Participants:

Maura_icon.gif Varric_icon.gif

Scene Title A Rose Amongst Weeds
Synopsis Varric and Maura meet in the Hanged Man
Location The Hanged Man
Date Justinian 11, 9:31 Dragon
Watch For Maura gets a nickname.
Logger Varric

This tavern is always bustling with activity of one sort or another, as the stained wooden floors and tables will attest. The main room is large and sports a bar nearest the door where the bartender will serve you any manner of questionable beverages. The high ceiling is festooned with banners that hang between the columns and from the iron candle-wheels in a show of faded red. Further back are a series of small rooms that can be had for a price as well as one rather large suite that has been decorated in dwarven fashion.

Varric has a suite, a nice fire, a nice chair, but all of that is usually for him alone (current guests aside). It's not unusual to see the dwarf sitting amongst the customer crowd, likely soaking up stories like a sponge along with any stray bits of information he can gather. Sure, he has spies, but why let old skills lapse? So there he is, mug in hand (of something better than the usual swill served here), listening. His stories come later in the day, when people are a little more drunk.

And then, in walks an unusual customer. Or, rather, a customer who doesn't frequent the establishment with any regularity. A slim young woman, with dark hair and eyes (and dark circles under them today), casually making her way toward the bar to discuss with the bartender her drink order. And then take whatever mug of swill she's procured over to an empty table where she can proceed to wait for a waitress. But the drink? Was absolutely necessary.

Varric knows an interesting story when he sees the carrier so he's just going to invite himself to Maura's table, though he pauses to speak with one of the young women working there before taking a seat. "You," he begins. "Look like you could use something a little less poisonous than what was heading your way. Care to tell me what a rose like you is doing down here with the stinkweed?"

Maura wasn't precisely expecting to share her table, so her she grips her hands together beneath the table in what is perhaps a sudden spurt of fear. But, something about her 'guest' seems to put her at ease. "I'm fairly certain I look more like stinkweed right now than a rose. But that's really quite good." She'll totally give props where they're due, and that was damn smooth sir. "Just here to take the edge off a trying few days, and bring home something my … husband can keep down when he's lucid again." That's generic enough to be both true and rather boring. It's even accompanied by a small smile. "Might I ask who I'm speaking with?"

Varric chuckles. "Rose, you can actually smell the stinkweeds. So unless my nose is the first one of us drunk today? I doubt it." He gives Maura a studying look, but his grin is so relaxed there's no question of its benign nature. "I live by my words. Varric Tethras," he offers just as the reordered drink arrives- something less 'burn the gut' and more prone to leave it pleasantly warm. "Husband, eh? I haven't heard of any fevers running through lowtown. You don't look like the type to carry it out to the public, either."

"Nice to meet you, Varric. I'm Maura." She doesn't offer her last name, mostly out of habit. Who knows the lengths to which the templars or her old circle have already circulated her name and likeness. So, it offers precious little safety. But it makes her feel better. "This is the god stuff. Or, rather, the better stuff." Looking into the cup, she can tell just by the scent that it's more like an actual drink then liquified chokedamp. "You've my thanks. I definitely needed this." And in fact, she takes a good gulp of it. "Mmhmm." Don't mind the slightly sachharine and goofy smile at her agreement of Adair's appellation. "It's not. I would never." she agrees, looking genuinely horrified at the thought. "Damn, I should have stayed home anyway. I really suck at this."

"No need to get your pedals wrinkled, your secret's safe with me. So, drink, questionable substances, lyrium?" Varric watches Maura's face as he lists off the possibilities. "Rough way to start off a marriage. Of course it is. Leave the turpentine for the weeds."

Right on que, Maura's lips tighten at the mention of lyrium. "In sickness and in health." she quips, displaying a sense of humor despite the situation. "And I'm just as much to blame as he is for the situation, so I can handle the sick." That part doesn't even sound like it bothers her. Which, after helping at the clinic it probably wouldn't. "It's the other things that leave one sleepless and wondering." And make one more open to the effects of alcohol, easing the tenseness of her shoulders as the warmth makes its way down the gullet to radiate outward.

Varric's eyebrows raise as he catches the reaction. "Templar, eh?" He shakes his head, chuckling. "Other things… Rose, if that makes you a mage I really have found one of the last unicorns in Kirkwall." He nods at the waitress, who walks off to presumably prepare another drink. "Might not be a bad idea. From what I've seen, Templars don't retire so much as lose their minds."

"Well. I lack the horn on the forehead." Maura quips dryly, confirming his guess. Because why not? Good thing neither Anders or Taril are in here to listen to her admitting that. "They don't even tell them, you know. Not until it's too late." Does she sound bitter? Okay, she sounds a little bitter. And it's definitely out of character. "So, you don't have a problem with unicorns? That might even make you unusual here in Kirkwall."

"Rose, I'm a story teller, I live to find unicorns." Varric rests back in his chair and takes a long drink from his mug, using that act to survey the area around them. "There are a lot of things none of us are ever told. If we knew everything, life would be very boring. Have you thought of looking into some of the mercenary groups? I imagine they'd find a way to get their hands on lyrium in order to get their hands on a templar. If he's set on quitting, he at least has all that training to fall back on."

"Well then, being your unicorn find of the day is the least I can do for this drink." Maura decides, inclining her head towards the dwarf and not even bothering to look offended that he's calling her Rose. It's probably the nicest nickname she's ever heard. "I have, actually. There's a group I was pointed towards already. They call themselves Evocati. Rumor has it, the two leading it are originally from Tevinter. And they're a little more discerning with their missions then some of the others." As for 'if he's set on quitting', her lips just twist ruefully. "Yes, he's set on it." He has no choice now.

Varric grins. "That's a very good outlook to have." Since he's not really giving her much choice in the matter. "Evocati… that's either the biggest f-you" Hey, he's sitting with a lady, not a tavern wench! "I've ever heard or the most pretentious title they could come up with coming out of Tevinter. I've heard a few rumors." Which means he's had these people sniffed out as much as he can. "Well, if he's set on it then that's where you should go. You don't look like you're going to stand back and let him do the fighting."

"I'm hoping it's the former, honestly. Pretentious makes my skin crawl sometimes. But you know what they say. Beggars can't be choosers." SO if it's their best shot, then Maura's going to grab it with both hands. And look at that. He already has her pegged as someone who won't just play the housewife. "I know there's a part of him that would like nothing more than to wrap me up in a bubble of some kind and stash me somewhere safe, and it's heartwarming truly. But no, I couldn't just stand back at let him do the fighting. Were you in the city when the Qunari surrounded Lowtown?" Okay, this time she darts her eyes around to make sure nobody really heard that.

Varric shakes his head. "I was out of town on business. I won't say I'm sorry I missed that, but I hear they've taken an area all for themselves. I bet that's got the Viscount's skirts in a twist." The confirmation that she's not going to take cover and hide both makes him grin and look approving. "Good. Never let anyone fight your battles for you. Otherwise, what kind of stories am I going to have? Templar picks up a sword and fights? There's no excitement in that."

"I'm sure it does." The Viscount's knickers should be in a twist for a lot more then that. But, she's not gonna comment on the squalid state of most of the city. It helps keep her hidden. "Oh come now. It can be exciting when a Templar picks up a sword to fight. Especially if he's very good at it. Or maybe the motivation behind him doing so is the interesting part." That's right, she just chided the storyteller. Alcohol really does loosen the lips. "Nobody should want to hide and let others fight for them after seeing what the Qunari are willing to do. They are terrifying in their .. righteous zeal." Huh, just like the worst of the templars. Imagine that.

"Sure, but the story's even better when the reason for that fight is involved. Everyone tells stories about the one with the sword. I only tell the really interesting stories." Varric has his pride. No B-grade stories for him. Not even after he's embellished them. "Oh, I've heard, but that's their military. Everyone likes to have a scary military." He's almost a little too relaxed about the Qunari. "They're like a hive of bees and with as much poking as they're going to get here, they'll swarm out sooner or later."

"I will be sure to keep an eye and an ear out for your stories, then." Maura finishes up the last of that much better drink, and sighs that it had to be done. "Well, that is certainly true enough. I guess we'll see what happens, won't we." He is a little too relaxed about the Qunari. But then, she suspects he has reasons for just about everything. And she's not likely to guess them. "Thank you, Varric. I feel much better after that drink and the pleasant company. I dare not leave my love too long, though." Not at this stage of withdrawal. "I expect we'll see each other around." Since she won't be hiding while others fight. And then she will stand so that she can collect whatever broth she's bringing back for the poor dear husband.

Varric nods and raises his mug in a sort of salute. "I expect we will, Rose," he agrees. "Let me know how it goes with that husband of yours. I expect he's every bit as interesting is you are."


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