Who

Arvo, Veena

What

Veena comes across Arvo in Black Rock Hold's makeshift tavern… and the Captain hints at some troubling rumors.

When

It is sunset of the nineteenth day of the seventh month of the thirteenth turn of the 12th pass.

Where

Tavern, Black Rock Hold

OOC Date 28 Mar 2018 04:00

 

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Black Rock SeaHold

A series of sprawling, stone-brick buildings lining the waterfront, Black Rock Seahold is typical of the types of dwellings found along the river between here and the Weyr - larger, true, but architecturally similar. Located just where the Black Rock River spills into the Southern Sea, this is the largest harbor between the Northern Continent and Southern Weyr, and it shows in the business done here. The waterfront is huge, with a long stone pier reaching out into the sea, providing anchorage for dozens of smaller vessels; at the end of the stone pier, wooden docks ladder out to provide docking for a half-dozen larger ships.

The hold's buildings are built up and along a series of slow ramps that overlook the harbor. The main hold is built partially into the hillside facing the sea, with stone facings and wide windows. A large warehouse and dockhouse sits front-and-center over the harbor, with bunks rentable on its basement level for those just passing through the seahold. Most of the residents of the seahold are itinerant, renting rooms from one of the cotholds that dot the headland surrounding the hold. The few hundred permanent residents make their beds either in one of the small chambers within the seahold proper or in the single-family dwellings within walking distance here.

For a few miles, the road heading inland is paved with stones before it gives way to the muddier, rutty paths that crisscross the continent.


With winter winds whipping mercilessly at the seahold structures still standing and dark storm clouds burgeoning overhead in an all-too-clear threat of rain, few residents of Black Rock have been seen in these hours before twilight; what few boats are tied in the quay rock ceaselessly from the chaotic motion of the ocean. Remains of the seafront tavern are dark and silent, but down the street a lively tune is carried on the sea-salted air, a menagerie of instruments and voices raised in chorus. Somewhat of a clapboard shack - the Lazy Lady as its been dubbed - stands out against the debris of the buildings squatting in front of the docks, lit by a subdued bonfire in front and glow-filled baskets in the interior. It is a diverse group occupying the Lazy Lady tonight: one burly bartender who only fills tankards of ale ("ain't none of that sissy stuff here y'heard"), a couple of misfit harpers with partly broken string instruments, and a mishmash of sailors, residents, and unsavory folk. Still, the atmosphere is boisterous and cheerful, where drunken men clank their mugs in toast to muttered celebrations. Amongst these, Captain Arvo, of the Azov Foam, enjoys a particularly good vantage point in the corner of the room, his back to the wall, where his dark eyes can roam around at will as he listens to a token story about a half-woman, half-fish.

The occasions may be few and far between, but there are times when even a watchrider has some freedom from their post! Veena could return to Southern in these moments and yet on this cold, wintry and stormy night she ventures into the damaged heart of her home away from home. No stranger to mingling with the rougher crowds, she’s careful not to wear anything that makes her stick out too sorely. Most already know of her rank as a rider but as a misfit (don’t you dare say broken to her face) herself, she’s grudgingly accepted. She’ll stroll right in, confident and wary both, as she signals for an ale and likely puts up with that bartender’s commentary. A brisk nod for a few familiar faces but her path leads to that very corner Arvo is haunting. “Not that tale again!” she sighs. “I swear every time I hear it, the details change…” Veena’s voice is low but full of mirth as she settles in an unoccupied spot across from the Captain. Did he want company? Well, he’s got it.

A couple errant glances stray towards one of the only females in their midst - at least one openly leering whenever they catch her figure - but on the whole these men are unaffected by the bluerider's appearance at the shack; though the sea life is by and large men, it is not uncommon to see a woman plying the trade or otherwise. At any rate, they are too distracted by their own tomfoolery to pay too much attention to Veena. Except Arvo, who follows her path towards his table with a mirthful cast to his sea-worn features. "Aye, again," the large man attests, leaning back in his leather-back chair, his beard nestled into the folds of his sweater. "They said last week she had long blond hair and sharp teeth. This week she's got black hair with seashells as decoration and large," he pauses, mouth open, before continuing with a roguish smile, "eyes."

“No need to censor yourself,” Veena laughs, completely unbothered by the leering or by Arvo’s roguish smile. She’s not so foolish as not to keep some alert sense on the room, so her gaze does wander (and not in the way some may hope). For now, she slumps comfortably in her seat and puts on an relaxed air. See? She’s harmless (not). “And next week, she’ll be red-haired and sweet of voice.” Cue a slight roll of her eyes and she’ll nurse some of that ale; regardless of how decent or poor it may be, she seems to handle it well. “Don’t think I’ve seen you lurking about here before.” she ventures out to remark, after letting some silence drift between them. “You just returning, then?”

More sound rises up in the form of a round of punches at a table a few over, and it is remarkably ended quickly with another round of drinks and mumbled curses. "I do not care what she looks like, so long as she is not dragging any of my men to an underwater grave," the seacrafter responds, full of congeniality. It is hard to find able-bodied men in the region when he has to compete with the weyrs, the holds, and other crafts; such is the life of a seaman. "Arvo, captain of the Azov Foam, soon to be resurrected from Southern's sea," is his introduction, one hand reaching out in her direction for a strong handshake. "I sailed a route between Black Rock and Southern, but the recent storm put me at a disadvantage." He slants the watchrider an amused look, after. "I came back for the music." Both harpers are caterwauling along with their out of tune instruments, causing quite a bit of noise that is largely ignored by the mostly drunken patrons of the Lazy Lady.

Veena’s going to watch that brief spat half out of habit and half out of some morbid sense of entertainment. Scuffles are just par-course in a place like this and so long as it’s not escalating into a full out deadly brawl, then she’s content to keep her butt parked in her chair. She’s a watchrider, not a guard and while some would argue she should still ‘keep the peace’, well. This is a Hold. “You believe that part of the tale too?” she quips, while side-eying Arvo pretty hard. Really? And one would think, with her Tillek blood, she’d be just a superstitious but… no. “Azov Foam… wouldn’t be the ship that caused all the fuss, is it?” Question first, polite introductions next! His hand will be gripped and firmly, though unusually with her off-side. “Well met, Arvo. I’m Veena. Blue Czrygheth’s.” No point hiding what she is, though she makes sure to add. “Watchrider.” The music? A wince to that and she’ll even rub a finger against her ear. “Sure you’re not deaf?”

Taverns - even little shanty ones - are bizarre places and good for people-watching, and captain Arvo, looks like he is pretty good at people-watching; moreover, he looks like he fits in amongst the mass of seedy types, with his stringy, greasy hair and dark-eyed gaze. His eyes flick to Veena, his mouth tugging at one corner. "Who could I believe if I did not believe my men?" he asks of the watchrider, his hands turning palms to the ceiling. "Alas, she was caught in the maelstrom and ran afoul of Southern Weyr's docks. All of my men were saved from the decks by the dragons and their riders, but she went down without us." He sounds thoughtful of the whole experience, though little more can said of emotion. "Veena, Southern's watchrider. How do you find Black Rock?" Taste is relative, or so his fingers swaying to the sharp sound of bow upon string would say otherwise.

“Must be a fine crew you have, if you trust all of ‘em.” Veena smirks again, while settling more comfortably in her chair. Her drink is held loosely between her hands and while some of her attention is kept on the room, Arvo hold the largest portion of it. “Rough luck, that.” she mutters with some sympathy. No captain is she, but she’s familiar enough with being on the losing end of a bad stroke of fate. His question brings a low chuckle and she merely shakes her head. “Won’t lie, it’s not Southern but I’m afraid I’m a touch biased! Black Rock is my home, though. As much as it could be. They’ve treated me fair here, for the duties I can offer. Dunno where else I’d be, otherwise. Freezing my ass off in Southern Barrier, maybe?” Scoffing, she’ll nurse a little more of her drink.

"I am merely a diplomatic man," Arvo counters, his lips twitching with ill-suppressed humor, and continues with the tap-tap-tap-sway of his fingers in rhythm with the string duet. Another drunk - perhaps a random sailor - staggers up to the harpers sawing relentlessly on their instruments, and starts belting out a lewd song. "aye, aye, said I, aye.. with me one good eye.. aye, aye.." He shifts in his seat, settling his bulk in such a way that he leans without leaning closer to Veena. "Any news out of Black Rock?" Are his eyes gleaming in the glow light? Perhaps, too much drink.

Veena merely laughs for Arvo’s counter and allows him that “victory” by only raising her glass before tipping it back to her lips. The lewd song only has her huffing under her breath, but not in distaste. “… of all the bawdy songs…” she mutters under her breath. What, does she know some? That lean, even if not closer to her, is noted and she keeps perfectly still. “That’d depend on the news you’re seeking, Captain.” There’s a gleam to her eyes too but not from too much drink; it’s a familiar exchange for her. Information for information, as her loyalties are… questionable. Far from a shady type, she’s more survivalist.

Hardly has the bawdy tune come to a close than they start another, much sadder-sounding song. "When I woke up.. the ship was sinking.." he crows, followed by a chorus of voices singing "THE SHIP IS SINKING" with many a tankard raised. It makes it harder for the seacrafter to hear Veena's voice amidst the cacophony, and he actually leans this time, his heavy forearm slanting over the arm of his chair. "I had not the grace to hear much since I last sailed Black Rock's waters," Arvo supplies, but keeping one eye on the disgraceful show at the front of the room. "Anything worth a sailor's time?" he drawls, flashing a smile that is far from humorous.

Seconds tick by, where Veena pretends to mull over Arvo’s request while the maudlin singing continues (with a wrinkled nose of distaste from her). Her fingers remain curled around her mug of ale, and while she appears relaxed, some tension has subtly worked its way into her frame; she’s cautious, what with his leaning now. “Not much, I’m afraid.” she sighs, genuinely regretful. “The same old news is circulating about. Repairs are sluggish. Most folk haven’t returned,” There’s a pointed look at him for that. Gee, wonder where some of them could’ve gone? “And then there’s the whole issue with the Steward and all. Sickness in the Weyr and that they’re not allowing any more refugees in after the last… issue.”

"..and them that don't like me can leave me alone!" Fists and tankards slam, and the table Arvo's chair is pulled up to shakes fiercely from the impact as laughter fills the shanty. "Bad news is best served with whiskey," the captain tells Veena, lifting his mug - of not-whiskey - in an unspoken toast and then bringing it to his lips for a hearty swig. "It is a bad business going on at the Weyr." He sets his tankard down and wipes the foam from his mustache with the back of his hand. His posture has changed to lean the opposite way, his gaze re-affixed on the drunken theatrics in other corners of the makeshift tavern. "It appears to me as though someone has a grudge against you and your kind," is his final, dark comment.

“That the right of it?” Veena quips once the ruckus has settled again, unruffled by the laughter and commotion. Her pause is just to wait for some quiet so she doesn’t have to yell above the din. “I’ve whiskey, but never thought to bring it. That’d likely be rude…” A slight jerk of her head where the bartender stands. Ale it is, alas! “… and I’m not here to cause hurt feelings.” Or have her good whiskey consumed by everyone. That final dark comment has her narrowing her eyes, mouth now pressed in a thin line. “Wouldn’t be the first grudge held against riders.” she mutters darkly. “So what are you saying, exactly?” Do tell.

"Mm," is the seacrafter's initial response, couched with a flick of dark eyes her way, "I had a fine collection of bottles aboard Azov Foam when she sank." Arvo laments the loss of his whiskey cabinet with another swig of ale from his mug and a grunt of satisfaction; rather than set aside the metal mug, he rests it on the arm of his chair, fingers wrapping around the handle. "I have heard the rumors about the unwelcome guests at the Weyr, but," he pauses, not out of hesitation, more so for the right moment to say, "you should look closer to home." And as if in sync with the captain's moods, all of that ruckus comes to and end as the musicians take themselves outside for a bathroom break. "What do you find less realistic? Stories about the half-fish-woman and her massive tits, or the rumors of someone in the lower caverns poisoning the food?"

Veena’s mouth often runs off ahead of her and tonight is no exception! “I’ve heard and seen a lot of shit in my few Turns but I’d be hard pressed to believe that.” Which is her way of saying she’s lacking much in the way of proof… though Arvo has planted a tiny seed of doubt in her now. Is it really that far fetched? Maybe not. Her brows furrow, conflict evident in her gaze. “Where’ve you been hearing this?” Might be too much to ask, but she makes that push all the same! Now that the music and the Harpers gone, she keeps her voice low and carefully pitched.

Little changes in the seaman's expression, save a sliiiight lifting of one eyebrow. "Why? Do you trust your weyr's residents as much as I trust my men?" has no malice in it, only humor gleaming in his gaze now. There is no perceptible shift in his stance, and no visible gesture that he gives, but the mood at the table changes quickly - all three men across the way standing, rearranging themselves as they do so. "Fanciful stories are just that sometimes, Veena. You can choose to believe the rumors," and he leans forward, hands on his knees, "or not." Arvo uses his weight to propel himself up, pushing the chair back in the same motion; it makes a scraping sound against the cold, stone floor. "Clear skies and calm seas," he bids her in farewell, touching fingers to his brow. No one here pays the captain and his small contingent mind as they make their way to the door.. save the bartender, who wears as scowl.

An answer is almost recklessly quipped, but Veena closes her mouth and bites her tongue before letting that happen. Instead she scoffs and shoots Arvo a narrowed look. Touche! No hard feelings, though he’s made her THINK now on just how… troubling this all really is. “Clear skies and calm seas,” she echoes back, withholding further questions. Her gaze will follow the Captain and his men out but it will be a longer stretch of time before the bluerider takes her leave. Her mood will sour considerably before the night is done and she’ll return to her station and her private quarters there. All the better to mull and chew over what secrets were shared and if they merit being sent along to other sets of ears.

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