Jynx finds temporary lodgings at the Vile Phial. Armani and an old friend pay him a visit. (early evening, 5/7)
(Armani) (Azure) (Darkside) (Jynx) (Rephidim)
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Evening's long shadows send the blood red rays of sunlight through the frosted glass windows of the Inn of the Vile Phial. One of the two entry doors is open, and Azure is just outside, sweeping the muck off the walk into the gutter.

Azure nods politely as a Zelak passes by him, "Evening, sir.", he says, punctuating the greeting with a click of the teeth. "Will you be staying this evening?" The Zelak does not reply, moving on.

Heading in the direction of the Aeonian, and small black Khatta comes walking down the street, humming to himself, and appearantly on the lookout for somthing.

Azure smiles. "Evening, young sir." He steps to the side, sweeping the muck into the street. o O O ( Khar cursed litterers. )

Jynx smiles and nods to the unicorn, and not looking where he's going, promptly trips over the Aeonian's hoof, "Oof!"

Azure yelps and catches the feline reflexively, his broom dropping into the gutter with a wet -splap!- Muck splatters the pair.

Azure helps the feline back to balance, keeping the smile forced. "You all right?"

Jynx ughs! as some of the muck splatters him in the face. "Uh, thanks." He picks himself back up and nods "Yes, I'm fine, well, as fine as I can be."

Jynx wipes the muck off himself.

Azure hmms quietly. "Here, I've got some clean cloths inside. Some of that… mud's been there for weeks."

Azure motions to the open double doors, looking suspiciously like stable doors. "In there."

Jynx ohs, and nods realizingly "Thanks." He smiles a bit sheepishly.

Jynx walks in, looking around, "Hey, is this an inn?"

Azure gingerly rescues his broom with a delicate hand, and walks back inside after his 'charge.' "The ground floor is, yes. It's my place- the Vile Phial. There's a tavern upstairs, too."

Azure says, "We opened a couple months ago- business hasn't been very brisk.""

A saluki lady noble walks up the street from the other direction, carrying a helmet-like contraption under one arm and wearing a long winding scarf about her blouse-exposed neck. She pauses at the scene of the muck-raking Aeonian and black Khatta. "Goodness gracious, Azure, but you do seem to attract… an interesting clientele," she comments.

The Vile Phial (Inn)
The inn floor of the Vile Phial is fairly dark, lit by a low fire and flickering oil lamps set at uneven intervals along the walls. With the coming of evening, a number of the cots have been set up on the left half of the room, close to the fire, while still more stand stacked in the corner. A few large tables with chairs have been set up on the right half, good for quiet conversation, card games, or whatever patrons might desire. Doors lead off to more private rooms, and one door reads 'Employees only.' The large main doors of the Inn are barred and locked shut at night; a small sign asks folks who leave at late hours to use the upstairs exit from the Tavern proper. A functional bar takes up the remaining half of the right side of the room, and a curtain can be drawn across the room's center.

Jynx says, "Well, I'm sorry to hear that." The Khatta follows the aeonian, and gives a shy blush at the lady's words."

Azure ducks under the bar, and seems to have a conversation with someone, before coming up with some steaming white cloths. One of which he tosses to the Khatta. "Catch!" He pauses. "Armani, is it not?"

Jynx makes an attempt at the catch, but the cloaths land on his face, sending him blindly tripping all over the room.

Azure covers his muzzle with a hand. Unfortunately, with one of his muck-covered hands. "Ech!"

Armani smiles. "You remember me!" She steps back quickly as Jynx trips, then tries to steady him with a hand on the Khatta's shoulder. "Slowly, carefully, my jinxed friend. With grace, as my dance instructor would say."

Jynx finally steadies at the help, and changes shirts. o O(Dance, maybe I should take that. Keep me from tripping all the time.)

Azure nods. "My people have long memories.", he says, cryptically as he wipes down his face with a cloth.

Over in the far corner, a lump of blankets stirs, and a Kavi head pokes out from under the covers of a cot. "Hey, keep it down, wot?"

Jynx whews, finishing his struggle with the cloaths. He finds a seat at one of the tables.

"I've heard you're immortal," the saluki responds, her long slender muzzle tilting over to the Aeonian. "In all that time, I expect you've seen a great deal." She grins and reaches into her purse, taking out a silver shekel. "If I may, I'd like to buy a round on the house. To toast my father's great endeavour!"

Azure nods, and lowers his voice. "That's Reyn. He works the grave shift, so he's sleeping early." He grins. "Can I get you something?"

Azure raises an eyebrow. "That's an odd thing to believe in, Ms. Armani. Immortality is greatly exaggerated."

Jynx scratches his head "Well, I guess I'll have some water,."

Azure nods. "All right. And if you'll let me have that shirt of yours, I'll drop it in the soap bucket for an hour, or two, perhaps. Were you needing to be somewhere, my fine feline friend?~

The saluki pauses to recollect. "Some of that Chateau de la Triffoli, if you please, and for the Khatta, whatever he would like. And I would be delighted if you would join me in toasting my father as well, Azure." She pauses to look mock-shocked at Jynx. "Here I am buying you a drink, and the best you can ask for is water? Come now, dear sir."

Jynx tosses the shirt to Azure and sighs, "Nowhere in particular at the moment, I guess I'm just sort of wandering." He gives the saluki a curious look "Umm, well, what should I drink?"

Azure walks back around behind the bar, pumping the handle and drawing a tankard of water, which he sets on the bar. "I'll be back. The open bottle of Triff is upstairs."

Jynx goes to the bar and takes the water, still looking at the saluki puzzledly.

Azure yipes as the throw is wide, snaking out an arm to catch the flying mucky shirt; while he succeeds in catching it, he also knocks the water tankard off the bar right before Jynx grabs it.

The tankard falls behind the bar, and it's a bit too long for the sound of it hitting the floor.

"Well then, do share some of the Triffoli. It's a delightful vintage… Though I do hope it will meet with better luck than your water has." Armani takes a seat as well, setting the helmet on the table.

Jynx acks! and becomes soaked. "*sigh*"

Azure looks down behind the bar. "Ya'll right, partner?" 'You missed.', a soft voice replies.

The saluki shakes her head, amazed.

Jynx wipes himself off "Me too. Well, I guess I'll try some… "

Azure nods. "All right. Here, make y'self useful, partner… " He drops the shirt behind the bar, and walks off up the stairs.

Jynx finishes wiping himself off, "Umm, what was you're name again?"

Reyn sighs, gets up, and pulls the curtain across the other half of the room, but not before giving the pair a patented dirty look.

Armani smiles. "Armani Finnegan… Some call me 'Lady', but I find that such a stifling title at times." She flicks her long floppy ears, which almost give her the appearance of a flying mane.

Jynx ohs "My name's Feli Kurai, no title or anything, unless you consider a nickname a title."

"A nickname?" The saluki looks curious.

Outside, a bunch of Zelak guardsmen march by, clickety clack formation.

Jynx nods, and flicks his tail in an almost defensive way "Everyone calls me Jynx… "

Jynx looks outside at the Zelaks, awaiting the normal chuckles at mention of his nickname.

"Oh! Oh dear." Armani thinks back on the events of the last few minutes and looks at Jynx most sympathetically. "You mean these things… happen to you all the time?"

Jynx sighs "I guess you could say that… "

Armani flicks her tail, reaching over to pat Jynx's hand. "Amazing. I would not wish such a fate on anyone! Though you know, you *could* make an interesting living in business… "

Jynx sighs "I don't wish it on me for that matter. How could I make a living at it?"

The saluki tilts her head to look at Jynx with mischievous eyes. "I'm not sure if I should tell you… You might think I'm horrible for thinking it." A black-lipped smile wreathes her muzzle.

Azure walks back down the stairs, bearing a pair of wooden mugs. "Had to find some clean mugs. I left the windows open upstairs and the wind in the evening blew a lot of road dust in."

Jynx looks curiously at the saluki "Well, what did you, propose?"

Jynx watches the aeonian reenter.

Azure sets the mugs down on the table in front of Jynx and Armani. "There ya go." He grins. "I've got some fish and yam potato stew on, if you're hungry."

"Mm. There are many businesses, such as that of theater, in which everything must go well or the audience becomes quite dissatisfied. Unfortunately, in such businesses, there are also rivals and of course, there is always competition for the public eye." Armani winks to Jynx to show she means no harm by her suggestion. "Well, Feli, what you might do is to demonstrate your talent to someone in the business… And then offer to sit up close to the stage at the production of someone they particularly do not like."

'Snot ready yet.', Reyn's voice mumbles from behind the curtain. Azure aims a glare at the curtain. 'How would you know?' "Got a good nose."

Jynx smiles at Azure, finally seeming cheered "That sounds good!" but then his face turns to a look a shock at Armani's words.

The saluki takes her mug up and raises it to Jynx. "But, I do not believe that any bad luck lasts forever. May your luck change for the better!"

Jynx nods dumbly, and takes a sip of the wine. His eyes immediately begin to water "YOW! What is in this?"

Jynx looks at the mug alarmingly.

Armani looks at Jynx's reaction surprisedly, then sniffs at her mug.

Jynx wipes the tears from his eyes "I've n-never had this before, what did you say it was?"

Azure uhms, "It's wine, sir."

Azure says, "Should I get you something else, perhaps?""

Jynx shakes his head "Uh, n-no, this'll be fine." He fails to relate that this is his first alcoholic beverage, and takes another sip to look like he knows what he's doing.

Seeing nothing unusual, Armani takes a sip, and then a draught. She looks pleased. "A little bite but an very good drink, bartender."

The small Khatta nods through watery eyes "Y-yes, very good… "

Azure eyes Jynx with a frown. "You're sure. That's an awful funny face for 'fine.'"

Jynx dabs at his eyes with a sleave "Oh, I-I have wine all the time, just not, uhh, this kind… " He sips again, forcing the gulp down.

Azure nods. "As you say. Ms. Armani? You say it has a bite? Is this something I should perhaps not serve to my good customer?"

Armani drops the silver shekel on the tabletop for Azure to collect at his own leisure, and sits back with her mug. "By no means, it's just right, Azure." She drinks heartily, a surprising amount for an apparently nobly-bred saluki, but catches sight of Jynx's less-than-happy face. "Now, Feli, I didn't mean it when I said that you should make money in that way." She leans forward. "To prove it, I'll invite you to see my father's great undertaking. That should be a sight well worth seeing!"

Jynx finishes off the mug, now looking a bit dizzy "U-undertaking?"

At the door, a second feline shadow pokes his head in, trying to adjust to the darkness. "I smell fish and yam stew, and hear a familiar voice, I think… "

"Of course! In a few days – whenever the preparations my father and his engineer are taking are done – he intends to demonstrate a new kind of flying machine! It's based on designs from a very old book that his engineer found… " The saluki sets down her mug and holds up the helmet. "This is from that book, too. It's called an 'aviator's helmet'. See? The goggles fold down like this."

Azure raises an eyebrow. "Is that safe, Ms. Armani?

Azure smiles. "Well, hello again, Moonmyst. Dinner at home not to your liking again?'

Jynx looks at the helmit a bit uneasily, then his ears perk up at the new voice and name. o O(Oh no!)

Jynx ducks his head inside the shirt, trying to look inconspicuous…

"My father's engineer guarantees it," the saluki says with utmost certainty. "It's only a matter of building it to accordance with the design. The book was written in the very old days." She tilts her head toward the new voice curiously.

The second Khatta pads in, "You want this closed, boss hoss?" Azure winces. "Not yet, the sun's still up some, and it's 'Azure.' You don't work for me." He smiles at the two at the table. "Well, well well, your clientelle gets weirder by the day. How does that headless one there drink?"

Azure scratches behind an ear. "Well, now, I rightly thought he had a head a few minutes ago. Perhaps a beer will bring it back?"

Jynx just ignores the Khatta, and acts as tho nothing is out of the ordinary.

Armani looks at Jynx, then gets an idea. She picks the helmet up and sets it over Jynx's shoulders. "Try this, and wind this scarf around," she whispers.

Jynx does like the saluki says, albiet a bit clumsily, covering all his lower face with the scarf, and most of the top with the oversized helmet.

Armani grins widely. "So you're almost a flyer now," she says, and toasts Jynx's transformation.

Moonmyst pads around the table, peering with a grin at the helmeted fur. "Hmmmmm." *sniff* "You don't smell like a ladycat, now, and by the tail -yank- yer a Khatta."

Jynx returns the toast with his empty mug, and looks at the new Khatta, yelping at the tug. "Dho I knvo yhou?" He says muffledly.

Azure ah-hems. "You wanted some stew, yes? I'd leave my clientele alone."

Moonmyst frowns. "Yah. Fix me up, tenderhoof." He tries to unobtrusively peer through the goggles.

Jynx looks in the opposite direction of Moonmyst, sweating now due to the heat of the helmet and the anxiety.

Azure snorts and walks around behind the bar, and starts dishing up a bowl of stew. "And you two?" A bit louder; 'Ryen. S'ready, no?' "Not yet. I can't smell it." 'Maybe you've got a cold, Kavi?'

Armani clicks the silver shekel that she laid on the table before. "Ah, Azure! How many rounds on the house do you think this will cover?"

shoulder. "Oh, three or four, depending on what you get. For you, at least. " He grins.

"In that case, another for myself and my friend," the saluki suggests. "And one for this curious tail-tugging Khatta here, perhaps?"

Jynx begins to pant audibly under the disquise. "M'mm, dhis iz ghedding a bid hod… "

Moonmyst pulls up a chair, and sits in it, backwards. "Just water for me. I know better not to drink wine."

Jynx scowls at the other Khatta underneath the goggles.

Armani grins, catching on. They obviously know each other… But not in a way that seems likely to lead to armed conflict. She sits back and then prompts Moonmyst as she had Jynx, "Just water? Come now, when someone else's buying, surely your tastes can run a bit more expensively?"

Azure nods. "No problem. Water's on the house." He returns, bearing a bowl of stew and the tankard of water for the gray Khatta, then returns to the bar to start on the wine.

Jynx just gazes at the table, tugging at the increasingly heated scarf.

Moonmyst shakes his head. "Uh uh. -My- parents say that wine's bad for your balance. I'm gonna be a circus performer someday."

Moonmyst peers at Jynx. "That looks awful hot, partner."

Jynx says, "Ih'm jusd fhine!"

"Well, as you say," Armani says with a slight amused shake of her head and a smile for the ambitious gray Khatta.

Moonmyst snickers. "Ya right, your ears must be all cramped up, and I can see the fog inside those lenses. What, are ya ugly or something?"

Ryen pokes his Kavi nose out from behind the curtain. "Now it's ready." 'Coming… ', Azure replies, filling another bowl.

Jynx rrrs "Nhod az ugly az yhoo!" The goggles fog up yet even more.

Moonmyst hmphs. "Sez you. I dare you to take that helmet off."

Jynx gets even more annoyed "Ih dhare yhoo to shud uhp!"

Armani hides her smile behind a hand. Yes, they know each other.

Moonmyst pauses to blow on his stew, and peers underneath it. "Shell pasta tonight, Azure?" 'Vermites got to the rice seller's cart this week. I figured pasta'd be safer."

Jynx stares at the soup, unable to eat any due to the scarf.

Azure passes by the table on his way to delivering Ryen's stew. "That looks pretty hot, y'know.", he remarks at the helmet.

Moonmyst shrugs. "Well, if that's the way you want it, old friend… ", He starts eating the stew, noisily.

"Ih'm just fhine!" Jynx dabs at his forehead, forgetting the helmet.

The helmet, made of leather, doesn't smack Jynx as heavily as one of chitin or metal would have.

Ryen disappears behind the curtain again; you hear muffled lip smacking sounds.

Jynx begins to teeter in his chair, the loud panting giving away his current temperature.

Azure looks down behind the bar. "Hey partner. Yam and fish stew? 'No!', someone replies.

Azure chuckles. "Just teasing."

Armani reaches over. "Here, that looks like it's coming loose," she says… But instead of tightening the scarf, she pulls folds loose so that it'll be better-ventilated, leaving Jynx's lower face shrouded in shadow.

A bell rings above the bar. "Customers upstairs." 'BE RIGHT WITH YOU!', he yells.

Jynx eeps! and lowers his face into his chest.

Azure says, "Misty, if you can get the doors I'd appreciate it. Thanks.""

Moonmyst nods. "Sure. It means I turn my back, oh, for at least a minute or three… ," he says meaningfully.

The heat finally getting to Jynx, he begins to teeter forward towards his stew.

Moonmyst grunts and pushes the door shut with some effort.

Armani looks about at Moonmyst's retreating back, then reaches forward to pick the helmet off of Jynx's head. "Know that Khatta?" she asks cheerfully.

Jynx shakes his head as the dizziness leaves, and covers her face, "Yes, I do… "

Armani wurfs, "Well, why are you trying so hard to keep out of his sight?"

Jynx says from within his hands "It's along story… "

Jynx whispers to Armani "No one's supposed to know I'm in Rephidim… "

Moonmyst busily bars the door, starting to put the large chains and padlocks in place. "Sometimes I dunno why boss hoss here doesn't hire more help. I'm game."

Armani whispers back to Jynx, "I'm pretty sure you've blown that already. Why don't you enlist him in helping you, whatever it is?"

Jynx sighs, and uncovers his face, taking off the scarf.

Jynx looks at Moonmyst with a grimace "Heya Moon."

Armani collects her scarf and winds it over an arm, then sits back with her wine and enjoys it.

Moonmyst turns, and leans back against the door. "Well, I thought so." He grins. "So. Whyfer you hidin' yer 'ugly' mug, eh, friend?"

Jynx scowls "Not half as ugly as yours! But if you need to know, I'm avoiding my dad."

Moonmyst holds up both hands. "Relax, cousin. I'm on your side, remember? And what'd you do to your dad this time? Stuff vermites down his shorts again?"

Moonmyst winks. "Seriously, though. What could be so bad that you can't go home, and you don't even want yer best friend in all of Rephidim to know you're here?"

Jynx sighs, "No, he just sent me out to see the world, which is a gentler way of saying he wanted me to get out of the shop."

Jynx sighs, and sips his water.

Jynx says, "I'm betting that you can guess the reason… "

Moonmyst chuckles. "Oh. Insurance time again, I bet."

Moonmyst shrugs. "I'd offer you a place at my place, but Mom and Pop's crystalware dishes they sell are lots more valuable and lots more fragile."

Jynx rolls his eyes. "But anyway, I'm stalling before I go home, since I'm supposed to be gone. He paid for a long trip and everything."

Jynx nods and sighs to Moon "I know what you mean… "

Moonmyst nods. "Yeh. Where'd you go? I come here once a week, sometimes twice, an' I've never seen ya here before."

A loud -thump- shakes the ceiling, and sawdust trickles down.

Jynx says, "I was supposed to go to Safar, but I, uhhh, sorta fell off the airship… "

Jynx sips quickly to hide his embarassed look.

Moonmyst cackles. "Oh no. With or without your money?"

Jynx says, "With a bit of it, for a change."

Jynx says, "I'm just looking for a place to stay until I have to go and face the mewsic."

Moonmyst nods. "Well, Blue Tatoo here'll keep ya fairly inexpensively, and he doesn't get too many customers in the Commons, so it's almost as good as a private room. I don't know what the breakage fee is though." He grins. "How long you got to wait?"

Armani looks sympathetic… Then blinks at the thump. She looks up at the ceiling.

Jynx shrugs "As long as I can I guess." He looks up, "What's going on up there?"

-crash- Was that the sound of a dish breaking?

Armani stands. "If that was a vermite," she suggests. "It's an awfully big one… And it's starting in on the dishes." She looks around for the source of the sound.

Another loud -thump-, this time from outside. Something unintelligable. Moonmyst hmms. "Think we should go look?"

Jynx's ears perk up "If you want… I guess."

Azure comes down the stairs just then, looking a bit rumpled. "Hi. You folks staying the night?"

Jynx thinks it over "I suppose I will. I need somewhere to stay for a few days. How much are rooms?"

Ryen comes out from behind the curtain, bearing a bowl. "Back at dawn, my usual." He sets the dish on the bar. "Put it on my tab, of course."

Armani shakes her head, "I'll be off home now." She raises the mug to the others and gulps it down. "Please do come to see my father off and wish him well!"

Azure looks Jynx over. "Oh, depends on whether it's a few days or a week.

Azure waggles a finger at Ryen. "Remember. Cash only."

Jynx nods and smiles to Armani, feeling a bit better now, "Well, I guess a few days at first."

The Kavi shrugs. "Of course. Pincher." He drops some coins in the Aeonian's hand and walks past him upstairs.

Azure nods. "It's a brass shekel a day, or a silver for a whole week, in advance for the latter, friend."

Azure says, "… includes breakfast."

Jynx hmms "I only intend to be here for a few days," he digs in his pocket and pulls out one brass, "Will this cover the first day?"

Moonmyst heads for the stairs, tossing a coin high to the 'tender. "Nope, I'm sleeping at home tonight, unlike some people, whom are s'posed to be out airshipping. He grins. "You weren't here."

Jynx nods and gives a somewhat playfully annoyed nod to his old friend.

Armani reaches into a small velvet bag and takes out another silver shekel, then puts her hand over Jynx's to keep him from giving away his coin. "Here," she says. "To bring you luck."

Armani grins. "Fare well then, and good night to you all, old and new friends alike." She swishes her tail.

Jynx blinks "Oh… th-thank you… "

Azure nods. "Good enough." Pick a cot, and you've got the whole floor t'yourself tonight, looks like- if you see a little feral cat, or a guy in bandages, that's my partner and his pet."

Jynx nods, and saunters tiredly over to a cot in the corner. "I'll be on the lookout."

Azure says, "… and don't go snooping."

Moonmyst nods. "Any other visitors you might want, Jynxie?"

Jynx scratches his head "Umm, okay… "

Azure hmms. "Actually, lemme let you out through the bottom for once."

Jynx shakes his head "Nope, not yet at least. I'm trying to let as few people as possible know I'm here."

Moonmyst flicks his tail, looking upstairs curiously. "Oookay. Yer the boss, hoss."

Azure lets folks out, and winks. "Tavern's closed this evening, but we'll be open tomorrow."

Jynx lays down on the cot, and curls up with a yawn.

Armani slips into the night and sets off to find her own way home, a helmet under her arm and a scarf draped over it. An interesting night at the Vile Phial, she thinks to herself. Perhaps she should mention the place to friends…

Was that something sneaking off into the shadows?

Azure closes up tight behind the Saluki, and dims the lights in the Inn, then trudges upstairs, resigned to cleaning up… the mess.

---

GMed by Azure

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Today is 9 days before New Year's Day, Year 26 of the Reign of Archelaus the First (6125)