing noticeably on Lan and Jaye. He doesn't get a chance to say much, as once his men are beckoned too, Biran turns to walk past and into the tavern itself. The poor woman probably gets a good leer and teasing jest from Bryhin, while the rest of the tired looking men simply eye her suggestively and accept the invitation, eager no so much because she gave it but because it's shelter from the cold. Even if worn down and questionable!

Ers'lan only hands over the reins once the mistress of the inn seems to hurry the boy's haggling along, though he does stop to undo the saddle bags and hoist them over his shoulder. No means in losing what they fought for so soon in their adventure. There's no telling when and where they'd need to go to find a way in to Laris' band. The previous noise of the mounted band of men didn't go unawares, it just seems he was taking his time in actually looking at them. Such a glance would be when Biran shouted over to the boy, lifting Lan's gaze warily toward the swagger of powerful men. "Thanks…" he offers to the boy, sharing a glance to Jaye, a quiet one that would suggest caution. "A bowl of stew 'n a cold ale be fine…" he states loudly for the woman on the doorframe, stalling his actual approach into the tavern until all of Biran's men file in. Another flicker to Jaye, the pair acting overly alert and paranoid. "Reckon tis this or the road…" and since their horses were already handed to the boy and being lead to the paddock, he was going with option number one. He marches up the steps into the tavern, nodding his head to the woman of the Inn. His face was dusty, likely from the long hard ride across dry roads, there were a few signs of a fight left on his face - a healing cut brow and a semi-swollen lip. They didn't escape unmolested from the raid. He goes before Jaye, to clear the way incase something untoward was planned for them inside.

Jaye doesn't seem to have any qualms about being included in the grouping lads, she even plays the part by looking over the woman appreciatively with those dark eyes. Each man in the larger group is eyed with a cold look of dark orbs, as if the woman is considering if she'd be able to take them on if need be, though she's careful not to linger too long, as it wouldn't do to appear to be challenging the group. Once Lan hands over the reins of their runners, the cloaked figure follows after him, it's still difficult to see her face, apparently the woman beneath the hood is one of those overly paranoid don't show your face until required types. The way she moves gives a hint into hidden power beneath that ragged exterior and she does note her partner's look, murmuring something quietly as her body tenses just a tad as they move towards the entrance to the tavern. If there is any evidence of the fight that was had before, it's thankfully hidden within the shadows of her wrappings, at least for now. Though it was obvious she would have to reveal her face eventually, she just wasn't ready to do so just yet.

Cheeky, bold looks. That's what the barmaid gives Biran's men as they file past her, although Biran himself gets a suggestive comment in return for his leering joke, "I'll fill you and you'll fill me, eh?" Her smile is sweet, but dark lashes flutter, hiding the mocking malice lingering in her eyes as Ers'lan approaches. She's barely moved to give them room to pass, her body temptingly - and purposely left within brushing distance. Her fingers release their hold on the lintel of that open door, slim arms untwine from above her head right after he enters the room and she takes one light step between the man and Jaye as her hand reaches for a light tickle at his rear end, attempting to brush his side in the process. Flirtatious, but with a purpose of her own, she's checking for hidden weapons. Jaye is simply given a laughing over-the-shoulder wink.

And cheeky, bold looks are what the men expect it seems, most taking it in stride though it seems Bryhin is enjoying it the most until he's called into line by a roughly barked order from Biran. "'Fraid it'll have to wait, little lady," he says with one of his charming (or sleazy) grins. "Looks like it's all business tonight," Again, Biran shoots his brother a warning look and with hardly an apologetic look, Bryhin saunters off to join the rest as the travel weary men of his group settle around one of the rough tables. Already calls go out for ale or drink, but it's hard to know from whom. Biran, their would-be leader, doesn't quell them and instead takes his seat at the head of the table, turning his worn and rickety chair just enough that he can face the doorway, blue eyes already turned in that direction to once again catch a glimpse of the other two strangers. So no ambush awaits, no attack. Just the next to deserted interior and one man who's making it clear that they have been sighted and he is /very/ interested in them. While Bryhin and the other men have started some rousing conversations, it quickly dies when they take note of Biran's distracted state and eventually, while some discussion continues, more and more eyes are turned towards Lan and Jaye and only because he remains so fixed on the pair. Waiting, perhaps? Or simply overly rude in his curiosity?

Ers'lan seems to pause like the rest of the men that skimmed by the woman, especially when her body is there tempting him to brush against with his own. He gives her a cocky sordid grin, like a man who hadn't seen a pair of good teets in a long time, lifting his armload up and over her so his bulky frame can skirt by her, likely seeing to it that she got that flirty brush of clothing that she wanted. Absently he trails inside though, unsuspecting that the woman would unlatch herself from the door to come tease him from behind. He sends a look over his shoulder for her touches, mutterin, "Ye keep like tha miss, 'n I see to it tha I bend ye over me knee." His accent thick and true to the sea, a playfulness in his eyes only as light as his blue eyes are hard. Oblivious though that she used the tactic to check for hidden weapons. As it was, he only seemed to have the one. Poor road beaten travellers is all they're likely to be, cast out or looking for new roads ahead. Though as the distraction of the woman seems to wear off him and his eyes adjust to the lighting in the tavern, he notes a quite interested stare from Biran. Like any other would-be thief running for their lives, he averts his gaze and settles into a table away from the group of men, taking one of the mismatched chairs that rocks back on one uneven leg. Lowering his arm load underneath the table, he kicks it there as if to hide it just incase someone comes looking for it. Flipping his cloak aside, he settles into his chair, shoulder facing the group back facing the emptiness of the wall and space behind him. When his eyes pick up from the table and his companion, noting the interest in them now by the rest of Biran's group, he flips his cloak aside slightly to allow his hand to rest on his blade, a gesture that would acknowledge their interest and state that he wasn't afraid to defend himself.

Jaye doesn't get a teasing brush of womanly body against hers? A shame, but at least it's for the better, anyone who knows her knows there's likely to be at least one hidden blade upon the cloaked figure, but it's a good thing no one here knows her, right? She follows after her partner, skirting around towards the table where Ers'lan settles, she flops down into one of the chairs, though unlike the larger man, the smaller figure keeps herself in a position where she can keep an eye on the larger group of men, just in case. The smaller figure of the pair seems to play lookout, though she does wave over one of the servers, the cloaked one does want herself something to drink, since they're already here and all. She doesn't fully relax, though, afterall one never knows what's going to happen when they have a large group of men staring at them.

After Biran's leering grin, there's a pout of disappointment sent his way for the businesslike dismissal but the barmaid isn't let down by Ers'lan's response. Far from it, she twirls with a light laugh to let him find his table, giving Jaye a little wiggle of hips as she sashays by their table to where thick crockery mugs and bowls are stacked, since the server would be herself! Nimble fingers hook through half a dozen handles while the other snags a pitcher. She makes short business of slipping to the tap behind the bar and filling it with a frothy ale, serves Biryan's men with rich, low laughter and soft comments. Tension in the air? She doesn't seem affected by it at all. Light steps between the two tables, mugs plunked casually down in front of Ers'lan and Jaye, filled with the ale, which when tasted will be heady, slightly toasted in aroma and bitter-tasting. A man's brew, homemade and supplemented with grain to stretch it, most likely. "Ya come a long ways gents?"

Biran seems unfazed by the woman, despite her attempts though the rest of his men, his brother Bryhin among them, note her behavior quite keenly. He seems uninterested in holding them in line however and once the drinks arrive, the older man leaves them to it and their loud conversation, which grows rowdier by the minute and the subjects ranging from tame to downright raunchy, much laughter now flowing through them. Some respite will come then, the tension ebbing slightly as eyes glance away as interest wanes in the two strange travelers. Biran however only looks away to take a deep swig of his drink and once Ers'lan and Jaye have settled themselves, he's pushing himself from his seat. There's the barest of pause in the conversations among his men and then they simply shrug it off and resume. Striding over with a confident air, his eyes first linger on Jaye as he steps closer, brows knitting together for a moment for some detail or another. But it's Lan who gets the deepest scruitiny and Biran is not a man to hide it. "I'd say far enough if the emblem there says much. You two from up that part of the woods?" he asks, no hint of a grin or really any warmth at all. Ignoring the barmaid or the fact that he is very likely unwelcome, he takes a seat at their table, leaning back enough to fold his arms over his chest and simply… waits. Strange man he is, but at least he's cutting straight to the chase?

Ers'lan has removed the bow and quivar from his shoulders, the second weapon the one on his hip that his hand is clenched around when the group of men are staring at them in interest. He whispers over across to his table mate, "Iffin they be do tryin, do narh hesitate…" It could be life or death if they did. Although he's trying to look inconspicious, with his head lowering with all intention to mind his own business, he cannot help but flicker his eyes over toward the group now and then to check on what they were doing. They were in unknown territory, in some backwood tavern, with rough men who've likely cut a few throats to earn their arrogant swagger. As the woman of the Inn comes back to their table, his hand moves appreciatively around the frothing mug of ale, thick bitter brew but one that is normal on the road. He swallows a chug without a flinch in good measure, his stomach strong enough not to protest it after so many Turns drinking rich brews. "Aye, long 'nuff…" he says about the same time that Biran does. Tension seems to claim his form, unwilling to let himself relax in the man's presence. For all he knew, the man had come to rob them or, maybe they were guards in disguise. Either way, the details were not forthcoming on where they came from, instead, he mutters, "'ere 'n thar, aye." A pause, eyes darting to Jaye to see if she had more to say and at that point, suggesting the woman was actually the leader of this duo.

Jaye doesn't say much, even if she is the leader of the duo, she doesn't know this tavern or the group of men that had arrived shortly after her and her partner. One hand had shifted at the man's approach, disappearing inside the shadows of her cloak, likely making contact with the blade beneath, she won't hesitate if push comes to shove, no doubt about that. The other hand had circled about the mug, drawing it up to her lips, face still cloaked in shadow, for a drink. "We been 'round 'ere an' there. Jus' passin' through, lookin' fer a meal and a bed t'sleep in." The hand that circles the cup is the only detail of the person beneath the cloak that Biran gets, and all he gets from it is a view of various scars marring its flesh. A glance to Ers'lan as the woman falls silent. And, well, keeping that aloofness that she so carefully has adopted.

A young teenaged boy in charge of all that finery they're carrying?! The suggestion of eyes turning Jayes way in the attempt to imply that - or is it the evasive answer of Ers'lan's? - has the barmaid's lips twitching to hide a smile while there's a glint of something in the grey eyes that flash towards Biran. That they may be working in tandem can't be obvious to everyone but someone might pick up on subtle cues. The men talk and drink, her pitcher needs re-filling but first they need feeding. She disappears into the kitchen and presently returns with a large tray on her shoulder, placing large trenchers of stew before each man of Biran's. Spoons are fished from one of her large pockets, plunked either into waiting hands or onto the tabletops. The service is casual bordering on careless but the barmaid herself moves with a catlike grace, dishing out banter with dinner. Next on to the table where Ers'lan and Jaye are sitting and they're all given the same stew. "It's gamey for seamen like you be," she says with a flip of her wrist as she sets a basket of bread before them all. "But you're a long way from the sea, now. Ain't any fish you'd want to eat this far inland." Her eyes are watchful as she says that.

Biran listens on in what is hardly respectful silence, as his blue eyes shift from Ers'lan and then to Jaye as both share their replies. He may not be the smartest man, but neither is he dumb and he has sensed something not quite right with these two. Not enough that they're in danger at the moment but he has questions he wants answered and the right ones will earn them their skins and far more then they likely ever bargained for. The wrong questions or the wrong attitude and well… it will not be a pretty end. "Travelers then?" With no knots to go by, anyone could be anyone though Biran carries no such identifier either. No knot, no badge and no colors that would pin him or single him out. One hand reaches up to scrub at his jaw, fingers rasping against the short, scraggly hair that he's trying to pass off as a beard. Over by the other table, there's a corus of cheers as the food is brought out, much loud laughter and banter tossed about, including a few teasing ones directed to the barmaid, now that the ale has loosened a few tongues. Biran though ignores it all, still fixed as he is on the pair and unwavering in his purpose… whatever it may be. "Or seamen, is it?" he says slowly, one brow quirking up as his gaze darts swiftly to the barmaid before back to his prey. Not one to linger about with subtle games, Biran's mouth turns into a crooked smirk, "Not that it matters much. If yer going to tromp around these parts, you'd best hide your goods a little better. That emblem yer strutting about with right now… either you're part of the lot from the stronghold yonder, or," And he pauses here, dropping his voice and leaning ever so subtly forwards. "We have some common interests between us." Thief to thief, raider to raider, right? Eyes turn to Jaye then, as if to consider her the likely brains of the whole outfit before turning back to Ers'lan, expectant in his silence.

Lan seems to be taking his cue from Jaye, going back to his drink when she answers about the same as him. Vague and weary of people asking questions, especially some random man whose invited himself over. The rowdiness of the group is not ignored, Lan's blue eyes's flickering over them to see if anyone else was going to come on over. The barmaid, when she does come back with stew, is eyed again, thanked with a nod of his head. He doesn't go for a grope or anything untoward, not with their table guest. He reaches for a piece of the bread, cracking it in half and dunking the one half into the bowl of stew right away, as if he were starved - and it's likely they were. They likely didn't have time to stop and enjoy some of the supplies they took or if they had, it was meager helpings and cold. He rips a hunk out of the bread with his teeth, chewing with his eyebrows narrowing, "Ye sure be nosy-" he says between chewing, mouth full of food, "-whar ye need ta know is we be havin marks fer yer rooms. No more." Lan chomps almost with an irritable edge to him, as if he's being bothered by the uninvited table mate. "Whar it be matterin to ye?" indeed, falling into the role of just the brawny partner, the one who could get his partner out of a tight situation. He deflects his eyes again to Jaye then back to Biran as the matter of their saddlebags are brought up, kicking it with his boot to move it away from Biran underneath the table. He holds his tongue about the goods part, until he mutters, "Reckon I be hungry, 'n I can narh be eatin with all this yakin." To prove his point, he scoops another hearty bit of that thick slop onto his crust of bread, shovelling it in. He wasn't eager to declare what they were or weren't. But they didn't look like guards or part of the stronghold. His clothes at least looked stained and travel worn, maybe even a hand-me down.

Jaye seems almost bored by the uninvited guest's banter, especially as she eyes the stew, that same scarred hand that had hold of the mug moves to a piece of the bread as well. "Ye kin call us whate'er ye want, jus' dunna call us late ta dinner." And, well, with that, that hand is bringing the bread to hidden lips for a bite, maybe the man will leave them alone if they pretend he's not there. Though it doesn't seem as if the smaller figure of the two is willing to let her guard down just yet. "R'ckon we jus' be wantin' ta eat an' rest an' move on." If he was hoping for information about the pair, yeah, he's not getting it from her. Hide their goods better, huh? She's pretty sure Ers'lan has the goods pretty well under control, afterall, he's the big strong man, she's just the smaller brainy teenaged boy, remember? "So I r'ckon, unless ye be havin' somethin' important t'say, ya should jus' be gettin' back t'yer boys o'er thar."

As the smaller of the men pretty much says the same thing - again - that the bigger man just did, Ers'lan's charade of taking cues from the smaller of the pair is something the barmaid is not buying but she doesn't make it obvious. One bare shoulder shrugs indolently, unbothered by his comment. "Just making conversation," she claims with a saucy wink as she scoops up the empty pitcher to refill it. She doesn't try to flirt with Biran for the time being and amidst the rattle of cutlery against crockery the only other sounds are the raucous voices at the other table. The woman has apparently been asked for and produced a battered deck of cards, which they're using for some game even while eating. Refilling those mugs takes time and when the woman returns, she has a full pitcher once again. "How about we call you trespassers?" She asks sweetly, one hand resting on her hip.

"Oh, I do have something to say. Quite a bit in fact," Brian remarks dryly as his eyes slowly turn to lock on to Jaye, now falling for the bait that she is the 'head' of the pair, while Ers'lan is nothing more then muscle and show. "I ain't going to keep you long from your meal," he says next, voice laced with sarcasm and impatience to Ers'lan's flippant comment. For a moment Brian regards him as though inspecting goods one has second thoughts over, but that passes by swiftly enough. The man waves off the barmaid for her input, giving her an annoyed look that speaks volumes. Shouldn't she be tending to his men… over there? Not that they seem lacking now, well into their food and drinks, some taking the cards while others bet or simply watch on. "Backgrounds don't matter, but if you folk are looking for some… work, something to keep roofs over yer heads and meals in your bellies well, I may have a proposition for you. Happen to be in these parts, looking for skilled folk to help out. Dunno how you came upon those supplies, suppose it's your business but any man or woman," And he gives Jaye a narrowed look, followed by the tiniest of smug smiles. Think you'd fool him? "Who can venture through that region and escape, well… lets just say there is a certain /individual/ who could benefit from such skills as yours." Offer given, Biran doesn't press the matter further for now, simply rising from his unwelcomed seat and nodding stiffly to both. He seems adamant that they are lying on their purpose in these lands, pushing only as far as he figures will drop enough hints to at least lure them into discussions later. "Think on it." And then he's walking away, back to his table where he's met with much rowdy welcomes that he promptly brushes off and ignores. So the hook has been given, will the pair take the bait? If not, well, come dawn Biran's group will move out. But Jaye and Ers'lan may find themselves followed or tailed by others. Once the scent goes out, seems this group is relentless in taking them in … no matter what.

The interjected suggestion of being tresspassers has Lan turning his eyes up at the woman, "Ye be callin yer guests tha afta feedin us 'n givin us ale under yer roof?" Just because they didn't want to reveal what they had been up to. He sounds affronted, shoulders hunkering down as if someone had just smacked him across the face and told him NO. It was the best he could do at this point to act as the omega in this situation, just a simpleton, just a sailor, right? The muscle. He seems to protect his bowl of soup as if the woman would snatch it away if she deemed them trespassers, hoarding over it and dipping his bread into it greedily. A sailor couldn't get much better on the seas and it was hot. His eyes hop up from his bowl at the suggestion of work, sliding openly from Biran to Jaye and then back to Biran, working another chewy bite of stew soup between his teeth. He looked concerned when Biran suggests they escaped, letting his eyes fall in a sad attempt to hide his guilt. They had to make the raid look real enough and he more or less had to pummel a few to get away, those who weren't informed well enough to let them escape. Indeed, they had been chased, real or not, is unknown. They had to take the thick part of the forest to get away and through the swamps, even if the runners had tried to resist following them. The abruptness of Biran getting up has Lan tense up again, like a spring coiled and ready to loose. That alone would suggest he's ready to brawl or fight his way out, that he had some skill in doing so. Once the man returns to his group, Lan peers to see what Jaye's reaction was to all that.

"Well, r'ckon we're nay tresspassers since y'all invited us in, hmm?" Jaye seems to be on the same wavelink as Ers'lan, speaking much the same idea as the bulky man. "Iff'n yer w'rried 'bout us payin' fer out room an' board, y'dunna hafta w'rry." And as if to emphasize, the hand that had been tensing upon her poor bread removes itself from the smoosh-bread mess only to disappear beneath hercloak a moment, payment being settled upon the table before the woman proceeds to eat her stew, rather hurriedly as if expecting to be kicked out at any moment. But, well, when the kicking out doesn't happen an d Biran is speaking once again, she regards him with those cold dark eyes. See, now isn't that easier than giving them the third degree? Silly Biran. She isn't gonna say yes or no, though, and her eyes linger upon the stranger even as he gets up to return to his own men. "We'll sleep on it, see iff'n we're in th'mood t'agree t'meet this… person." That's all she'll say. And once the man returns to his group, her full concentration is upon her stew, and she proceeds to eat rather hungrily. Finally, she can eat without having to be rude or anything.

The serving wench smirking insolently at Biran, but takes the hint and with a swirl of skirts flounces over to serve his men their third helpings, refill their ale mugs for the umpteenth time. She lingers, laughing indifferently over her shoulder in reply to Ers'lan's question. Jaye's comment gets a flippant gesture, even while she maintains a sly expression that might mean, well - anything! That she returns periodically to their table to refill their ale and stew bowls might be disturbing after her previous remark but she's back to easy flirting as if she'd never said it. She could have meant the forest and they're just fattening them for slaughter, right? When the time comes, they're shown to their room, key in hand until payment is given, then the door is unlocked for them. It's… not scrupulously clean nor homelike in comfort but it is dry, the blankets warm and the bed wide. Careful though - it squeaks rather loudly!

Once they're handed the key, Ers'lan considers the room with a frown tightening. "At leas' she should 'ave been givin us two beds…" he says once the door is closed behind them, shucking his goods down on the floor. "Reckon tha man be right tho, must be rid of this befer we go on." He notes of the emblem on the saddle bags, drawing out his blade to start sawing through it. He wasn't going to discuss the offer just yet, not with the chance that the innkeeper's ears would be pressed up to the door, or who knows if they had spy holes in the walls.

Even with a full stomach of stew and ale, Jaye hasn't relaxed any, especially since Biran seemed to figure out she was female even with her careful precautions. The single bed is eyed, and the woman shrugs. "R'ckon I willna be sleepin' easy anyway." Yes, well, that man and his group are still downstairs, and she's not about to relax knowing that. And likely she'll sneak out a few times to check their surroundings. She may need a good night's sleep, but it's highly improbable she'll be getting one. Once she doublechecks the door to be sure it's locked, she'll finally settle enough to slip out of her cloak, hanging it on a peg.

"Aye… nor I…" his eyes mark the door, flimsy hinges that hold it. A man could easily kick it open and in. He looks at it then toward the items in the room. There wasn't anything to brace the door, nothing that could hold up to a good swift kick. He considers the pack with a final kick to it, having cut out the emblems, but now the packs have holes in them. "Need to sew those up with patches…" but he didn't feel like doing that right this moment. He peers over at Jaye, following her in stride with the cloak. Afterward, he scrubs his eyes with the heel of his palm as he makes toward the bed, "Suppose tis better than the underside of a tree."

Jaye could probably kick the door open, that's another reason she doesn't expect to be getting much sleep this night. "Aye, s'ppose so. Least 'tis warm an' dry." And with another glower towards the door, and a eyeing of the pack, she moves towards the bed as well, eyeing the thing. "Least 'tis plenty wide, no?" Her bone blades are finally removed from their sheaths. "Which side y'want?" Because, well, whatever side she'll be sleeping on will have her two larger blades on the end table nearby and her smaller dagger, which had been hidden up against her body as her backup weapon, under the pillow that she claims. Only after her weapons are settled will she sit down on the bed, wiggling a little to test flexibility and strength.

"Reckon the side closest ta the door…" and so he claims that side, willing to put himself as a wall between whoever charges in and Jaye. He keeps his shirt and trousers on, but removes his own knife and his belt, to make it a little more comfortable. His own weapon is kept nearby as well, right next to the bed on the end table. He looks over at Jaye as he lies down, stretching out his legs and wriggling his toes once his boots are off. He sighs softly, "Reckon thar be an ache in me back from 'em runners. Narh used ta it…" and he's noticing it now as he straightens out, "Ass be raw too…" he smirks, unable to hide a yawn, half closing his eyes. He couldn't help but be tired.

Jaye nods, letting him take the side nearest the door, he's the brawn afterall, right? It'll be his job as first defense. Once she gets her weapons settled, she kicks off her own boots. She notes the retaining of clothing and chuckles. "Ain't nothin' I ain't ne'er seen afore." The murmur is supposed to be inaudible though it may be heard if one's litening hard enough. "Aye, them runners ain't the best mounts, but reckon better lookin' ones wouldna be b'lievable." However much she wants to, she can't relax, however, and she's up again, moving to retrieve a mirror from her personal belongings, to check on the face bruising she likely recieved between the ship's wreck and the 'raid' on the stronghold. And she even retrieves a brush, so she can run it through her long hair, just because she's a holdless doesn't mean she has to have nasty hair, and besides, hair as thick of hers can be a real problem if not brushed enough each day. A tug of scarred hands through hair once its brushed has her, well, at least she's not pacing. "Our other mounts're much more comfortable than them runners." Yes, well, she's not used to riding horses either apparently. And then she smirks, jokingly. "Y'kin m'ssage mine an' I'll m'ssage yers."

"Tis narh that…" he remarks to Jaye, having indeed hear the inner voice turning into an outside voice, "Tis iffin we need ta get out fast, 'n need ta scramble inta clothes." Indeed, it was better to be sleeping in his clothes rather than being caught naked if someone were to barge in. "Best we stick with our mounts, they narh have the likelihood of bein stolen on us…" Unless there was someone more desperate than they were. He scrubs his face, the growth of his longer beard itching, not used to the longer lengths. It made him look like someone else completely, more long in the face than otherwise. Even his hair was poofy and yes, likely knotted. When she mentions other mounts, he makes a face she's likely to catch in a mirror if she has one. He doesn't comment to it. If they bring up their other mounts too often, they could get caught. But, speaking of them, his eyes go hazy as he starts to inform his dragon where he is and in turn, Zhaoth reports to Thea's. The last shakes him out of his dragon reporting, chuckling, "Aye, sure." It's Jaye that has the overprotective highly jealous weyrmate, not him.

Jaye hasn't seen her weyrmate, well, since she took this job, really, thanks to the whole being at Xanadu while her brown was busy fawning over Yumeth, maybe she's going through withdrawal or something.. Or maybe she's just got a dirty mind. Aside from the bruising, she hasn't done too much to change her appearance, perhaps cut her hair a bit shorter, though it's still plenty long, and perhaps she had a few more red-tints added to it before setting out on this assignment. But otherwise, well, she can't really hide the various scars that mar her hide and so she really hasn't tried. At least she doesn't have her typical goggles on that she tended to wear, and she doesn't have her nose stuck in a dragonhealing book as would be normal for her just before bed. As her fellow sends a quick note to his brown, she waits for him to finish before she sends her own quick note. Afterall, they were told to check in regularly, right? Once contact is made, she moves once again towards the bed, settling down upon it once more with a chuckle. "You first." She suggest with the briefest bit of a grin.

The shipwreck was a little harder than they anticipated but they did managed to run her into ground so she broke up on the water. The swim was cold and nearly dangerous enough that they were close to aborting, until a fishing trolly came by from the small hold to rescue them from the waters. Once they recovered they denied work on local boats and asked instead for runners. That's where they bought their ragged old beasts. Those beasts made it difficult to raid the stronghold. In fact, Lan had to practically wrestle his way out, dropped to the ground by a cluster of guards. The consequences were his bruised and chafted hands, the cut lip and brow, and numerous other welts that dotted his form underneath his shirt. Good to Xe'ter's word, the guards didn't -know- they were to get away and fought hard to keep them. Lan was afraid the horse's legs wouldn't hold up in the run as their was a pursuit! They've been on the run for a few days now, no longer seeing traces of those guards hunting them. They barely had time to think about relaxing or anything like massages! So now he was open to the idea simply because it would take his mind off what he left behind at Xanadu. "How kind…" and he assumes that she means that she is going to give HIM a massage, so he flips over onto his stomach. Haha, she should be more specific!

Jaye was likely feeling the consequences of the shipwreck up until the raid, and, well, the fight and resulting pursuit wasn't very kind to already jarred bones, no doubt. But at least she offered as much assistance as she could when the guards went after him, too bad she didn't have the weight for the wrestling match since her skill is mostly with blades and, well, she didn't want to kill any of the guards of course. Since then she had tried to earn her keep, though it was apparent the comforts of her weyr and her weyrmate had softened the woman some. Add to it all the probing of a very overprotective brown and, well, the result was a brownrider who was not only physically exhausted but mentally as well.Still, she can't help but chuckle when her partner flops over in waiting for his massage, true to her word, though, she soon moves over to begin a rubdown of the man. She wasn't bad with her hands, as a matter of fact, she's pretty good with those hands, comes from plenty of experience massaging her weyrmate's muscles when he's had rough days, which seemed to be quite common just before she left. "So whatcha think 'bout what th'guy said?" She queries while massaging. Well, it was as good a time as any to bring it up, wasn't it?

The brownrider himself had softened, despite him thinking he hadn't. Having a dragon and living in a Weyr had long made him unaccustomed to road travel again and the whole survival thing. He was surprised that the guards fought so viciously, by had they not, it would've seemed suspicious. Regardless, he was rather content to have those hands on his shoulders and massaging him, despite him having a shirt on overtop. A bit of a massage was better than nothing. He turns his head to the side at the query, mutterin, "Too soon…too easy…" eyes closing.

Jaye nods, "Pr'cicely what I was thinkin'. Reckon we'd better get out of 'ere at first light, jus' t'be on th'safe side?" She continues with the massage, scarred hands working over thick tired muscles. "Hey, no fallin' 'sleep b'fore I get m'turn." She teases lightly, though she knows he's likely exhausted, hell she's exhausted and she hasn't done as much work as him. er movements may be slow and sluggish, but those fingers still hit the right spots. "Feels like yer back's tied inna knot. Least y'got a partner that gives a wicked m'ssage." She chuckles quietly.

Ers'lan was starting to melt into some form of goo, his eyes closed completely the more that her fingers move over his tense muscles. It wasn't as if he hadn't used them before, but for several days in a row… it had been several Turns since the last time he was put through such an ordeal. His back was hard and there were knots, each time her finger would find one he would react with a bit of a flinch or a tightening of his body. "Narh fallin asleep…" he lies, because he was, softly grinning with his head pillowed in his arms, "nn… aye… tis nice."

Jaye pushes and probes and works at those muscles, shaking her head a bit at the tightness. Too bad they really can't afford to rest a few days rather than a few scant hours between now and dawn, but what're you gonna do, they've a job to do. "Too bad there's nay any oil t'help with th'friction, s'ppose us commonfolk hafta do without though." She really never had mych fancy stuff, though K'drozen did try to spoil her once in awhile. She begins to work at a particularly large knot along his lower back, using those deft fingers to work it out, hopefully without too much pain. By the time she's finished massaging, he should feel good and loose, hell, she'll even massage lower probably if he were to ask it of her. But when she finds his back relatively knot-free, she'll slide away from where she had straddled him, moving towards her side of the bed with a stretch, back popping audibly.

By then, Lan is asleep, the sound of his soft steady breathing a clear indication… Road worn, the man hasn't been in the saddle for ages, so he has every right to be exhausted. Poor Jaye, didn't get her massage. Likely a good thing at this point, no need to make the bed squeak!

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