Solo Ears Open

The Fish's patrons are unusually chatty tonight. Dovey makes an attempt at collecting rumors.

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A lawless town of anarchists, built on the ruins of an ancient mining city. [Lore]

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Ears Open

Postby Dovey on August 17th, 2018, 5:27 am

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38 Summer, 518 AV
"Speech"
"Others"


It was a busy night at the Fish. Dovey had been on her feet for a couple of bells already, dashing about the room ferrying ale to one ill-mannered sailor after another; her shift wasn't anywhere close to over, but exhaustion already gnawed at her body. Testily she supposed she should count her blessings - at least no one had yet started a brawl tonight - but then, that could change at any moment, which rather diminished any relief she might have felt.

She had a wide tray balanced across her palms, heavy with the weight of the mugs of ale clustered on its surface. The group she was now serving had all come in together, early in the night, and taken one of the largest tables in the tavern; there were enough of them that their drinks had to be crowded together to fit on the tray Dovey carried. It dipped and bounced alarmingly as her muscles strained to hold their burden steady, and she kept her elbows tucked tightly at her sides as she navigated the crowd.

Several times she gasped as one end of the tray rose too high above the other, and the mugs slid dangerously close to the edge. Once, jostled by a rowdy knot of patrons paying no attention to anyone but each other, she had to set the tray hastily down on the nearest table and make hasty apologies to the man whose meal she had interrupted. When she reached the group whose drinks she carried she was going to set the tray down in the middle of the table, but they were too tightly packed; she couldn't reach without spilling their drinks all over them. She thought for a moment about asking one of them to stand up and make space, but it was less trouble and less risk simply to go around the circle and let everyone pluck their own mug from the tray in her arms.

As she made the walk, twisting about as best she could so the men would not unbalance the tray by all taking their drinks from the same side, snippets of their conversation rose to her ears.

"...so Oc-tay-vius, 'e told the boss I was slackin', which I wasn't - "

Groans of solidarity from the rest of the table.

"What can Otto do? We're not Daggerhands, bosses don't - oh, thankee." Dovey had nudged the man lightly in the shoulder with her tray to get his attention. He took a mug and elected to drink deeply from it rather than finishing his sentence. Another man across the table began to speak. "Sure, but if Otto'll snitch, he might - "

The man Dovey had just served had finished gulping down ale for the moment. "I was talkin', Bruno," he said loudly.

"Naw, you stopped."

"I just stopped a tick - "

"Let's not argue - "

" - c'mon, let Bruno finish - "

" - I got a right - "

For the moment, the conversation had dissolved into a general clamor. Dovey went on around the circle, and the drinks she offered seemed to cool the men's tempers. Bruno was the last she reached, and after he had drunk deeply from his ale, he nodded. "Fine then, go the petch ahead," he said, without ire.



[Wordcount: 534]


Boxcode credit: Karin Ironyach
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Last edited by Dovey on August 28th, 2018, 10:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Common" "Fratava" "Pavi"
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Dovey
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Ears Open

Postby Dovey on August 20th, 2018, 4:10 am

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38 Summer, 518 AV
"Speech"
"Others"


Dovey had taken a few steps away from the table, meaning to return the empty tray and find a new set of patrons to serve, but she hesitated as a memory struck her. Not a fortnight ago she had been given the only money she now possessed, a gold and a silver miza, by a man who had asked her - although not in so many words - to collect 'useful' information for him. Now those two coins were hidden beneath her thin mattress, and she coveted more.

The barmaid had overheard a lot of conversations while serving people over the last several days, but she hadn't caught anything a spy would care to know. If she actively listened in, though, rather than relying on luck to bring her within earshot of something significant, she would probably have better luck - but that would mean loitering near this pack of goons, who might spot her and take offense at her eavesdropping.

That thought alone nearly sapped her courage. But she thought of the mizas she could earn, and clutching the tray to her body like a shield, she stood still in the crowd to listen.

The man Bruno had previously interrupted had been talking by now for several ticks. "...because everybody knows Otto's a rat bastard," he was saying when Dovey's attention returned to the conversation. "We know it. Bosses know it. They let him make money for them, doesn't mean they'll listen to any shyke he tells them."

"They did listen to 'im!" The man whose complaints had sparked the whole discussion spoke up again, his voice plaintively indignant. "Told me if I didn't shape up they'd 'ave me walkin' paranoid toffs through the petchin' slave market again! They know that place gives me the 'eebies - I'd much rather an honest fight." He scanned the faces of his friends for sympathy - and Dovey thought she saw his eyes light on her where she lurked a little ways behind them.

Letting out an involuntary little squeak, she scuttled away, nearly falling over somebody's unluckily positioned foot. She was halfway to the bar before her instinctual panic subsided and she realized she had wasted her opportunity to spy on the men. Yes, she had gleaned a little about their profession - they worked as bodyguards or mercenaries, it sounded like - but she hadn't learned so much as the name of the group that employed them, let alone anything about it beyond personal gossip. If only she hadn't let her nerves get the better of her and run off, when that man had probably not even realized she was listening...

Well, she wasn't going back to them now; one of them might well have noticed the spectacle of a barmaid fleeing from nothing. She navigated the rest of the way to the bar, slipping through the crowd with the tray still held flat against her body, and passed the dish over to the bartender. Then, after leaning for several ticks against the rough wooden counter, resting her body as long as she dared, she trod back out onto the tavern floor in search of more patrons who hadn't yet been served.



[Word count: 525]


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Ears Open

Postby Dovey on August 28th, 2018, 10:42 pm

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38 Summer, 518 AV
"Speech"
"Others"


Dovey reached the front of the tavern just as a tangle of burly bodies practically fell in through the door. For a moment the barmaid thought they were brawling, and she retreated a couple of hasty steps before she realized that the mess of people before her were friendly - at least with one another. Arms slung across companions' shoulders, hands clapped against backs, and a beehive buzz of sniggering conversation emanated from all parts of the many-legged conglomorate. It was hard to tell how many people made up the group - by sight Dovey thought about ten or twelve, but they were making enough racket for twenty. As she assessed them, a hand emerged from the mass and pointed in her direction, beckoning.

She didn't want to approach them, but ignoring a summons from such an unnerving entity was a still more intimidating prospect - for the group gave Dovey more the impression of a monster from legend than merely a tightly packed crowd. As she came nearer, each individual body became more clearly discernable, and she relaxed a little - though not much; those faces, open and raucously cheerful with one another, became perfectly unfeeling when they turned to look at her. It wasn't even that they were cruel in appearance. The expression on each face was simply one they might have held when looking on a piece of furniture.

The man who had waved her over now spoke to her. "We want a table, the largest you have," he said. "Two pitchers of wine, a meal for us all that's - "

Dovey thought it best to interject before he got too far. "I'll take your order when you're seated," she said, and added a hasty "sir" upon seeing the cold glaze which came over his eyes at her interruption. But he stared down at her for only a moment before nodding briskly. "Lead on, then," he said, and looked over his shoulder, muttering to one of his friends.

Caught off her guard, she thought anxiously for a moment as to where she could seat them. The Fish was always busy at this time of night, and most of the tables were too small for this group, but she recalled that the large round table, near the hearth at the back of the tavern, had been empty last time she'd passed it. She only hoped it still was. Generally customers found their own seats, but somehow Dovey didn't think this group would enjoy being told to do for themselves what they had already delegated to her. So she replied with a meek "Yessir," and turned back into the chaos of the tavern floor - wishing that someone else had the duty of forging an adequate path for the miniature mob behind her. She thought any one of these new patrons would have been better suited to the task than her diminutive, skittish self.

She was forced to be a little more assertive than usual in finding her way through the crowd; she generally used her small stature to slip unobtrusively between people, but now if she did not ask and at times jostle for space, she would vanish from the sight of those following her. She found, though, that the presence of the group at her back made people move aside more readily. She imagined the man who had spoken to her glaring at anyone who delayed his meal even a moment, but she didn't look back at him to check.

Soon they reached the table Dovey had in mind. It was still mostly empty, but from the side of it nearest the hearthfire, a pair of lounging drunkards looked languidly up at the new arrivals.


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Ears Open

Postby Dovey on August 28th, 2018, 10:45 pm

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38 Summer, 518 AV
"Speech"
"Others"


Dovey's heartbeat quickened marginally. This was the sort of situation that made complications, and complications involving the unnerving group of people behind her, she had the feeling she would not enjoy at all. But the two drunks didn't look belligerent; perhaps they would give up their seats without a fuss?

She cleared her throat, purely out of nervousness. Not too harsh a voice, now, but she mustn't reveal her anxiety either. "Excuse me?" No, her tone was too diffident; she willed herself to strengthen it. "I have a group that needs a big table." She gestured behind herself. "I'm - sure there's somewhere nearby where you two can sit."

She was not in fact sure of that, the place was so full, but she could just imagine the group behind her shifting impatiently, ready to jump into the situation if Dovey didn't resolve it quickly. They could hurt her somehow - badly, she was afraid, before Manowar bothered to stop them. They could cause an undesirable sort of scene, and she could be caught in the middle of it. They could do any number of things. Better they never had the motivation.

The drunkard nearest to Dovey only looked at her, dull-eyed; the other stretched and yawned widely before replying. "We... came 'ere a bit ago, though. 'Fore them."

He sounded more confused than anything, but at his resistance Dovey's alarm spiked - and with it, her irritation. Weren't the folk behind her fixing him with that same cold stare which had been turned on her? She didn't want to turn and look, in case that spurred them to who could tell what action. "You can find other seats," Dovey reiterated, a touch of agitation tinting her words. Now they were both simply staring - gods, what drug had they taken? Just ale wouldn't make them this stupidly lethargic, would it? "I'll help you find a cozy table," she began to bargain -

"You will not."

The coldness in the man's voice rivaled that of his earlier glare, but when Dovey glanced back she saw his gaze focused on the two drunkards and not on her. "You will not," he repeated, "you are serving us at the moment," and he stepped forward, away from the posse for which it seemed he spoke, to stand beside the tiny barmaid.

Dovey shrank away from him, although - she realized a moment later - it wasn't likely he would try to harm her if he was so very set on her fetching his group their food and drink. "This is a private meeting, my loves," he almost hissed, leaning a little toward the two drunken men. "I believe you two will stand up and leave at once - unless, of course, you fancy a nighttime swim in the Mudway."

The Mudway - that was the river, wasn't it, that ran sluggishly out into the bay by which the tavern sat? Dovey shivered; the man beside her wasn't threatening these drunks with a mere soaking. The seriousness of what had been said seemed to break through the pair's stupor, and the talkative one of the two tugged on his friend's arm. "C'mon," he said, "lezzgo. Lezzgo." The other man seemed frozen; Dovey was considering trying to haul him to his feet when he lurched upward himself, leaning on his friend's arm and staring backward, mouth slightly open, as the pair shuffled away.


Boxcode credit: Karin Ironyach
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Dovey
One unlucky girl
 
Posts: 258
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Ears Open

Postby Dovey on August 28th, 2018, 10:46 pm

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38 Summer, 518 AV
"Speech"
"Others"


The man who had driven them off stood for a moment, watching them leave, before his face relaxed in such a cheerful grin as frightened Dovey with its incongruity. "There, that's done with," he said, turning back to face a tall woman standing at the front of his posse. "You sit by me, darling!" and he settled himself in one of the chairs just vacated.

At that the whole group surged forward, brushing past Dovey and taking seats all around the big table. Their leader slung his arm around the tall woman's shoulder, and she cuddled into his side with a laugh. He smiled at her, then looked at Dovey stone-faced. "As I said. Wine, two pitchers. Filling food - not too hot. Ale, three mugs."

He turned away. Dovey shuffled backwards, not taking her eyes off that group until she felt her boot hit the leg of a chair and a woman behind her cry out in irritation. That brought her to her senses, and she turned to watch where she walked as she made her way to the kitchen to collect the ordered food.

When she returned, it was with a dish of cold potato stew balanced on one hand and a stack of bowls clutched to her chest with the other. She found a space to set the stew down, and pushed it toward the center of the table before circling round, handing out bowls.

Like the group she'd served previously, this one was talking without a care for her presence. Dovey didn't dare to linger overlong, as she had with the first group, but she caught a few snatches of conversation as she served their stew, and later when she returned with their drinks. Several times the phrase "killing at Brega's" came up in the discussion. Dovey didn't know what or where Brega's was, but this killing which had happened there didn't sound remotely metaphorical - and the folk she was serving didn't seem at all displeased about that, either. The barmaid quickened her motions, sucking in her cheeks as she handed out mugs and wine-glasses. The sooner she was well away from these people, the better. Not that the rest of the tavern wasn't likely filled with killers and those who applauded them - but at least some of the patrons had enough shame to keep such matters to themselves.

In a chime or so she was finished, and, only pausing to collect the money to pass on to the bartender, she retreated gratefully from the area. Only a little earlier in the night, she had formed the ambition to discover patrons' secrets. Now she thought, if the people with secrets worth discovering were all like that group, it would be better to keep her head down - at least until she could figure out a safer strategy than loitering suspiciously near them. At the moment, her only ambition was to seek out folk to serve who at least seemed marginally decent.

Folk who didn't frighten her nearly all the way to death, too, if she was honest.


Boxcode credit: Karin Ironyach
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"Common" "Fratava" "Pavi"
User avatar
Dovey
One unlucky girl
 
Posts: 258
Words: 211281
Joined roleplay: December 31st, 2016, 10:42 am
Location: Sunberth
Race: Human, Mixed
Character sheet
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Medals: 1
Mizahar Grader (1)

Ears Open

Postby Dovey on August 29th, 2018, 2:04 am

 
Dovey
Skills
  • Endurance - 1 XP
  • Bodybuilding - 1 XP
  • Intelligence - 1 XP
  • Rhetoric - 1 XP
  • Persuasion - 1 XP
  • Observation - 5 XP
Lores
  • Intelligence: It takes courage to eavesdrop
  • Persuasion: Modulating tone
  • Location: Mudway
  • Sunberth Rumor, 518: "The killing at Brega's"
  • The Drunken Fish: Probably filled with killers
  • Goal: Find a safe way to gather information
 
Notes
If you have any questions or concerns about your grade, please go ahead and PM me!
"Common" "Fratava" "Pavi"
User avatar
Dovey
One unlucky girl
 
Posts: 258
Words: 211281
Joined roleplay: December 31st, 2016, 10:42 am
Location: Sunberth
Race: Human, Mixed
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Plotnotes
Medals: 1
Mizahar Grader (1)


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