Come here often?

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 an average night, and long enough now — since all that dragon activity — that the tavern isn't quite so abuzz with discussion about the recent flight and changes in leadership. Not that no one is talking, of course, just that other conversations have started to filter back in as everyday life resumes. But the dark-haired woman at the bar doesn't appear to be talking to anyone. The leather jacket, snug dark pants and tall boots do little to make her stand out. But perhaps her posture — leisurely twisted with an elbow on the bar, a long thin leg stretching down to the floor and a light hand still resting on the short glass of something half-gone — says more about her than her clothes. If not that, then the cool blue eyes scanning the room with bland disinterest might be worth a second glance. For now, they take an idle survey of a card game going on a few tables away.

He's not a regular (yet), so that Grayden's entrance is not likely to draw much particular notice when everyone is already deep in their own conversations, their own drinks, their own whatevers. Slipping in at the same time that a small party makes their way out, he's that much less conspicuous, working his way around the edge of the room toward the bar. He passes by the card table, giving it a glance of obvious but reserved curiosity: cards are of interest, but getting someone's dander up for peering over their shoulder isn't. So he's better than halfway to the bar before his eyes pass over the girl's (woman's, whatever), resulting in the dip of a nod when he lands on the next stool down from hers. Tapping a mark on its edge on the bar's top, he waits for some service and asks mildly, "Come here often?" On account of it's a bar, and that's the sort of thing one is obliged to say at a bar.

Thankfully, from the other side of the room, Arabet can watch the game without too much worry that she's going to spy someone's hand. Besides, everyone knows it's not really a game of cards anyway. The small group that comes in gets only the most cursory glance, the habitual kind of look drawn to movement, and then it's back to the game, which doesn't actually seem to have her all that interested, despite her continued observation. She's aware of the dark-haired man approaching and taking the nearby stool, eyes following for a beat, then ready to skim off again in hopes of something better than those dull card players. Only he speaks. And what a line. Her eyes snap back to him, expressionless for a moment. She blinks and lets a soft breath of a laugh escape before she goes back to watching nothing in particular, lifting her glass for an unthinking sip, tongue tasting her lips after. "We'll see, I guess," is the answer she gives.

Grayden answers to the breathed laugh with a one-shouldered shrug, to acknowledge that - yes, it was a line; yes, it was a lame one; no, he's not bothered by its lameness. The answer is considerably more intriguing than the question, in truth, and the tic-tic-tic of the mark's edge on the bar misses a beat, mouth open as if to comment - but there's the bartender, completely off-queue, interrupting the flow of that so-suave conversation to take an order for beer-and-whiskey. Leaning forward on his elbows, watching the man go off to fetch his drink, he plucks at the loose thread of the barely begun conversation with, "New, then?"

It's good that he embraces the lameness, since it could only have been more so if he'd tried to open with 'what's a nice girl like you…' It is what it is, an opener for no real reason, a veritable 'hello'. So Arabet won't hold it against him. Instead, while he's got the bartender over here, she twists back around to catch the man's attention, tipping her chin toward the finger that taps the rim of her glass for a top off. The order made and acknowledged without a word, she reaches into her pocket to pull out a bit of a mark and she eyes Grayden as he toys with the thread. New? She lets her mouth curve to a quick, but sly smile, an eyebrow bouncing once, suggestively. Which somehow, might just translate into a yes. "You?"

One could argue that 'hello' is even more lame. Like, at least Grayden's line has character. What sort of character may be questionable, but. Watching his drinks put before him, bracketing the base of the shot glass with index finger and thumb, he teeters his free hand in a so-so gesture and qualifies it by adding, "Not mint," but close enough, says the tone and hand-wobble combined. "Business or pleasure?" Just before the shot goes up and back, taken with far less tongue-visibility that Arabet's version of drinking, instead with a momentary tightness of eyes and a breath blown into curled fingers. Not delicious.

The line probably got more of a reaction than 'hello' would have, since now they almost have a conversation going. Almost. In any case, they've at least learned that neither of them is a native. And now, with her drink replenished, Arabet can return to her people-watching, gripping adventure that it is. She twists on her stool with the cross of her legs, angled as much toward Grayden as the rest of the room, elbow behind her and glass in her lap. She glances over at him when he takes his shot and rather than answer his question right away, she smirks at the way he handles the fumes of his rough whiskey. This time, when she takes her sip, her eyes stay leveled on him, to illustrate the point that, no matter the quality of the drink, some people are capable of imbibing without fanfare. And this time, the pass of her tongue might be a bit more intentional. She smiles, mostly to herself, as she turns back to eye the small group he followed in. "Yes." For his question. Then her chin jerks toward that seated party, and a brow lifted to ask if they're friend of his, or something like that.

Yeah, yeah. Grayden's a wuss about booze. Thankfully, he's comfortable with this and answers the unspoken rebuke of Arabet's so-manly drinking with a very bland sip out of his beer (which goes down a lot smoother, by the way), his feathers unruffled by the implied accusation. There's a half-laugh through his nose at the coy answer, but no comment, just him twisting enough to look over his shoulder at the people, the utter lack of recognition on his face making it plain even before he shakes his head that either he's got no clue who they are or he's a helluva good actor. There's no return volley of the question, no suggestion evident that she's here with anyone, but he does take his weight off one elbow, uncurling a hand from around the base of his glass, and turns back to offer it across and introduce himself as, "Grayden."

We'll assume, acting abilities aside, that Grayden has no reason to lie about knowing those people. Not that Arabet takes much time to examine him for deception. It seems that something about that small group has caught her eye, though it's not enough to hold it when the man beside her offers his name and his hand. She lets a slow, subdued smile spread knowingly across her lips, her drink switching hands so she can take go through the ritual handshake that is probably not much better than a 'hello'. It gets another breath of silent amusement. "Arabet." The handshake leaves her facing him more directly, and now instead of letting her attention slide away again, the blue eyes give him a proper look, from his hair down to his knees, maybe as far as his shoes. Her lashes narrow, faintly smudged and sooty as she studies his face. "Business, pleasure," she says, though she might not be talking about herself. "As it comes." The drink lifts again, but she pauses before her sip to lift a questioning brow at him.

The handshake, a firm but cursory thing, probably makes him saying, "Business," totally redundant. There's a pause in the process of taking his hand back, resuming his lean, and he cocks his head, eyes moving around the room for a second - business, he said, but in a bar? With a drink? Chatting up some random chick? "Most of the time," he's compelled to clarify before he finishes his movements and has another drink from his beer. Unlike some people, he wipes his lips with his knuckles, which is not sexy but is more effective at drying them. "So what do you sell?" Shot in the dark, mebbe?

She watches all of that, the pause, the consideration, the amendment, with her glass waiting at her lips. And when he's done clarifying, she tips the cup to drink down the rest of her liquor in one go, which, despite the earlier example, does pinch a little at her expression. But there's nothing more than that, and then she slides the empty glass back onto the counter, eyes following it as she feels the warmth spreading in her stomach. It's a moment of her profile, downcast and pale beside dark tangles of her hair. When she lifts her face again, it's with a stretch of eyebrows, a 'what can you do' kind of expression before she says, "Fortunes." She lets the word hang in the air for a beat. "The usual things. Whatever you want." With the spread of her fingers, she presses off the bar with the heel of her hand and slips from the stool, shoulders rolling to settle her posture now that she's not twisted against the side of the bar.

Following a dubious squint, Grayden realizes, "You use the word 'fortune' differently than I do." And he subjects Arabet to a once-over, from tall boots to careless hair, and cracks a smirk that's clearly directed at himself: he probably should've figured that out without having to stop and think about it, clever guy. But 'whatever you want' earns a smirk that's directed at her, and he answers, "Be careful, or someone will wind up holding to your word on that."

"Do I?" Arabet replies with a broad flash of a smile, waiting while he gives her his careful examination and comes to with whatever conclusions he likes. Though it's true: there's nothing on her person to imply she bathes nightly in piles of money. That doesn't stop her from looking perfectly comfortable with her claims. And so she's waiting patiently when he finally gives her that smirk and she answers it with her own as her weight shifts to step away. "Didn't say it was free," she points out, droll amusement lacing her words before she turns her back on him.

Grayden's confident in his assessment on their semantic differences, leaving it unargued, the (probably rhetorical) question unanswered. He does her the favor of turning a little on the bench when she makes to leave, properly attentive to the 'love to watch her walk away' notion, answering amusement in kind: "Well, it's a good thing I'm a man of means, then." Which should by no means be interpreted as a 'no please stop come back' kinda remark, but more like… something they can discuss in detail at some point in the future. When she's not leaving or he's not staying.

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