Who

Veresch and Zarolan

What

The first bottle of wine is always the most important.

When

It is evening of the twenty-fourth day of the seventh month of the first turn of the 12th pass.

Where

Corks and Works, Igen Weyr

OOC Date

 

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Corks and Works

Day or night, this shop is well lit on the inside, by day with Rukbat's beams, and by night by the grace of many glowbaskets that are very liberally used to maintain lighting. When a chance is gained to look about the shop, one easily sees why - there are shelves upon shelves of wine here. The perimeter of the wine shop is lined by shelves four high, and each shelf is carefully stacked just short of bursting with wine of various vintages, regions, sweet or bitterness, and even more importantly, price. But lo, wine is not the only thing to be found on the shelves here - one wall is dedicated to other liquors, from ale to brandy to vodka, and many in between. A carefully written sign nearby says, 'if you don't see what you're looking for, let us know!' There are also a couple of shelves on the wall of the main door, dedicated to things not of vintner make. Although they are bare at the moment, a portable chalkboard plaque says, 'Sienna's Cheeses'.
Even the wall behind the counter has wine bottles on it, but it's the counter itself that is more of note. Approximately four feet high, there are wine bottles underneath as well - empty ones this time, as if to display the wines that have passed through here in the past. Many of which are highly remarkable in either name or vintage. The top of the counter is typically kept clean and polished to shine. A heavy book for keeping track of sales is atop the counter, as well as a stylus for writing with, and an inkwell. One of the shelves behind the counter has been reserved for clean wine glasses, and there is a tub for dirty glasses beneath it; next to it are small cloth bags with the shop's name embroidered into them, for the customers who buy more than a single bottle of wine.
In the middle of the room is a circular wooden display with spaces for wine bottles to be inserted, while the card on the little shelf below tells the name of the vintage or wine of the sevenday. A table and chairs are sometimes brought out from the storeroom to the front room, when there are particular customers about, or when there is a particular event going on. The shop itself is manned at all times, even during the night, sometimes by the feared Eollyn herself, and sometimes some of her apprentices.


Veresch stared at the shop for some time before opening the door, choosing instead to loiter in the alley opposite to thoughtfully consider her actions. It didn't help, nor did the glances she received for the double sins of being a young woman and dressed like an oldtimer, no matter the knot on her shoulder. When she finally does manage to scrape up the courage, however, she marches into Corks and Works with a meted pace; it's enough of a pace that the 'lizard settled on her head hisses a protest, digging tiny claws in a little deeper into her bob. Grimacing, she makes her way to the counter and places her hands on it. "I need," she announces somewhat faintly, "some wine." Because, yes, that's so specific.

Zarolan is behind the tall counter with his back to the door though he glances over his shoulder from where he is dusting and stocking a new delivery of bottles. Smiling charmingly at the young woman who enters the shop, he steps down from the stepstool he'd been using to reach the highest shelf despite his six foot tall frame. One elegantly slender hand lifts to touch his breastbone where his shirt gapes as his head bows in a gentle inclination of greeting, his other hand swept out to one side. His posture is one of courtly grace though his cerulean eyes are warm and welcoming. Standing straight again, he sweeps the room to include the shelves behind him and to either side. "Wine, I have in abundance," he says in a deep tenor voice. "Would m'lady be so kind as to elaborate as to what kind she would like?"

It's such a ridiculously pretty picture - the man might have enough looks to rival a certain Harper — that all Veresch does is stare. It's all she can do, really, before propriety blinks her back to the here-and-now and she blinks. Slowly. "Uh. I don't know." Faintly aware that 'something drinkable' is not a correct answer, she blinks owlishly at all the varietals on display, all those fascinatingly mysterious bottles that promise intoxication but not all a smooth taste. "It's my first bottle of wine, so I'm not sure what I should be asking for." There's a pause, and a look. "I'm fifteen," she announces very much on her dignity. "I've had it before. I just… someone said I should try it."

"Ahh, so you are venturing on your first taste of our … sinfully delicious pastime?" Zarolan smiles at the young woman and nods slightly in a knowing fashion. His voice deepens slightly as it takes on a silky tone that is teasingly naughty. One arm crosses his torso as if to hug himself while the other props on that crossed arm to stroke his lightly bearded jaw in thought as he studies the nervous young woman before him. "You have had wine before but … you did not care for it? Hmm … perhaps you should taste a few of the varietals before making a choice." Turning with a slight flaring of his sleeves and waist-sash, the Journeyman pulls a pair of bottles from the lower shelf along with a pair of wineglasses. Tugging the loose cork from the bottle, he pours a small amount into both glasses and slides one toward the young woman in invitation. "This is one of our … cheaper red wines. It is good with the heavier, fattier meats if you will be having it with a meal." He lifts the glass to sniff at the wine as he swirls it lightly in the glass and smiles at the smoky aroma. Sipping, he mms softly and nods appreciation of the sweet-tart plum and faint bitterness of sage in the aftertaste. "Try it, please."

Rather than make her more uneasy, the flicks of sleeve and sash as well as the very outrageous handsomeness of the poor man puts Veresch at her ease. Ignoring the firelizard trying to make a nest of her hair, she relaxes enough to smile and her death-grip on the counter eases a little bit. "I've had a bit of it before and I didn't like it, no. Chel makes this drink that has a little wine in it, but I normally get a dreadful hangover from drinking that — don't know if it's the wine or something else in there." Gingerly she takes the one glass and watches at he sniffs it. Her own attempt to do so just gets a wrinkle of her nose, and she sips hesitantly. Her eyes open, she blinks thoughtfully and shakes her head. "It's … very tart. Do you have something sweeter?"

Smiling reassuringly at the young woman, Zarolan nods as he reaches out in request for the glass. When she allows him to take it, he dumps it into a bucket beneath the counter for that use and rinses it with a bit of quick-drying alcohol from a small bottle before doing the same with his own glass. "I can understand that quite well, m'lady." The second bottle is considered for a moment before he returns it along with the first to the shelf behind him and a new bottle is plucked from the small crowd of bottles obviously just for tasting. "This is a nice, sweet, rather light and woody white wine. It has a slightly effervescent quality to it and is lovely for drinking by itself or with a light snack of cheese and crackers, maybe a little redfruit or grapes." He pours a small amount of the pale yellow fluid into each glass, passing one back to her once more. The aroma is of burnt sweetener and coconut as it is sniffed and a small amount passed over the tongue brings the flavors of redfruit and citrus with a mild burn of ginger making the back of his throat tingle pleasantly. "Mmm, sweet but not too sweet with just a hint of bark to it."

This time, upon sampling the straw-coloured liquid, Veresch's eyebrows lift slowly. There's a bit of a tingle, yes, but the wine itself is smooth and light enough that her palate handles it well, and she has a smile for him almost immediately after swallowing. "This is much better!" she approves happily, taking another small sip, then another. "I mean, it's clear it's not juice, but it's sweet enough so that the bite doesn't stand out too much, right? Cheese, crackers and grapes? I've met Sienna, of course, and I know they sell some of her stuff in here…" Putting the nigh-empty glass down, she grins up at him, expression pretty and happy. "The bubbles are nice too — how'd they get them in there?" There's a small pause. "Do you have a bottle like that available? And, ah… my manners are atrocious, I'm sorry. I'm Veresch. Pleased to meet you!"

Smiling at her positive response to that taste, Zarolan nods his approval. "Very good. I am pleased that we could find something you will enjoy." Sweeping the two glasses from the counter to stow beneath, he turns toward the shelves of white wines. After a bit of searching, he is able to extract one of the bottles from the shelf and quickly wipes the outside with a clean cloth to be sure it is completely free of dust. "There you are, m'lady." He places the bottle before her. "Hmm, I had heard that. I am not usually here to care for the customers but I was asked to watch the shop for a while since I needed to restock my own products." One graceful hand gestures to the bottle she has chosen to purchase. The Bendenite smiles charmingly at her and bows his head again in response to her introduction. "It is my pleasure, Veresch. I am Journeyman Zarolan."

The teenager's mouth twitches with gratified amusement. "I'm not a lady, you know.Just an assistant, but thank you in any case." Veresch takes the bottle carefully as he offers it to her and cradles it in one arm as, with the other, she pulls out her marks-pouch and looks at him inquiringly. "You're not around here often? That's a pity, most of the women in the lower caverns would buy a great deal more here. Ah … how much do I owe you?"

Zarolan smiles gently at the young woman and shakes his head slightly. "All women are ladies, my dear Veresch. At least so my mother taught me." A soft sigh purrs from the Vintner's lips as he realizes she will soon be leaving his presence. "Ahh, I am often here since I live just down the way …" He waves his hand in the direction of the main Bazaar. "… just that I am not often working here in the shop. I keep rather busy working on my Mastery and providing wines, liqueurs and cordials to the various cantinas as well as here and the Weyr. It takes a great deal of time to work on new items to keep people's palates satisfied." Checking the list of prices, he raises an eyebrow at the amount on this bottle before shrugging slightly. "Half a mark, my dear, is the cost of the wine."

Veresch doesn't even attempt to negotiate; the cachet of being called a lady mixes with the pleasure of the experience until she's far more than happy to shell out a half-mark for the bottle of wine. "Really?" she asks, delighted. "Just down in the Bazaar? Wow, I have a ton of friends that I need to introduce to you then." The resultant shark frenzy of attracted women descending on the poor Vintner will make her rich with a little judicious betting. She leans on the counter, nose wrinkling. "Why are you so nice and most of the guys my age are asses? I wish they could know your mother as well."

Zarolan laughs softly at the idea of the young woman introducing him to a gaggle of females, his cerulean gaze sparkling with mischief at her. "You are quite sweet, my dear Veresch. I can be found in a variety of cantinas in the Bazaar where I take most of my meals … when I remember to eat, that is." He accepts the half-mark and drops it into the till for the shop and making it down in the ledger so that the inventory is properly kept up. Studying the young woman for a moment, the Vintner's shoulders lift in a gentle shrug as he sighs dramatically. "Ahh, that is the question, is it not? It is probably a combination of my upbringing in Benden Hold, my mother's discipline and the fact that I have actually grown up while most young men don't do that until nearly my age anyway. They will learn, just give them time and don't let a single one walk over you." A long, slender finger shakes warningly at her as his sensual lips smile at her again.

Giving a small grin, Veresch inclines her head as the finger shakes at her, and she straightens. "I'll keep that in mind, Journeyman Zarolan, thank you, both for the advice and the wine. I'll come back and tell you if I enjoyed it, or at least to point you out to my friends." One hand lifts in salute. "Another time?"

Zarolan sweeps her another courtly bow with another twinkle of his eyes. "Enjoy your wine and be sure to drink an equal amount of water to keep yourself from having a terrible hangover, my lady." He chuckles softly as he returns to his work of tidying the shop as she waves, his own hand lifting in a languid wave in return.

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