This once-timber tavern has been rebuilt in sturdily vitrified blackstone and imbued with powerful protective magics that prevent occult fire and several other potentially harmful spells being cast within its walls. No effort has been spared to make what might otherwise be a bleak interior comfortable. The bar is made of polished stone with an oaken inlay, the space behind filled with a bustle of attractive barmaids, sundry barrels and a dazzling array of coloured bottles that glint in the light cast by a large wrought-iron candelabrum suspended from the ceiling overhead. Here, the one-eyed Steadman stands, ready to take orders for food or drink. Beyond the bar, stout tables are firmly bolted to the floor, though the high-backed chairs are freestanding. The hearth is a true feature, seeming to be cast from black lava into the shape of a colossal, laughing goblin's head, its maw gaping wide and deep, usually containing a merrily crackling fire. A delicious scent of roasting meats drifts in from the kitchens and a winding staircase leads to rooms upstairs. To the south are set cellar doors, usually kept locked unless a special event is taking place. The walls are hung with thick, richly woven tapestries depicting persons and events in the history of Vailkrin and the Vampiric race. There's also a notice-board near the entrance, where one may leave messages. Unobtrusive but ever-present are the security staff, staunch fighters ever ready to toss troublemakers out.
Tenebrae was lounging at the bar, clad in some catsuit of dark matter and with her sharp heeled boots resting on the actual bar while the rest of her was chiefly engaged in sitting on a barstool tilted back on two of its legs. She and Steadman were apparently having some kind of glare-off - at this point, no clear victor might be discerned. On the bar was a full fifth of whisky, an empty one and one with three good slugs left in it.
Terzo walks into the tavern. He first places his book onto the table of an empty set. His wings wrapped around his form, the avain walks to the bar and places his order then returns to his seat waiting for the order to arrive. Moving the book to the back where empty pages lie he begins to scrabble down notes.
Kirien could have done with a brandy before he even walked in. If only he could be served through the door. The empath's rubbing at a mottled bruise on his jaw when he enters some minutes later, looking a little worse for wear but typically Kirienesque, and moving with relative ease despite apparently having just escaped a fight. Whether he won or lost is uncertain, but there's a guy lying in the gutter just around the corner with a broken hand and a hole in his chest, so it's safe to say Kirien gave as good as he got for that punch. He's probably having some trouble with his sight, otherwise he likely wouldn't be here in the first place - he's halfway to the bar before the woman already occupying a stool at it appears to enter the scope of his curious perceptions, and then he halts abruptly. Blind eyes give an owlish blink and his shoulders stiffen slightly with tension. He could, by all rights, just turn around and slip back out again...but that would be silly; after all, what's he got to fear? So Kirien sniffs a touch, though not with arrogance, and tries to catch Steadman's attention with a silent wave, hoping that maybe he'll blink and fetch the empath his usual empty glass.
Kirien is now wondering vaguely whether the guy in the gutter is perhaps luckier than he.
Tenebrae heard the door open - twice. And a faint, slightly cruel smirk twitched the corners of her lips up. Her pale gaze was still fixated on the barman's solitary eye, so perhaps that smirk was for Steadman's sake. Perhaps. In any case, the keep's own mouth contorted into a sneer, and he dragged his stare off the Necromancer to mutter a curt comment at one or both males. Tene swung her legs down, and down went the two elevated stool-legs with a 'thunk'. Tipping back the rest of the partially-filled bottle, she did not look around to see who else was there. She didn't need to. Kirien's glass slid up the bar. Steadman then turned his implacable blue eye on Terzo.
Steadman set the avian's order on the bar. What'd they think he was? A serving wench?
Terzo's gaze turns to Tenebrae for a moment, though he didn't know her or who she was he had a feeling she was one to be respected and so he did. Offering nothing more but a subtle nod of his head in greeting not wanting to disturb her with out due need. The other who had walked in after him seemed to be a bit worse for the wear, how ever one assumed such would happen in such a city as this and as such was also offered the courteous nod. The young avian eyes over the list of offered items. "Dark Ale for me if you would."
Steadman points to the ale on the bar, muttering something about feathers and brains.
Kirien catches that glass, still empty, and lifts it to eye level after nodding to the keep. He does not seem especially bothered by the distinct lack of any drink swirling within - rather, he simply scrutinises the glass with that particularly observant blind eye of his, humming a quiet note of thought. Whatever he’s inspecting is not exactly clear, but the glass passes the uncertain test. Maybe there is no test and he’s only trying to divert his attentions away from Tenebrae’s unsettling choice of clothing. Kirien slants her a curious sidelong look, frowns, and takes a bite out of the cup in the same way one might bite into an apple. Steadman doesn’t look all that surprised - he’s seen this behaviour already. “I haven’t seen Maladroit in a while.” That’s presumably what he says, at least, as the words come along with the crunch and grate of grinding material.
Kirien said that a bit offhandedly, but managed not to sound awkward. Acting skills and empathic abilities are perfect deceivers. He also has yet to notice the avian as he’s somewhat preoccupied with his...snackdrink.
Tenebrae had. Noticed the avian, that is, and since it was apparently National Staring Day in Vailkrin or something, she was doing just that now, in Terzo's direction, "Don't see many of your kind around here.." she drawled, over the rim of the bottle she'd just emptied. Kirien's comment earned Terzo brief respite from the Necromancer's attention, when she slid a thin, green glance his way. "'Ello, petal. Been a while." There was that smirk again. "As for the gaunt. He exploded." The next bottle was seized, de-corked with a pinch of pointed teeth. Tene popped the stopper from her lips with a little huff of cold breath and took a swig.
Terzo finishes scribbling down a note on the once clean paper. His gaze lifts and and waits for the woman who was speaking to him to finish talking to the other. "I haven't been here much myself. But I am trying to find some people and I had heard they frequent this city so was hoping to catch them around." Reaching into his coin purse he produces a gold coin and a few silver and coppers. "I plan to be in the seat for a while. In turn I plan to have a few drinks while I am here. I'd like to open a tab with these. If the bill exceeds what I have given you I'll add to it. If I stay under it, the remainder is yours." He then returns to the table setting the mug on the table after taking a drink from it.
Kirien nods to that. He might have drunk to it, too, but he hasn’t anything to drink with...so he raises the glass instead, all bitten into like a crystalline apple. A while, indeed. It’s always ‘a while’ these days. Perhaps it should have been longer, or maybe it -has- been longer than he thinks it’s been - time has lost all meaning to Kirien and its waves do not affect him as they should, nor the pull of its undercurrent. He swallows, then speaks. “Oh. Exploded.” Repeating it helps bring the fact truly home and his brows furrow again, this time in what could be sorrow, or maybe confusion. Another glance. He watches her face, because the catsuit is still really creeping him out - something about it has a wronger feeling about it than the rest of her. “...You’re different.” They both are. “Enjoy your time away in the otherworld?” He refers to the unearthly places his sight cannot reach. Probably.
Kirien, though reluctant to look away from Tenebrae, does glance across at the avian and returns that nod. Maybe he did notice him already in his periphery.
Steadman's grumbling became louder at mention of a tab, but the keep had sized Terzo up - hollow-boned, feathery git, was the summary - and the idea of excess coin when the lightweight passed out on half a shandy appealed to him.
Tenebrae waited for a lull in that muttering before addressing Terzo herself: "What.. people. Exactly?" She smiled, and had the tavern been more full of patrons, perhaps there later might have been hushed debate on which was worse, that damn smirk or the mouthful of sharkish teeth employed in her grin. "I know some... people. Around here. I might be able to help." The smile widened as it turned toward Kirien. "There was nothing in my life I have enjoyed more," she replied to him, swivelling on her backside so she didn't have to crane around. "Well. With a few notable exceptions." As for those differences, she did not elaborate on them. But Kirien would be finding empathy a moot endeavour, from Tene's general direction, anyway. The woman may as well have been stone... or perhaps better to say, in Kirien's case, a pile of bleached bone, for all the feeling she was emitting. Nothing. Nada. The smile eased from horrid to mildly - if not genuinely - curious. "You're fond of him, aren't you?"
Terzo lifts the glass to his lips and partakes in yet another drink. Upon setting the mug down with a soft thud he pauses a moment to try and recall the names. "Well, I was told to go in search of a..." he thinks for a brief moment "... A Tenebrae. Satoshi, Ssvv.." he hesitates obviously unsure of how to pronounce the name "S-fill-phone" he says lifting the later part as if questioning his own word. "Or a Daath, though, I only know of these people by name and some by reputation. But can't really say I know what they look like which helps to hinder my search"
Kirien tilts his head, pauses a moment as if to consider, then shrugs and drops himself down onto a nearby barstool, leaving one between himself and Tenebrae - a comfortable amount of distance. He is not left totally blind here, at least. While empathy may serve as one of his more penetrative and vivid perceptions, this particular being has many ways of viewing the world, and not everything is lost - he’s not sure empathy would reveal anything more as it is. Emotions have to be there in the first place to be picked up on. Those teeth prompt another bite out of the glass, the shatter and crunch as it’s ground up somewhat muted as his mouth is fully closed and he isn’t speaking this time. Apparently he attempts to mimic Tene’s teeth, though, lips parting to flash a brief, vicious smile of translucent sharpness. Steadman might have muttered something to him about ‘not playing with his food’. “Life, unlife. Hm. And...who? Maladroit?” The flow of conversation guides him down this path naturally and he takes it without argument, deciding not to wonder if she referred to someone else. “Yes. I consider him a friend...even if we haven’t seen each other in a while.” And there it is again; a while. “And even if he’s exploded.” Then he turns to the avian, blinking at mention of familiar names. A hand lifts to wave at him, as if to catch his attention. “...Why are you looking for my siblings?” He squints. All those feathers smell of anxiety.
Tenebrae ignored the avian for the moment, and studied Kirien's display of glassy mimicry with an impassion bordering on...well, bored. "He needs another form," she said, almost absently - but not quite. Perhaps Kirien has jogged her memory. "It hurts him to be out of the flesh." Sympathy was the most notably absent of all absent emotions, in those words, aided in part by the return of the smirk. "Quite a lot. So he might yet be back to keep you company, while…" Terzo's comments were abruptly addressed by an acute glance, then, but Tene said nothing until after Kirien's query, "You'll only want Tenebrae if you're after something wonderfully dark, sweetie. Wonderfully, terribly dark." And by the way her lips twitched in mirth, it may be supposed she was assuming the avian couldn't possibly want the company of a Necromancer.
Terzo feels a little squeamish at the site of the glass in the others teeth. And admittedly at Tenebraes teeth as well. Though he knew better to show fear, here of all places. He swallows his gut back down to his stomach "I am in search of gaining admittance into the guild for mages. I have since received a letter from the ice queen herself saying she would speak to me about such things but that I would need a master to sponsor me to get inside of the guild." Almost as if forgetting where he was, and who he was speaking to, confidence and determination fills his voice. Perhaps from over studying a pre-written speech or knowing he nears the future he has been looking for. After answering the first question he addresses the woman's statement "What I am after is both light and dark. I want to learn it all. That is why I am here on the lower lands. That is why I am here right now in the city of vampires where I'm sure anything out there, and possibly here, could eat me. But I still take the risk to learn all of what the guild could teach me"
“One with a mouth?” It’s almost a suggestion and partly a joke. If he’s honest, Kirien is not sure Maladroit even cares about a significant lack of mouthparts in his bodies, for there are much more interesting ways to converse and many words are rendered meaningless by comparison. Even the most romantic, beautiful, ancient spoken language is nothing in the grand scheme of connecting and sharing information. Pensive, his gaze falls to the glass before he sets it on the countertop, swivelling some in his stool so he’s facing both Tene and Terzo at once. That thoughtful expression brightens into vague amusement as he stares intently at the latter. “Don’t worry, mine are fake.” He shows the avian another grin that is noticeably less pointed, but still cannot quite break away from the striking similarity he shares with a fox who just got into a chicken coop. A gloved hand waves absently towards the Sineater. “And maybe hers are, too.” That one’s definitely a joke. “You’d have more luck finding my siblings in Frostmaw, little bird. Oh, and...don’t be fooled by my brother just because he looks like an idiot. He’s really not, and you’ll get burned if you make that mistake~.” A saccharine, mirthful tone belies the silent warning in those words, and then Kirien’s eyes flick back to Tenebrae and the topic of Maladroit. “Are you going to build him a new one like before, or...? Maybe I should find him...”
One of the barrels of ale at the end of the counter begins to tremble.
Kirien turns a curious squint on that barrel.
Tenebrae appeared to have paid Kirien's various expressions and utterances no heed at all as she lifted herself from her bar stool, pausing briefly to wrest something from a knapsack slung by its strap on the edge on that seat. "The problem..." Lofting the item, it could plainly be seen that it was a skull, vaguely humanoid but for the draconic edge to its brow-ridges and the bony mawful of dagger-like teeth. "...with generalising too greatly..." she stalked toward Terzo, as if she meant to join him at his table. "...is the risk of spreading oneself too thin." But the Mistress of Darkness was only meandering past, on her way to the door, where she pulled out a chair and dragged it to rest in front of the entry. Her armour, quiescent for now, sat upon her like a thickly-scaled second skin, though obviously it was more flexible than any garb made of saurian leather. Tene stepped up onto the chair, her diminutive height demanding this extension to her reach, and placed the skull on a shelf above the portal, where several others of varying origins also were. She gave its polished dome a satisfied pat, whispering, "There you are...love." And stepped down again. "When push comes to shove, a jack of all trades will end up so much paste, or so I've gleaned from my experience. Unless you crave to be a wizard. And even then..." All this was addressed to Terzo, though Kirien'd get a sly wink at those last words. "As for dark magic, you can pick that up from Lorkain at the Death Cult Temple. If he doesn't kill you for being wishy-washy, that is." By now, she'd sauntered back to the bar to reclaim her drink, and after a long draw on the bottle said to Kirien, "I wouldn't recommend that. Finding him.. he's, well.. in a place in-between. Not very pleasant. The kind of place a curse can send you, if you annoy enough drow mages. No, I'll probably build him something, when I get the time."
Tenebrae sighed - she had a feeling the barrel was not filled with monkeys.
Terzo 's eyes glance to the shaken barrel before his attention is returned to the woman as she speaks to him. "I understand that stretching yourself too thin too fast will result badly. I have areas in which I would like to explore and gain mastery over such as pyromancy and perhaps electromancy. I know it takes time, but I'm looking for the aforementioned people to try and hopefully get my wing in the door. As for the dark arts. I have an interest in them, but they aren't one I wish to specialize in particularly"
Kirien, looking away from that barrel, finds himself face to face with a skull for the briefest of moments. “Oh...hello.” He blinks, then squints at that, too, before Tene whisks it away to the other side of the tavern and the empty spot on the shelf. An uncertainty grips him, the empath reasonably wary as to whether or not he should inspect the residual echoes clinging to the bone in an attempt to find out who -- or what -- it might have been. And most importantly - if he knew it. That would just... well. Terzo gets little more than a sniff for not mentioning the art of terramancy, Tene a blank stare that would have been bitterly cold were it to come from anyone else, but on Kirien the expression is simply impassive, as though for a second, he barely noticed her. As if the opposite wall is a far more interesting sight...which, for someone such as himself, it might be. Hands return to the glass, his features decidedly neutral as he plucks a thick, chipped shard off the rim of the ale mug and pops it into his mouth like it’s a boiled sweet. “I’ve seen in-betweens before. The entire...cats’ cradle of those threads is an in-between. You’re there but not there. I wonder if he’s been playing with them, too... And, as fitting as a squid may be...don’t. I sink too easily to really be going swimming with him often, these days.”
Tenebrae had flapped a dismissive hand toward Terzo - he wasn't her concern, after all. "Frostmaw." Was all she said, and glugged the rest of her bottle down - easy to do when you don't require pause for breath. A moon-pale hand clutched for the strap of the empty knapsack. But before she left, the Necromancer offered Kirien one last grin, whether he'd perceive the expression or not. "Didn't say you couldn't go looking, did I? Just that I'd not recommend it, buttercup. Looking into the in-between is one thing. Entering it.." one black-armoured shoulder rose and fell, minutely. ".. quite another kettle of fish." The Necromancer banged on the barrel, on her way out. "I'll see you later." she said to it. The two males were offered only a negligent flip of hand over one shoulder before she kicked the chair from her path and exited.
Terzo sighs as he downs the remaining of his own drink. He then stands giving Steadmen a salute "Will have to go check it out then I suppose I should get warmer clothes then" He offers but a shrug to the other male offering him a salute as well preparing for his own departure of the tavern.
The glass, or more correctly half a glass, is raised in mockery of a toast; a partial farewell to the departing necromancer. After she’s gone, he stares hard at the door for a long minute or so, transfixed and unblinking, focused not on the intricacies of the wood grain but on something much more...internal. Little emotion passes across his face and, for a second, it does seem like he’s turned completely to stone. Why don’t they...? Then he snorts, shakes his head at the thought and swiftly dispels it. They’re not stupid, is why, and Kirien knows his family well enough to trust them...mostly. He turns his head to regard Terzo, addressing his back as the avian makes for the door, “You’ll get a discount on coats, little bird, if you tell the tailor in Frostmaw city that the prince has asked as such. And, do try not to get...eaten.” A grin is flashed that may or may not be seen, and then he returns to being his deceptively unassuming self.
Kirien said to Steadman, “They never suspect it, you know? The whole...royalty thing.” Apparently he finds it funny.