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[-The Broken Chant Tavern-]

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Frank the Bartender

The well dressed elf at the bar didn’t bother lifting his head from his meal, but Frank, the proprietor of the establishment, looked up and kept his eyes set on the stunning looking creature that waltzed into his tavern with the shaggiest looking dog by her side that he had ever seen. For a moment he considered telling the woman that dog’s weren’t allowed inside of the tavern, but something about her rather ragged appearance made him feel a not so uncommon twinge of sympathy. The young woman looked like she had been through hell and back, and that filthy looking dog at her side seemed to be her only friend left in the world. So with a roll of his eyes and a deep sigh from his broad chest, Frank allowed his expectations of running a reputable establishment slip past his big, wrinkled fingers.

 

“How does one go about getting some of that succulent looking boar? And a bowl of water for my friend here if you please.”

 

“Well first of all,” Frank replied, his voice was deep and sounded like what gravel felt like, “You’ll have come and get it here. We’re short staffed and I refuse to be waiting on such a mangey looking pair.”

 

Even as he spoke, Frank threw a glance over his shoulder at the kitchen. He caught the eye of the man responsible for the utterly delicious perfume that was wafting through the tavern -- roasted flesh, fresh rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, garlic, shallot, and even the sweetness orange zest, nutmeg, and cloves -- and nodded. The man immediately set to work on fixing two plates, one on a plate for a person and another in a deep bowl for the dog. Meanwhile, the tired looking barkeeper went about fetching a bowl of water and setting it on the bar. Although Frank highly doubted the young woman could pay, he considered this his one charitable action of the day.

 

“Frank, are you really going to let that disgusting thing in here while I am eating?! And I am not even talking about the dog…” the elf had finally taken notice of the new patrons. He was dressed well, and had an air of self-given importance.

 

“You shut your face and eat your food before I kick you out of here,” Frank answered immediately, although it wasn't clear if he was defending the girl or just being his normal charming self.

 

“This place is really going down the shithole,” the elf murmured, “You’re lucky this goddamn boar is so good.”

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"Many thanks!" she smiled, then added with a wink, "I would say mangey is a kind description, I wasn't able to trade for some decent clothes in the last village I was in....someone" she directed a glare at the dog, "Started trouble and we had to leave rather quickly...He has since promised to behave himself."

The dog barked and wagged his tail. She picked up the deep bowl and the water and set them on the floor.

"Don't go making a mess this time - I quite like this place." She told him. 

The elf next to her seemed the grumpy sort, her eyebrow twitched angrily when he referred to her as a "disgusting thing." She smiled at him, deciding to irk him further.

"It is 'disgusting woman'" She said with smirk, "and I quite prefer to be called mangey if you please." 

She hungrily dug into the boar and as the flavors rolled over her tongue she closed her eyes and smiled. It had been a long time since she had something not charred - freshly caught and covered in drool or left overs after a long night of playing music. 

"If you are short on staff I may be able to help." She said mouth full of boar.

The dog barked at her, she swallowed.

"Who are you to talk about manners Sir drools a lot?" She directed at the dog, "I've caught you eating your own shit before, don't pretend you havent."

He whined and went back to devouring his portion of boar.

"Glutton." She mumbled down at him, she looked back at Frank "If you are short staffed I am more than happy to help. I'm no stranger to hard work...and I promise not to look so mangey. If I can find some strings for my instrument I can play, I have no problem serving as well. I cant promise I will stay for a long time, but as I said, I quite like this place." 

 

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The hooded elf at the bar table perked his ears at the sound of the approaching crew. Seemed he had lost himself to enjoying his meal. With a bit of food still hanging from his mouth, he watched the lady and hound trot into the tavern. His tongue swept the lingering piece into his maw and chewed slowly as he watched them enter. That hound was massive...But that wasn't the main thing that caught his eye. Nor was it the tattered state of her clothing. No, it was the state which her instrument was in that clenched at the strings of his heart; however, the dog was a close second seeing he had a vast love of animals. Despite being a stranger, he couldn't help himself from slipping from the stool and approaching her instrument post haste. 

"By the gods! What has happened to your instrument? It's nearly broken!" he exclaimed in a heartbroken tone. His rose-quarts orbs searched over the musical piece for damage, his fingers stroking over the absent/broken strings.

"P-pardon my intrusion..." he stumbled as he swiftly placed his hand over his chest and took a step back-finding himself rude for suddenly being so close to her. "It's just so sad seeing instruments in this state..." He gestured to himself with a warm smile. "Ah, where are my manners? My name is Alimar; I am a musician myself. 'Tis a pleasure."

It was at this moment where the lady would likely see that he also carried an instrument with him, a flute to be exact if one were to recognize the casing. His eyes turned to the dog, likely looking up at him for approaching his owner. He smiled warmly. "He is quite the massive hound--What is his name?" his accent was thickly elven, but his tone was clearly friendly. He looked a bit odd for an elf with white hair and tanned skin. 

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Frank the Bartender

Frank intended to go back to his work of diligently polishing the already polished glass wear. It’s how he passed the time -- constantly rubbing the edge of wine, brandy, whiskey, and beer glasses to a spectacular shine while waiting for customers. But it seemed that the ‘disgusting woman’ had other ideas.

 

“If you are short on staff I may be able to help,” said the mad-haired woman with a mouthful of food, grease was dripping down her chin and Frank resisted the urge to throw a napkin at her face. The dog at her side barked, seemingly just as pleased as it’s owner while it too devoured mouthfuls of freshly roast meat. “Who are you to talk about manners Sir drools a lot? I’ve caught you eating your own shit before, don’t pretend you haven’t.”

 

Frank sighed and rolled his bright blue eyes before leaning heavily on the bartop and focusing more intently on the woman and her dog. He had a few choice words for them -- such as how his kindness should not be mistaken for weakness and how it would be a cold day in hell before he ever hired the likes of them for his classy establishment. He was more than a little irked that in trying to be kind to this woman by offering her shelter, for a short while, and a meal, she had somehow taken it to mean more than it was. But then she went on…

 

“If you are short staffed I am more than happy to help. I’m no stranger to hard work… and I promise not to look so mangey. If I can find some strings for my instrument I can play, I have no problem serving as well. I can’t promise I will stay for a long time, but as I said, I quite like this place.”

 

How long had it been since this place had any sort of entertainment? Frank was a little on the cheap side, and no reputable musician in the capital would work for him at the wadge he offered. But if this girl was at all talented with that instrument of hers, well then maybe he could keep her around for a few plates of food and a cot down in the basement -- which seemed totally fair to him.

 

However, before he could say anything on the matter he was interrupted by a third patron. The man who had been quietly appreciating his meal was now up and about, making overly dramatic exclamations about the broken instrument that the redhead was carrying around.

 

“P-pardon my intrusion…”

 

“If you’re interested in a job,” Frank interrupted, and did not pardon himself for it, “--come talk to me when you’re done having your little musicians pow-wow. I think we can work something out, as long as you're ready to roll up your sleeves and work for your keep.”

 

Frank left it at that and went to the kitchen to see if he couldn’t get the cook to find the redhead some suitable clothes just in case they came to some sort of agreement. He also had to see about sleeping arrangements.

 

There was no way he was putting her up in one of his nice rooms.

 

(Don't mind Frank -- he's just a grumpy old man.)

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Frank was grumpy, but Zafira liked him, there was no mystery, no secrets, just a bar keep trying to make a living in the city. 

“If you’re interested in a job,” Frank interrupted the elf, Alimar “--come talk to me when you’re done having your little musicians pow-wow. I think we can work something out, as long as you're ready to roll up your sleeves and work for your keep.”

Regardless, she intended to work off her meal, no good deed goes without fair trade in her mind. Whether through music or through cleaning or serving, she didn't care. Perhaps she could convince this stranger to play with her as well for a bit, she had a good knack for filling taverns and bars whenever she played her crappy, but lovely sounding instrument. 

Zafira turned back to the Alimar who seemed heartbroken over the state of her instrument. She grinned guiltily and scratched the back of her head. He asked after her dog and his name. She couldn't rightly answer either of his questions, how did  her instrument get to be in that shape? And the dog still refused to share his name with her, despite all they had been through together. 

"Wellll-" She continued to grin, she couldn't help it, "I would imagine the strings are broken this time because I hit someone with it....why it is in such horrid shape otherwise, I couldn't tell you, it sort of came this way and I'm quite attached to it. Couldn't imagine being without it - as for the dog - well - I really have no idea what his name is, he won't tell me. I keep guessing, but I just can't seem to figure it out. Just where are you from anyway? I haven't heard an accent like that before." 

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The male flinched at the harsh tone of Frank's grouchiness. It reminded him of his tutors at home and he had to resist the urge to puff out his cheeks and lower lip at his rudeness. Perhaps he had been a bit dramatic, but if he saw someone keep their tavern or perhaps their mugs in such a shape, he would be equally just as displeased. He turned his attention towards the girl again and nodded. "I see, a strange fate for such an inst--wait did you say you hit someone with it!? Instruments are not weapons," the elf all but whined. Though it was true he had hit a particular dragonkin with his flute--but that was on accident! He'd fallen off a roof after all, not at all his fault. He gave out a sigh. "At least try to take better care of it or the damages may break it completely..." He lectured softly.

He blinked with the reveal the dog had no known name. "Hasn't told you? Hmm, perhaps we could speak to a druid?" he seemed to lose himself in thought, having a staring contest with the hound. He placed his hand atop the mutt's head and ruffled his ears fondly. "Malas amelin ne halam, Sir Drools-a-lot."

Alimar smiled at the hound before snapping back. "Ah... well, I would be more surprised if you had heard it. The Elvhen go to great lengths to remain hidden among prying eyes of the shemlen. Is my common that bad? I practiced it much in my home town, though not many spoke it. My hahren would often scold me for speaking rubbish when I should be studying when I was just a da'len," he gave a tender laugh, sweet memories pouring over his eyes before he continued. "You see, this is my first time outside of my clan. I decided to see the world they so bitterly resent. They are not so bad people, they are just...what is the word in your tongue? Solas, tall standing people. I've always dreamed of going on an adventure and exploring the world--like the tales of story books. So... here I am. Is that strange?"

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Zafira stared at Alimar, the dog turned and glared at her for his newly dubbed nick name - Sir Drools a lot. She had no idea what he was saying, or even talking about, but the one thing she did understand was adventure. 

"Nothing wrong with wanting a little or a lot of adventure." She said brightly, "that is not so strange. I have certainly heard of stranger things in these parts."

She smiled down at the dog and winked at him, he was still glaring at her, "Perhaps we shall call you Sir for short." 

She thought on his admonition of her treatment of her instrument, she pulled it from her back and ran her hand down the neck of it. 

"Its nearly indestructible." She said, "I've had to use it more than once for self defense - someone - likes to get into bar fights when he drinks. The only thing that has broken on it are the strings."

She thought about demonstrating on Frank's bar, she thought better of it and knocked on it lightly instead. It made a dull thudding noise and she nimbly strung across her back once more. Its weight a familiar companion. 

"It must have taken a lot of courage to travel away from your clan, especially if they resent the outside world." She studied his appearance, so different from her own, "Where are you adventuring to?" 

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