The Catbird Cafe
Known throughout the capitol for its famous 'Catbird Seats' seats that are also perches this cafe is geared towards serving felines and avians. It does this mainly via special mugs that allow for easy handling by wingclaws or feet, as well as being good for lapping with tongues. It also provides straws on request, and features a wide selection of fish-based beverages.
After getting back from the Gypsy camp and dropping off Alptraum, Tulani's immediate concern was a change of clothing. Once attired in what she considered her normal clothes, she set out for the city in search of… well, she wasn't sure what, exactly, but being in the castle gave her an odd feeling, as if she should either be attacking it or trying to drive everyone else out of it. At least the cafe had comfortable seats and no umbrellas to block what sunshine managed to get through the cloud cover.
Combing out her feathers with a free hand, Tulani adjusts herself in her seat and attempts to flag down a waiter for a drink.
A black Khatta with a natural white bow-tie marking comes over to the Sphynx's table and asks, "What would you like today, miss?"
The black and white Sphynx gives the Khatta a pleasant smile, asking, "I heard you serve some interesting fish-drinks here, and I was wondering what they might be? I do love fish."
Nearby, a Korv in a worn, black traveling robe nurses a drink. At least, he seems to be a Korv in shape, if not in color. White feathers poke out around his pale talons, and his beak is so pale as to be pink. At his feet lay a staff with some sort of large blade attached, while next to it rests a small rectangular case with faded carvings of angels.
"Well, our specialty is the salmon-shake, which is ground salmon in cream, with an optional side of caviar on toast," the waiter narrates. "It can also be served warm or cold. We also have mackerel-mateh today, a special treat."
"Hmm, I'll try the mackerel-mateh; it sounds quite tasty," Tulani replies contently, while noting the… odd… Korv out of the corner of her eye, not being one to stare as such.
The waiter bows and passes by the albino Korv's table to see if he needs a refill yet… and then looks slightly miffed when it turns out he doesn't.
The Korv waits until the waiter has passed, and then turns his hooded head directly to face Tulani. "Greetings, miss," he crows out, dipping his head in greeting. "Are you waiting for anyone?"
Tulani tilts her head to the Korv with a smile. "Oh no, just taking a rest. Seemed like a nice place to get a drink, you know? And yourself, sir?"
"Oh, we're always waiting," the man replies in a sombre, accepting tone. In a lighter voice, he says, "Just out of Gormless, I am. Quite a town, quite a town. Many changes there. Have you ever been?"
The Sphynx tilts her head back for a moment in thought before refocusing on the Korv to reply, "Yes, I've visited there before. It wasn't too bad of a place. It's changing for the better there I hope?"
"Oh, I should think so," the Korv replies. "Last I heard, there was quite a battle there. Quite a battle. The castle is in ruins, and word of dragons and necromancers abound. Long gone, it seems, yes, all gone." He tilts his head back, meeting Tulani eye to eye: his eyes flat red against the white of his face, shadowed by the darkness of his hood. "But the town is recovering." His head cocks to the side in that typical birdlike fashion. "Well Miss, if you're not waiting for anyone, would you mind the company of one such as I? I'm sure we have much to discuss, what with being travelers."
The waiter returns with a warm mug of caffeine-soaked mackerel 'soup' for Tulani, along with some cream and a few spices she might like to add.
Arching an eyebrow, Tulani gestures to a nearby chair. "By all means. You are quite welcome to sit with me if you wish," she replies neutrally before taking the mug from the waiter and adding a generous amount of cream to it.
The Korv hops off his chair and gathers his things under a wing before he wobbles on over in that odd Korv gait. After placing his belongings at the foot of the offered chair, he hops up, wrapping his pinkish talons around the wood. "Thank you, thank you," he says, adjusting his hood to keep what little sun there is out of his eyes. "You seem like a nice young woman. Rare in travelers, these days, I think. My name is Mortimer, but most people just call me Mort," he offers.
"Why thank you. I am Tulani, a pleasure to meet you, Mort," the Sphynx replies, scooting over a little to make room before reaching out in a friendly offer to shake the Korv's wing-hand.
Mort reaches out to shake the hand, and it's about then that Tulani can smell him. He smells like moist soil, which isn't so unusual for the damp land of Sylvania, but he also smells like something else: dry blood, and a dusty, musty scent that reminds one of the grave. "Well, hello, Tulani. I dare say, it is good to meet you," he offers pleasantly.
Without so much as flicking an eyebrow Tulani firmly shakes Mort's hand. Pausing to take a few slow laps of her fishy drink, the Sylvanian Sphynx soon replies wryly, "Well, there are certainly worse circumstances to meet under than in a pleasant cafe. You said you were a traveler? Where are you headed to, if I may ask?"
The bits of fish have really soaked up the flavor of the mateh… and concentrated the 'kick' it carries as well. Tulani's tongue practically tingles.
"Oh, I've arrived," the Korv replies. "I have business in this city, ma'am." A pause, and the bird leans back a bit. "Tulani, is it? Now that I see you, I am reminded of something I heard in Gormless. Which, I suppose, is why I brought it up. Yes, yes; a black-furred, white-winged Sphynx is most uncommon in these here parts. And you say you were in Gormless? Did you witness the battle, then?"
The Sphynx lets off a subtle purr of satisfaction as she enjoys her drink, licking a bit of liquid from her lips. "Oh, you must mean the battle that occurred with that supposed necromancer, yes? Quite a frightening incident," Tulani says, dancing lightly on the subject while consciously avoiding the urge of her draconic side to rumble with pride.
"Supposed? Well, I don't know about 'supposed' necromancers," the Korv admits, folding his wing-claws in front of his face so that he may lean against his steepled fingers. "I simply thought, what with that magnificent sword of yours, you would know a thing or two about any battle. Quality blades like that simply aren't common to, well, ordinary travelers unaccustomed to combat." He flicks a finger in the sword's direction, nodding. "A bravo such as yourself might be inclined to find adventurous battle?"
Tulani simply smiles pleasantly at the Korv and shakes her head slightly. "Oh no, I have more training as a scout than as a fighter truth be told, and more experience in traveling than in combat. Life brings us enough battles as it is without openly searching for more," she asserts before taking another slow, appreciative sip of her drink.
Once again the waiter passes, a carafe of mateh held ready to refill those who are in need of it. He checks Mort's barely touched mug, and asks the Korv, "Would sir care to have his drink freshened?"
"Yes, yes it does," Mort agrees, before nodding towards his feet and the supplies there. "I inquire only because you were mentioned in passing, when I asked about the event. But, I suppose that wasn't you? Or the backwater mind, focused on other things? Those poor people have enough to concern themselves with, such as that villain. I heard the villain was an oddly colored Eeee, with pale eyes, and dark fur. Alp-traum, I think it was." The bird looks up at the waiter, giving him a raised-brow stare. "I like to think of my drink as mostly full, rather than slightly empty," he replies.
And cold as a witch's heart by now too, the waiter thinks, although his smile doesn't twitch a bit as he turns to Tulani and makes the same offer.
Tulani simply continues to lap happily at her drink for a moment, purring softly, "Oh, no, I was there certainly there, although whoever you got your information from seemed to have a bit of a mix up as I seriously doubt that the Eee was a villain. He was one of the ones trying to assemble a group to help take out the 'necromancer' in the area in the first place." Smiling over at the Khatta waiter Tulani holds out her now over half-empty mug to be refreshed, murmuring a content thank you.
The waiter's smile becomes genuine as he serves Tulani, an ideal customer (namely, one who is likely to attract more customers).
"Well, you know how it is. Dangerous times, hearsay, and people with more important things on their mind than who fought what." He returns his gaze to the Sphynx, nodding a little. "Yes, it's good to hear that straightened out, at least. Did you flee, then? The castle was quite in shambles saw that from the air and if there was a necromancer, he's long since gone. Yes, quite gone. I assume this fellow Alptraum was successful, for town is recovering, and there was no mention of a grave. Mm, I suppose he also may have been a necromancer himself, come to think of it. Killed his rival, left in the night. That sort of thing."
"Oh I stayed. Quite an explosion came out of the whole mess in the end. I never saw any sign that the Eee was a necromancer, he seemed to much prefer the company of the living to the dead. And I remember he left in full daylight, not the night," The Sphynx lightly corrects Mort before adding a bit more cream to her now full mug.
"Oh, you remained then? Well, I don't blame you for not wanting to mention that sort of thing directly. Given that sword there, I wouldn't be surprised if you even assisted that man you do seem to know a lot about him. And well, ma'am, that is a rich sword for a hip not belonging to the nobility," the Korv remarks conversationally. His wings flap a little, and he adds, "And he didn't leave in the night? Well, at least he's not of the blood and spirit craving sort. Quite enough black magic about without dragging monsters into the mess."
"It is beautiful isn't it? But truthfully, this sword isn't mine, I'm simply borrowing it with permission of course," Tulani states, patting the elegant hilt lightly before continuing, "And I have spoken with this Alptraum quite a bit. I am curious as to your interest in him?"
"Oh, I thought it was obvious," Mort replies, leaning back slightly as if surprised. He rolls his wings in a corvid shrug, and then leans forward again. "A significant, dark conflict, ma'am. Secretive, dangerous figures. A man who can defeat a necromancer of any strength is either lucky, powerful, or a necromancer himself. These sorts of individuals can make travel, well, hazardous, and they have had an impact on history, well, as far back as I can recall. Yes, yes, they're interesting fellows, and knowing their bent, well, it lets me know which way the wind blows."
"Reasonable enough. Alptraum's desire is to be of assistance and benefit to Draco County and Sylvania itself," the Sphynx states, a bit bluntly, before sighing lightly and licking at the surface of her drink.
Mortimer nods again. "I see," he says, sounding faintly relieved. "That is most comforting, coming from one such as you. We rarely speak so directly; as I said, I dare say it's good to meet you." The Korv then finally takes a sip of his drink, letting it run down into his beak before he puts the glass down again, and adds, "How does the Light feel?"
Tulani nods pleasantly. "So long as you do not mistakenly wish Alptraum any ill-intent we are on even ground." Setting down her mug, the Sphynx leans and elbow on her leg and her head on her hand, leaning in to peer at Mort with a friendly smile, continuing, "It feels like warmth, and comfort. It is a well-spring of life after all."
"Ah, so you are the bearer of the Light. Well, that certainly answers that. As for this Alptraum, we wish him no ill will, no, no, certainly not. Not, unless, of course, he is a necromancer." Mort tilts his head, and a frown creases the edge of his beak. "How strange, though. Tales of the Light always tell of its appearance in conjunction with the Shadow, or so it's said. Have you had such an unfortunate meeting yet?"
"The shadow no longer exists in the form you expect. As far as I know it is no longer a tool of Amena," The Sphynx replies with some small amount of distaste, practically spitting the name out.
"Oh?" The Korv's folded talons suddenly wriggle. "Oh." He clicks his beak, head tilting curiously. "How unexpected. That would explain one mystery, but leads to several others. I take it you know what I am, miss?"
"Yes, of course. You are one of the guardians of the grave. As I am not dead myself I am not particularly alarmed by your presence. You might be interested to know that Alptraum has himself taken part in carrying souls to rest in Draco County," Tulani states quietly.
"That would explain Charo's whisperings," Mort says. The Korv leans back now, then reaches down towards his rectangular case. "As you might rightly figure, Miss, individuals going about with strange powers, entering in to rather obvious conflicts with necromancers, tends to concern our kind. This Alptraum is one of those individuals, although I did need to confirm the awakening of the Light." He holds a talon up, as if to forestall Tulani from interrupting. "Oh, and the Light is yours to wield, by the by. We neither request it, nor would take it. I only ask that you use it as it has been used in the past." He rummages around inside his case, and asks, "Now, you say the Shadow is … gone?"
Tulani waits until the Korv is quite finished before she begins speaking. "You have no need to worry about my use of the Light; I do not intend anything foul with it. In fact I plan to return it to its temple at some point. As for the Shadow; yes, it is gone. Gone from the place it has lain, and the Shadow itself, as the tool it was, is no more, yes."
"Destroyed, then?" The albino Korv pulls out a sheaf of paper, followed by a quill pen and some ink. The quill, as it happens, is probably one of his feathers. This, he offers to Tulani. "I would like you to write down what you have said, and then if you would, please end it with 'and I, Tulani, swear that what I have said is true and honest, before Death.' It's entirely a formality for you you possess the Light, after all but we do like to keep records of matters like this. Wielders of the Light are historical."
The Sphynx taps the tip of the quill pen to her chin a few times in thought before dipping its end into the ink and beginning to write, silent save for the soft scratching of the pen against paper. She starts by giving a very brief account of the dragon Vorgulremik, leaving aside such details as the other dragon involved… dragons if one counts Kaira before moving on to a short statement or two about the necromancer next. The 'Shadow' receives the longest mention, since that seemed to be what the Korv was most interested in, and Tulani takes her time in writing everything down.
Meanwhile, the Korv reaches in to that case of his and pulls out something else of interest: a violin. It looks quite nice, and one might wonder where such a road weary, worn sort as the Reaper got something so nice. Certainly, it has its share of stains and is that blood? but all in all, it's a fine instrument. He takes a moment to prop it under his chin, then begins to play. While not good, he's not awful either. The music he plays is very sombre, the sort one might expect to be echoing through a vampire's castle, or at a funeral.
Flicking an ear in the direction of the music, Tulani continues to write. The account on paper of the 'Shadow' is mostly a repeating of what she had already stated, minutes before, but in writing, with numerous references to the shadow being 'gone' and no longer existing as it had before, or in its original place, and no longer being a tool for Amena, and no longer a threat to Sylvania. Most important, she makes no direct lie of any kind in her testimony; there are simply a few things she doesn't say which are Alptraum's secrets and not hers to share.
The Korv continues to play, settling in with a serene, if gloomy, sort of patience. He even closes his eyes, letting the music fill his ears as he waits.
The other patrons at the cafe don't seem to mind the music. At least, the Khattas don't, but one of the other Korvs pulls in its neck and fluffs its feathers as if feeling a chill.
A few more scratches of the quill and the document is signed, in truth, 'and I, Tulani Herfrell, swear that what I have said is true and honest, before Death.' The Sphynx sets down the pen and fluffs her wings.
The music draws to a lingering stop, and then Mort places the violin back into its container. "Ah," he breathes, looking at the paper. "Thank you; this will do nicely. It is good that we rarely employ contracts in blood anymore, don't you think?" He takes the paper and scans it, then begins blowing on the ink to dry it faster.
"Certainly, blood is quite messy. Much more so than ink I would think," Tulani states before picking up her now slightly cooled drink in order to finish it off.
"But blood is a closer tie than a sworn word. Yes, blood calls to blood," the Korv murmurs. He them rolls the sheet up, placing it in his case before stoppering the ink bottle and securing that away as well. With that done, he returns his gaze to the Sphynx and asks, "Now then, ma'am, I don't rightly suppose you know where Alptraum might be found, these days? While I'll take your word he isn't a necromancer or a menace, I have heard certain whisperings that he employs the deathly arts to some degree. You can see how that might catch our attention?"
"He is currently being employed by the Countess Draco, and I do still see him myself. I could probably introduce you to him sometime if you like? If not you could look up Lilith Draco; she could probably introduce you to him as well," the Sphynx suggests with an arched brow.
"Ah yes, we are familiar with Lady Draco and her family," the Korv explains. "I'm sure she can sort this all out, as can your friend. And, please, lay your brow to rest, Miss! As I've said, we're not here to do bad by anyone, unless they've done bad by the world already. We are a watchful and protective Order and that includes over yourself and your friend." Lifting a arm, the Korv gestures down at the bladed staff at his feet. "And, your friend seems to have taken to our work. He may appreciate guidance and support."
"Ah, well, I hope you will forgive me for being wary I am rather protective of my friends," Tulani says, her face shifting back to her usual friendly smile. "Alptraum has been down a long, hard road and a great many things have happened to him recently, so please don't put too much pressure on him when you meet him, alright?" the Sphynx requests.
"Friends? Well, that does much to his credit. The Bearer of the Light rarely associates him or herself with scoundrels or villains," Mort says. He clicks his beak once, then nods. "Many might say that we are a heartless lot, as cold as the grave. And, this may well be true, miss, I won't lie to you. But know that we're also Death's allies, and we are well familiar with walking a hard and lonely road. If we can't be kind, at least we know when to be silent."
"Alptraum might very well like to meet you Mort, and, truth be told, the Eee has many friends; even though he might not admit it to himself sometimes," Tulani says wryly with a sigh and a roll of her eyes.
Mort cackles a little, making him sound a little sinister. "Ah, that sort? Well, we have that sort, too, don't you worry. My sister has many hearts around her neck, but you would never hear her admit it."
"Grug, fish," a white-haired, black-furred Eeee mutters as he approaches the 'famous' cafe. He can't help but cover his nose with his gloved hand as he cranes his ears and looks around for someone in particular. Spotting who he was looking for, he waves and calls out, "There you are Tulani. I've been looking over half the town for you."
"Speak of the Eee himself!" Tulani states before standing up and walking over towards the Eee calling her with a smile, and gesturing for Mort to follow if he wishes. "I was just taking a break and finding some conversation. Sorry for not being about. What do ya need Alptraum?"
The Reaper looks up, cringing when his eyes catch the glare of the light. "Ah, yes, there he is, it seems. Like to like." The robe-covered Korv takes more time in standing, having to pick up both his bladed staff and the coffin-shaped case at the foot of his seat.
"Oh, it's not what I need, it's what your boss, Lilith, needs," Alptraum comments with a wry grin. "She needs you to be at the castle at nightfall. Some sort of training stuff for your new job. I don't have any details on it; Lilith delights in being secretive." He then looks over her shoulder towards the Korv and asks Tulani, "Don't tell me he talked you into buying a coffin. He is carrying that mock up… Anyway, I made the mistake a few days ago in visiting one of the local shops. Can you believe someone is trying to bring back the fad in using coffins instead of cremation here?"
"Cremation is much preferred it saves us a great deal of work," the Korv remarks as he hobbles up in the Korv gait. Extending a hand, he offers, "I am Mortimer, the Reaper." The man smells like old blood mixed with graveyard soil, and he looks like he's traveled in that robe for years. "And, I am not selling coffins. I am here to see you two."
"Well, I'll be sure to be back at the castle before dark falls then," Tulani replies mildly to the Eee. "Mortimer here was quite interested in us, as well as the Light and the Shadow," she states and then immediately gives Alptraum a brief, I didn't tell any secrets look.
The Khatta waiter hovers nearby, as if uncertain that Alptraum will be joining the others and if he'd want something to drink.
"I'm not dead yet," Alptraum comments as he shakes the offered hand. "Nor do I plan to be for a very long time. So, I don't need to hire the services of a Reaper. I do hope you didn't travel too far just to hear that." To Tulani, his brow goes up a bit. "Really? Not a whole lot to say about those, I would think."
Mortimer glances at Tulani, then cackles quietly. "Suspicious lot, you two. That's good, it will keep you alive." Turning back to Alptraum, the Korv shakes his head slowly. "There is a great deal to say about the Light and the Shadow, if you are interested in history. Right now, and rightly so, I should think, we are interested in the future more than the past. As you may well expect, the awakening of either relic heralds interesting times for us all. We prefer to be active before these times, well, get much too interesting for anyone's good. Aside from that, we are aware you are interested in our work. Charo even had you run an errand for him, didn't he?"
"Minor one. I run errands for lots of people," Alptraum admits and shrugs slightly. "I passed on his gourd thing and that was that. Was there a complaint?"
Tulani sighs, looking between Alptraum and Mort. "Would you like to take a seat Alptraum?" the Sphynx asks, gesturing to the cafe.
The Reaper holds up a talon and waves it dismissively. "No complaint; he spoke well of you. I've heard you had your hand in the defeat of a necromancer, as well as various other timely endings of the undead. But please, have a seat. I don't wish to force you to stand here and listen to me." Mort steps aside and gestures towards the table he and Tulani recently occupied.
"I only have a few minutes before I have to get back to the castle. But, I don't mind a short rest," Alptraum notes as walks over to the table and sits down. To the waiter, he says, "Just something light, liquid, and not fishy."
"Very well, sir," the waiter says, and vanishes into the back of the cafe.
The Sphynx hovers around the seat she had occupied just moments ago, before sitting back down. "I'll head back with you when you're ready then Alptraum," Tulani says before looking over at Mort. "By the way, I had almost forgotten, but I was wondering how you came by your violin, Mort? You play quite well."
Mort's feathers buff out a bit; an expression of corvid surprise. "My violin? Well, it might be unsavory to relate that story over a meal. I find that few non-Reapers appreciate our work while eating," the bird replies. He, too, hovers nearby, glancing off as if considering departing.
The waiter returns with a goblet of warm, mulled wine for Alptraum. "If you like sir, I can arrange for some fresh blood as well, if you like the flavor of Khatta girls."
Alptraum taps a chitinous claw on the tabletop. When the cup comes, he accepts it and sniffs it lightly. "Oh, no need for blood. I've had Khatta recently," he says to the waiter, then glances quickly towards Tulani.
"Very good, sir," the waiter replies, and looks to Tulani and Mortimer to see if they want refills.
"Just about to go," Mortimer replies shortly.
The Sphynx just shakes her head when the waiter looks her way indicating that she does not need a refill either, but gives him a polite smile and thanks all the same.
The waiter returns to his sentry post behind a wooden podium.
After a long drink, Alptraum looks back to Mortimer. "What is your interest in the Light and Shadow, anyway? The last thing we need are more people seeking those things for whatever their ends are. They should just be forgotten," he comments, then flicks some of his white hair off his muzzle.
Finishing off the last of what was left in her mug, the Sphynx tilts her head and comments, "The Shadow no longer exists as it was anyways."
"Which is a good thing," Alptraum adds to that.
Mortimer, who seemed about ready to offer some parting words, pauses with his beak ajar. He the hobbles over to the table the Eee and the Sphynx sit at, and, after placing his coffin-case down, folds his talons atop the handle of his scythe. He leans forward as he says, "Have you heard that history forgotten is history repeated, Alptraum? Several times in Sylvania's past, the Shadow and the Light have awoken, to the sorrow of many. And, we have been there." The bird nods slowly, emphasizing his point. "Yes, we were there. We know. And so, we try and be present before times grow too interesting. It would be quite irresponsible of us to let the Shadow go unchecked."
Tulani just sits back and leaves the conversation up to the Eee and Korv for the moment, really wishing she had had a chance to speak to Alptraum before the two were introduced.
"The Shadow you seek is gone," Alptraum repeats calmly and takes another drink, "He willingly allowed himself to go to oblivion once he learned the truth about his situation. So, no chance of certain history repeating itself. That should calm your concerns, I hope."
"It is a comforting story, of course, but without proof there remains some doubt. I'm sure you understand. Imagine if you were in my robe would you put so much faith in such a story?" The Korv's head tilts and he holds up a hand to forestall an answer. "But, we shall speak no more of the Shadow and the Light. I am sure if you wish to explain further, or offer proof, then you will do so of your own accord, in your own time. There is also the matter of your abilities and interests, Alptraum, but we can discuss that another day, if you wish."
Alptraum finishes drinking his wine and sets it on the table. He stands, then stretches upward. "I'm around. I live at the castle under the Countess' employ," he says by way of an answer. "So, feel free to stop by. I'm not always busy, but I do occasionally have to see to certain matters that I can't really go into."
Tulani also stands, getting ready to depart along with the Eee. Smiling at the hooded Korv the Sphynx adds, "I am also working for the Countess and am staying at the castle at the moment as well. So, if you have anything else you'd like to talk to me about, feel free to drop by. It was a pleasure meeting you, Mort."
The edges of the Korv's beak crease in a smile. "Don't we all?" He cackles a little, and then ruffles his feathers out. "Yes, yes, I'll be sure to stop by. Countess Draco has an excellent lounge for our kind, and it has been too long since I partook." The Korv offers his hand to Alptraum and Tulani, by way of good-bye. "And as for you miss," he looks to the woman, "perhaps I can tell you the story behind my violin? I must admit, few people inquire in to my doings it's very refreshing that someone has asked."
Alptraum taps his nose. "And to offer a bit of friendly advice … three blocks to the east, then five blocks south … one of the best clothiers in the city is there. I'm no fashion expert … but the whole robe thing does tend to creep people out and make them defensive," he comments playfully. "Take Tulani with you, sometime. She can find you some shiny pants." Grinning, he even pokes Tulani with a claw tip.
Rolling her eyes, Tulani smacks Alptraum lightly on the shoulder in return for the Eee's comment, but she is smiling all the same. A moment later she takes hold of the Korv's offered hand. "And I would certainly like to hear the story of your violin sometime I must say I am curious."
The bird man cackles more at that. "I have considered dressing better, but I'm afraid the robe is a requirement, as are other accoutrements." His talon clacks along the wood of his scythe. "And as you can see, the light and I don't rightly agree on how bright the world should be. My eyes just don't take well to it."
"Then buy a hat," Alptraum quips as he rubs his shoulder, "But make sure it has a chin strap. Anyway, the whole robe thing is just … well … it doesn't scare me. I've seen much creepier … but you might make the locals itch." Nudging Tulani, he notes, "See you back at the castle." With a flourish, several shekels seem to appear in his hand and gracefully roll between his chitinous fingers. One by one they're tossed to the waiter and he says, "For the wine. It was excellent. Thank you."
"Come again, sir," the waiter calls. "I'll see you there then, Alptraum," the Sphynx replies as she too produces several coins, though in a more mundane fashion out of her pocket, and thanks the waiter as she passes them off. "That was quite lovely. I'll have to try your salmon-shake next time!"
The waiter then bows to Tulani. "It will be an honor to have you grace our humble cafe again, miss."
"The locals know me, in their own way. We meet everyone, sooner or later," Mortimer says quietly. He tips the hood of his robe to Alptraum respectfully, stepping back so the Eeee can get some wing space.
"In that we are similar," Alptraum vaguely. His wings snap wide and then the Eeee launches into the air in a flurry of leather. Against the overcast sky, his black form stands stark as it fades into the distance.
Mortimer reaches in to his robe and produces several coins, one which seems to have a bit of dirt and some grass stuck to it. "We'll meet again, in time," he tells the waiter, offering him the coins. To Tulani, he gives the same hood-tip he gave Alptraum.
Stepping back a few paces, Tulani spreads her wings and with a quick down-stroke lifts off from the ground. The Sphynx circles for a moment to give Mort a friendly wave in return before flying off, following a path similar to the fading figure of the black Eee.
"That may well have been the friendliest meeting I've ever had," Mortimer muses out loud, in a whisper. He waves back, finding it such a rare thing that anyone waves to him, let alone in a friendly fashion.