Old March 29, 2017, 03:34 PM   #1 (permalink)
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[Ziel Aerca] Tricks of the Trade

Location: Ziel Aerca (for a brief reconnaissance)

Summer Era XXIV PF


Kailin was, it could be said, in her element. Contracts had been drawn up and signed with Sliucha, and now she had only to do the main part of her due diligence before their final route was decided. Then she and Adyn could go back home just long enough to make arrangements and be on their way. Or so she hoped.

It had been enough eras since the last time the Alyxanda family had to break new ground on a trade route that she was excited - more than anything - by the unknown, with what she felt was a healthy wariness for all the things that could go wrong. It made Adyn's presence, and knowledge, at her side all the more welcome.

Of course, there was also the fact that she was finally making good on a plan that she'd hatched five eras ago when she'd been in Ziel Aerca for the Coronation Tourney. Follow through was important to her, and though she'd been derailed (as had everyone else) by the Xet attacks, she'd never given up on the idea. This deal was, if anything, more important now than it had been then, given the state of things for her family and her city, if her aunt was to be believed. And given that her aunt was the Trade Councilor for Port Alyx's city council, Kailin tended to give her words and opinions a healthy weight, at least on matters of business.

Right. To business.

Ziel Aerca lay nestled against the Great Centripax Basin, which was so large as to appear to be an inland sea to Kailin. They had docks, and even something that seemed very much like a port to the merchant. That was where she'd come to find the Harbormaster, who should be able to point her in the direction of any other merchants who came from the coast up the River Anna, as was her plan.

Like any good docks, these had a few familiar looking taverns nearby where thirsty merchants could sit and talk and do business. And as she did not intend to take her crew or her boats and barges up the river blind, she thought to buy a round or two for any merchants familiar with the route, to find out what she could before heading back home.

They. Find out what they could before heading back home. She turned a look back to Adyn but did not reach for his hand as she wanted to. It was habit... her father had taught her to stand tall and firm on her own in this often male dominated business, and his roguish presence at her side was new to both of them, however much it felt like coming home.

He'd surprised her by stating - during their meeting with Sliucha - that he would be seeing to the security of this first delivery himself. She thought she'd surprised him right back when she'd told him later that she'd had the same intention. Communication was still something they were working out, especially when it came to working together. But the fact that they would both be on this journey only made it feel more right. Something to solidify their working relationship, and perhaps some little time for more personal things along the way.

Grinning at the thought, she turned away from him and strode in the direction of the little building that should be attached to the office of the Harbormaster, keeping her eyes peeled for anyone who looked and sounded like they were in charge of the familiar chaos that was playing out before her. Ships loading and unloading... it was a promising sight.
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Old March 29, 2017, 04:32 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Adyn had come too, of course, and was content to hang back somewhat while Kailin did what she knew best. Adyn had been hired to secure contacts for Sliucha's trade and he certainly planned on seeing that through to completion. But this was what Kailin had trained for under her father, and it was what she had dedicated much of her life to, so if anything - this part of the journey was her element, and he was content to let her shine in it.

So the rogue remained a step or so back at Kailin's side, a hand in his pocket and the other holding onto a cigarette as he took a drag. He shot her a small wink when she glanced back in his direction before letting out an exhale of the familiar light blue smoke.

At least when it came time to protecting cargo Adyn's own experience would come in handy. He hadn't worked with a unit of people since the military or the guard, not in this capacity, but he was accustomed to a lack of more able bodies and the strong need for coordination. Maybe Kailin's people knew what they were doing... or maybe they did not. For his own peace of mind, he very much planned to make sure the crew had some competent help, at least.

If they could get an idea of what they might encounter, Adyn would feel a hell of a lot better about Kailin's own presence during the trip as well. And gods knew he wasn't talking her out of that, so he had a particularly heightened and solemn interest in the current order of business. So he remained close enough to listen to and participate in her conversations if need be, especially if he had questions in regard to any possible threats to safety. Surely the route was well established enough to be secured enough by now though? One could only hope.

Given that they were headed for the smaller office of the harbormaster initially, the rogue snuffed his cigarette just outside before entering the building, just in case he or she wasn't fond of the smoke.

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Old April 1, 2017, 12:07 PM   #3 (permalink)
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oocAdyn needed to explain to me where your were headed in your first post lol

The harbormaster was not presently in his office when the pair walked in although there was a straight-backed Tabbori katta perched at a desk, minding a ledger, that eyed them with yellow-green eyes of some curiosity. His tail flicked for a moment, an almost agitated movement as he set aside the ledger and folded his hands on the edge of it in front of him. "The harbormaster is not currently in. He's down at the end of the dock, checking out a shipment scheduled to depart in the next day or so."

The ledger was brought back in front of the Tabbori. "If you want to wait, you can. There's chairs right there. I'm not sure how long he'll be. He left a couple moments ago but it depends on how...difficult...the captain and the merchant are." Yellow-green eyes rolled as if to say 'merchants, am I right?' "Or you can come back later. He may have an opening at the end of the day. I can pencil you into his appointment book."

Claws came out as he tap-tapped almost lazily (but rhythmically) on the wooden desktop. "Of course, you can always hunt him down, if you're really impatient. I don't know that I recommend that, however. His patience and all." Shoulders lifted in a shrug.

Apathy hung heavy around this one. He didn't seem to care what they did.
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Old April 3, 2017, 02:02 PM   #4 (permalink)
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oocHa! Well then it's a darn good thing I explained it to Adyn first, isn't it? :P I will endevour to be slightly clearer as we go forward, but can make no promises.

Kailin smiled as she entered the office to find a katta manning the place, and paused to listen to a not uncommon litany of what was available to them currently for help, making sure to move out of the way of the door so that Adyn could enter with her, "Serale, I'd be content to make an appointment and come back later if that is what you recommend, but I'm hoping that what we're looking for is easy enough that we can stay out of your hair." There, see how easily the 'we' had come? She was getting better at remembering.

"We've just signed contracts to bring in building supplies, and I wanted to familiarize myself with the lay of the land and introduce myself. I'm Kailin Alyxanda, out of Port Alyxandrya." She smiled again, sure that - this far from the coast - her family name would likely mean little. Looking briefly back to Adyn, she realized that she was entirely unsure how to deal with introducing him, or whether he would want to be introduced. Something to ask him later.

For now she turned back to the katta, "I was also hoping to find a merchant or two who are familiar with the route between Ziel Aerca and the coast, any who specifically come up the River Anna in ships or barges. I don't suppose you could point me in the right direction?"

oocGo ahead and reply next Nimh, as Adyn's not needing to make it clear that he's standing there, listening. ;)
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Old April 5, 2017, 11:41 AM   #5 (permalink)
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The katta's head bobbed as Kailin went on about what her intentions were. The small noise he made 'mmhm' was vague and noncommittal and was that a rolling hand gesture at some point implied to get her to hurry it along? Well, it was a very small movement it really could have just been Kailin and Adyn leaping to conclusions. It was just that the katta's face looked so bored. Wasn't that just like a cat, though?

"I'll pencil you in for his last appointment although I can't make too many promises. Things come up, after all."

The katta huffed a small sigh at the question about merchants. "All of the merchants that dock here come up through the River Anna. Very little comes from up north, given all that's happen. Only way from the places that have anything worth trading comes up through the River Anna at this point. If no one will tell you they can navigate that river then they're doing it so that they're left alone." After all, rivers that came down from the north were from devastated areas that desperately needed the trade.

The katta's bored stare flicked between the two of them. "Captain Creil has the biggest barge. Captain Dremit has the fastest ship. Captain Fredrin has the most ships. Captain Vreytheren has the best armed ships. I could go on. Everyone has their own way of handling the river." Slow blinked, he licked a claw idly.
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Old April 6, 2017, 11:31 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Kailin wanted, very badly, to laugh. Amusement was her reaction to just about anything that would otherwise irritate her, a deflection of sorts, and it came in varying flavors and intensities. She figured it was better than being irritated, after all, and certainly better than outright anger. Less dangerous, too.

For instance, given that this was a business relationship that she was trying to cultivate, Kailin simply took in the information and kept her amusement at the katta's behavior buried underneath the patiently interested mask she wore as a professional. This was quiet amusement, the amusement that kept her sane in situations like these where she had to deal with 'personalities'.

And thankfully, the katta's information was pertinent and very helpful, so the smile that curled over her lips as he finished was both sincere and pleased.

"No. I think that should be more than enough to get us started. No need for an appointment now, thank you."

And with a tiny little bow, she turned the smile on Adyn and made her way back out of the officeKailin is leaving the Harbormaster's Office.

It was a quick walk to the closest tavern, and Kailin looked around as she made her way through the doorKailin is entering the tavern now, checking to see how busy the place was, looking for any likely groups that screamed 'we're ships captains! come talk to us!'. She was familiar with the breed, after all.

But just to be safe, she made her way to the barkeep first and smiled, brows lifting, "I don't suppose you could point me in the direction of any captains or first mates that happen to be taking their leisure here? I'm looking to stand a few rounds for any sort friendly enough to pass on some information." Not familiar with this specific watering hole, Kailin was unsure whether this upfront tactic would get her anywhere, but figured it was worth a shot. Sailors were drinkers, and she had every hope that those that traded up and down the river would be regulars in this establishment.
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Old April 7, 2017, 10:20 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Bureaucracy. How fun! Adyn couldn't help the mirthless grin that stretched out across his face at the katta's dismissive attitude. It wasn't as if he could blame this man or even the harbormaster in particular, but this process was just the sort of thing that he had hated about the family business, the guard, and the military. So many people to go through, so many appointments to wade through, so many people with little power who could easily handwave your existence just because they were overworked or having a bad day. It was frustrating, really, for someone who held as little patience as the rogue certainly did.

He couldn't help but offer a small amused smile in Kailin's direction as she thanked the katta and moved to leave. He liked to think he knew that smile she had on her face just then. But the katta had a good point. Business here was in high demand and the merchants could likely request a larger pay because of it. Business was theirs to command and control, so what sort of advice would they really be wanting to give to the two of them? He pondered this as they exited the office, considering their options as they maneuvered toward the tavern.

He stood nearby when Kailin inquired with the bartender about the captains, knowing they'd likely be less amenable to talking business if they were here on their leisure time. Drinks were a plus, but he wondered if there were prostitutes here for hire that would serve to gain them a little more favor than the alcohol alone. This was Ziel Aerca, after all. If anything, a free stick of Rapture couldn't have been a bad idea. He glanced around to see if he could find the whores, at least.

When Kailin made her way back to him from the bar, the rogue dipped his head to her so that she might pause a moment.

"Just a thought, but maybe give them the impression you're looking to do business with them," he murmured, producing a pair of dice from his pocket that he then rolled between his fingers. They might be useful if anyone they wanted to speak to turned out to be the gambling type, but mostly he just needed something to do with his hands. "Or... maybe get to know their subordinates instead," he added, thinking they might be a little more forthcoming with information. "I get the feeling some of these folks might not be too eager to give information freely to their competition. Just a hunch, though. I'm sure you'll gauge them well enough after you get to speaking with them." This wasn't her first song and dance, after all, so he had faith in the fact that she knew what she was doing. He just wanted to get a word in, was all.

And hey, maybe she wanted to split up if she had a couple leads, so they could cover a little more ground and get out of here? It was up to her, really.

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Old April 9, 2017, 10:45 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Kailin and Adyn left the Harbormaster's.

Kailin and Adyn entered the tavern.

Because that's what people did went they went through doorways.

The bartender eyed Kailin as he cleaned out a heavy pewter mug. The room itself was filled with various individuals, all walks of life that came in off the established docks--people looking to resettle, merchants, sailors, etc. It was busy although not overly crowded either. Certainly people were segmented out into the loners, the social drinkers, the simply trying to eat my food in peace folk and those who had come in to dice and gamble. Basically, it was like any other tavern in a busy city at a major hub.

"That one there is Captain Creil from the Dragonfly. That's First Mate Adrana off the Black Siren." Captain Creil was a burly man with a balding head and a thick gray beard. His clothes were worn and he seemed a bit on the sloppy side but he sat with confidence, laughing with set of rough looking individuals who may or may not have been sailors. First Mate Adrana was a dark skinned woman, poised and drinking by herself, dressed in the fashion of Arakmat (before it had been ruined) with her thick dark hair braided into place about her skull. "First Mate Fred of the Angela is that one there." Fred was a dorin with flea-bitten ears and ratty looking fur. He scratched idly at his ears with the nails on his front foot as he glared at a katta across the room. "Captain Dremit usually comes in a bit later."

Lots of information! The bartender set down his mug and picked up another.

A sailor nearby leaned in towards Kailin, sidling in fairly close. He was missing a front tooth but was otherwise on the pretty side with curling blonde hair worn long to his shoulders and a sweet smile. And he knew it. "I helm a ship for Captain Fredrin. First Mate Zack, at your service. I don't even need a drink to help you out, if you need it." He wiggled his brows a little.
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Old April 11, 2017, 05:48 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Kailin grinned at the bartender, nodding once to signify that she'd taken in the information he had so freely shared, "My thanks for that. A moment." And as she started to step away toward Adyn, she was halted by the pretty blond one she'd seen while looking around to spot those the bartender had pointed out.

She noticed, as he began speaking, that the bartender had not pointed out this fellow, and wondered if that was merely an oversight or very much on purpose. Green eyes shifting to the man who was cleaning mugs, she flashed him a quick raised brow as if to ask that very thing. 'This guy worth talking to?' said the look, if he looked up in time to catch it.

As blond and toothless leaned in, Kailin took an easy step back and her grin twitched a bit higher, a single brow lifting as she turned her attention to hima again, "I hear your captain has a strong fleet at his back, and may well take you up on your offer, if you would let me buy you that drink." She looked toward the bar in front of him, to see if he already had something, or was - perhaps - the odd abstainer in the tavern. They were rare, but Kailin had known her fair share of sailors who would not take alcohol.

"You think about it while I talk with my companion." She said with a brief, friendly enough pat on his upper arm before turning to speak with Adyn.

His first bit of advice was met with a deep, cockeyed grin, green eyes flashing, "Love... I very well may hire someone if I like what I hear. This is a new route, and the reason I'm not trying to meet with other merchants is twofold. Yes, we need information that I trust more from ships captains than I would from my competition," ships captains were hardly her competition, after all, "but it wouldn't hurt to have someone along for the trip who knows what to expect, especially this first time." There were a lot of ways to make nice with new business associates, but Kailin had always found that hiring and relying on the professionals who had knowledge she didn't was one of the best.

"I could use your help," her gaze went to the dice in his hands, and she lifted a brow at him, grin curling up again, "I say we divide and conquer this bunch."

She nodded toward the first fellow the bartender had pointed out, where he sat with his group of ruffians, "That's Captain Creil, he's the one with the biggest barge, and we'll need barges if we're going to haul that timber up river. Feel free to let it drop that we're hiring on the right captain, and see what he has to say for himself, and about the route."

No doubt all of this was information that Adyn could figure out on his own, but since they'd not done the most spectacular job of communicating before their meeting with Sliucha, Kailin thought it better to err on the side of caution this time.

"Have fun..." she said with a quick wink before turning back toward the bar for a moment. She looked at the smiley one who'd so freely offered information. His captain had the most ships, which was an attractive lure for Kailin, but her gaze kept returning to the lone female that the bartender had pointed out.

She never made the mistake of assuming that other females in this business would be automatically friendly, but Kailin couldn't help feeling a kinship with the ones she ran across. They were all, unfortunately, still the minority in their world, and it was hard not to want to make that connection.

Sighing, she turned to the pretty boy instead, her smile returning to her face as she approached him but kept enough distance that he wouldn't be able to loom, looking past to the bartender for a moment, "Another of whatever First Mate Zack is having, and a round for the table my friend is on his way to join, if you would. I'll have an ale, too."

And order thus set, she turned to lift a brow at the First Mate, "So you sail the River Anna, eh? I'm looking for a good ship or two to hire for a journey up from Port Alyxandrya, and wanting to know a bit more about what to expect from the river passage. Is that the sort of help you can offer?" She leaned an arm on the bar, turning enough so that she could track Adyn's progress easily without having to crane her neck.
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Old April 13, 2017, 02:17 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Adyn shrugged. Communication wasn't his forte, so he hadn't realized that Kailin might have wanted to hire on a captain that wasn't already hers. He supposed loyalty wasn't as much of an issue here as it was in the sorts of business he was accustomed to.

So he was fine with letting the conversation switch gears, and with her directing his attention toward Captain Creil and his associates. He stopped the shuffling of dice to observe the man a moment, lips shifting a little at the discomfort of having to socialize about timber. At least the man himself appeared interesting enough. Besides, Adyn was in desperate need of something to do by now.

At Kailin's "have fun" the rogue grunted, allowing her to slip past him as he then maneuvered his way toward Creil. He dipped his head in a short, apologetic nod at having interrupted the man's conversation as he approached.

"Captain Creil?" he inquired, eyes sweeping the crowd around the man in an attempt to get a feel for the sort of folks they were. "Mind if I buy you gentlemen a round? I have goods to ship, and I hear you have a barge."
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Old April 15, 2017, 01:14 PM   #11 (permalink)
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First Mate Zack took the drink as it was given to him, shifting in his chair as a wary sort of glance was now shifted her direction. His eyes trailed away from her and towards Adyn, who she'd just been talking with. He seemed newly placed on his guard about her. "We do sail the River Anna and it does seem like you've heard a bit about our Captain Fredrin,' referring back to her earlier comment regarding the Captain's ships.

He leaned against the bar with his elbow, chin in his hand, scratching at the blonde scruff there. Again, his eyes sought out Adyn before turning back to her. "But I'm a little confused about what you're expecting. If you're looking just to hire, I'm not sure what you need to know about the river passage." Brows arched, as if trying to suss out what her game was.

"You sure your man over there doesn't want to join us?" There. He laid out the question, blunt and flat.

Adyn, meanwhile, approached Captain Creil. The gruff man looked up towards the new interloper with a wide grin. He'd sloshed ale on himself as Adyn approached but didn't even seem to notice it. It dripped in his beard and dampened the front of his shirt. "Right to the point, isn't he?" He grinned at his companions, ribbing one with an elbow. He peered back towards Adyn, assessing the man. "We can always do ourselves another round, boy. Pop a squat, will ya?" He pointed towards a seat--Adyn would find he'd need to wedge himself in between two smelly sailor types.

"Entertain me, huh?" This to Adyn. "Why should I bother with ya? Free drinks aside, that is." Another broad grin.
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Old April 27, 2017, 06:32 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Kailin immediately noted the wariness in the first mate's gaze as she returned to him, and was not in the least surprised to find that his ardor for her had cooled. If she'd been a less scrupulous person, she would have talked with Zack before returning to speak with Adyn. Easier to get information from someone when they wanted something from you.

As it was, the move had been a rather deliberate test of the man's character. If his desire to help cooled - as it seemed it had - when it became clear that Kailin was not alone, then she could turn her attention elsewhere. Not that she had been bothered by his flirtations... that was common enough in this world. The question was whether the flirtations would lead to disrespect.

Annnd yep... it was this that she'd been looking for. That nearly innocuous question of whether she wanted Adyn to join them. Was it because Adyn was a man? Was it because it made Zack uncomfortable that they were talking to his competition? Lifting her own mug of ale, she took a sip as her pale green eyes held the blond's own, weighing him.

There really was no great mystery to her requests... she was a merchant, and someone in this tavern was bound to have both the experience and the transport she needed to get up the River Anna. It was business, a language they should all speak well enough to need no translators.

She did not look toward Adyn, but let a brow climb toward her hairline before she smiled patiently. It was a practiced expression. "I am sure," blunt and flat in return, despite the smile. "Though... if you are suddenly uncomfortable, I would be happy to find someone else to speak with."

Then she forced herself to soften a bit, and sighed. "Look. It's a new route for my business, and I like to know the lay of the land and how to plan for the trip. Plus I would some strange kind of fool to hire anyone new without getting a feel for the person. Or in this case, for their crew." In other words, her look said, think of this as an interview. Don't worry about my man.

"If you're willing to offer your insight and tell me about your captain and your crew, great. If not, I will bid you a good brightening." Her gaze was placid as she watched him, though she thought perhaps she should simply seek out his captain.
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Old May 6, 2017, 08:46 PM   #13 (permalink)
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The man was drunk already. Adyn kind of envied him. He would have liked to have been drunk and passing along jokes with the rest of these guys. Having a duty to attend to was a bit of a drag sometimes.

"Sure thing," he said of the invitation, shimmying his way in between the two smelly sailors. Adyn was used to this type of crowd, but it didn't make the body odor any less tolerable. Still, drink enough alcohol and sometimes even that wasn't a problem. He gestured to the server to bring the guys more drinks, including him. Nothing wrong with trying to enjoy himself while he had to talk all this business.

"Well," he said brightly in response to the man's question, "We just secured a contract with Ms. Sindosa, trading between here and Maeve. The goods are in demand, the route's new and very much on the governor's wish list, and the agreement is meant to be long term and wonderfully consistent. Even better, the contract belongs to one of the oldest, most prominent merchant families based out of Port Alyxandrya."

He shrugged. "But the route is unfamiliar to us. So... We're looking for someone who has sailed these parts before. We're hoping for a ship that can support the product, and a captain who knows his ass from his elbow. "

He lifted his brows at the man. "You interested? Or are you not drunk enough to deal with me yet?" His eyes danced with amusement.
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Old May 14, 2017, 06:47 PM   #14 (permalink)
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"Uncomfortable isn't the word, sweetie," he remarked in a dry sort of tone just this side of condescending and mansplaining. "Look," he continued, mimicking the tone she'd used. "I'm not sure it's quite fair to approach a bar all by your lonesome with the offer of drinks for the helpful, only to turn around and air your man around. False advertising." He huffed a little, rolled his eyes towards the barkeep, who happened to be standing nearby, as if she didn't really get it...or wouldn't get it. Women, am I right?

"Don't worry, honey. I'm sure you'll find someone that's looking for something other than a look under your shirt. It's my day off and I'm not interested in talking shop." Okay, so maybe he was simply being belligerent because he was feeling mislead and snubbed but you know...some men had fragile egos that way.

The barkeep shook his head and muttered something under his breath before noting aloud: "He's just pissed because none of the ladies that frequent the place will bother with him any more." He snorted as he moved away, leaving a rather pissy looking Zack in his wake.

Across the room, Adyn seemed to be greeted with more luck than Kailin. Was it because she didn't have the proper genitalia or just because she happened upon a stupid man at a stupid time? All possibilities! All the same, Adyn was getting cozy with his new buddy Captain Creil and the two soldiers sitting side by side Adyn, not to mention the couple of others around the table. The new round of drinks were being distributed as Creil's head bobbed attentively (drunkenly) along to what Adyn was saying about the cargo he might have for their ship.

He looked thoughtful at Adyn's question, a broad grin lighting his features. "Kid, no one's ever quite drunk enough." He laughed as he took another drink, swallowing a good deal of it down before thunking the mug back onto the table top. "What you're saying sounds pretty good. Maybe too good? You left out quite a few details, though. It's true I gotta big barge and all--size matters, you know--" Laughter all the way around and one sailor wagged Adyn by the shoulder as they snorted "But I only have so much room and all...though I may be persuaded to make room, for the right product and all..." he trailed off, his grin drunken but sly all the same.
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Old May 19, 2017, 03:11 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Kailin laughed, mostly at herself, as she had quite literally stepped into this pile of excrement, despite clear warning signs. It wasn't that she was naive, not after so long in this business, or at least she didn't think she was. Just ever hopeful, and very likely too willing to believe the best of people. And if that didn't just reek of naivete...

Sighing - again at herself - she refrained from patting First Mate Zack on the arm, the head, or anywhere else and instead met the bartender's eyes, amusement clear below an arched brow.

"Can't say as I blame them," Kailin walked away from the pissy Zack at nearly the same moment the bartender did, heading further into the room. "Enjoy your day off," she tossed behind her.

She didn't have the time, desire, or energy to deal with that guy. And she didn't need to, thank all the gods.

Adyn had found a seat with his group and seemed to be having much better luck, and Kailin found her steps taking her within easy hearing range. Taking a seat at a table nearby, but behind Adyn so he might not be aware of her eavesdropping, she looked up to find that she'd positioned herself close to the woman, Adrana.

Lifting her mug, she took a drink and then sat back in her chair, curious whether the woman was any more amenable to talking than First Mate Zack had been. Not pushing, or staring, Kailin simply waited to see if the woman looked up, watching with her peripheral vision. If she could time her own glance to meet her eyes, see the expression they held, perhaps she could get a read on her well enough to know.

And if not, she could listen in on Adyn's conversation to see how she felt about Captain Creil and his barge. Size wasn't everything, she could have told him. It was very much how you used it, too.
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