Stacked Actors [Closed]

((OOC: 1 Haring, 34 Dragon - early evening - The Hanged Man - ))

The market was winding down and though he had no real reason to stand around and watch, Weston found himself watching the vendors pack up their wares at the end of the day. There was something methodical in how things were packed or wrapped. Items were locked away and secured in satchels and chests. The stalls themselves even had locks for drawers and shutters. 

It was really quite interesting. Interesting enough to keep his attention for a few moments, anyway. 

Then, he pushed himself away from the cool stone wall he'd been leaning against and made his way through the streets, eventually finding himself in front of The Hanged Man. There were other, nicer, places in Kirkwall but he enjoyed the company there much better. 

Weston nodded to Corff as he entered the establishment and walked over to the bar, leaning against it so that he could survey the surroundings. "Busy night, Corff?" he asked the man.

"Busy enough for me," came the reply as Corff busied himself with drying a stein and setting it down. "What are you drinking? The usual?"

Weston nodded, and soon a glass of whiskey appeared before him. "Thank you," he said, taking a sip as he surveyed the crowd. 
Kirkwall was a dank, dingy place; the air was a cacophony of unpleasant scents, like the stench of fish and salt mingling with the smell of sweat and garbage. It pretended that it wasn't like this, which made things worse. At least Ferelden knew it smelled of wet dog and embraced it wholeheartedly.

As she walked through the streets, her path illuminated by the light of the moon and occasional lamppost, Charumati mused to herself that had she smelled Kirkwall before she smelled Denerim she would have felt more affinity to her adopted home sooner. She sighed, a wave of melancholy washing over her. It had been years since she had set foot in her home in Denerim, not since she had approved the final touches on the repairs. Being in Denerim on a permanent basis was still unappealing, but she did find herself missing the city more as of late. Perhaps, when this contract was over, she would stop by briefly before returning to Llomerryn.

Raucous voices and the clatter of dishes jolted her out of her reverie. She found herself in front of the Hanged Man, which she only knew by passing reputation. It wasn't often that her employer allowed her the freedom to leave his estate, and it had been several months since she had the opportunity to relax and have a pint.

With only a small tug of apprehension, she stepped inside the tavern. It was full, and everyone seemed to be having an enjoyable, if not boisterous time. A rare, fleeting smile crossed her lips -- this seemed like a fine place to unwind.

The bartender seemed to be engaged with another patron, so she fished a few silver pieces out of her purse and set them on the table. "Excuse me," she said during a lull in the exchange, her soft, husky voice only just audible above the din, "Could I get a pint of your most average whatever?"
Weston turned when a soft, husky voice spoke, ordering a drink. It was a pleasant voice, that he would not have heard if not for his proximity to the speaker. When he looked, he found he did not know her.

There stood a attractive woman he had not seen before and certainly not in the Hanged Man. Tall and strong looking, with fine jewelry adorning her ears, she was not someone who could be so easily overlooked in a public space. At least, not by Weston, who had a penchant for admiring attractive people. Her accent, too, suggested an origin of someplace that was not Kirkwall or the surrounding areas.

That wasn't unusual, of course. Kirkwall was a port city, making it a stop for travelers even when it wasn't used by refugees fleeing the darkspawn.

He waited until Corff handed the woman her pint and cleared his throat. "Even the most average whatever is fairly drinkable here," he said, dipping his chin toward her mug. "At least, it hasn't killed me yet if that's any indication."

He chuckled at his own quip and took a sip from his glass. "Weston Dale," he said, offering his name. "I don't believe I've seen you in here before."
Sliding the appropriate amount of coin across at the barkeep, Charu took a sip of the tankard placed before her. It was... adequate. She inclined her head in compliment just as the person the barkeep was speaking to spoke to her.

Charu blinked in surprise. She was definitely not used to people initiating conversations with her. In Denerim, her appearance was off putting; despite being a coastal city people from Rivain still seemed to be something of a novelty warranting caution. In Llomerynn, her continued association with Tal-Vashoth mercenaries also made her an unlikely candidate for casual conversation.

Kirkwall, it would seem, had less reservations.

She offered him a small chuckle in return. "A pleasure, Ser," she said in her soft way. "Charumati Basu. And you would be correct. I've only recently arrived and haven't had much opportunity to explore." She glanced around the room casually, then looked back at Weston. "A shame, I think."

Taking another drink -- longer this time -- she tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear. "It's been some time since I've been in a tavern as lively as this."
Weston's intriguing new companion seemed almost surprised that he had spoken to her. Perhaps he was oddly forward when it came to making introductions? He certainly wasn't shy, although his recent meeting with Samara Tenebris would definitely have a lasting effect. When he offered his joke and his name, she chuckled in return. 

"Charumati Basu. And you would be correct. I've only recently arrived and haven't had much opportunity to explore." She looked around the tavern and then turned her eyes back to him. "A shame, I think."

"Kirkwall certainly does have its own brand of charm, I'd say," his mouth popped up at the side and he took a long sip from his glass, surveying the room himself. There were many familiar faces — some that Weston was quite sure never actually left — among a crowd he did not recognize. "At least the crowd that frequents The Hanged Man is honest about their intentions. That is, they do enjoy having a good time and aren't apologetic about it." 

Charumati took a long drink before responding. "It's been some time since I've been in a tavern as lively as this."

"And you won't find anything quite like this anywhere else in the city," Weston held up his glass, motioning around them. "There are other, far nicer establishments, of course. Probably some with better drinks," he quirked an eyebrow up and his grin widened, "but you won't find better company." He took another drink and then leaned back on the bar, propping himself up on his elbows. "So tell me, Charumati," he began after a moment, "What brings you here to Kirkwall, besides your impeccably fine taste in drinking establishments?" 
She couldn't help but give Weston a wry smile. "What makes you think that I didn't come here just for the drink?" Then she laughed. "The same thing as many, I suppose," she replied. "Money. Kirkwall is... an interesting place, but I go where my talents lead and for now they've lead me here. Or, more accurately, Hightown."

She rolled her eyes a little at that; she had known and worked for several people of noble status in the past but her current employer really took the cake. He was mean, brash, and had much too much ego for such a small man. If Charumati were honest with herself, she hated the man. The coin he put in her purse was almost (but not quite) not worth the effort of dealing with him and his ridiculous demands. She felt less like a body guard and more like a personal valet, though she drew the line when he asked her to help him dress in the mornings. There were just some things that she did not need to know about --or see on-- her employer.

"What about you? she asked. "Have you also answered Kirkwall's siren call or are you one of her proud children?"
"What makes you think that I didn't come here just for the drink?" Charumati smiled wryly and laughed. "The same thing as many, I suppose," she continued. "Money. Kirkwall is... an interesting place, but I go where my talents lead and for now they've lead me here. Or, more accurately, Hightown."

Weston caught the quick roll of her eyes at that and felt his lips pulling upwards. "Hightown certainly has an abundance of needs for interesting talents," he agreed. "And in some estates, an abundance of coin. Others hold an abundance of debts to keep up appearances." There were a number of families he could see guilty of that, of course. Some by their own fault, through bad investments or flippant spending.

"What about you?" she asked. "Have you also answered Kirkwall's siren call or are you one of her proud children?"

"I am indeed,"
Weston bowed shortly, and made a flourish with his hand. "I can't honestly say that I'd come here for a visit otherwise. Though I'm sure most people say that about their homes." He took a sip of his drink and let out a small breath. "And I was fortunate enough to have been born into a wealthy family. There is a large discrepancy in wealth in Kirkwall, as you know. It's a troubling reality that some of us try to address as we can. But, you likely didn't come to a bar to listen to me blather on about that. Are you happy with your current employer?" 
Weston was definitely a charming person. The combination of drink and his charismatic chatting had her smiling a lot more than usual. When she was a child, her mother once joked that her severe expression could shame the gods; not much had changed, especially as most people had no use for a mercenary that didn't look at least somewhat intimidating.

"I have noticed," she replied, "Though Kirkwall is far from the only city guilty of this." Charumati thought back to the elves and small beggar children in Denerim and in Llomerryn alike and shook her head. "It is admirable that there are those who try and help where they can," she added, guessing that Weston was including himself in that reference.

Charu choked on her drink at Weston's next question. "Happy with my employer?" she echoed between coughs. "Honestly? No." She said it in a flat, matter-of-fact tone (at least, as flatly as one could say whilst attempting not to expel a lung). "In honesty, my skills would likely be more beneficial to another employer, but I'm contracted with my current one for another six months. When I answered the job posting I had been expecting someone of a... different calibre. I've definitely had an interesting insight to the less noble side of nobility, if you catch my meaning.

She waved over the barkeep and asked for a refill, plunking down the appropriate amount of coin onto the counter in exchange. Once her tankard had been filled, she took a long draught before addressing Weston again.

"And yourself, good Ser?" she queried. "I wouldn't think that someone with means would prefer to drink at a lowtown tavern over one in Hightown."
"Happy with my employer?" Weston's drinking companion nearly choked on her ale, sputtering between breaths as she spoke. "Honestly? No. In honesty, my skills would likely be more beneficial to another employer, but I'm contracted with my current one for another six months. When I answered the job posting I had been expecting someone of a... different calibre. I've definitely had an interesting insight to the less noble side of nobility, if you catch my meaning."

Weston let out an amused snort. "I can think of more than a few that would lend to that sort of insight. Present company included — I do plan parties for a living, after all." He watched as she waved over the bartender and ordered herself another drink. Weston picked up his glass and gave a quirk of his brows to indicate he would like a refill as well.

"And yourself, good Ser?" Charu asked after a moment. "I wouldn't think that someone with means would prefer to drink at a Lowtown tavern over one in Hightown."

He gave Charumati a sidelong glance and shrugged. "I could spend my time elsewhere. And I do. There is something I enjoy about this place, though." Weston leaned back on his elbows and surveyed the room. He wasn't the only person of noble birth in the Hanged Man today, and he suspected more than even he knew about came to the tavern. "I've gotten to know a number of people by coming here, some of whom have become friends or I've hired for various jobs." He looked at Charu and grinned. "There is also the added benefit of not worrying about running into my brothers here. They would never be caught dead in the Hanged Man. Of course, that would improve our relationships remarkably."