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[Tarlith]-Seven Suns

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 The few locals seated at the bar gave scant notice to the tune, but the bartender seemed to take a liking to it, whistling off-key under his breath while wiping glasses with a rag.
 "What can I do you for?", he called over to Kherbish and Rhen, "Need a drink?"


   Rhen took measure of the figure before him, leaning heavily on the bar to feign fatigue. Sure, he was tired and hungry, but Rhen had spent the last two decades under a scorching sun learning how to conserve his strength. He also realized in that time that even the most innocent of intentions can be a mask for treachery. Better to your cards close than to show your hand, as they say.
   Rhen did, however, stand up straight and accepted the bhuka's canteen. He glanced around the room, taking note of the other patrons. The tavern was sparsely populated. The elf - no, too human for a full blooded elf - sat in a corner plucking some string instrument. As he allowed himself to listen to the tune, he found it strangely soothing, as if his weariness started to disappear.
   His focus snapped back to the bhuka, whose bared teeth behind a misshapen but seemingly sincere smile demanded attention. Rhen's lips touched the cool liquid in the waterskin, and he pretended to take a long sip.
   "Thank you, Ss'ker...", he replied as he handed back the container, and cleared his throat when he couldn't quite repronounce the name.
   "My name is Rhen. Do you always offer drinks to weary strangers?"

Ss kerswihpp:
"I'm just trying to be... Friendly" His smile broadened, showing a few more pointed teeth. "You don't look like those who normally pass through, merchants and the like, and I might be able to use your help."

Ss'kerswihpp wasn't too happy with the way this was going, he may need to wait for the next batch of newcomers to get out of here. He just needed to keep them away from the regulars, they would certainly foil his plans.

"Come, come with me." He tried to lead Rhen to his favorite corner, he gestured to a seat. "Sit, relax. That barkeep has offered you a drink, what do you want? I shall get it for you."

Kherbish continued the song, keeping his head tilted toward the instrument but his eyes toward the man and the Bhuka.  Something irritated him about their conversation, like something was amiss just outside of his perception.  One of them - perhaps both - was up to something.  The feeling came perhaps from a lifetime of being up to something, and the various number of something the Maidar half-elf expected himself to soon be up to.  As he flowed into the next song, setting the bow aside to pluck the strings into a traditional waltz, he kept a close eye on the two strangers.


   Rhen’s eyes unconsciously narrowed at the bhuka’s offer. An invitation to relax is usually a precursor to trouble. Were bhukas always this forward? He hadn’t met any before in his time, but Rhen knew plenty of scoundrels and swindlers whose first tactic was to make a mark as comfortable as possible.
   Then again, there’s no harm in hearing him out, Rhen thought. He’d simply stay on his guard. Rhen ordered a mug of local mead, then followed the bhuka to the corner, instinctively keeping one hand on the hilt of his dagger beneath his cloak. Throwing back his hood and removing the scarf from his neck, he sat across from his host, back to the wall.

   “I admit, it’s not often one finds such hospitality, at least in my travels. It seems everyone has an angle. But I’m curious; you know nothing of me. What makes you think I can help you?”


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