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The Devil's Own (Glen, Ka'Ri, Sithani, Sunrise, Thimb)

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Eleint 7th. Nightfall.

The Devil's Own bar and inn was probably a nice place when it was new. However, that was long before anyone in the party was born, and time has not been a kind mistress to the building. It squats in the slums like a fat frog, the bar on the ground floor and a collection of small rooms for hire on the second floor. Most of the rooms are rented out to groups of workers and day laborers who sleep on the floor, but some of them are vacant and available to travelers, or for use by those who employ their trade as lovers. Several of these latter can be spotted working the bar tonight, their availability and lists of services signaled by a complicated system of ribbons worn on the wrist or in the hair.

Tonight is crowded. Whoever among the party arrives first has to wait for a table big enough to seat the lot of them, and then they have to fight their way through the crowd. Elbows are thrown, ribs are jabbed, smaller humanoids like halflings and gnomes risk tramplement. Purses which are not well hidden or assiduously held may well go missing in the crowd if the owner is not careful. The noise is a happy din, which is privacy of a sort: no one will hear them conferring in the dark corner where they've been seated.

Old Iados--a tiefling man with ash gray skin and ember eyes--tends the bar, pulling beer and wine again and again for the thirsty patrons and somehow managing to keep up despite his age. Younger men and women--all tieflings, all with a certain family resemblance to Iados--run food out from the kitchen to the tables. The food is delicious and is the saving grace keeping the little inn afloat; Iados' wife and daughter are the best cooks in Westside and the vast majority of tonight's patrons are here for the food, not the lackluster booze or the cramped rooms.
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Sithani arrives first, dressed for the occasion in a plain woolen dress that is nonetheless well-tailored and very stylish (complete with concealed pockets for a purse and for one of her knives); evidently despite all her best intentions you can take the girl out of the Sun District but not vice versa. In addition her perfume smells decidedly like her daddy has money, though this is a more deliberate choice.

Ordering a glass of cheap wine and a dish of mushrooms in garlic, she finds a table visible from the door but set against a wall, and waits for her colleagues to arrive. And as for the wine, may my tongue forgive me.
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Glen comes in second, wearing the same attire he has been each time he's seen the others. He figures that ordinary travelers often stop in still wearing their clothes - and armor - from the road. Whether he's right or not is anyone's guess. His bow is slung over his shoulder and a shortsword is at his hip - either he still hasn't quite gotten over the fear of being ambushed at any moment, or he just wants to be ready to be sent on a dangerous mission at any moment. Maybe both.

He casually glances around the room, not looking particularly interest in anyone as he runs his eyes over the faces in the crowd. He spots Sithani at the table in the corner. He walks up to the bar, deftly stepping through the packed room without bumping into anyone. It seems a strange quality for an outlander wood elf, but he's spent enough time picking his way through the mess hall at chow time to be able to navigate crowded spaces full of hungry, inebriated soldiers, and the skill serves him well here. He orders a cider and a plate of fish stew, then eases his way over to Sithani.

Glen slips off his weapons and props them in the corner beside the table. He sits down in a position where he can see them clearly. "Evening." Glen seems calmer, more collected and assured than he had earlier in the day where his emotions got the better of him. His voice is clear and cool, his movements decisive and confident.

Perception wrote:1+4=5
Ah well, Glen got distracted by how good the food smelled

((Minor edits, adding extra detail and adding the perception roll for scanning the room.))
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(CN: mild sexual assault)

Sunrise arrives a little later. For someone who made such an effort to appear elegant and genteel, she seems entirely at home here. She's changed from her white-and-gold gown into a simple brown dress with much more restrained jewelry; as she enters she calls out, and receives back, greetings from the bartender and a few of the staff and patrons. She threads her way through the crowd, swatting playfully at a couple men who pat her bottom as she passes and deftly avoiding altogether a few others.

She makes her way to the bar long enough to pick up a plate of cheese and fruit and a mug of dark ale, then heads back to join Sithani and Glen. "Fancy meeting you two here," she says with a half-smile.

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Glen smiles as Sunrise makes her way over to them and raises his cider in greeting as she arrives at the table. "Hey there." He takes a small sip of his drink. "Good to see you. Hope you don't mind that we started without you." He takes a bite of the stew. It's incredibly delicious; fresh cod fillets cooked in a hearty broth with onions, garlic, parsley, tomato, and white wine. For one who grew up wandering the wilderness deep in the Silverwoods, Glen has really come to love seafood as a resident of Brilight.
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"A lovely coincidence indeed," Sithani replies. "And by 'started without you' he means the important business of eating and drinking; you haven't missed any conversation. Although while we await Ka'Ri, I see no reason to focus entirely on the food: if we're to work together it'll probably help to know a little more about each other." She waves a hand towards Glen. "I believe Sunrise and I were born and raised here, but you're from the Silverwoods: how do you find the change?"
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Glen is stuffing a big mouthful of stew into his mouth as Sithani asks the question. He chews, trying to savor it while still not letting the question hang for too long, and swallows. "To be honest, the differences are enormous, obviously, but not unwelcome."

He sits back a little, putting down his fork for the moment, and picking up his glass. "Like I said when we were lost in the Feytower, I've just never really felt completely at home in the village where my sister and her wife live. The quiet of nature is appealing to me, but lonely. But here? Or back in the barracks? So many people, so much life. And the food! You can't find fish stew like this in the woods, I'll tell you that." He grins and picks up his fork again. "Sithani and I got to talking on our way into the meeting earlier today, Sunrise, but I still don't know much about you. What's your story?"

He loads up some more stew onto his fork and takes a heaping bite, with all the manners one would expect from a man who has spent his life in the wilderness or in military encampments.
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Visiting Thimb's home had been delightful and after a spell of explaining her plans to the twins, greeting several excited chimeras and dodging their more... dangerous accouterments, and being apparently berated by Hamish for something, perhaps not bringing them a new shiny, she had decided to invite Thimb along to the meeting at Devil's Own.

Her preparations were minor, a change of hair color to brown, and eye color to brown as well and a hat that was fairly banal but also could partially obscure her face as needed, she stepped into a place she had met many a client before.

The crowd was a dream and she could see a few associates working the crowd for those whose drink had made them lax with their coin purses. She gave a quick professional nod to some of them. It wouldn't do for them to work her friends and draw attention to them during this.

Old Iados was on the bar again and she couldn't help smiling. He had been kind to her in the past and that carried a lot of weight with Ka'Ri. She scanned the room and it did not take long to spot the table Sunrise, Glen, and Sithani were at.

She double-taked at Sithani's outfit. If that was her idea of slumming it, then despite her familiarity with the drug scene, she was definitely not one who could at all survive the Nightdocks.

Before she walks over to join them, she scans the crowd more thoroughly. This time she is looking for folks doing way too much work to avoid seeming like they were listening in on conversations in the corner, hoping to snipe a deal.

Perception:
13+4 = 17 If she catches anyone snooping, Ka'Ri is disappointed at their lack of subtlety. Have standards, people!

Finally she turns to the gorgeous woman beside her. "They're in the corner, shall we join them?"
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Sunrise smiles at the question. "Actually? I'm from right here in Westside. If it were less busy I'd be worried about old Iados up there telling embarrassing childhood stories about me," she adds with a laugh. Sipping her beer, she continues. "I'm a singer, and since my resurrection I've been moving into politics as well. I - wait a moment."

Her hand snakes out, snagging the wrist of a tiefling boy passing by. "Now I know for a fact you're too young to be in here," she says, giving the boy a hard stare. "Tell you what, go find Somber and let him know Sunrise wants to see him, and not only will I give you this silver piece here, I'll consider not telling your mother you were drinking. Deal?"

After he's left, she turns back to her companions, shaking her head. "Anyway. I have a patron now, and I live in her home in the Sun District, but this is where I grew up."

[Ooc: feel free to have Ka'Ri approach the table at any point during this.]
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Glen watches Sunrise while munching away. She has a good heart. As the tiefling boy is scurrying off, he takes a sip of his drink.

"Patron?" Glen wonders aloud. It's the second time he's heard the word today. "I'm guessing your patron doesn't favor you the same way that Sithani's does." He grins, digging back into his plate.

Engaged in conversation and his dinner, he hasn't noticed the friendly faces by the door yet.
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"It would certainly have been wasted effort on my part if I could have just visited someone in my own district," Sithani points out, taking a bite of a mushroom. "Is she in politics too?" she asks Sunrise.
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Ka'Ri is able to pick out at least three people paying attention to the little table, or finding excuses to brush lingeringly past on the way to the restroom. However, she's pretty sure those three (a human, a tiefling, and a halfling) are trying to actively catch Sithani's eye; the way the woman is dressed screams 'rich woman willing to hire a long-term lover'. She does not, at this time, observe any other interest in the group that couldn't be chalked up to curiosity.

The tiefling boy protests loudly to Sunrise that his drink is just barley water and he's had a birthday anyway, but scurries off as ordered.
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"Yes, she's in politics," Sunrise says with a smile. "You have a different sort of patron?"
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"Oh yes," grins Sithani. <It's how I can do this,> she psi-projects with the usual alien undertones, "and where my other magicks come from. And, in a sense, my own political and philosophical opinions."
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Her eyebrows raise. Leaning forward, she rests her chin on her hand. "Do go on. It sounds like there's a story there."
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Thimb didn't usually go to this kind of bar, not for any sense of being Too Good or Too High Class, simply because it was really out of the way for her. Still, the idea of it was less intimidating than other things she had done today. Like meet with one of the grandest wizards in the city and ask Luther where babies came from. She hadn't been sure she knew how to dress for that, but dress like she was just going to work? Yeah. She owned a wide array of easy to clean sturdy coveralls with no-nonsense tunics to go underneath. She did find herself feeling a bit self conscious and made an effort with her hair though. Because... reasons.

The bar was much busier than she had expected, but that also made her relax a bit. Empty pubs were always a bit eerie. She was smart enough to have tucked her coin purse into her tunic, making it tricky to get at without her being intimately aware. She smiled up at Ka'Ri when she asked, and gestured with joking grandiosity to the others, "Lets" It was probably best not to wave enthusiastically at the others though, right? She decided to let Ka'Ri take the lead, least she do something foolish. Again.

Hamish had been very upset at the idea of staying behind, or being unsummoned. They eventually compromised by agreeing to be very small, about the size of a mouse, and peeked out from under the strap of Thimb's coveralls, scanning for potential friends and snacks.


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(CW: groping)

Ka'Ri smiled sweetly at Thimb before maneuvering through the crowd. She positioned herself so that the hands of those influenced by Admiral Neckbeard to think every woman in a bar was public property fell on her instead of Thimb. She hoped none of them would be so backwards as to object to her current body in a way that would raise attention.

Luckily she completed the gauntlet with only a renewed resentment for shitty men and slid next to Sunrise, making space for Thimb to sit as well, not that she would blame her if she decided to sit somewhere else.

"Hello old friends, it is nice to see you again," Ka'Ri says to the group, letting her hat "accidentally" adjust just slightly to partially obscure her face from the angle of the largest crowds.
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"Oh, hey! I didn't know Thimb was coming too. Did you bring Hamish as well?" Recovering herself, Sithani turns back to Sunrise. "Should we postpone our conversation or do you know if we're waiting for more people?"
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Sunrise scoots over affably, her tail going around Ka'Ri in an odd sort of welcoming hug.

"I've asked an old friend to join us," she explains. "But we don't have to wait for him, no."
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Glen's eyes light up at the sight of Ka'Ri and Thimb. "Hey!" He blurts out, his mouth still partially full. "Good to see you both."
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Thimb takes the seat next to Ka'Ri, why wouldn't she? And smiled at the others, "Hello! And yes, though I made them promise to behave," not that that meant anything. Hamish poked out from their hiding place, "you can come out, just don't go to other tables or do any tricks, okay buddy?" she said to the small bird mouse.

The delighted little trill was mostly drowned out by the noise of the bar as Hamish hopped across the table over Sithani, having been asked about, and staring at her, waiting expectantly. For food or petting, probably.
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"Mushroom?" Sithani offers.
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"So what's the topic of conversation?" Ka'Ri asks casually, secretly thrilled that Thimb chose to sit next to her but determined not to let that show too much lest Thimb be bothered by her interest.
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"Meet and greet. Sithani was going to tell us about her mysterious patron," Sunrise says with a smile, "but if you prefer we can get down to business since we're all here."
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Glen picks a piece of fish out of his stew and sets it down on the edge of his place. "Hey pal, help yourself if you're hungry." He gives Hamish a friendly little one-finger scritch on the top of their head.
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