Two Women Walk Into A Bar


Quiane.jpg Evie.jpg

Date: 7 June 2011
Location: Bar, Fort Seahold
Synopsis: Evie runs into an old acquaintance, Quiane, who is briefly in town after a posting in Telgar.
Rating: PG
Logger: Jonavan

The bar at Fort SeaHold is known for being particularly lively - as any bar with a healthy contingent of sailors so often is - and this evening is the same as so many others: the music is going strong, the dancing in in full swing, the dice are rolling, the noise of so many interwoven conversations a cacophany. Through all this an individual may pass relatively unremarked, and it is so a young blonde woman wrapped in a thick long travelling coat threads a sure - if not straight - path to the bar; not a stranger, yet casting glances around her with the curiosity a true local would not show: looking around in general, and not for anything - or anyone - specific.

Evie enters the bar not long after, pulling off a wool hat and shaking out a headful of curls. An older harper's at her side, easily recognisable by the knot, though Evie's is concealed until she shrugs out of her peacoat. The journeyman healer gives her coat to her companion who hangs up both his and hers on the hooks by the door, and then both start towards the bar. "They've seen you, they're going to make you play, you know," the younger woman teases, for indeed the harper has been seen, as has she. Though neither is posted directly to the Seahold, both are locals enough to be greeted by a handful of people in the room. "Too bad I left my gitar," the harper replies blandly, but that's never a problem. One is produced as soon as the words leave his mouth, and before he can say no, he's whisked up to join the other musicians. "I'll get your drink," Evie calls after him, laughing and pink-cheeked, and so winds up alongside the other young woman, ordering two ciders.

"…I'll be over shortly," said young woman is already promising to the cheerful young smith on her other side, who's wading off into the crowd with his own drinks, "if I ever get served," she mutters under her breath, turning back to discover she's just been beaten to the next server by Evie, but a put-upon frown vanishes instantly from her face to be replaced by only slight surprise, and the next moment a wry grin. "You could have made it three."

"Make it three," Evie calls after the bartender as she's addressed by the woman at her side, who acknowledges the request with a glance and slight nod. "Sorry," the healer apologises, turning back to the blonde. "Didn't mean to slide in and steal your order out from under your nose. I'm Evie." Naming herself, she sticks out her hand with a bright, likeable grin.

The woman waits, for a few seconds, as if she's expecting the other shoe to drop. "I know," she points out eventually, exaggeratedly, ignoring the hand and reaching up to undo the top button on her coat and pull down the high collar, shaking her hair out. "Shells, Evie, forgotten me already like the rest of the bar here seems to have?" This isn't entirely true, it's just that she's kept her head down thus far - which might be something of a record. "It's not been that much more than a Turn, has it? I'm beginning to wonder if I'm in the right place."

Evie looks momentarily startled, taken aback as her friendly gesture's brushed aside. "I'm sorry - I'm usually so good with names - Quiane?" It's the other woman's manner as much as her face and tumble-down hair that brings the name to mind. The young mindhealer drops her hand, letting the fingers rest on the edge of the counter. "You know me, I'm in and out," she excuses herself, slightly embarrassed but covering it with a quick, apologetic smile. "Where have you been? Posted, weren't you?" She can't recall where.

So named, Quiane's manner becomes mildly less abrasive. "First sign of old age," she jibes, before letting out a long, drawn-out breath and reaching over to squeeze Evie's hand in tacit apology. "I'll forgive you; I'm sure you'd have been quicker with a few drinks down you. I wasn't expecting to see you here at all, to be honest." Coincidence never usually works quite that well for her. "Wasn't I," she echoes in agreement. "I was," with a stress on the past tense that's anything but imperceptible. "Telgar Hold." Try as she might, she can never get the last vestiges of her accent out of that name. "Just imagine I'm spitting on the floor," she tells Evie faux-cheerfully, "seeing as it wouldn't even be worth that much effort."

"Wasn't expecting you either." Evie is quick in her return to good-humoured friendliness, a smile at the ready. "It's been ages - well, a Turn, hasn't it." She laughs at herself a little for the amendment. The bartender returns with the drinks at this point, sliding three pints across the counter, and Evie gives the other woman a quick grin as she goes fishing for the marks to pay. "Ooh, you sound like Jon. That good, eh?" Traces of the Telgari accent come out a bit stronger in Evie's speech as wel when talking to someone from the same region.

"I didn't exactly have time to write," Quiane shakes her head. "There just aren't the words to describe it," she deadpans, digging into her pocket in search of a mark piece to contribute, Telgar-stamped. "I'm trying to get rid of them," comes her excuse for pressing the roundel onto Evie before sweeping up her own glass and taking a long draught. "Your health," she toasts, belatedly. "Still not married, then?"

"No, it's alright, let me buy you a drink." Evie declines the mark and tries to give it back. "You can buy the next round if you like." Since Quiane's getting rid of them and all. TThe young woman's brown curls bounce as she shakes her head. "No - since when do I have a personal life?" She is self-deprecating in her rhetoric, taking up her pint for the toast. "You?"

"I don't blame you for not wanting it." The way Quiane's going down her current pint that next round may well be very soon. She lets the mark sit on the table for now, "You've got a third drink," she points out, "I was just checking…" She doesn't have curls that bounce, but wisps of hair that cling across her cheek when she, too, shakes her head. "Up there? You must be joking. I have never been pestered so much in my life - to work, that is," she makes it clear, "not for anything more - fun." Even the fun, apparently, was dubious.

"Oh, it's for Merrill." Evie explains the third drink in an off-hand way, but it isn't so casual as to be suspicious. "We work together." She looks for the middle-aged harper, who seems to be enjoying himself with the other musicians despite his initial reluctance to join them. She sports a quick flash of a smile as Quiane replies to the question, then says, "Wait here, Merrill'll be wondering where I've got. And be thirsty." With a wink, the young woman picks up the third pint and starts away. "I'll be right back!"

"One day," Quiane vows, shaking her head, and leans back against the bar, one hand carelessly moving to work each button on her coat free, even if she doesn't take it off, and watches Evie fight her way over to the harper stage before letting her gaze wander around the room, taking stock of the people she recognises, even once giving a cheerful wave before pivoting round on her elbow to accost the bartender. "Make that three more," she offers up the Telgar-stamped piece. She'll drink all three of them if no-one stops her.

Evie gives Quiane a curious look for her statement right before she disappears into the crowd. Reaching her destination at the stage, she hands over the pint once Merrill's finished the raucous piece he's in the middle of, pausing to chat a minute and direct his attention over to Quiane with a brief nod and glance towards the bar. Then she leaves her colleague to the music and heads back as promised. "Merrill says hello," she says upon re-appearing, slightly breathless.

"I trust you said hello for me?" Quiane is beginning to look at home at the bar. "Or do I have to send you over again with another drink?" She casts a glance over at the bartender, as if that would make him pull pints any faster, and finishes off her first drink. "Though who wouldn't appreciate that; maybe I should. You never know when a woman with a needle might come in useful - and at least I know how not to stick people with it."

"But of course," Evie replies with a quick grin as she settles in next to Quiane. "Though he wouldn't say no to a second drink." The weaver's continuing comments draw a laugh before she sips again from her cider. "So," she transitions without the least bit of subtlety, "Telgar."

Quiane is silent for a moment until her ordered drinks arrive. Sliding her pint across the bar and up to take a sip immediately, she acknowledges, "Not any more, thank the first egg and every other egg since then. Perhaps they'll have an opening for a seamstress back here, do you think? I didn't mind it here so much." Not a person to admit a connection to many places, people or things, that's as far as she's willing to stretch.

Evie doesn't hurry to immediately catch up with Quiane, allowing generous pauses between one drink and the next. "Maybe," she agrees without commitment, since the workings of another Hall are outside her ken. "Fort's not a bad place to be." She finally finishes off her first pint and exchanges it for the second, and the bartender whisks her empty glass away.

"We'll see." What little enthusiasm Quiane had is now lost. "I was thinking of dragging my feet here for a couple of nights, in any case. You never know," she inclines her heard towards the musicians, "if your harper friend strikes up the right chord I may even dance." Provided she's drunk enough before he does so.

"Hopefully he won't strike too many wrong ones." Evie leans against the bar, propping herself up with one elbow and avoiding a sticky puddle. With another glance at Quiane, she proposes, "Drink up, I'll take you out round for a spin and you can steal someone's dance partner."

"Now that," Quiane agrees, suiting actions to words. "is a plan I can drink to." That third drink isn't going to be donated to anyone else. "Don't forget to push me into a table and spill everyone's drinks. I've got a reputation to maintain."

Evie flashes a bright, mischievous grin before taking the top off her cider with a gulp. "Deal!" Drink in hand, she grabs Quiane with the other and puts their plan into action.

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