Discussion in the Mug
day of Spring, fortieth Turn, Tenth Pass
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The Flying Mug
A few shades too bright for the lighting to ever be called quite dim, the interior of the Flying Mug reveals upon closer inspection the marks of a much-frequented bar. Although the tables all match and the chairs are of a set, one or seven chairs have a wobbly leg, a few tabletops have big gashes across them, and each surface has an intricate pattern of turn-old mug rings. A well stocked, well polished and well maintained bar stretches across the expanse of the wall, facing the series of shuttered windows looking out on the courtyard. The bar stools are better maintained than the chairs, with low backs. And they spin, too!
Ylisa is at a table in the corner, ignoring a glass of juice that's resting untouched before her. Instead, she's scribbling frantically on her ubiquitous writing-tablet. The scratches now cover so much of the wax that she's having to squeeze words into the corners.
Jueann enters quietly, in her hand is a slim volume of something that may be poetry then again maybe not. Seeing Ylisa, she smiles to a table nearby.
Ylisa is apparently not totally oblivious to her surroundings: she looks up as someone passes nearby, smiling when she recognises the figure. "Afternoon, Master Jueann." She lays down her stylus and reaches for her glass.
Jueann smiles and waves, "Ylisa. Nice day to goof off, isn't it?" She waves to Lem and orders her usual glass of Gar Cider. Setting the book down on the table. Looks like she's really going to enjoy the day.
Ylisa smiles back. "It is indeed." She glances ruefully at what she's been writing, then adds with a soft laugh, "And I really was planning on goofing off when I came in. After half the afternoon with the junior wind band, I think I deserve it. But then I thought of something, and... you know how it is!" Smiling more broadly, she shuts the tablet with a determined snap.
Jueann chuckles softly as her cider appears and she makes herself comfortable. "Well, Icould make a picnic basket up and sneak outside or stay here. I was hoping to catch Andron. Heard his daughter is Standing at High reaches. I was hoping to hear how's she doing."
Ylisa nods, "Yes, that must have been a surprise for him. And talking of the daughters of Lords Holder, is there any more news of the young lady from Nabol that's missing? I know there was another letter." She takes a sip of her juice, then several more. "Mmm. I needed that."
Jueann shrugs, "No news, that I'm aware of. Fort has been very quiet on the subject. I know they are looking." Looking at her book, she sighs. Well, she may want to get into it but too much is going on at the moment for her to enjoy it. "I asked for a sketch of the girl but it hasn't arrived yet."
"Well, we can't really look out for her without knowing what she looks like." Ylisa frowns thoughtfully. "I heard they'd sent one to the Hold, though - was that right? Maybe someone could do a copy from that, if so."
Jueann nods, "Another reason to get with Andron and Risana." She sighs. "My hands are tied until I get an idea what she looks like." Sipping her cider, she savors the drink for a few moments, "Who's our best copyists on duty right now?"
Alethia shoulders the Mug door open and beelines towards the bar. Her clothes look dusty and rumpled, and she has a certain musky odour about her that suggests she's probably been travelling for a number of days. The only thing that might disprove that is her perfectly braided hair, smooth, not a wisp out of place. "Hey, Lem," she greets the 'tender. "The usual?" he asks and Lee cracks a thin smile. "As usual," she replies, easing gingerly atop one of the high bar stools.
Ylisa ponders that for a moment. "Merisa, Likan... though young Stitch could do with the practice." She looks towards the bar to see who's just come in, but doesn't recognise the woman, so continues her conversation. "But it shouldn't be too hard just to make a copy."
Jueann looks up at blinks. "Is that who I think it is? Alethia? That you?" Blinking, adjusting her glasses, peering. "Can't be! heard she died over at Tillek."
Alethia acquires her drink, a steaming mug of slightly bitter smelling tea and is just bending over it when she hears her name. Thin eyebrows jerk together in confusing and she looks up. "What?" No recognition in her swampwater eyes though. "I'm sorry. You must be thinking of...some other Alethia." Her voice is coarse and low, like sandpaper rubbing together. A pause. "Though..." she begins. "No, never mind. You must be thinking of someone else."
Startled by Jueann's comment, Ylisa looks at the young woman again, this time with a smile, though her eyes hold a slightly puzzled expression. "The same name? How strange." She glances at Jueann, curious to see her response.
Jueann smiles, "Ahh, Well, I knew the woman that was the Captain's Second here for turns. She and Jesk were good friends of mine. You look a lot like her. Are you sure you aren't Alethia?"
Alethia looks mildly confused. "I'm not...*that* Alethia. But my mother went by the same name." Yes, weird. She knows. "And least, that's what I've been told. I never exactly met her. I take it you knew this Alethia?"
Ylisa didn't, and gives a minute shake of the head, but the question wasn't addressed to her, so she just takes another sip of juice as she listens.
Jueann ohhh softly and sighs, "I'm getting old, I guess. Yes. I knew that Alethia." Draining her glass of cider, she signals for another glass. "Very old." she mutters.
"Tell me," the young Alethia says, a sudden urgency in her voice. She very carefully puts her tea down. "Alethia...Where is she now? Is she still here?" She'd be getting on in years, if she were, silvering red hair...
Ylisa eyes the pair of them warily, perhaps because of what Jueann said before. "Tillek?" she murmurs, almost inaudibly. The glass is cupped in both hands, fingertips interlaced around it.
Jueann shrugs, "I haven't seen or heard of her in Turns. Last I heard, she retired from the guards and moved to the main continent. I thought you were her."
Alethia gives an audible sigh and leans back against the edgee of the bar, folding her arms across her chest. "Ah, no. I was raised by a cousin of hers over Bendan Weyr way," she admits, swampwater eyes fixed moodily on the floor. She gives a little laugh. "Guardswomen shouldn't have children, my stepmama always said, and I think she's right." She shakes her head. "I'm sorry. I'm Alethia," she quirks a slightly crooked smile, hoping to prompt names out of the two women. "But I suppose that was obvious."
"Ylisa," offers that name's owner, relaxed again now. "So you knew Alethia's mother, Master Jueann? What a coincidence that you should happen to meet like this." Polite conversation. "Have you just arrived in Ista, Alethia?"
Alethia gives a polite dip of her head towards Ylisa. "Well met," she replies. "This time 'round, yes. I've been here a few times before, with the trade wagons."
Jueann blinks, "Hmm.. Well, maybe you can help us with a slight problem, which we were discussing before you arrived."
Alethia raises her eyebrows curiously and sits up a bit. "I'll do what I can, but I'm not very fimiliar with this area, so I don't know what kind of help I'll be."
Ylisa glances to Jueann for permission, then explains. "We've - we being the Harper Hall - we've received letters from Lord Bramero of Nabol asking us to look out for his daughter, who's missing. She's dark haired, eighteen Turns. We were just wondering if there's a drawing available, but we aren't sure. If you're travelling with traders, though, might you keep an ear open for any news of a Nabolese Lady, and pass anything you hear on to the nearest Harper?"
One eye squinted in thought, Alethia chews a little on her bottom lip. "Aye, that I will," she replies promptly. "I can't say I've heard anything as of now, but I'll certainly keep and ear, and an eye, open." She pauses to pick up her tea. "Our wagons haven't had any dark haired eighteen Turn olds join to my knowledge," she adds after a moment's more thought.
Jueann nods, as she listens, approving Ylisa taking over the conversation. "We would greatly appreciate it, if you see her, let a harper know?"
Ylisa smiles, leaning back in her chair a little. "Thank you. Lady Alebra is her name, and she was last seen in Tillek. At least, there was a reported sighting of her there, near a ship that was heading for Ista, so it's possible that she could be here now."
A man enters the Mug, his clothes plain and rather worn. A quick scan of the bar and his gaze lights upon Alethia. "Lee!" One hand up to catch her attention. "Lee, we've got to get up to Grinstead today. I'm been looking for you /forever/. Come /on/." And without a further word he's at and out the door.
Alethia drains her luke-warm tea and stands. "Excuse me." She executes a stiff bow to the two Harper ladies. "I fear duty calls. I'll make sure to pass on word if I hear anything."
Alethia walks through a door into the great hall.
Ylisa smiles at the departing woman, then finishes her drink. Setting the glass back on the table, she turns to Jueann. "Actually, on a completely different note, I remember something I needed to ask you."
Jueann blinks, coming out of her own thoughts, "Huh? What? Sorry? Go ahead and ask."
"Well." Ylisa leans forward a little, resting a hand on the table. "I had a word with Edsel this morning about my flute. It's a few Turns now since I made it, and although it's not bad, I'm starting to feel that it's holding me back. I wanted to talk to him about a design for a new one, but he came up with another idea. He's got an old metal one in the workshop. It's not in bad shape, but the keys need work, and he'd be willing to do it for me. The thing is, it's quite a good one, with a silver head, so it's quite a valuable item. So I thought I'd better ask if I might have it." She pauses, then adds wistfully, "Even with half the keys not working, the tone is beautiful."
Laok saunters in in his usual jaunty manner, that is until he spies a pair of ranking Harpers. One especially who might not be too keen on seeing him. Using all his skill he ducks into a nearby shadow and worms his way over to a shadowed end of the bar where he quietly orders a plate of meatrolls.
Jueann is lost in her own thoughts, enjoying a glass of Gar cider.
Ylisa nods to Laok as he passes, but she's mainly got her attention on Jueann, whose contemplations might be about what Ylisa just asked her. She does cast a quick glance at the apprentice, but doesn't seem at all concerned once she sees that he's behaving impeccably.
Jueann blinks, "huh? A flute? What about a flute? Edsel is very good with what he does."
Laok is suddenly scandalized as an overjoyed Daemon plummets from the rafters with a squak to land on his humanpet's shoulder. A long thin neck snakes down to greedily gobble at the meatrolls that were just delivered. "Aye Daemon ye be stoppin'!" Exclaims a very startled Laok.
Ylisa looks up suddenly at the exclamation, and casts a suspicious glance at Laok, then grins as she realises what's happening. "Oh, you weren't quick enough there, Laok!" she calls cheerfully. "Many's the good dinner I lost before I got my bronze trained!" She starts to recap her story to Jueann. "Edsel found a good metal flute, probably quite valuable, that needs some work to put it in order. He's willing to fix it. I would really like a better flute. May I have it?"
Ylisa and Jueann are talking shop over a glass or two; they're at tables in a corner. Laok recently arrived and is by the bar: his firelizard just stole his meatrolls.
Laok reddens at Ylisa's words, then quickly supresses any embarrasment and bodily removes his presumptuous brown from his shoulder and sets him heavily on the bar, waggling an admonishing finger at him, "Now ye be listenin' Daemon! Ye be good, I've been up since dawn, and missin' lunch to boot. Ye be good or I'll be puttin' ye in my sack." A dark look is directed to Laok's dusty brown satchel on the floor and suddenly Daemon is as sweet as can be. He even croons melodically and curls up at his humanpet's elbow.
Shyana comes into the Flying Mug, her thin hair pulled back in a short ponytail, bouncing with her steps. A few strands, damp with sweat, straggle down around the sides of her face. "Hi, Lem!" she greets, her tone bright. "Can I get a glass of redfruit juice?" She rubs the back of her shoulder with one hand and turns to glance around the bar. Her eyes fall on Laok, and she gives a brilliant smile, innocent and bright and yet, somehow edged.
Jueann sighs, as shefinishes off her cider, her book is going neglected. Oh well. "Well, I'm sure it'll work out, Ylisa." She smiles at Laok and Shyana, raising her empty glass for a refill.
Laok, with his mouth now finally full of meatroll notices Shyana for the first time. He waves jauntily over to the other apprentice, "Oh aye!" He muffles around his rather full mouth. Pausing to swallow, he continues, "It do be nice to see ye again lassie!"
"Really." Shyana eyes Laok for a moment, as though doubting his words. And then her drink arrives, and she gives a much more natural smile to Lem, then hops up onto a barstool. "Man, I hate to think what you must be used to," she continues to Laok.
Ylisa takes that as approval, and smiles broadly. "Thank you, Master Jueann. I'm really looking forward to playing it. Well, I think I'll leave you to your book, and go and get these lyrics onto hide." She picks up her tablet. "And let Edsel know that he can repair the flute for me." Standing, she calls "Evening, Shyana, Laok!" to the newly arrived apprentice, and adds a "Good evening," to Jueann before heading out.
Logfile from Ylisa