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[G] [C] 741.11.25 | Tavern Counsel - Printable Version

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741.11.25 | Tavern Counsel - Gangleri - 29.Nov.20

Gangleri had been having a few misgivings since his visit with Meryem, thoughts that had gnawed away persistently at him as he'd ridden Bart along the cold and lonely roads. Music could only distract him for so long, and even then not very well. Gangleri decided he needed something a bit stronger to help settle his mind a bit more. And so he had decided to make his way to the bar so that he could spend time with another friendly face and maybe get a bit off of his mind if there weren't too many patrons around to eavesdrop. The drink would certainly help as well.

The striped brown firelizard popped into the bar first, alighting on a smoke stained rafter beam to survey the room first. He spotted Quilriana and flew down to chirp at her, carefully landing on the counter top nearby to trill a tiny announcement that his master had arrived. Gangleri walked in shortly after, having made sure Bart was put up and comfortable first. A warm smile found his face as soon as he saw his favorite barmaid and he walked over to take a seat.

"You are looking absolutely ravishing today. Is that a new dress?" It didn't matter if the dress was actually new or not, all that really mattered was that it looked good enough for him to include a mention of it in his silly flirtatious greeting. Gangleri took a quick look around, determined the bar looked rather slow and returned his attention to Quilriana with a smile as he asked, "I'm thirsty, starving, and a bit vexed. Think your handsome and charming brother would let me steal a bit of your time for some conversation to go with my food and drink? It's fine if you're too busy, I can wait."

RE: 741.11.25 | Tavern Counsel - Quilriana - 30.Nov.20

"It's not and you complimented it the last time I wore it but good to know you still like it. Or pretend to. Perhaps I should worry that you don't mean what you say. Harpers and their way with words and all that," Quilriana replied, not looking over to Gangleri as she fed Fret a piece of meat she had retrieved when the little fellow had been spotted. Once he was properly spoiled and given some affectionate pets, she turned her gaze to the Harper.

Quilriana told him to wait a moment while she disappeared through a door, returning soon with a bowl of their house special stew. She poured him a mug of ale and then did a round of the room, checking in with the few stragglers that hadn't packed up for home yet. They'd be asked to leave soon enough but they weren't troublemakers and didn't need much tending to.

After she was done, Quilriana poured herself a mug and sat down beside the man that had easily become a friend due more to his conversational skills than his charm. "What's bothering you, Gangleri? It's not like you to allow yourself to become vexed."

RE: 741.11.25 | Tavern Counsel - Gangleri - 30.Nov.20

"Well it still looks absolutely delightful then. Just because I don't remember doesn't mean you're any less beautiful." Gangleri gave her a grin and a wink, and Fret gave a little happy chirp before climbing up to perch on his shoulder. Ah, but bars were always the best when the proprietors recognized you, he mused as she went to bring him food and drink.

The warm stew was especially lovely after such a cold day, and he found himself hungrily wolfing it down. Hot food and cool ale did wonders for the soul and by the time Quilriana joined him the stew was gone, the ale had a significant dent, and Gangleri was feeling just a little less stressed. "It's... complicated." Except it wasn't really, not in the least. He scratched at his beard as he amended, "Not complicated. I'm sure I've mentioned one of my rules... the one about who I don't sleep with? Well, I broke it."

He took a long sip of his ale as he mulled it over. "I'm not sure it's as big a deal as I think it is, but I'm also not sure that my judgment isn't a bit clouded because I did have quite a fun time. What do you think? Am I just being led astray by baser instincts or should I look into possibly amending my rule a little bit? Honestly a part of me still feels guilty, even without the rule. I feel like I enjoyed myself a bit too much. It wasn't the first time I've had a nice distraction since she died but..." he shrugged without finishing the sentence.

RE: 741.11.25 | Tavern Counsel - Quilriana - 30.Nov.20

Gangleri wasn't the first man to come to her about his woes and he wouldn't be the last. One part of being a tavern maid seemed to be listening without too much judgement and sometimes offering vague advice. This time, since he was a friend, she wondered how much vagueness or actual advice he wanted. Since he hadn't offered up all of the details, it seemed vague was a good place to start.

"I suppose it depends on if this was a one time thing or if you want it to be a regular encounter when you're in the area." She wished she had more information to help guide him but perhaps not knowing was better. She couldn't be biased or look down on him. Not that she would. She was, after all, still having an affair with a mated Weyrleader after five or so years.

"And what does that person want? Are they looking for something more than you want to give or are they fine with a night together as you leave again in the morning?" Quilriana swapped their mugs around when Gangleri didn't have a hold on his. She had hardly touched her own and his was getting low and he seemed to need the drink more.

After a moment's hesitation, she placed her hand atop his and her voice softened. "Don't feel guilty for moving on, Gangleri. Happiness doesn't die with them, just takes a break for a while. But ask yourself why you think you should feel guilty. A lot of marriages, my own to my late husband included, are arranged and might not have a true spark of pleasure in them. If you're finding better sex and connections outside of what you had with her, that's okay. I promise."

RE: 741.11.25 | Tavern Counsel - Gangleri - 30.Nov.20

Gangleri pondered for a moment. Did he want it to be a regular encounter when he visited the Weyr? He didn't think Meryem wanted anything more out of it than what they'd already gotten. It's possible she was a far more clever and manipulative person than he was and had only been trying to sink her terribly sexy hooks into him, but even if that unlikely scenario was the case did he really care? It wasn't as if he was in a position to do anything for her, and she really didn't seem the sort that would want him for his material possessions. Maybe it was his horse. Everyone knew Bart was a good horse.

He took a sip of his new mug of ale with a small mumbled thanks. The touch startled him from his internal questions and he blinked up at Quilriana with a puzzled frown that slowly became despondent. "I just... I loved her..." he sighed and shook his head. He wasn't talking about his wife anymore, but he didn't need to trouble his favorite barmaid with that. He was sure Kathany's family didn't know about his infidelity, since they still seemed to like him and even sent him gifts on occasion. And while it was very unlikely anything he said in a little bar in Telgar would make it all the way to the coast, he knew how quickly word could spread. He'd spread enough news himself after all.

With a sigh, Gangleri went back to talking about Meryem, but he didn't pull his hand away. "I don't think I want it to be a regular encounter, but I certainly wouldn't mind going back again. She's an apprentice, but not one that I've done any direct teaching for. I've not mentored her in any official capacity, but we've talked before. She didn't like a lot of the... politics in the Hall, and I would let her vent and try to be encouraging. I only stopped by because I'd heard she was assigned and wanted to check in on her. She seems to be doing much better now away from... some of the more abrasive people she had to work with. And then we were talking again, one thing led to another." He sighed, taking a break from talking to drink some more. "I guess I worry that somehow this could still hurt me back at the Hall if word got out."

RE: 741.11.25 | Tavern Counsel - Quilriana - 30.Nov.20

Oh dear, it was a bit messy. She thought perhaps it was a mated dragonrider he had tangled with, not an apprentice of his own craft. That didn’t change too much of her advice but learning about his fear did. She gave his hand a light squeeze before withdrawing her own to pick up her mug. A slow drink was taken as she considered how best to word her advice even as she hoped he wouldn’t ask directly what he should do.

“If you make it clear it’s a completely casual hook-up that doesn’t even have to happen every time you’re in the area, I think you’d be fine with bending that rule of yours. However,” another drink was taken before she pushed the mug away to lean an elbow on the counter, head resting in her palm. “You need to decide if your craft is worth it. Remember, assignments don’t last forever and she could be recalled to the Hall and if she doesn’t like the politics, then maybe she’ll say something about your relationship in an attempt to throw it all in their faces. Or maybe she won’t. I don’t know anything about her, Gangleri, only you do.” The girl could be an absolute delight and charming as could be and a capable keeper of secrets but Quilriana wanted her friend to think through any consequences that could happen.

Getting to her feet, Quilriana rested a hand on his shoulder, “I’m going to check on the others while you think on what I said. But did you want some more stew while I’m up? I also made a personal batch of cinnamon buns that I have upstairs if you want to save room and join me once we’re closed.”

RE: 741.11.25 | Tavern Counsel - Gangleri - 30.Nov.20

Gangleri considered the advice for a moment. On the one hand, considering her father, he didn't think Meryem would be called back to the Hall any time soon. If they ended her assignment at the Weyr it would likely just be to send her to a small hold or out on a distant circuit. Though they could always realize it would be much more of a punishment to keep her close and call her back anyway. Anything was possible though, he mused. Either way he didn't think Meryem would talk about their little encounter to anyone directly. "I'll have to think this one over a bit more. Thank you."

And by think it over he meant casually mull over the possibilities until he drank enough he no longer cared, then just continue his wanderings until the next time they brought him towards the Weyr. Then he'd have to really think about it. But at least by then he'll have hopefully given it all time to stew a bit so he would be in a better position to make a decision. At the mention of the baked treat he gasped, playfully teasing as he said, "Why you sly temptress. You know I have a hard enough time resisting your wiles and now you're adding cinnamon buns? How could I resist? Of course I would be delighted to join you."

He smiled, leaning back and relaxing in his chair as he watched her tend to the rest of the bar and worked on finishing his ale. Once they had closed up and the other customers had gone he decided to make himself useful, helping to pick up chairs, wipe down tables, and anything else that would help speed things along to some delicious dessert.

RE: 741.11.25 | Tavern Counsel - Quilriana - 02.Dec.20

It wasn't the first time Gangleri had helped clean up at the end of the night but she still found it refreshing that a man--especially a craft trained one--would assist in menial labour. The simple act was always a good reminder that the Harper was a good man and despite his current worries, Quilriana knew he would make the right decision for himself and even the girl involved.

She grabbed a couple of glasses and the pitcher of juice that had been left chilling in the ice box R'nya had so graciously filled on his last visit and led Gangleri upstairs. She still had the smaller room from when her kids still lived there as well. Since they had to share a room, she'd given them the larger one and now that one was at a Weyr and the other at a Hall, Quilriana stayed in her original room. It made more sense to rent out the other and she was content with her small space.

The room held her bed, a dresser, two semi-comfortable chairs, and a table between them. That was where she led Gangleri, setting the pitcher down by the tray of buns. "Has your chess game improved any since you were last here?" Quilriana asked as she gestured to the board that took up the rest of the table. R'nya had been her steady partner since they met but she'd managed to get the Harper to play a couple of times as they chatted about this and that.

RE: 741.11.25 | Tavern Counsel - Gangleri - 02.Dec.20

Gangleri waited until Quilriana had set everything down and taken her own seat before he joined her at the table, slouching back comfortably. "I have played a few games since the last time you thrashed me. Whether I've gotten any better remains to be seen, but I'm willing to give this another try. If you're going to keep insisting on beating me though, I might as well tell you my safe word. It's numbweed."

He shrugged off his jacket to hang off the back of the chair as he stretched and cracked his knuckles, eyeing the chess pieces almost suspiciously. He picked up a pawn, sliding it forward two paces then, before he pulled his hand off of it, pulled it back so that he could pick a different pawn to move instead. Hopefully freeing his bishop to move sooner would pay off.

Maybe he could distract her with conversation about her children. Besides, without any children of his own, Gangleri could only feel vicariously father-like through hearing stories from other people or by teaching. "How are your children doing? Any updates? Has your boy become a dragonman yet? I hear some of the most delightful stories about dragonmen. They're fun to play cards with on occasion too."

RE: 741.11.25 | Tavern Counsel - Quilriana - 03.Dec.20

"Noted," she chuckled softly, pouring them each some juice. At least he wasn't trying to make the game into strip chess this time. She sipped her juice as she watched Gangleri make his first move and then change his mind. She raised a brow, silently questioning if he really wanted to start with that one. Silent mind games could be fun but it seemed he was going to try for distraction tactics again.

"Both are well. Quilista loves the challenge the Hall is giving her," she replied as she slid out her first pawn. "Quinvalis hasn't Impressed yet. I believe he's only Standing at Fort and he's been hesitant since his last mauling." She had so many regrets for asking R'nya to take her baby boy to the Weyr. He had been injured at several Hatchings and was now covered in scars. "I worry for him regularly and Hatchings scare me now every time I attend one to cheer for him."

RE: 741.11.25 | Tavern Counsel - Gangleri - 03.Dec.20

He did not like how she kept raising her eyebrow and giving his chess pieces pointed looks. They didn't deserve that, they were good soldiers after all, she shouldn't give them cause (however justified) in doubting his leadership ability. Gangleri hid his scowl behind his glass as he took a small sip. He both hated and loved how it always felt like Quil was a few moves ahead of him.

At least he had the benefit of conversation to help him take his time as he tried to plan out his own little attack. "Maulings are nasty business. At least he recovered well enough though. And besides, the ladies like scars. Especially ones with interesting stories. Though I suppose men like them well enough too if he happens to be so inclined to care about their opinions as well." It was far too early for him to try to distract her and cheat, she'd easily notice an out of place piece. So instead he decided to be daring and just slide his bishop out into play, keeping it back for now, but otherwise ready.

"Why do they have you minding bar again? Because clearly you should be doing something much more sinister and conniving. It would suit you."

RE: 741.11.25 | Tavern Counsel - Quilriana - 04.Dec.20

"Oh, we do, do we? I guess that will have to do on quelling my fears for my son." Nothing would ever stop her from worrying, even when he Impressed and then graduated. It was simply what mothers did. Poor Quilista would have it worse now that she was so practiced at worrying. "My daughter may not want to Stand but she will be trained as a Healer and still on the Sands. I hope we do not have to find out if men love scars on women."

She considered the move of the bishop and thought about the ways it could advance from there. She could put up a block or ignore it for another move or two. She decided to ignore it, maybe giving Gangleri a chance this game.

"That was my original job but it grew tiring and predictable. Tending bar lets me play nice and lure unsuspecting victims into my lair." She have Gangleri a sweet smile and then cocked a brow as she sipped her juice.

"Welcome once more to my lair, dear."

RE: 741.11.25 | Tavern Counsel - Gangleri - 04.Dec.20

"You do. I've seen how you eye the little scars on my hands. They drive you wild with lust that you can only barely restrain." Gangleri took another sip of his juice before adding, "And I don't expect the scars to stop you from worrying. He's your son, you have every right to be afraid for him. Sometimes it's fun to find the positives though, or to at least pretend. If you want, I could go with you to the next hatching, just to provide some moral support." He had never been to one before though he'd been invited by a friend or two in the past. He'd just been too busy to go.

Should he be a tad mean and try to distract her by pointing out that he liked scars on a woman? Gangleri decided against it for the moment as he studied her move with suspicion. Was it a trap to lure him in and take his bishop? Possible, though he wasn't sure exactly how. He huffed, as she teased him and decided to take a risk and send his bishop in anyway to steal one of her pawns. That was what he thought of her lair! Not that he'd say it aloud for fear of the thrashing she'd give him the rest of the game. He was sure she would still beat him, but maybe if she wasn't motivated it wouldn't be such an embarrassingly thorough defeat.

He could still try to distract her a little more though. "So why is he only standing at Fort? Why not Telgar? He'd be closer then. Does it have anything to do with your good friend?" Gangleri had suspicions that she was possibly sleeping with the dragonrider friend she'd mentioned before, though those suspicions had nothing to do with Quil herself. She was a fine lady as far as he was concerned. Dragonmen though, he'd heard plenty of stories from and about them.

RE: 741.11.25 | Tavern Counsel - Quilriana - 04.Dec.20

“It’s not the scars; it’s simply imagining what those harper-trained hands could do that causes the lust to run wild,” she confessed, but deadpanned her answer like so many others she gave him that Quilriana believed Gangleri could never tell when she was serious or engaging in their usual banter. “And I would love to have those hands with me at the Hatchings so I can clutch them in fear every time an egg cracks. Hopefully they’ll still be usable by the end.” She truly did appreciate his offer and she would take him up on it as well, perhaps for every Fort Hatching until Quinvalis Impressed.

She looked away from the board and studied Gangleri instead. She had never said she was sleeping with R’nya but the Harper knew enough about the friendship that had lasted years to easily fill in the blanks. “It does have to deal with him. My husband died when the children were young and when R’nya came along, he left an impression on Quinvalis especially. He sees R’nya as a father figure and wants so desperately to make the man proud.” She would never take that relationship away from her son and after his only attempt Standing elsewhere, Quilriana was fine with everyone living so far from her as she knew her kids were safe and happy.

Ripping one of the cinnamon buns in half, Quilriana left half on the plate and bit into the other as she studied the board. Was Gangleri going to play the game recklessly or try for strategically bold? The next piece was moved, deciding she would let him play with his bishop a while longer. It seemed she was going for a reckless strategy but his distraction tactics were kind of working, combined with a long day that was starting to sap the rest of her energy.

RE: 741.11.25 | Tavern Counsel - Gangleri - 04.Dec.20

"Ah I see how it is. First you flatter and try to seduce my hands, but it's just a ruse to lure them close so that you can crush them and enslave me." Gangleri liked to think he was a good judge of people and could tell when they were pulling his leg, but he always had trouble with Quilriana. There was just something enigmatic about the banter she delivered that he always left him wondering how much of it was jest and how much she actually meant. He loved it, and it was a large part of why he kept coming back to the bar so he could spend more time with the woman who so often had the upper hand on him. He smirked at the thought and the terrible joke it made. "You are beautiful and dangerous, the perfect villain. Just make sure you give me enough notice so that I can bring sturdy gloves and make sure I'm nearby when it's time to go. I'm assuming we'll be catching a ride by dragon and that Bart won't have to race all the way down."

Gangleri tilted his head curiously as he listened to her talk about her dragonrider friend, noting that she did not directly confirm or deny any of his suspicions. Still, it was enough for him to be a bit more sure of his notion at least. So long as the dragonman treated his favorite barmaid well that was fine. It wasn't really any of Gangleri's business after all. Still, knowing something wasn't his business and being curious were completely different things. He spotted a potential move and decided to try for it, employing a bit more distraction. "That is a good reason for him to stay in Fort then. Have you considered trying to open a bar down there? You'd be closer to the children and to your friend." He grabbed the bishop, moving it to try to get into a better position to strike deeper into her ranks. "Or is the competition too fierce?"

RE: 741.11.25 | Tavern Counsel - Quilriana - 05.Dec.20

She smiled at the return he served, enjoying their verbal volley. In such a short time, Gangleri had become one of her favourite people. He was intelligent and witty which made for wonderful conversation and he peppered in enough compliments and flirtatious remarks that Quilriana had decided they were fairly genuine and left her feeling desirable still. She had never sought out such things but even a lowly barmaid enjoyed hearing them from time to time. “I’ll do you one better and bring the gloves for you. Untampered with even. Of course you would have to believe this isn’t a cover for another ruse. And yes, dear Bart would have some down time as a dragon would help us instead.”

She took another bite of the bun as she decided the bishop had had enough fun and reached out to move a new piece and clear the bold one off the board. “Any mark I ever made since returning here has gone to the well-being of my children or directly to the Whetstone to ensure we always had a roof above our heads. This is home, for better or worse, though I contemplated asking to work the kitchens at Fort Weyr a time or two.” With both kids now tightly attached to that specific Weyr, it had seemed to be the best decision but Quilriana also didn’t want to smother her babies who weren’t babies anymore. Nor did she want to make things too complicated for R’nya. She was his escape for a few hours from the hectic life in the Weyr and she liked what they had in her tiny room.

RE: 741.11.25 | Tavern Counsel - Gangleri - 05.Dec.20

"Hmm, considering how conniving you are I'm not sure I should trust the gloves. Even if they are truly untampered with it's probably just a trick to lower my guard so that you can steal my virtue while I'm near dragonmen who you undoubtedly have wrapped around your finger. Though I'm not sure if you intend to have me as a member of your harem, a symbol of your conquest and a message that you're not to be trifled with, or if you intend to incite someone else into a jealous rage to have them kill me." Gangleri reached over to steal the other half of the bun from the plate to nibble on before adding, "I'd prefer that first option if you're interested in taking feedback for your nefarious plans."

He frowned as he watched his mighty little bishop fall. "Heartless woman, I had plans for him... he had a family you know." Gangleri quietly listened as he eyed the chess board, trying to find any way to salvage the situation. He could do what he always did, send out both knights to flail about desperately until he was forced to send his queen out. He wanted to try and be a little more clever this time though, so he decided to advance a pawn instead. "Well, maybe when you're ready to retire you can try to be a bit closer to them. By then your son should have a dragon of his own, your daughter will be able to cure whatever ails you, and maybe I'll be better at chess by then."

RE: 741.11.25 | Tavern Counsel - Quilriana - 05.Dec.20

“Feedback is appreciated, especially as I had been considering a combination of the first two options,” she quipped back, enjoying the last of her half of the treat. Really, he was so dramatic. She figured that was part of his appeal and worked in his favour as a Harper. It certainly made their visits more enjoyable at least.

She slid her own bishop out. “Your bishop’s brother has joined the fray. It would be a shame to harm him as well,” she commented with a grin and waited for his next move as she thought about what retirement would be like. “Once, retirement would have been on the farm as Quinvalis and his wife took over the daily tasks. Now? I don’t mind working and helping my extended family. But perhaps one day I’ll find a place to put my feet up.” She didn’t think that likely. What would she do with herself with so much free time? She also didn’t think Quinvalis would want his mother hanging around his weyr, especially if he had a mate or had a dragon leading him into regular Flights.

“Maybe I’ll follow the path you’re leaving up and down the coast. Just a horse, the trails, and a variety of people to meet on the way.” That could be enjoyable as well. She could offer to lend a hand in taverns in exchange for a couple of nights of rest before moving on. R’nya had taken her on a few trips over the years but she wouldn’t mind seeing more of the world.

RE: 741.11.25 | Tavern Counsel - Gangleri - 05.Dec.20

Gangleri huffed softly. "If he was a good brother he wouldn't have defected to your army." Maybe it was some sort of hint, that she was only sending the bishop out as a distraction to hide a much more sinister threat. But then it was probably just a ruse to fool him... unless that itself was the point of the ruse. To make him fall for a truth by thinking it false. "I think I need something stronger than juice to survive this engagement..."

He decided to just try to set a little trap for the traitorous bishop, leaving a pawn out in its path as bait. "If you could have the farm again would you? I imagine it wouldn't be the same. I haven't really wanted to be home... though maybe I'll change my mind and go back eventually." The thought of Quilriana touring the world on horseback was an interesting one though and he couldn't help but smile. "It could be dangerous. So many out there won't know that they should fear your cunning. But I have to say I don't regret my current wanderings. Maybe if you decide to do that I'll keep you company. Just to keep the rest of the world safe from your designs of course."

RE: 741.11.25 | Tavern Counsel - Quilriana - 06.Dec.20

She ignored the pawn placed near the bishop and moved her own pawn into the clump instead. “I would only wish to be on the farm again if Valistan had lived and we never left. I wouldn’t return to it as things are now.” She didn’t trust her husband’s brother and his family which was why she had packed up and returned to her father when they showed up demanding the farm was now theirs. It hadn’t been worth the fight then, not when Quinvalis was only eight and couldn’t take over the farm. If Valistan had lived, then they would all still be on the farm, perhaps both of her children married while Quinvalis started running more of the daily operations. But they also wouldn’t have the opportunities they had now and Quilriana was fine with the exchange.

“I suppose I’ll have to take you along as well since you seem to be a package deal with Bart. If I left tonight, I’d want his companionship and guidance.” Truthfully, if she did give it all up that night, packed a bag, and never looked back, Quilriana would be glad to have the Harper along. Gangleri knew the world better than she did and he was becoming a friend that she could trust which seemed to be a good trait to have in a traveling companion.

RE: 741.11.25 | Tavern Counsel - Gangleri - 06.Dec.20

"I like my house too much to completely want to abandon it... I think. I just don't want to be alone in it right now. Or with my family... my brother is keeping an eye on it for me and staying there while he tries to figure his own life out." Gangleri studied the pawn she'd moved curiously and then went to remove it with a pawn of his own, accidentally leaving his queen unguarded. He didn't notice though, too caught up in his own thoughts. "We were supposed to have a family in that house, but... well, things don't always go according to plan. At least it gave me more room to store instruments and books."

He chuckled as he leaned back in his chair, casually nibbling a roll. "It's true, Bart's a good and noble horse, not even you could lure him away from me." Unless she had any sort of sweet on her, and then he knew the gelding would abandon him in a heartbeat. Gangleri wasn't about to just volunteer that information though. "So, where would you want to go first if you did decide you wanted a bit of travel? I actually thought about trying to head south towards Ista for the winter, but I think it's already a bit too cold for me to want to do that to Bart."

RE: 741.11.25 | Tavern Counsel - Quilriana - 08.Dec.20

Quilriana gave a moment’s silence for her friend and everything he lost or never had a chance to experience. She was young when she was first pregnant and scared at the time, but as soon as she saw Quinvalis for the first time, she wanted nothing more than to be a mother. She had no doubts that Gangleri would have been a wonderful father—and still could be. He could remarry and start a family still. That was likely something else he would need to discover in his wanderings.

With a sigh, she moved her bishop to take his queen. “Gangleri, my dear, you are worse than usual tonight. I’m recalling my troops. I think we did enough damage,” she held up his fallen queen and set it to the side. “It’s a good thing you didn’t bet Bart on this game.”

She picked up her glass of juice and sat back, considering where she would go first. “I think you have the right idea. I’d follow the river down to the Bay and travel along the coast into Igen. I’m not sure what civilization is like along that route but it could be a fun adventure to live off the land with a treat being when I find a tavern willing to put me up for a night.” That did sound fun but Quilriana also knew she’d never survive such a journey alone or perhaps at all no matter the companions. She knew little of the life of a wanderer, despite Gangleri’s tales and she suspected he stuck closer to populated areas so he could rest, get food, and learn the local gossip that his Harper blood craved.

RE: 741.11.25 | Tavern Counsel - Gangleri - 08.Dec.20

Gangleri huffed, scowling at the treachery as she snatched his queen and declared the game won. She was right to call it there, because he knew he wouldn't have been able to recover, and then he'd likely start getting petty and petulant. "I'd never bet Bart in this infernal game, if anything I deserve to lose him in a game of cards because I've been out cheated." Quilriana was one of the few people he'd admitted to cheating at cards, mostly because he'd offered to teach her how in the past on a few occasions.

He listened to her plans to follow the coast and considered the soundness of it. Living off the land was something he technically knew how to do, and he had survived short stints of camping in the wilderness alone, but it was not something he really enjoyed. Empty snares were quite effective mood killers for the romance of roughing it. But the coast... he thought of Kathany's family with their ships. That could be an interesting way to travel. "What about by ship? You'd need someone to defend you from lonely sailors captivated and driven mad with lust by your beauty, but Bart and I could defend you. Fret's more of a lover, not a fighter."

He took a sip of his juice as he thought about it. "I'm still on good terms with my in-laws... if you ever wanted to take a sailing trip I could try to arrange for one. Just would have to make sure your bar would be fine without you for a little bit and then just take a little journey. See how you like it. Though maybe you should just try to find a less busy dragonman to sweep you off your feet and take you on adventures. Until you find one though, Bart and I will do what we can if you ever feel the need to adventure. Just keep in mind he can't fly."

RE: 741.11.25 | Tavern Counsel - Quilriana - 09.Dec.20

Quilriana smiled warmly at his offer to arrange a ship for her and that he would go with her or even take her somewhere closer by. He was a good man, even when he didn't always seem to believe it anymore. "As always, you tempt me, good sir. The tavern would run well enough without me. My nephews should have a taste of it without me around so they're better prepared for the future." She did a lot of the cleaning and serving while her brother did most of the cooking but his sons and wife could be more involved. Perhaps that was reason enough to retire now. She liked what she did but it was the job meant for others and it was perhaps time they did.

"I wouldn't want to be the cause of you getting tied to one location--even if that location is a ship on the move." She knew it would likely make stops along the way delivering supplies or refilling their own but that still didn't seem like something Gangerli would want at this point in his life.

"I suppose I should start befriending more riders or I'll have to take up the offer to have Bart escort me somewhere of his choosing."

RE: 741.11.25 | Tavern Counsel - Gangleri - 09.Dec.20

"Just say the word if you ever want to take me up on it. I know Fret sneaks back here sometimes for treats without me. You could always give him a letter. Besides, a bit of time without you will only make the bar realize how much they need you around." Gangleri reached into a pocket to pull out a pack of well worn cards, idly shuffling them. He didn't have to even think about whether or not he meant what he said, or worry that she might try to take him up on it at an inconvenient time. He could always make time for Quil.

He chuckled. "You, tie me down? I should have suspected you had a bit of kink in you." He took another sip of his drink and then added with a smile, "Though in seriousness, if I were to be tied to a location again, I wouldn't mind you being the cause. You're a good and lovely woman, Quil, even if you are secretly the villain of the piece. And besides, having a home doesn't mean you have to stop going on adventures."

That was something that Kathany had never really understood. She frequently fought him when he would volunteer to travel a circuit or help get a Harper settled in on a new assignment elsewhere. He brushed the thought of his wife aside, instead grinning at Quilriana again. "Just be careful with Bart. He thinks he has refined taste, but he once took me to a meadow instead of back to town. I was too drunk to argue with him at the time."

RE: 741.11.25 | Tavern Counsel - Quilriana - 10.Dec.20

Quilriana smiled fondly at Gangleri and reached across the table to place her hand over one of his, stilling the shuffling. "Underneath it all, I see your truth. You're a good man, Gangleri. A little lost at the moment but when you find your way, I'll pack my bag and go on an adventure with you." She gave his hand a gentle squeeze and withdrew her own back to her lap.

Gangleri had been through too much too quickly and he needed time and space to find himself once more. Quilriana didn't fault him for the ways he did it with cheating at cards or meaningless flings of the moment but she did sometimes worry his mouth would land him in trouble when he'd had too much to drink. There was always a quiet sense of relief when he crossed the threshold once more.

"Did you want to play a few rounds before we retire for the night?" She glanced to the cards, unsure if he simply needed to have something for his hands to do or if he was still in the mood to socialize. After what he had shared earlier about his student, more drink and rest may have been what was needed now. "I can also get you another mug of ale and bring it to your room."

RE: 741.11.25 | Tavern Counsel - Gangleri - 10.Dec.20

Gangleri scoffed a little at the declaration that underneath it all he was a good man. He didn't want to point out how she was wrong though, instead smiling at the warmth of her touch, cards forgotten for a moment. "Ah, now I know you're buttering me up. You'll have to try harder than that if you're going to trap me in whatever nefarious scheme you have in mind."

As soon as she withdrew her hand he gave another shuffle of his cards, the motion comforting and familiar with how often he'd done it for all the games and tricks he'd played. He considered the offer to play cards, but it was starting to get late, and while he could sleep in if he wanted, he knew Quil would still have to get up early to get the tavern ready for the day. Ale would keep him out of her hair so she could get some rest at least. He squared his deck neatly back up and put it away safe and sound back in his pocket. "Ale sounds lovely. Maybe we can sneak in a game of cards some other time. For now I suppose I should probably escape your room while I still can, before you change your mind and decide to seduce or murder me. Or both. More likely to make me some sort of slave to your wicked whims I suppose."

He made sure to finish his glass of juice before he stood up, reaching for her hand again to lift it to his lips to leave a delicate kiss tot he back of her knuckles as he bowed. "Thank you for another wonderful evening. I look forward to the next time you leave me so utterly defeated."