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Open The Sparrow's Hideaway

Discussion in 'Open RP - Inns and Pubs' started by Dustman, Jan 12, 2020.

  1. Dustman

    Dustman The Silver Blade

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    WELCOME TO THE SPARROW'S HIDEAWAY


    When birds upon,

    the treetops roost,

    turn branches to archways

    Round the corner o' yonder hill, and ye might find -

    The Sparrow's Hideaway...
    Should ye find yourself alone,

    Ye lost,
    ye villains,
    ye saints,

    ye young,
    ye old,

    ye rich,
    ye poor...
    "Mhmmmm....It's beginning to sound a bit like a carol, is it not? Last I checked it wasn't near Saturnalia."

    The woodwork shifts, the bird depicted turning its head as if to scrutinize a worm.

    "But you liked the reference, right? Seems like you've enjoyed that form some time now. I've wanted to use that one for a while now; and how it will look upon the side! Imagine a traveler, tracing their finger or claw gently upon-"

    The relief scrambles, and reorganizes. The bird flaps rapidly in place, as if startled. Leaves from the branch it perches upon detach and drift across the surface.

    "Well, the place need have a new name, and you're not offering anything. We do this every time -"

    With a single flap and a few gentle curves so to indicate the displacement of air, the bird jumps into the air - presumably, onto another scene within the walls of the inn.

    "'The Sparrow's Hideaway' for this generation, then. Needs some workshopping, but that will be for another day. I should get to prepping the cider and decoration. Handle the rest, will you?"

    Everything in the corner of the in was rounded, and so while the inn was square in shape, it was unlike any man-made building in Tamriel. The main area was the public barroom, and at its center, the bar. Alcoves ran at uneven spaces of the room, their entrances accented by bark-like scales. The inn was two stories tall - the first floor containing the public room and storage, the upper floor containing the rooms for guests to stay in overnight. Both floors had high ceilings, which were crowned by rafters, mostly aesthetic in nature, and at the very top of the open space connecting the first and second floor above the bar, frosted windows which streamed gentle daylight. The grand entrance at the northern end of the space was cloaked in dancing shadows and light - torch sconces burned green wood so as to make just enough smoke for the entrance to be lightly obscured, contained within a superficial wooden arch that obscured both the room's occupants to the left and right, as well the patron entering for the first few steps they walked; a bit light chicanery to complement the true magical nature of the inn.


    The main floor was made of thin layers of bark and wood, layered gently enough so as to create a slight incline moving up from the bar itself. Currently, the large, scale-like layers were shifting about, and where the layers separated, thick branches would rise, growing unnaturally fast, weaving together to form tables, benches, stools, and chairs. Some collected stones emerged from sections of the wall which were layered like the floor. In a much larger alcove in the eastern side of the space, a small fireplace was formed, and three smooth high-backed chairs around it. The parts the walls that lacked the scale-like bark displayed carved reliefs - mostly nature scenes, each one occasionally adjusting with time.

    Overall, watching the movement of the inn as it decorated itself seemed chaotic; to the trained eye of the proprietor, it was like watching an acrobat doing a routine - a living thing the inn was, thinking, designing, placing and replacing. Emerging from one of the closed rooms in the southern end of the inn, Sparo got to work placing table settings, some tapestries from all over Tamriel over unused scale-work on the walls, that sort of thing.

    As the animation came to a halt, everything settled in with a slightly magical spark and dusting of tiny leaves. Sparo ascended the gently spiraling stairs that ran counterclockwise up to the upstairs balcony, and dressed the rooms, which were themselves fairly simple in size and accessory. When the various other elements of preparation were complete, he made his way to the central bar, adjusted his long black hair into a neat ponytail tied with a ribbon, and got to work setting out and cleaning peuterware.

    "I wonder who will join us this day, old friend?"
     
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  2. Dustman

    Dustman The Silver Blade

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    Official OOC Post:

    Welcome to the Sparrow's Hideaway. I will be playing your host, Sparo, and the inn, which as you have read, is very much alive.


    Thread overview:

    The magic: The visitors of the inn are from any time and any place, wanderers who have stumbled upon the place randomly, as the beginning lyrics state. The inn has no specific time nor place it exists in, but moves around, appearing anywhere where it would not be expected to be. That being said, it is not a time machine.

    When a person enters or exits by themselves, they exit or enter at the same place. When a person enters or exits with another, the intention of the first person to enter the doorway determines the location of the followers. If the people are from times which are different by a year or more, they will be unable to remain together.

    Any other questions regarding the magic of this place can be dictated to the proprietor, in character. This also includes questions about the magical nature and possibilities within the inn.

    This post will be updated as more statements are needed.
     
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  3. fellowknight

    fellowknight Devil Of The Details

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    In the bowels of the windswept woods, three silhouettes trailed one another on a somewhat intentional path towards the structure. For the older man at the rear, however, the direction was completely random, for he’d grown fatigued and done with this $&*%. In the few days since he'd been hired by the apparent twins, he'd kept their formation tight, silks hidden, and mouths shut. They had affairs to see to… at a wedding, or banquet, or some other, Karsan really didn’t care to remember. Had they managed to keep to the roads and stay with the Khajiit convoy, it'd have been an easy three days for one-thousand coin.

    But their luck saw them run into a handful of musty bandits, and an eyeful of fancy garments and silver was all they needed to hunt the trio for days. Karsan had thrown them off the trail, but they'd slowed to a painstaking crawl and every damn brush of the wind, or distant howl, or crackling twigs chilled the small-stepping youth to the bone; not that it helped he was downwind against their rancid perfume and musk. It progressively disagreed with his stomach..

    As they trudged and kicked up leaves, the outline of shelter peeked through a bend in the trees and ominously begged their attention. As it panned into view, partially obscured by the trees, they took cover in the foliage just short of the path’s curve, watching. Together, the skeptical pair spied from the safety of the underbrush and glanced back quizzically at Karsan Myre, the tipsy bodyguard whom lagged behind to vomit on a tree. The girl drew her lute closer in hopes it would work like a hammer, and the young boy plucked a silver dagger from his belt, wiping sweat from his brow. After relieving himself of a poor campsite meal, Karsan substituted a napkin with his cap and wiped his lips, stumbling past them to "offer his expert eye".

    “Who d-do you suppose is in there?” The young Breton had shuffled closer and tried to steel himself, but terror cut through his stupid accent. “F-fire worshipers?”

    “Dunno, and don’t care. I smell food and I’m hungry.” Karsan glanced at the knife in the boy’s hand. “Hope you don’t plan on using that pillow-fluffer.. It’s @#$%ing useless.” He mumbled without looking away from the surprisingly well-kept building. All he really cared for was a trough to rinse himself in, or any exposed barrels of dry food. There was nothing so far, just the lone tavern underscored by its imposing nature.

    “Wait.. What?” The teen fingered the blade around in his hands, and shook his head dismissively. “N-no way. I sharpened it just last night. My father gave me this from our own blacksmith---”

    “Oh, p*ss off. Your father gave you dog@#$% on a stick. Think those bandits laughed at you.. Just because? Your little knife is shaped from barely tempered steel. Not refined, pounded, or sharpened, just layered, pressed, and textured. Not made to scare off chickens, much less ruined by a whetstone. Shiny @#$%’s not even balanced right..” The boy scoffed and looked from his sister to Karsan, then finally to the knife again, disbelief clawing his features.

    “..@#$% this.“ Karsan grunted after a long pause, sliding his cap back over his greying hair and stalking along the implied path, which snaked to the building’s main entrance. He figured if it was a trap, he’d take his chances with the marauders and their drink. And they’d have to deal with a desperate, half-starved man.

    “Where are you going!? It could be a.. trap.” The boy’s sister called after Karsan, but her tone grew stifled as she realized he wasn’t turning back. She and her brother exchanged looks once more, swapped hushed prayers, before following reluctantly. What was in the building was disputable. What the surviving bandits would do to them was not.

    When they scampered to close the distance, Karsan had thumbed back his hood-less cloak to secure his axe in his grasp, and pressed against the heavy doors with his wrinkled boot. As they came open, and a thin sheet of woodsmoke crept out, Karsan’s right arm immediately curled into a low-guard position with his axe in-hand. He peered and swiped through the ghostly fog as the furnishings and decor of a grand dining hall came into view, no-- a tavern. Two-storied, decently spacious with plenty of chairs, clean floors and tables, and almost entirely vacant. Out of habit, the man glanced back at the metal door hinges-- no rust, they were in perfect shape.

    Immediately the subtle warmth provided of a fireplace kissed his skin as the vague scent of aforementioned food washed over him, coming from over the counter or wherever. Karsan didn’t lower his axe, but he did find himself drawn in like a dog to supper, his exhausted companions finding seats at the table nearest. Their caution had been quenched and though he sat on a proposed stool, Karsan wasn’t completely convinced.

    He inspected the lone barkeep as he’d continued to fluidly arrange dishes along the countertops of the bar; in the brutal homeland of the nords, the man’s demeanor and gestures were soothingly composed, maybe even naive. But Karsan cared to ponder intents no more as he plainly set his spiked-hatchet on the counter with a solid thud, plucking a leather pouch from his belt. He clinked it onto the counter as well and leveled his gaze with the stranger.

    “Ale, two pints.. No, three.” He began flatly but passed a brief expression of mutual disfavor, as if unspoken words soured on his tongue. Possibly on cue, his stomach groaned and his scowl deepened slightly. “You cook with cast-iron, steel, or silver?”
     
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    #3 fellowknight, Jan 29, 2020
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  4. Dustman

    Dustman The Silver Blade

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    The acrid stench of the vinegar Sparo was using to scrub the bowl in front of him was dispersed suddenly, as howling wind from the grand entrance flooded the tavern.

    He turned and placed the dish with the others in the washtub behind him, and in turning, noticed the wood filigree at the inside edge of the bar's circular counter shift.

    A bare branch sprouted three rosebuds, one marked with long thorns. A snail formed into being beside them, delicately gripping the branch, and beginning to nibble upon their petals.


    "Three travelers, two young and gentle, and one old and grizzly, armed? The snail is a predator, no, a scavenger. They're being pursued...how did I do?" Sparo mumbled to no one in particular.

    His question was answered, as in strode the thorny rose, axe in hand. The younger ones took a seat near the door, in one of the nooks. They looked exhausted, poor things. The man looked unfazed by the smoke, as it passed his face. 'A laborer, perhaps, works near smoke?'

    He picked up another tankard, keeping track of the approach of the man as he entered. He was looking suspiciously around the space, common for travelers. A touch of human comfort might take him off-edge, and Sparo locked eyes with the man.

    "Ale, two pints... No three...." Despite his presentation, Sparo could tell he felt more at ease. "You cook with cast-iron, steel, or silver?”

    'Ah, I guess he must be a blacksmith. That makes sense.'
    Sparo put on a friendly smile, the crows-feet at the corner of his eyes wrinkling.

    "Good day. You may call me Sparo; I am the proprietor of this place. We use pewter mostly, sometimes stone, depending." He displayed the mug he was currently polishing. "Our pewter is an alloy of tin, copper, and antimony. We don't use lead anymore, really killed the flavor." Sparo cast his gaze over by the entrance, back to the rough-appearing man, and lastly to the man's exhausted Breton companions, before settling on his tankard again. "My steel is close by, however, if such service is required."

    Casting down his eyes, he filled the tankard from somewhere beneath the bar counter. As he placed it down before the man, the inn settled loudly, producing a groan through the framework. Sparo's friendly countenance twitched slightly. "I would tell your son there to sheath his silver. The inn is very sensitive to such things."
     
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  5. fellowknight

    fellowknight Devil Of The Details

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    Karsan pretended to squint at the mug as the barkeep, Sparo he named himself, presented it to him. He hadn't demanded a surprise tax and clearly paid attention to the quality of his facilities, so Karsan was already satisfied. In later years, he found community hygiene in Skyrim was hard to come by. He made note of the man's peculiar glance following his comment on steel, likely a stab at their current predicament but Karsan elected to ignore it. They'd made it this far, and if the bandits decided to wander in to the lone building, he'd deal with it on a full stomach. He could only hope the kids would stay out of his way.

    "Hm. I'm less in need of steel at the moment. Ale should suit me just fine, as this day has been long enough--" His thoughts were pounded to a halt as the space around him rumbled and wailed, seemingly in sync with Sparo's actions. Karsan knocked over his stool as he clamored to his feet and drew his axe to face the man, chest heaving and eyes inspecting the far corners of the room. It seemed to come from.. everywhere, and that worried him. Silver, Sparo had mentioned, 'upset' the inn. What fresh @#$! was this place, exactly?

    His companions reacted similarly, clinging to each other and holding their belongings close as they surmised their situation. If the bandits didn't kill them all, the barkeep was more than capable, apparently. Nevertheless, only Sparo had leverage in this situation, and Karsan wasn't looking to die in a tavern. Today, at least.

    "Boy.. Put that @#$!-ing fire-poker away. Now!" Karsan called back without looking away from Sparo, and when the young twin oblidged, he addressed the man directly. "If you intended on killing me, you could have done it outside. What is this @#$!-ing place and who are you, really?"
     
    #5 fellowknight, Apr 4, 2020
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2020
  6. Dustman

    Dustman The Silver Blade

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    The man's axe hovering but a foot from Sparo, a single blink the only disruption of his practiced demeanor.

    Yet, there had been some time since a person had drawn his weapon on him, and the small thrill of anticipation crept up his spine at the man's fiery response. Sparo's message of protection had been received well, if the inn's unfortunate response was not. The road seemed to have placed him at the end of his wit, and Sparo would need a careful response if his patron's journey was to begin smoothly.

    "Sir blacksmith, I can assure you, your entrance alone was the contract of your safety. You've not to...fear from me nor mine. But, as with any contract, there are stipulations, rules upon which men operate."
    As he spoke, Sparo reached under the counter, fashioning two mugs of the ale the man currently drank. One he placed in behind his patron's other mug, and the other he brought up to cover his neck. "If I carved them upon the entrance, would this establishment truly feel welcoming, or constraining? What better, then, to set rules of engagement than through engagement itself?"

    Sparo glanced over the man's readied axe, and the wild look in his eye and took a sip of his ale. 'Apple, sweet, familiar. Good choice.'

    "Social engagement. If I wanted the death of a patron just met, I would be a terrible host, no?." Sparo gave the man a sly wink. "Your queries are warranted, I assure you, but the night is long. First, I say, enjoy our hospitality while I address your companions, and consider this: everyone who comes here has something they are in midst of becoming, a story through which this inn acts as medium." Sparo sipped again at his ale, lifting his eyebrows slightly, and placed it down on the counter, gaze never breaking.

    "Might'nt it be yours, your companions, or someone who we've not yet been introduced?" Sparo cast his eyes between the man, the children, and the door, respectively, before splitting one of the smooth-hinged hatches to the bar, and making his way to the young Bretons.

    -------------------------​

    "Countrymen, I am Sparo, the proprietor of the Sparrow's Hideaway. Do forgive the inn's settling." He crossed his arms behind his back, and leaned his head in genially, his voice dropping slightly. "You seem cold and tired, and we are at your disposal. While I give your father his due rest, how may I be of service, eh...?"
     
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  7. Nascent

    Nascent Member

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    Yesterday this stretch of the woods had been empty, at least of buildings. Kassom knew this because he'd come through here to scout a promising bandit camp, only to be forced back into the shadow of the trees by a particularly eagle-eyed lookout sounding the alarm. Twice through this nameless crop of evergreens, rock, and snow, and there had definitely not been a strange-looking structure anywhere in sight.

    Oh, this stank of magic. Magic... and ale. And cured meats. The more he sniffed about the more he was reminded that he hadn't had anything except snowberries to eat since leaving camp -- a small semi-dry depression of rock too small to consider a proper cave. This place had real food. He sighed, rubbing his forehead and gathering his travelling cloak about him. If this were a standard inn he'd never even consider stepping in unless he was meeting a client, Nord attitudes being what they were, but this might just be okay...

    Or it could be a magical death-trap that eats anyone who steps through the "door", flip that septim. Reason said to walk away... curiosity and hunger said to cautiously investigate. Ugh... he just knew he was going to regret this.

    _______________________________________________________

    Trying to act casual, Kassom opened the door and stepped inside. Strange architecture, but otherwise normal enough. There seemed to be other people inside, though far from a crowd. That was good; maybe they wouldn't run him off right away... though the big guy with the axe seemed both menacing and agitated. Skeever $#!%, maybe this wasn't such a good idea after--

    He barely had time to register the swing of well-oiled hinges and the clatter of iron boots before someone bumped into him from behind. What in Oblivion? He knew there hadn't been anyone behind him when he came in, yet now he had to abruptly catch his balance from some fool's clumsiness. Half-turning on his heels, his eyes went wide to meet the equally-surprised gaze of his sister. She'd been staying with a caravan near Riften, half a day away by horse at least. No way in Nirn had she managed not only to track him down, but then sneak up behind him as he came in.

    "Kassom!? When did you get back?"

    "Get back? What?? What are you doing out in Eastmarch?"

    "Eastmarch? No, that's not right. This place is just past Riften's back gates..." She caught the look in Kassom's eyes, that familiar expression of concern and wariness that told her something risky was going on. "... isn't it?"

    The red-furred Khajiit made a 'wait here' gesture to his taller sibling and then, with an air of forced calm, walked towards the man who appeared to be the barkeep. Magic. How he hated magic. "Pardon me, good people. My sister and I appear to be somewhat lost." His eyes traveled, sizing up Sparo, Karsan, and the two Breton travelers. Behind him, Iris' pack jostled loudly as she adjusted its weight on her shoulders. "Very lost. Could you tell us where we are, and the quickest way to Riften from here?"
     
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    #7 Nascent, Jun 8, 2020
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  8. Dustman

    Dustman The Silver Blade

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    The sound of colliding bodies and abrupt concerned tones from the entryway perked Sparo's ear as he attended to the two Bretons.

    "I'll give you some more time to look at our selection. After all, nothing better than some hot food to warm cold travelers."

    Sparo brushed his hand across the table, a booth made of the same smooth leaf-shaped wood as the rest of the inn. Should the two youths have followed his hand, they might see see the pattern of the table's twisting wood-grain ripple like a disturbed pond, before revealing multiple illusions; images and terms of the inn's commodities spreading themselves across the table's surface.
    . . .
    Smoothly, Sparo spun on his heel and nonchalantly intercepted the two, arguing amongst themselves '...as only siblings do...' he deduced. By their entrance, it must have been some time since they saw each other.

    The red-furred Khajiit gestured to his sister, and began to make his way towards Sparo. As he stepped, the floor shifted where his foot once contacted ; the outline of a bear's head. 'Eastmarch...?'

    "Pardon me, good people. My sister-" 'called it.' "-and I appear to be somewhat lost." His sister's pack rustled behind him, and at her feet, two pieces of the leaf-shaped wood smoothly crossed over one another, like swords. 'Riften...some minor spatial disconnect...perhaps some serendipitous temporal confluence..siblings re-aquainted across space and time. What an interesting opening paragraph.'

    Sparo adopted a mask of empathy, feeling the Khajiit's gaze upon him as he asked for his location. "A simple question with a simple answer." Sparo put up a calming hand to ease the Khajiit's barely concealed unrest.

    "I am Sparo, this is the Sparrow's Hideaway, for which I am it's proprietor. That's where you both are." He used the same hand to motion about the interior. ...and if you're looking for the fastest way to Riften, I believe you are maybe a half-day north, and for your sister...well, the City of Thieves is right out the door she came in. Getting there is eh...all a matter of how and whom!"

    Out of the corner of his eye, Sparo noticed a relief of a fox on the nearby wall tilt its head to the side in confusion. 'You're one to talk about confusing explanations'

    Sparo's face opened to a small smirk. "I can assure you of one simple thing, fortunately. You and yours are not lost. In fact, I'm fairly certain you're right where you need be. The reason why starts...with this." Sparo reached carefully into his apron pocket, slowly pulling out a simple wooden tablet, and flicking it upwards in front of him, never breaking eye contact...

    ...

    ...before flipping to a new notepage. "What can I get you and your sister? The Hideaway offers food, drink, rooms, conversation...maybe you need a place to put up your paws by the fire?" Sparo continued with a wink.

    ----------------------

    (OOC: Welcome to the forums! I would recommend associating a color to each of your characters for their speech. Kind of a tradition. Also I noticed the images in your character profiles not working.)
     
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  9. Nascent

    Nascent Member

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    (OOC: Thanks for the heads-up about the images. I was trying to use Google-based storage but it looks like they were only displaying for me. Should be working now, and I've added the dialogue colors as well -- bit hard picking one out for Iris that won't be unreadable against a gray background.)
    ____________________________________________________________​


    Kassom's mind boggled trying to sort through this Sparo's explanation -- one door that leads to two places?! -- so he quickly did what he usually did when encountering the mysteries of magic: mentally filed it away under "not even gonna try". Magic was one of those things that, in his opinion, you had to be well and truly disassociated from reality to comprehend, usually drowning in either books or booze. He had no taste for the former, and the latter had a bad habit of leading to a night of running from the guards. Outwardly he kept a pleasant demeanor -- inwardly, he was ready to smack his forehead against the nearest stone wall for being foolish enough to think unexpected taverns in the middle of nowhere wouldn't have literally everything to do with bloody magic.

    Oh well. The man running the show seemed nice enough. Aside from that bit about 'paws' he hadn't even made mention of the fact they were Khajiit... being treated like an actual person wasn't a common experience for Kassom, after all. He still didn't want to trust anything or anyone here, but seeing as they were already in the thick of it...

    "I, uh... think we might have different definitions of 'simple', friend." He glanced over at Iris, who seemed nervous and fidgety in an excited sort of way. "In any case, that's quite a sales pitch. As long as your prices are in septims I think we could both do with a seat and an ale, at least to start." It was a good thing he still had money on him from the last job.
     
  10. Dustman

    Dustman The Silver Blade

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    Sparo rumbled at the red-furred Khajiit's polite reaction to his explanation, jotting down the order for ale on his wooden tablet.

    "Yes, She didn't think it so simple either. Ironic." Sparo smirked at the image of the fox, which now lay playfully with it's head on it's paws.

    "Now, come, what reunion is without high-backed chairs and a roaring fire, hm?" Sparo gestured to a nearby alcove, in which this section of the inn's dense, leaf-like bark had produced a fireplace and lounge area.

    Upon mention, the fireplace produced a purplish flame which faded to green, hovering just above a solid hearth of what appeared to be densely packed river stones. The hearth expanded out in front of the fireplace, providing a primitive table space for the two high-backed chairs before it. The interior of the seats appeared to be formed of velvety smooth birch wood, their backs curling lightly backwards towards the top, like giant wood shavings. Silk cushions lay propped against each chair's side. Emerging from the spaces between the over-lapping leaves of bark which made up the mantle, brightly colored flowers snaked up towards the ceiling of the alcove.

    "Leave your septims on the hearth; they'll make their way to me while I retrieve your ales." Sparo continued before livening with a new thought, "You're in luck - none other that the Gourmet himself was present the other day, and traded a recipe for pear and honey ale in exchange for information." Sparo's face darkened. "Lucky in that he was here at all, what with the rumors of his death a few days prior." Sparo looked up again, smiling slightly, and putting his wooden tablet back into his apron pocket. "I'll be around if you need anything else, or have questions. I'm going to try to liven this place up with a bit of lute and tend to the other guests - give you two some privacy. You have much to discuss, if you're here. "
     
  11. Nascent

    Nascent Member

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    "The GOURMET?! "

    Kassom's ears rang with the force of his sister practically shouting the words, her excitement and surprise running like an electric current through the air. She'd also been halfway through removing her pack from her shoulders when Sparo mentioned the famed and mysterious chef -- as a result the tall wiry Khajit quite nearly unbalanced herself, barely avoiding a serious tumble. The gigantic camping pack hit the floor with a terrible rattle as forging equipment and miscellaneous supplies jostled about. In what seemed a heartbeat Iris was hot on Sparo's tail, stars in her eyes and hands clutched in raw untamed enthusiasm.

    "Oh my gosh, they were here?! You spoke to them! You saw The Gourmet -- and traded recipes?!" It was like everything he'd said after the exchange of info had gone right over Iris' head. "Please, tell me everything!"

    "Bloody moons..." Kassom could only stare at his sister's reaction. He knew she liked to cook, especially after she'd bought that one book off a caravan trader a month or so back, but... what on Nirn was this all about? So distracted by the moment was he that the rogue didn't even give a second glance at the bizarre -- and very clearly magical -- flame that had leapt into being on the hearth, instead simply placing a few coins down before slumping into what he abruptly discovered was the single most comfortable chair of his entire life.
     
  12. Dustman

    Dustman The Silver Blade

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    As one who once titled himself the preeminent duelist of at least one era past, the unexpected roar from the clanking, large, yet up-until-now demure Khajiit just about caught Sparo off-guard. Attempting to adapt his flinch into a flourish, he turned on a dime just in time, he assumed, to avoid being tackled by his excited patron, his tablet appearing in his hands in an automatic defensive gesture . Effective... if only for defending against the barrage of questions hurled at him.

    "Please, tell me everything!"

    "Bloody moons..."


    Meeting the excited girl's brother's exasperate expression, Sparo raised the universal gesture of 'I can handle it', turning it into a sweeping brandish beckoning the female Khajiit to the central bar.

    He briefly experienced the unique air-pressure change of the inn's attention, reminding him of the caution required with discussing such...temporally difficult subjects. Sparo bought himself some time by gliding around the bar hatch and beginning to pour the ale for his immediate customer. Darkly, he reminded himself that this case was easier, in that the timeline of the Gourmet he knew had seemingly been concluded. 'Based on her excitement, I pray she...missed that part.' Sparo mused, almost missing the shift of the relatively cool flagon he offered to his patron as it subtly warmed in her excited vicinity. He gestured to one of the bar stools, choosing to slowly lean forward conspiratorially upon the counter himself, as he recalled 'everything'.

    "Well, he...they...the Gourmet first stumbled upon this place as a young ...person. A young, but already very talented chef yet, they declared how distrait they could be, what genius they had in volume in brain. Prominent people tend to get lost more than you would expect. Established actors in grandeur stories, they are. Any ways, due to the... nature of this establishment, we have myriad ingredients and recipes from about'st Tamriel in-larder. I will profess to being a decent chef in my own right, but to be forthright, I canst say I knew all to do with all the novel quality of foodstuffs we had yet obtained. This grievance naturally supplemented conversation, which naturally got the Gourmet illuminated, as you are now, which naturally led to the culino-military occupation of this establishment's kitchen and pantry for the better part of a week. The most extraordinaire eating had in this establishment for a time."

    Sparo paused to excuse himself, pump himself a tankard of water from the nearby spigot, and downing it swiftly.

    "Any arrangement this seasonable would inherently want to be encouraged, yes? Unfortunately, between you and me..." Sparo chimed with a wink "...I only have tenuous say in where in Nirn we, our guests, entertain. Ordinately, I predicted this a chance meeting, not to be repeated. Attachment is no luxury of mine specific profession. Well, would not you know, I've entertained the Gourmet no more than twelve more times since, including our most recent trade. Pray-tell, they developed a talent at getting lost, such that I am not sure whether she has a grudge or fondness for the chef - perhaps both. I never saw them...sequentially, per say, after the first couple occasions. It is truly a unique experience meeting someone who has related themselves with you better than you them; but whatever capacity their craft was, they made up for in diversity of craft and novel experimentation. Always a welcome trade for some worldly information."

    Sparo stood tall now clapping his hands together with finality. "...and that's ...generally everything." Saying so, he fashioned another flagon of ale beneath the counter. "Now, forgive me, but I must service what I read as necessary ale to quench your brother. I will return."

    . . .
    "Your kin is delightful, sir Khajiit. In all the excitement about, I've yet to get her name - nor yours. A more rare exchange than not, here, but one I find less awkward than inconvenient." Sparo stated, sweeping about the chair, flagon outstretched.
     
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  13. Nascent

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    ". . . 'She'?" Kassom inquired, accepting the flagon from Sparo. He'd been listening in on the whole conversation and noted that particular point, the second time the tavernkeep had referred to a yet-unknown female person. The context made it sound like 'she' was Sparo's employer, someone with some sort of power over this strange magical place. The truth of it hadn't hit him, at least not yet -- the idea that the building wasn't just magical but sentient -- and had he known it was likely Kassom would've grabbed his sister and fled out the door at once, the idea of being digested by a gigantic arcane creature-construct not something that would let him sit easy no matter how untrue it might be. Paranoia had kept him alive thusfar, after all. He raised a curious eyebrow at Sparo as he took his first sip, sighing in satisfaction as the cold liquid went down. "Ahh, that's good stuff."

    Iris, for her part, was still a million miles away mentally, lost in the story that Sparo had told -- equal parts awed and confused. She stood in a place that The Gourmet had frequented, an establishment that the finest chef in all Tamriel had once occupied the kitchen of. So much of what Sparo had said made no real sense to her -- "tend to get lost"?, "nature of this establishment"?, "only have a tenuous say"? -- but the tale was so strange that she felt it had to be true. She sat there, holding her flagon and staring at the beverage within, trying to imagine the scene...

    "Kassom. Kassom Sercha." The rogue took another sip. "Professional treasure hunter... and not usually a fan of magic. Bad experiences." He nodded to the bar. "The wonder-struck one is my sister Iris... who somehow was miles away when I came through your door. Please, I don't want to know how that's even possible -- 'magic' is all the explanation I need or want. Anyway," He hooked a thumb over to where her pack lay nearby. "If you've got anything metal that needs repairing she's got the tools and the skill. And if you need anything acquired, I'm currently looking for work. Though, by the sound of things, finding my way back here again doesn't seem too likely, is it?"
     

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