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There's No Place Like Home [Leonidas1789, bucheonman, Maurkov, bzipser, Toliudar]
The Grey Fox is not the sort of comfortable place one seeks out after a pleasant day of work. The assembled riff-raff, gathered at tables, by the yawning fire-pit, or cloistered at the bar, probably have never had a pleasant day of work in their lives. But it's easy to blend in; here, everyone has a story, and chances are the guy next to you has it as bad or worse than you. It's the kind of locale sought out as a refuge by those who have nothing to lose, and as a result the Fox is well-known for spates of alcohol-induced violence. It's dangerous enough that the guards don't come inside to meddle, and that's just the way the patrons like it. It also makes for an odd sort of community, where a couple of young human women can be seen in the company of a grizzled dwarf without raising the eyebrows of the xenophobic Astan commonfolk.
The aforementioned grizzled dwarf is hunched over his beer at one of the tables, carefully glancing around at those at the other tables in case there's any of the dwarf-hating troublemakers he ran into here last week. That tall one's knee didn't completely shatter, and he'd probably be up one his feet again, which could be dangerous in the long run. Eberhart kept one hand at his belt, close to the haft of his good mace, while the other caressed hs beer.
Eberhart made a conscious effort to turn his customary scowl into a smile. Here he was, in the company of two radiant women, and he was worrying about his own worthless pelt.
Well, ladies. If the boss wanted an out of the way place, the cognito don't get much more inthan this. Doubt they got anything fancy, but can I get either a you a beer?"
Brynna Wyllam looks around wide-eyed. "A beer? I guess. Small beer, though, not strong ale. I think I need to keep my wits about me. Thank you.
'I'm glad you're with us. I don't think I would want to be here on my own. I mean, I have some magic, but I haven't been using it to fight people."
She fidgets on the uncomfortable bench and adds in a low tone, "I mean, I know I'll probably have to, but I'm not used to it. And if the worst happens, and I get conscripted, I'll certainly need to. It's just a bit different from conjuring servants to clean houses, though. Not that this place couldn't use some cleaning."
This is a switch Tobie said with a soft giggle.I'm use'ta servin' th' ale, not gettin' it served ta me. Yeah, I'd love some. She sat comfortably astride the bench in pants and tunic, toes of her logging boots digging into the earthen floor. She kept her back to her companions, and she hoped by now they realized that this wasn't because she didn't like them. She was watching their backs in the only way she knew how. The logging axe that hung from her belt, along with the rugged clothes, looked odd on such a pretty girl, but the calluses on her hands spoke volumes as to her ability to use the tools available to her.
And she would most certainly never be taken for the cleric she was.
As Eberhart turns to head towards the bar, there is a flicker of movement from the back part of the room, and the familiar form of a robed halfling appears near the hallway leading towards the "private" chambers. He raises one eyebrow, and with a slow gaze that encompasses both women and the dwarf, he makes a smooth but unmistakeable gesture towards the hall.
"Looks like we won't have a chance for that drink," Brynna mutters. "It seems to be showtime." She rises casually and heads for the rear of the tavern, waiting only for her companions, as much for what dubious support they can give her nerves as anything else.
Ya seen that, too, huh? she whispered back with a flirtatious smile and a bit of a blush. Wonder what it is? she asked as she rose, her axe thumping comfortingly against her leg as she led the way to the back of the room.
The halfling silently leads you down the hall to the last door on the right, a room that neither of the Astan natives have seen before. The entryway is flanked by two of the tough-looking bar bouncers. They eye you warily but make no movement as your little leader opens the door and ushers you inside.
Inside the undecorated room, there is a long, simple wooden table flanked by a pair of rustic benches. There are already six people present: two women and four men. The gathering seems unusually large for the Crocus's style of operation, and the occupants appear as surprised to see the three newcomers as the newcomers are to see them. The halfling says nothing but closes the door and takes up his usual place, just behind the chair at the far end of the table.
NINE? What, are we invading a freaking country? Oy.
Nodding unsmilingly to those already in the room, the scruffy young dwarf waits until the ladies with him are seated, then slides into a free space at a bench. The maces at his belt scrape faintly against the wood.