Lightholder Tavern <Palace District>
- It is said - primarily by the proprietor, a jovial merchant-classer named Solas Creek - that all roads in Fastheld lead to the Lightholder Tavern. On any given night, it's not hard to see why he might justify such a claim.
- The pub, which started centuries ago as a small refreshment wagon for laborers building Fastheld Keep atop Caryas Hill, sees boisterous crowds filling its rafters with laughter and pipe smoke at all hours of the day and night as travelers make their way through the realm.
- About three dozen tables are arranged among the polished wooden columns on which hang the wrought-iron lanterns that help give the tavern its name. Solas or one of his assistants can usually be found working behind a wide C-shaped counter, serving mugs of keg-tapped ale to thirsty patrons who stand at the bar.
- The floor is strewn with amber rushes, except in a circle of about twenty feet in diameter, where the stone fireplace and chimney rise toward the ceiling.
Conspicuously not mounted on a horse, a reedy figure in dawnstar armor emerges from the doorway into the tavern, pulling the hood of his cloak back as he enters.
Redana Moss clomps down the stairs carrying a teapot in one hand. The tavern is quieter then is usual for this time of day but several groups of people sit amongst the tables. She smiles at a couple of beared man who are feasting on a plate of meat and what looks like potatoes, "Nice to have tings gettin' back to normal huh boys?" They both nod in agreement and one says, "Meats a 'ittle tough though." Redana scoffs, gives him a look that says 'deal with it' and flounces off towards the circular bar counter.
With the stiff movements of someone who's been ahorse too long, the scourge makes his way to a table and pulls the chair out in silence. Armored leather creaks as his figure stoops into a sitting position, gaze following the serving girl ponderously.
Redana Moss sets the pot on the counter and turns towards the new arrival. She smiles brightly as she plods over to him giving him the quick once over with flick of her eye, "You 'hungry or thirsty...Brother?"
The scourge smiles grimly up at Redana, removing his gloves in a fastidious manner. "Y-Yes, both." He murmurs in a stammer of a thick tenor. "St-stew if you ha-have it, wine to d-drink, child."
Redana Moss dips in acknowledgment of the order, "Right away. We gots some fresh...cookin' right now." She grins, spins on her heel and walks to the kitchen door, calling, "One sludge, please." With that part down she hurries to the counter and busies herself with pouring the wine.
"S-Sludge?" Savarius blinks somewhat warily at the term, reaching up to rub at his cheek absently. His gaze still follows Redana's movements. "So, I hear the pox hit this ar-area pretty b-badly." He comments, when she returns.
Redana Moss nods as she wanders back and set the glass on the table. Her expression loses some of its previous mirth, "Shure did. We was cooped up like we was in prison. Light shown on me though. Didn't get it but I shure did help wit all the folks in here that did." A voice sounds from the kitchen, "Yo." The serving girl peers back, "Jus a sec," and she hurries in throw door, reappearing moment later with stew in hand.
"Will you s-sit and join me?" The scourge queries, gesturing to the seat across from his. "I am hungry for t-tales of the whole business, as I was at S-Sun's keep for the duration. There has been much sp-speculation, which you could per-perhaps cl-clear up for me." He flashes a gentle, if somewhat aloof smile.
The girl's nose wrinkles at the offer and she glances around the tavern hesitantly, "Weeeellss... I's kind s'posed to be workin' but I guess I can sit till someone needs somethin' more." With that she shouts out to no one in particular, "Y'all just call if yah needs somthin' more." She catches the sight of a couple of men in the corner and waggles her finger in their direction, "Yours is back in the corner..you no wheres." Another bright smile is directed at the Kahar and she sit down, perching on the edge of the chair opposite him.
Savarius folds his scarred hands, elbows on the table. "Thank y-you. Your time is a v-valuable gift, so I'll try not to t-take very long. So, you cared for the people who caught the p-pox.. Very noble of you. H-Have you seen the pox before, Mistress...?" He prompts for a name, wine and stew untouched as of yet.
Redana Moss thinks for a moment and shakes her head, "Nah, not like this. My ma said we all had somethin' like it when's we was litt'e but not near as bad. No one died and stuff."
"Yes, there's a difference between an ep-epidemic and occasional br-breakouts." Savarius confirms, reaching at last for his wine. "I'm told it st-started here in Lightholder's. Did you m-meet the man who brought it, per-perhaps?"
Redana Moss leans forward, doing little to hide her scowl, "Shure did. Master Lark his name. Smarmy whiney little man. Lucky we jus didn't chuck 'im out back and 'eave." Her arms cross over her chest and she lets out feeling of contempt in a loud, "Hurumpft."
"From the sh-shadow district, ap-apparently." Savarius murmurs, shaking his head. "Is he st-still around? I'm interested in m-meeting this person... He must d-doubtless have need of someone to t-talk to, after causing s-so much chaos." "He was yesterday whens I left," Redana replies, "Buts not now. If I see him I can tell 'im yer lookin'."
"Y-Yes, would you? I am s-shadowscourge Savarius Ka-Kahar. I w-will be in this vicinity for a brief time... Now, let me ask, how m-many casualties were there here?" Savarius leans back in his chair, expression a vague version of amiable.
"Um not shure exactly," Redana says after thinking on the answer, "Quites a few. I was so tired I didn'ts pay so much attention to numbers. The healer Mistress Balsam. She mights know best. She treated most everyone thats was here."
"Balsam.. I'l ch-check with her, as w-well. I've h-heard the emperor died, from th-this epidemic. Wh-What's everyone think ab-about that?" The scourge asks, before tasting a mouthful of the stew.
At the talk of the emperor's death, Redana's face falls and takes on a pallor of despair. "All mixed," she says quietly and glances around the tavern, "It's all mixed up and everythin' People are upset and somes angry. Some blame 'im somes just blames everythin' else they can think of." She shifts uncomfortably, "The Church says it's his faults he died. Least some say so I heard."
"Brother Flint d-did announce something to that ef-effect." Savarius confirms, expression unreadable. "I suppose it's un-unusual, f-for one of the two or-organizations that influence daily life to b-blame the other. Perhaps the Light sh-shows us that even emperors are h-human and fallible... I haven't f-followed the situation well enough to know, m-myself. How about y-you, child? What do you feel?"
Redana Moss takes some time to form her answer, shifting uncomfortably on the chair. "I's jus' sad is all. I don'ts knows enough to know, you know? I'm jus' a tavern wench. Not ups on the up and ups..."
"A t-tavern in the middle of Lightholders is a good place to s-see things from." Savarius answers, smiling faintly. "...Yes, it's very s-sad, I agree. One of the im-important things to remember is that when we die, the Light washes away our flaws and purifies us, t-taking us into itself. Wh-Whether the emperor's hubris as a man caused the release of the pox or not, I th-think that everyone who d-died is free now. It's the ones who are left who f-feel despair."
Redana Moss nods solemnly at the scourges words, "Yah" She scratches behind her ear and comments, "Not jus' despair for dying and all, but despair for whats to happen. I here's lots of talk yes right. Main ting...who's gonna be the emperor nows. A babe can'ts do much 'cept poop and burp.
"Even a royal b-babe is the same." Savarius agrees, nodding. "Youth and old a-age are incredible e-equalizers. At both stages w-we are exactly as the Light m-makes us.. Helpless, relying on others. The emperor was g-gone once before and nobody expected him to return.. The r-realm was fine then, and it shall be once again. P-Perhaps we of the ch-church can spread that hope, if people s-still listen."
Redana Moss scratches the other ear, "Yah maybe. I tinks they might. I knows somes who've been spendin' much time in prayer. Mabe that
Redana Moss scratches the other ear, "Yah maybe. I tinks they might. I knows somes who've been spendin' much time in prayer. Mabe that's what help bring the pox to it's end yah knows."
"Well, w-we never will know the f-full power of faith, because we don't p-push it to the limit." Savarius responds, armor creaking as he stands. "Th-thank you for speaking with me, good Mistress. If you s-see Mistress Balsam or Master Lark, p-please do remember to tell them I wish to speak with th-them." He reaches for his belt, pulling a small pouch of coins away and leaving it on the table.
Redana Moss smiles at the sack and nods at the scourge, "I will Brother Kahar" She taps her finger to her head, "I'm a right ole message taker and giver. Comes wit the job."
"I s-suppose it does, yes." The scourge smiles quietly, and turns to leave the tavern with an even gait.
A little while later.......
The tavern is relatively quiet. Several groups of patrons sit around the room their faces lit by the soft glow of the lanterns that hang from the wooden columns. The atmosphere is subdued, filled with quiet conversation and the gentle strumming of liltrum player who sits in the back corner.
Redana stands behind the counter wiping some mugs with a cloth and humming along in time with the music.
A semi-sick man stands from the back of the Tavern and moves towards the bar, limping slightly as he moves. His leg limps, not because of the pox, but due to him falling earlier within the week due to his own clumsiness. He looks towards the tender and says, "Eh, you. Would yeh mind givin me an ale and some stew, aye?"
Redana Moss looks to the man as he speaks her expression immediately turning sour when her gaze falls on him. She takes some time to contemplate her answer and finally mutters dryly, "Aye," and turns towards the kitchen door. She sticks her head inside and calls, "S'udge...extra special," and turns back her expression now polite. "I gots a message ta gives you," she states as she picks up a mug and starts filling it with ale.
Trenton blinks towards the woman. He coughs a bit and then takes a seat at the bar, putting his elbow upon the bartop, and leaning his side in towards her, he speaks lowly. "Should we go to a bit more private to discuss it then?" he says, then looking back out at the rest of the tavern and then back.
"Nope," Redana states as the mug is unceremoniously plunked in front of the man, causing some of the amber liquid to slosh over the edge and splash on the counter. "It's a simple one." She opens her mouth to continue when a call comes from the kitchen, "Yo!" and Redana pipes, "Scuse a moment," and slips out through the door. She returns seconds later carrying a hot bowl of stew.
Trenton nods as he spins his body to face her, his body upon a stool. "Well den, out wit' it." his eyebrows raise and he speaks gently, yet firmly while he awaits his stew and ale to be placed in front of him.
Redana Moss smiles sweetly as she picks up her drying cloth. "Dere was a Scourge came yesterday. Wants to talk wit yah. Right quick."
Trenton looks a bit shocked and then raises his eyebrow, his speech is calm, collect and cool. "And how would I get in touch with this...scourge. What is his name?" he says, his eyes running over the woman's facial expressions. 'perhaps this is a joke' runs through his head and then he notices that she is very much serious. His breathing becomes a bit heavier.
Solas /really/ needs to grease the door, apparently. Because it squeaks when it opens, quite loudly. Then again, it's been like that for as long as Harper can remember, and so he doesn't take any obvious notice of it as the boy steps in.
"Name's Brother Savarius Kahar," Redana replies, a small smile at the man's discomfort tugging at the corner of her mouth. "Said he'd be around 'ere a few days ta wait fer yah to show up. He's talkin ta a bunch bout some tings. Yah can't really miss him. All shiny and stuff." She reaches over for a mug to start wiping, "I'll make shure I tell him I saw yah and gave the message. Jus so there's no confusion there."
Trenton waves his hand, "I'd rather you not tell him you've seen me. I'll run into him on my own, aye?" he says, with a blank stare. "If he's around, then by the light I will find him." he says with a nod.
Looking around briefly, Harper seems to be searching for something in particular. And, no, it's apparently not there. The boy sighs and turns about, returning to the crossroads.
"Well fraid I won't do that," Redana replies matter of factly. "Ain't gonna go keepin' tings from a Scourge. Wouldn't be wise methinks." She gives the mugs and aggressive wipe, "'Sides why'd yah tink I would go out of my way ta do anyting fer the likes of yah?" She looks up to the new arrival, flashing him a bright smile which fades as he turns and leaves.
Trenton nods to her and shrugs, "Very well.. Your loss." he says, standing after he finishes his stew and ale. "I'm afraid it'll probably end well." he says to himself as he walks away and adds, "People just don't know what's good for them anymore."
Redana Moss scoffs and shakes her head, "My loss. How quaint." She watches him leave and goes back to her work.
And a little while after that.....
Ganeos strides in, tugging at a glove, checking out the patrons as he heads for the counter. His health is perhaps susceptible, pale and drawn, light bags underneath his eyes. Still though, when one consider what just stormed through the palace district, perhaps he isn't in bad condition. Burnt corpse would be a mark lower then weak and tired.
"Eve Lord or fancy lookin' Master," Redana greets with a polite smile. The mug and cloth are set in front of her. "Yah want sumthin'?"
The man slides into the seat, "Lord." A mild correction, almost absent, looking toward the woman only briefly. "Some stew, wine, and answers." A single Imperial Kahar is laid on the table, an opening barter.
Redana Moss glances down at the coin and wrinkles her nose, "Well I can promise yah the first two... Have ta see bout the last." She turns and takes a few steps to the kitchen door. "S'udge," she calls out as she pokes her head in. When she returns she asks as she reaches for a goblet, "What da yah wants? We gots b'ue, glosy sta', sundrop and p'ain white."
Ganeos nose wrinkles at the accent, but doesn't comment. "Sundrop is fine."
"Comin' right up," she replies and turns to grab a bottle. The wine is summarily poured and place on the counter before him. The young girl grins before disappearing back into the kitchen. She soon returns carrying a steaming bowl of stew. "Here yah goes, M'lord," she states as she sets it and a spoon before him.
"Ah, thank you." Ganeos responds, testing the stew thoughtfully. "Now, the questions, if I may?"
"Shoot away," Redana grins as she picks up the cloth and another mug.
"Let's start with something simple. What's your name." An Imperial mark, added to the first, is laid down on the counter top. His hand rest nearby, protecting it until he seems fit to turn over his part of the bargain.
Redana Moss quirks a quizzical look as another coin is placed on the counter, "Yer payin to ask me mah name?" There's a long pause, time enough for her amusement to settle, "Ahh yah shure. Redana Moss. Ain't no secret in that."
"It's a start." Ganeos replies. He moves back toward his stew, twirling his spoon through it's depths. Pick up, blow, put in his mouth. The spoon returns to the bowl, and another mark joins. "The commoner, Trenton. Where is he?"
"Mmm he was here a bit ago, " comes a matter-of-fact reply, "Lots lookin' fer him it seem. Spect he's in some trouble now huh?" A sour expression comes to Redana's features, "Deserves it dough. I don'ts care much what happens." A pause, "Look for the scourge, he's lookin fer him. Now Master Lark is lookin' fer him. Mabe at some points yous all can just meets up and have a right nce party."
"Indeed? Left, did he? You'd think he'd have learned his lesson about jumping around like that, after his little unfortunate spreading of a contained disease. Which Scourge?" Ganeos replies, ignoring the comment near the end about parties. Everyone knows churchies aren't allowed to attend parties. Another coin clinks down, glinting by the others.
"No clue bout lessons M'lord. Not my p'ace. I'm jus a simple serving wench doin' my job," Redana replies and looks at the rapidly growing pile of coins in front of Ganeos her eyes twinkling with amusement. She continues with some levity, "Kahar is his name but no offense M'lord, its nots likes yah can miss the guy. He's pretty blinkin' obvious."
"I'm sure a Scourge is. Unfortunately, one doesn't go up to an upstanding member of the Church's glorious shepherds with the same sense of ease as, what did you call yourself, oh.. right. A simple serving wench doing her job." Ganeos replies, going back to his food for a bit.
Redana Moss shrugs as she rubs the outside of the mug. She sets it down, "Well if yah ain't gonna talks or looks fer him then what's do yah care if yah knows his name or nots?"
"I care because I have the right to." Ganeos says, nose wrinkling as he looks back toward the woman. "Call it a tactical advantage of knowing one's adversary. Or simply the bored inquiry of the idle class." He lays the spoon down for a bit, taking a sip of wine. "Either way, the scourge is not my concern, despite your subtle questioning of my logic. I'd much rather see this Master Lark without interference from the church. If you see our unfortunate acquaintance, could you alert me? Ganeos Seamel. A simple matter of writing a letter to the palace if he procures room and board here in Solas' establishment. You're contributions will be noted, and despite your already stated opinion on what he deserves, would you really rather see the Church get a hold of him?"
Redana Moss shrugs her shoulders, "Looks I ain't gonna go judgin' the Light's way of tings rights now. When a scourge comes in and asks bouts him I ain't dumb enough to act dumb about its. When yous come in and asks I answers what I knows. So I guess all this is depending on which of yous gets to him first. " She smiles and dips into a quick curtsey, "So shure ting M'lord I'll sends yah word if I sees him again. Right away."
"No one was accusing you of being stupid." Ganeos replies, "Not in the least. In fact, you seem to have a firm grasp on common sense and a decent bit of survival instincts. I just hope you realize who would be more beneficial for you -and- Trask between me and this Kahar individual. Anyway, Mistress Moss, I've taken up enough of your time. As you can no doubt see, I am unused to this type of work and your patience has been remarkable. Now it's my turn to do as I promised."
The coins are pushed forward for her to take. "By the way, if you should happen to come across any news of importance, pass it along as well. I'm starting to show a little more interest in the goings on in this realm then I have in the past and I know you serving wenches that just do your job often find their way into things that escape other's notice."
Redana Moss reaches out to gather the coins without batting a eyelash or even glancing at them for that matter. She dip again in a small curtsey her smile bright, "Of course Lord Seamel. You seems to knows some of the ways of tings. It twas a p'easure ta make yer acquaintance.
"Thank you for the kind words, then." Ganeos droll reply, standing up from his seat with grace only slightly hampered by the recent illness that kept many a men and women down and out. The coins are slipped somewhere behind the counter, the soft tinkle of metal on metal betraying their presence. "Light Keep yah M'lord."
Return to Season 4 (2006)