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Mokk seems to be caught up with a group. Several people exit the bar talking with the Rhinoman. They step outside of the inn, and move towards the large carriage sturdy enough to carry the large fellow. After a quick conversation, three dwarves seat themselves on the bench opposite of the Rhinoman. He'd agreed to give them a quick carriage ride. They were interested in the engineering which made it through the road deemed too rough for travel.

The carriage's ability to carry much heavier weight than a typical vehicle of its design also gave it stauncher legs on tough trails. These dwarves couldn't pass on the chance to pick up from this.

It appeared Mokk might be gone for awhile.
(I'm semi away for awhile. I might come back. Just have a ton of stories going on at the moment. I'll probably check in fairly often.)

The last words of Mistress Weather seemed to confirm even more that the fellow in question was indeed Henry Fitzroy. Which worried Brenna more than she might admit. She didn't want in the middle of Lady Helena's marriage. That kind of thing would put a target on her head, maybe even from Helena herself.

Could even the suspicion of such be enough to let the Lady take preemptive action? Or the ambassador? He seemed nearly as bent out of shape as Helena.

"The rich man in your fortune could easily be your father," Brenna suggested to Caitlin, trying to steer the conversation away from the idea of herself and Henry. "There was nothing yet to suggest it was romantic."

"Trust a dwarf", laughs Macey, "who lives in the dark mines and delves for gold, not to know whether the Sun represents good or bad. All life ultimately comes from the Sun. The Sun gives the grass life, which gives cattle life, which give us life. Fir even dwarves must eat."
"He will come into conflict with Henry Fitzroy" says Caitlin, "but eventually it will all be for the good".
"You are becoming obsessed with Henry Fitzroy" says Captain Baring, "I know you have met him, and your father hopes to sell him some spices. But Mistress Weather didn't actually say it was him. Just a high class man. And there are many nobles."

"He comes here often though, does Henry Fitzroy" says Buxom Betty, who is collecting some tankards, "on his way to Leymouth when he goes on his foreign travels. Quite a regular guest."
"So is it Henry Fitzroy, or was it you Papa?" says Caitlin, "Do tell us, Mistress Weather".
"Alas my cards are folded" says Mistress Weather, "and your fortune must remain untold."
"Tell one for Lady Helena" says Caitlin.
"I don't believe in fortunes" says Lady Helena, "they're always so vague they could mean anything. Besides, I hate to think what she'd foretell for me. I've got enough bad news as it is."
"I'll go for a fortune then" says Macey.
"No don't" says Caitlin, "she might foretell something bad, then where would we be?"

"So how shall we decide the matter?" asks Captain Baring, "Is there some test we can give to Mistress Weather which will prove whether or not her predictions are accurate?"

Standing along the path outside were two dwarves. They had simple beards of young commoner dwarves. One wore a simple chainmail tunic long enough to fall to his ankles. At his side was a hammer with a handle wrapped in red leather. A red gemstone was embedded in the handle's pommel.

"Flip sakes.. Due fer a drink, meself", said Rin, the ruddy dwarf, in a heavy accent to the other. "Bad 'nuff we 'ready missed the flippin' Rhinomen fight." He said the word 'Rhinoman' in singsong notes which seemed to escalate in pitch until trailing off. His accent also made the name for the species sound plural.

The pair had spoken briefly to the lumbering beastman soon after he'd left the tavern. Mokk filled the pair in on the details inside. It left Rin itching for a drink. "Road seems secure 'nuff lad", said the darker dwarf to Rin. "Take a load off."

"Aye", said Rin as he started to walk off. "I'll find someone to relieve ya meself", Rin said as his heavy footfalls brought him closer to the inn.

A heavy palm opened the door soon afterwards, stepping with quick strides towards the bar's dwarf level section of the countertops. "Gimme a mead, will ye'?" Rin slapped a few coins on the table, full of wear and patina.

(I'm back. One thing I needed to take a slight break for was to animate a dwarf... Among other people. But I've caught up with a lot and established a solid pace. So I can hop back here. Breaks are useful for keeping things fresh, so we all probably could have used the 'tactical pause'.)

((Aye, I agree. Will be posting soon, these summer hours are kicking me arse))

Brenna's eyes suddenly roll over with tiredness. The wine, and the conversation, and the fortune telling have all been too much for her. She makes and excuse and goes to her room for a rest.

Bald Mick and Rosalind greet the new arrival. "Welcome to the Royal Mile Inn" they say, "we're just about to close the gate. There's odd folk prowl about at night. But it's safe in here, we have a detachment of soldiers posted to keep guard over us whilst we sleep. And Samuel will get your horses".

Rin goes to the bar, and slaps down his coin. He is served by a fair barmaid, the most beautiful he has ever seen. He is immediately taken by her. She taps the barrel for some mead.

"I can cure all sorts of illnesses" Mistress Weather is saying. She seems to have got into some sort of discussion about whether her powers are genuine. The others are gathered around her, and Tarot cards lie on the table. Lighting is from torches in the wall, it's dim and flickering. Mistress Weather's cat moves about.

"Fish pie or chicken stew?" asks Alfonce the cook. "Dinner will shortly be served".

((FYI that I'm still here. Just didn't seem to be any action for Brenna to take other than a fluff post since she'd offer no suggestions to try to prove or disprove the fortune teller and I was kinda hoping for a Pint post. :) I'm fine with her going to her room though ... she's sleeping on the floor. Not those flea infested mattresses! ))

"I'll come back down in a bit," she said, anxious to get away from the obnoxious Lady Helena. "If someone could call me when dinner is ready?"

((I’m back in business and will post tomorrow I swears))

Rin had exchanged banter with Mick and Rosalind, telling them, "Just got off the dayshift meself."

He currently sat at the table, eyelids hung low in a tired gaze. The barmaid in front of him did perk up his day just a bit. Rin couldn't help but notice he didn't see many like her around. After she places the drink on the table, Rin leaves a few extra coins for her service. "Thank ye, lass." He took a quick sip. "You pour a good mead", the dwarf said with a curt nod and closed eyes.

Once the food choices were given, he said, "The fish stew sounds 'bout right", Rin said. "A Kegsuasunder loves a good piece of fish... Even in stew." He had heard Brenna talk about diner before going upstairs. "I cannae say what the redhaired lass who went upstairs would prefer."

Rin's hammer hung from his waist, handle pointing away from the bar. He turned back to the barmaid. "So lass, are ye from 'round these parts? Ye gotta unique style about ye."

Brenna goes upstairs, and Martha comes to bring her a candle.
"I'll call you when yer dinner's ready." she says. "That girl, Caitlin, she's annoying, isn't she? Henry Fitzroy, Henry Fitzroy". There's a touch of bitterness in her mimickry.
She lights an incense stick, which takes some of the smell of sweat that clings to the beds away. The fire is unlit, and it is cold.

"I was born in the royal palace at Great Whiteminster" says the attractive barmaid, to Rin, "my mother was a cook in the kitchens there. The ladies taught me how to talk to courtly folk, the manners, the addresses, things like that."
She flashes Rin a demure smile.

There are two other dwarves in the inn, Pint, and Mistress Weather's companion, Dalin. Dalin is holding forth.
Rin recognises him as a member of a very special sect of dwarves, who are pledged to speak only the truth, the Firin.
"Mistress Weather can most definitely heal" he says, "I've seen it with my own eyes. She knows all the herbs, what they do, how to mix them."
"Yes, but can she tell the future?" says the Petulan ambassador, "That's a different sort of skill."
"Maybe people make the future come true, by believing in it" says Caitlin, "I believe her."
"I'd like to know" says Captain Baring.

Mistress Weather's cat comes up and deliberately sniffs Rin, as though checking him out.
"Maybe she wants some pieces of fish" says the barmaid, "Dinner will be served shortly".

Pint frowned some at the explanation behind the sun card and how it represented life giving or some such. For one, they were right that he, as a dwarf, didn't instinctively know that the sun was a good thing, and though he didn't hate sunlight, he didn't much care for it either. Secondly, it was always a rule of thumb for Pint that when it came to witchcraft - no matter how mundane it looked - he never assumed things.

Nevertheless, the explanation came and he relaxed some, resting his back on the chair and crossing his arms before shrugging his shoulders. "Seems pretty straightforward to me. Some bloke tries to harass Brenna and I knock 'im down on his arse. Then we have some good ales over it, aye?" As much as Pint was the type of dwarf that liked to make his own fortune, he had to admit that he sort of liked where this fortune of his was going, liking nothing more than to fix things with his axe.

As Brenna excused herself, Pint followed her with his gaze until she was out of sight. He pursed his lips thoughtfully and wondered why he decided to become all protective over the human ex-noble, even already sort of agreeing to fight to defend her honor if it came down to it. He figured he always had a soft spot for protecting perceived damsels-- even if they were a head or two taller than him. The dwarf sighed and his thoughts wandered to that cleric he saved back in the dwarven mines wondering how she might be doing.

The arguments all around him all felt like background noise to him and it was only the door opening that made Pint get back on track. His hand resting on the axe head of his Urgrosh juuuuust in case he needed it. All this talk about this Henry fellow had him ready and spoiling for a fight, even though he had just fought Mokk moments earlier. Pint was always ready to fight as a good proper dwarf.

But surprisingly, it was a pair of dwarven folk that came in. Pint arched an eyebrow and suddenly thought these might be the dwarves he was looking for. Even though he heard one of them saying that he was a 'Kegsuasunder' or some such, it was still worth a try.

"Hey brothers!" Pint raised his own mug of ale and sauntered over to Rin. "Ye blokes know where I can find some bloody dwarves that only say the truth?? I's got some business with 'em-- though not the bloody kind mind ye, just in case yer wondering." He said chugging down his beer and complaining about it soon after. "Uuugh! Blimey this might as well be water..." Pint is not exactly a detective and his idea of being subtle is to just act like himself.

Brenna thanks Martha for the candle as she digs into her traveling bag for something, then gives a small smile and a half shrug to the accusation that Caitlin has been annoying.

"I suppose," Brenna acknowledged, still thinking about the fortune from Mistress Weather despite her best efforts not to and the signs that seemed to point to Henry Fitzroy. "Have you ever met him? Henry Fitzroy, I mean. Is he really so handsome?"

Then laughed at herself. "Not that I suppose it matters. Have you heard? He's to be married to Lady Helena." She smiled at the cranky maid to show she was in jest. Of course she'd heard. They'd all heard it what seemed like a dozen times downstairs.

"Oh aye", Rin replied to the barmaid. "All courtly manners and everything. Right charmin'. 'Preciate ya, lass." The stubby fingered dwarf lifted the drinking vessel, taking a long swig. Rin's dwarven stomach could tolerate a great deal of mead. Luckily, it was the taste he had missed during his long patrol. Rin took a deep breath and set down his drink. "Ahh... That's hel-fee." 'Healthy' was one of the favorite slang terms of the Kegsasunders.

Rin reached over to the cat, putting his fist forward first. The Kegsasunder connection to animals let Rin know this was how cats liked to be greeted. After all, he noticed that they greeted each other like that. The cat would likely rub his chin to the side of his fist to exchange scents. Rin then moved to scratching the cat's chin. All the while, he focused on his drink and the conversation.

"Yeah, wee bit a fish for 'em later", he replied to her about the cat. Rin stared at his drink momentarily, taking in its rich scent.

It wasn't long after that when another dwarf approached.

"'s why I always go with a mead meself", Rin replied with a grin. "Ye cannae mess up fermented honey." He had been thinking about what the newcomer first asked. "Me thinks ye be lookin' for the Kirin." He thought for a second about where he remembered seeing it. "Matter of fact, me 'hinks the lad over there might have a connection", he said pointing at the other. Rin's sing song voice really turned the last sentence into an almost musical affair. He stressed and extended the second syllable in 'connection' heavily.

"Lets go talk to the lad, mate. Ye doing well?" Rin was just tired after a long day. He was interested in what had been going on here. A wide array of people had been moving in and out of the place all day.

"Ey, donna gimme yer life hacks right now, lad. I donna need none of that shait." Pint gave a grunt as Rin suggested that he switched to mead, but he'd be damned if he didn't at least try to get some ale after a fight with a Rhinoman, and get a crappy fortune read to him. He figured that if he drank enough of it maybe he'd start feeling a buzz or something, surely even the humans could manage that.

Thankfully it looked like his luck was starting to change as it turned out that Rin was, in fact, familiar with the dwarves he was looking for. "Aye! The Kirin! That's the blokes." And what's this? There was one here already?? "Fantastic! Let's go!"

Pint set his mug down and took up Rin's offer to accompany to talk to the Kirin dwarf. Though, as Rin asked if he was doing well, Pint had another of his overly honest bouts.

"Nay, I ain't doing alright. I was expecting to kill some orcs up 'ere like its propa', but all I've gotten is shitty ale, shitty food, shitty fortunes read to me, and I'm probably gonna get fleas all over me beard tonight. Plus I'm pretty sure I'm having lady problems and I'm too sodding dense to realize it. Tells a lot about a trip when the best thing that's happened is fighting a Rhinoman."

"At this point, if I ain't gonna gets me some orc scalps, I just wanna drag this honest dwarf back home so I can get me money already."

"Have I met Henry Fitzroy?" says Martha to Brenna. "Oh have I met Henry Fitzroy? Yes, he's always staying here. I suppose he's handsome. He's the King's illegitimate son. He comes over as really generous with his money, but it's all a front. He only gives anything to anybody if he thinks he'll get something out of it. He uses people. Captain Baring hates him, he's a totally incompetent commander. And he won't get horses for the soldiers."

She sighs.
"Keep away from him. I wish I could, but Rosalind the landlady, she said I had to, I had to ..." she tails off. "Someone should tell Lady Helena. That poor girl."

Pint goes over to talk to Dalin.
"I'm Firin" he says, "It's a rule of our clan that we never lie. You can always trust a Firin dwarf. So when I say Mistress Weather can tell fortunes, she can tell fortunes. Seen it with my own eyes. For example she was telling a fortune in court. It was a young man. His father had arranged a marriage for him, and she said he'd get an ugly wife. She only foretells bad things. Well guess what, she was right."
"Always telling the truth doesn't mean always knowing the truth, however" says the Petulan ambassador.
"I'd like a test" says Captain Baring, "but I can't think of a fair one. Maybe Mistress Weather had intelligence about who the unfortunate young lady was."
"The cards know the future" says Mistress Weather, "And I can cure this dwarf of his fleas. Just this little magic lotion. It's poison, but it's not enough of a poison to harm a person, only a flea. You can dilute anything enough to use it as a medicine. Spread this on yourself, and you won't be flea bitten".
She delves into her bag and proffers a small jar.
"That's the same with the bitter almonds" says Macey, "If you eat one or two, they relax you. But a dozen or so would be deadly poison. Also if you let them build up. The body needs time to clear them. You can't eat them every day. I've instructed Alfonce."

"I'm sorry there are no orcs for you to fight" says Captain Baring to Pint, "I appreciate that a dwarf like you is always in search of adventure. But the Royal Mile Inn isn't really the place to find it. We've cleared all the orcs from the road, there hasn't been an attack for months. And we have soldiers stationed here. You're perfectly safe."

The cat sniffs Rin, then miaows.
"Something is wrong with that pussy" says the pretty barmaid, "maybe it's afraid of dwarves. But I don't see how it can be, seeing it travels with a dwarf." She puts a hand out to stroke it, and it withdraws. Rin sees what he thinks is a golden wedding ring on her hand. Then he realises, it's on her middle finger.

"Dinner is ready" says bald Mick. "Now just remind Rosalind what each of you ordered, and we'll bring the food out".

"I don't think I can face dinner" says the elderly man, who has been sitting quietly in the corner, all along. He goes upstairs, where he's likely to cross Brenna coming down.

Captain Baring looks extremely worried about something.
"What's the matter, Captain Baring?" asks bald Mick.
"Oh, nothing" says the captain.

The cat leaves the bar, and goes into the kitchen.
"Very odd cat" says the pretty barmaid, to Rin.

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