By Brian Flood
Chapter 20 - Dinner and Drinks (Part 2)
The Bear’s Den Inn
Along the Uldoon Trail, The Sunset Vale
Early Evening, 27th Day of Eleint; Year of the Tankard (1370 DR)
Alric, Darius, Soft Fang}
After Rosy departs the table, Corin breaks the silence. “Well,” the young woman begins, “that was very nice of your friend over there to buy the first round. You must be a well-established company, indeed. Now, I lost track with all the introductions and the barmaid’s interruption. Where did you say you were headed?”
“Asbravn,” Alani says stretching. Her body lengthens in a most appealing way. “I'd say friend Kryian is just trying to impress Rosy. And from where I sit, it looks like he's succeeding.”
The elf shrugs and continues. “And what about you Corin? You started to say that you were just passing though? So where are you headed?”
eyes widen briefly before she responds. “Oh
me? Well, I’m traveling just the
opposite, as a matter of fact. I’m
headed to Berdusk; I hope to catch a barge from there to the coast.”
”The coast?” responds Alani. “Hmmm....sounds interesting and what business do you have there? If you don't mind me asking.”
Corin shrugs and says, “Nothing in particular. But I’ve always wanted to see it. And with winter only a few months away, I’m thinking it would be best to get there before the first snows.”
young woman looks over Alani’s shoulder and says, “Well, it looks like our
barmaid is still making friends with your traveling companion so we have a bit
before she comes back for your dinner order.
What of your business? Why
is it you travel to Asbravn – are you guards, or mercenaries, or some such
Corin frowns at the pall of silence that falls over the table in the wake of her question. She raises her eyebrows and looks like she is preparing to ask the question again…when Rosy reappears at the table.
then,” the barmaid begins, ignoring Corin’s frustration at being
interrupted. “I hope you are
enjoying your ale, juice and water. As
I said before, we have a hunter’s stew prepared for tonight’s dinner.
Can I interest anyone in a serving?”
“Count me in,” says Alani.
“Excellent!” exclaims Rosy. Glancing from Alric to Darius, the barmaid continues. “And what of you, kind sirs, a bowl of hunter’s stew to warm you?”
Rosy lets the silence linger for several long minutes. Finally, she sighs and says, “Tell you what. I will get this young lady’s stew and if the two of you like the looks of it I’ll bring you a bowl. Now, if you’ll excuse me for a minute or two.”
The barmaid smiles and departs the table. The dinner companions watch as she takes Tomar’s order from where the book dealer sits with the two other scholarly types. Then, the demure half-elf disappears into the door behind the bar.
Glancing at the other tables, it is obvious that not much has changed since seating arrangements were made. The fireplace continues to be the only light source in the room, resulting in a series of dancing shadows that play across the walls and drape the room’s corner areas. Kjira, Kyrian, Cyzicus and Lucas appear to be engaged in light conversation at their table. Slyvia and Dolak are exchanging words with the Autur, who now stands behind the bar. Tomar also engaged in lively conversation with his two newfound friends. The guards sitting at the corner table continue to glance warily at the new arrivals as they play their dice game. At the table in the far corner, the fair maiden and her hulking bodyguard continue to slowly sip from their wine goblets as they survey the crowd.
After a few more minutes, Rosy re-emerges from the area behind the bar carrying a serving tray heaped with a stack of bowls and several loaves of bread. Autur follows closely behind her, carrying a cast iron kettle by its handles.
The pair stops at the table and Rosy sets a loaf of bread in the center of the table. “To soak up the juices,” she explains. Then, she fills uses a wooden ladle to fill a wooden serving bowl with a steaming chunky stew from the kettle that Autur carries. She sets the delicious-smelling meal in front of Alani.
“Enjoy your meal,” Rosy says. Glancing to Alric and Darius, the barmaid continues. “If you’ll allow me to serve the other customers, I’ll be back in a few minutes to see if you have changed your mind about the stew.”
The half-elven maid smiles briefly and then slinks over to the table where Tomar sits with the other scholars. She repeats the serving process with the book merchant and moves over to the table where Kryian, Kjira, Cyzicus, and Lucas sit.
“My,” says Corin interrupting the threesome’s observation of Rosy. She sure seems interested in your friend. Say, that stew smells great! How is it?”
* * * * *
Kjira, Kryian, Lucas}
“Without doubt I will sample your stew lady,” Cyzicus says with no small degree of eagerness in his voice, for it seems he enjoys a meal as much as any halfling although his rather lean frame doesn't reflect it. “And don't hold back on the portion on account of my stature. I assure you I need every bit as much nourishment as the largest human to keep up my stamina and energy.”
smiles at Cyzicus' declaration. “Very
well, that's two so far. And what of you, Master Kryian, or you
miss?" she says, looking to Kryian and Kjira.
“Please,” Kjira blurts out at Rosy's inquiry. “I'll take anything warm and cooked! It's been quite a while since I've had the pleasure of eating a real meal.”
I think you'll find this quite warm and quite cooked, miss.”
Turning to Kryian, Rosy says with a sly grin, “And how about you
Captain? Care for some stew?”
you flatter me Rosy... 'Cap'n'... maybe someday. But the stew sounds to me to
be a more immediate pleasure. How could I possibly refuse a suggestion of
yours?" Kryian winks and
Rosy graces Kryian with another of her dazzling smiles. “That's what I'm hoping for,” she says slyly before moving away to serve the other customers.
After Rosy leaves the table, Kryian turns to the others at the table and cheerfully asks, “So, what have we for entertainment? I know I could use something other than the brew to get my mind off that rainy patch of overgrown seaweed you'd call a forest.”
The four dinner companions continue to make small talk for several minutes. As they speak, they notice Rosy leave Alani’s table and head over to the table where Tomar sits engaged in conversation with the two other scholarly types. She speaks briefly to the book dealer and then smiles and heads for the bar. She glances over in Kryian’s direction as she walks away, her hips swaying seductively in the dim light of the fireplace.
The half-elven barmaid speaks briefly to Autur and then the two disappear into the door located behind the bar. Shortly, they reappear. Rosy is carrying a serving tray crowded with a stack of wooden bowls and several loaves of bread. Autur follows closely behind her, carrying a large cast iron kettle by its handles. She moves past the foursome’s table, winking at Kryian on her way.
Rosy stops at the corner table where Darius, Alani, and Alric sit with the young woman. The half-elven maid places a loaf of bread in the center of the table and then fills one of the wooden bowls from the large kettle that Autur holds ready. She speaks briefly to Alric and Darius and then moves over to where Tomar sits. She proceeds to repeat the serving sequence at that table, as well, placing a steaming bowl in front of the book merchant.
Finally, the demure barmaid arrives at the foursome’s table. “I hope I didn’t keep you waiting too long,” she purrs, glancing at Kryian. She then places a loaf of bread, which rests on a wooden cutting board, in the center of the table. “This is for you to eat with the stew,” she explains.
Rosy then turns and fills one of the wooden bowls from the kettle in Autur’s hands. She places the steaming container in front of Kjira. “Ladies first,” the barmaid explains shyly. She then repeats the process with Lucas, Cyzicus, and – lastly – Kryian.
“Thanks, Autur,” Rosy says to the barkeep. Autur grunts, shrugs briefly, and carries the kettle back to the bar.
“And now,” Rosy says, addressing those at the table. “Is there anything else I can be getting you? And, Master Kryian, will you be paying for the dinners as well as the drinks?”
* * * * *
Dolak pauses to sip his ale, allowing Slyvia the opportunity to answer Autur's question. Instead of answering, however, Slyvia watches as Rosy moves to serve the table where Kryian, Kjira, Lucas, and Cyzicus sit. The barmaid delivers the foursome’s drinks and then pauses to take each of the companions’ dinner order.
Noting that the spellarcher is apparently not going to respond to Autur’s question, Dolak answers for the pair. “Aye,” the dwarf says guardedly. “We’re travellin’ that way. ‘Ave you ‘eard any tales ‘o brigands or the like ‘tween here and this Asbravn?”
Autur shakes his head in response. “No, can’t say I have. Are you guarding something valuable in that wagon of yours?” the barkeep asks.
“Nay,” answers Dolak. “Nothin’ special. The employer ‘s a book dealer. Can’t see much value in a load o’ tomes, eh?”
Autur chuckles lightly. “No. Can’t say that I can. So, can I interest the two of you in a bit of dinner?” the barkeep asks. “I’ve got a hearty stew that I’ve prepared meself. It’ll go well with that Iriaeboran ale.”
“Aye,” the dwarf responds. “I’ll take a bowl o’ the soup. I’m thinkin’ me companion ‘ere will probably ‘ave some ‘erself as well.”
Slyvia observes Rosy exchanging coy words and glances with Kryian. Then, the barmaid moves to the table at the far corner, near the door, where Darius, Alani and Alric sit with the young woman clad in traveling leathers.
Autur’s voice near her ear interrupts Slyvia’s observations. “Say, miss. You’ve been awfully quiet, is there something I can get you besides the ale your friend bought you?”
A few long moments pass and then Rosy leaves Alani’s table and returns to the bar, relieving Slyvia of any obligation to answer Autur.
“Autur,” the barmaid begins as she closes with the bar. “I need six servings of the stew. Can you help me by carrying the kettle to table-side?”
“Why sure, lassie,” Autur replies. The barkeep follows Rosy through the door behind the bar. Soon, the two reappear. This time, Rosy is carrying a tray containing a stack of wooden bowls and several loaves of bread. Autur carries a large cast iron kettle by its handles. The two servers walk across the room to where Alani, Darius and Alric sit with the young woman.
As the two proceed to serve dinner, Dolak speaks to the dwarf at the far end of the bar. Dolak’s voice rumbles in his grating, rough native tongue and ends with an intonation, suggesting a question. The other dwarf responds in the same language.
As the two dwarves carry on in their racial language, Slyvia watches Rosy place a loaf of bread in the center of Darius’ table and then fill a wooden bowl from the kettle that Autur is carrying. The barmaid places the bowl in front of Alani and says a few words to Alric and Darius. With a smile, Rosy moves to the table where Tomar sits. She repeats the serving process at the book dealer’s table and then slinks over to where Kryian, Kjira, Cyzicus and Lucas are sitting.
Rosy places a loaf of bread in the center of that table and then proceeds to fill four bowls, which she places in front of each companion. She then speaks briefly to Autur and the barkeep shrugs and starts back toward the bar. Rosy continues to speak with the foursome at the table.
Autur steps behind the bar and grunts as he sets the heavy kettle on a table behind the serving counter.
“While I got it out, do either of you want some of the stew?” he asks Dolak and Slyvia.
“Aye,” says Dolak, turning from his conversation with his fellow dwarf. “Serve me up some ‘o that delicious combination that I smell.”
Autur smiles as he uses a ladle to spoon a large portion of a thick, hearty stew into a wooden bowl. He places the steaming serving in front of Dolak. “That’ll be two silvers,” the barkeep says, “your well-dressed friend over there is paying for the first round of ale.”
As Dolak digs for his coins, Autur turns back to Slyvia. “I’ll ask you again lassie, before I take this stew back to the kitchen. Do you want some or not?” The barkeep seems to be getting slightly annoyed at Slyvia’s detached demeanor.
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