Fenris_icon.gif Luthor_icon.gif

Scene Title No For An Answer
Synopsis Luthor and Fenris drink… And then Fenris turns down a business venture.
Location The Hanged Man
Date Harvestmere 2 9:31 Dragon
Watch For Talk of tigers
Logger Fenris

At its heart, every inn and tavern across Thedas was the same. No matter their class, what color the drapes were, whether they served Ferelden ale or the finest brandy, or whether the rooms were individual suites or little more than glorified barracks, their heartbeat was identical. Everyone's home, and no one's, a place to be when you didn't want to be anywhere else. A place to forget, and remember, in equal measure. Games of all kinds, social or otherwise, that distracted just as well as liquor ever could. There was a hum, under the bustle, under the glasses and the smell of alcohol, under the chatter and the scraping of chairs on floor, under the creak of bedframes overhead, that only ever changed when things were very bad. It was that hum that Fenris had long learned to listen to. It was that heartbeat he'd learned to watch, even as he stared out over the Hanged Man now. The chiller air of autumn evening made the tavern more full than it had been in the summer. Earlier darkness meant more time for themselves, and when the working class had time to themselves, they had time to drink. Cards and dice brought growling insults and laughter in the front corner, a couple of people danced drunkenly to nothing. The bar had those sad few huddled over it. It was normal. The hum was stable, and that meant that he could relax as much as he ever did. Armed and armored, back to the far wall, heavy mug lifted to his lips and then set down with a clink of his sharp gauntlet upon the hard-washed wood of the table before him. It seems he's regular enough here that people have given him distance. People didn't often forget the white haired elf with the bizarre tattoos that growled so convincingly at those uninvited into his personal space.

Luthor Traske has just killed a phoenix. In the City of Chains, a freed phoenix. This is not a thing that happens every day — no, and it deserves to be celebrated in Luthor's particular way. He makes his way into the Hanged Man, gazing around at the myriad occupants as he strides toward the bar. And lays down enough coin to purchase a bottle of strong, sour, blood-red wine. The sort of wine a man drinks in solitude, or with a fellow-sufferer.

He glances again around the tavern, and this time his gaze falls on Fenris there in his corner. And he makes his way over in that direction. Though the two have never met, Luthor knows what he's seeing here — a man, an elf, that the others fear enough to give space to. And that makes him interesting. Perhaps even dangerous. Luthor stops about five feet from Fenris and holds up the bottle, smiling crookedly. He, too, is clad in heavy, business-like armor. His greatsword crackles audibly. "Join you?"

When Fenris decides to drink alone in the Hanged Man, he normally gets at least one or two people who either don't know about him, or think they're big and imposing enough to join him through the course of the night. So having someone approaching to his side isn't all that surprising. It was part of the hum. What isn't, though, is the sound of crackling electricity. That is something else all together. Leaning back in his chair, Fenris looks up and over, slow and deliberate. Luthor is inspected, and though the inspection is quick, for someone equally well versed in battle awareness, what he glances to first is telling. Weapons, their positioning, the nature of his armoring, the places where there is wear upon it, marking how much practical experience it, and the man wearing it, has seen. Height, build, and then hair, ghosting over any hint of age it may belie. Only after all of that is a look given the bottle held in offering. And then, finally, Luthor's face, sylvan green hard set as he meets Luthor's gaze. It lingers for just a moment, before there is a crack that is no more soft, but perhaps a little more enjoyable, by way of a smirk that perks his ears, and is followed by Fenris kicking out one of the chairs from under the table. "The seat is yours." Is his only answer, in a voice that is low and rumbling, more gruff than most expect from elves, but altogether suiting of the man to which it belongs, and the answer is punctuated by his draining his cup.

Luthor's inspection is equally thorough as he draws nearer; his smile shaves into a similar smirk once he's recognized the hard look in Fenris's eye, the rumble of an elf who has called out in battle, killed. He settles into the seat, scooting it back a few inches — far enough that neither warrior could produce their greatsword and strike without giving warning to the other. Mutual satisfaction. Mutual safety. He leans forward slowly, pouring himself a cup and then sliding the bottle toward Fenris. "Luthor Traske," he announces. It's a stark introduction, not particularly friendly, but certainly not unfriendly. He lifts his wine and takes a sip. "You've got some interesting jewelry there," he adds, nodding to Fenris's face. Again, the tone is detached — but it may be a tone Fenris recognizes. Luthor isn't teasing the elf, he's simply drawing something out into the open that would otherwise linger unsaid. He's speaking, in short, as one soldier to another — bluntly.

"Yes." That same tone, no heat, no bite. Just an answer, perhaps telling in its own curtness. Or, maybe, the elf was just generally curt. Hard to tell when you've known a man for all of half of a minute. Either way, Fenris leans to take that bottle, simply filling the cup he had just drained, and putting the bottle back down upon the table. With his reach, it's obvious he's tall for an elf. We can all thank Seheron for that, or something. "Fenris." It seems he's answering things in backward order, and that he's going stifle any other things he might be inclined toward saying right into this cup of wine. Which he treats as though it is water. Sweet water, mind, but water.

Luthor, too, drinks swiftly and sharply, swallowing down the wine as if he were in a hurry. And he leans forward, refills from the bottle, watching Fenris over the rim of his cup. He drinks again. "There was a phoenix in Hightown this week," he announces, apropos of nothing — but he's watching the elf, gauging his reaction. Dropping a strange conversation-starter into place to see what becomes of it. "A lone phoenix," he adds. And then he settles back into his seat and takes a sip of wine.

Perhaps strangely, that gets little more than a blink from Fenris. Either he's used to random topics of conversation, or he's not terribly interested in the arrival of a phoenix in Kirkwall. Speaking of the city… "Kirkwall has a penchant for attracting the strange and troublesome." Fenris says, though without ire. It simply is. He's become accustomed to it at this point. After all, Kirkwall had attracted him, and most people didn't have a small kingdom's fortunes in lyrium carved into their skin. Strange and troublesome was precisely the category Fenris fell into.

"Yeah, I'm beginning to notice that," ventures Luthor carefully. He's watching Fenris with a measuring gaze. Is this his idea of celebration, really? To sit and speak in such a careful way with a strange, deadly, elf? Or is he working, somehow, toward a particular point? "Spirits," he muses. "Phoenixes. Cultists. Men marked with lyrium. Men with magic swords." A sip of his wine. "Idle curiosity here, Fenris. You selling your talents around?" There's nothing idle in the question. He's taken this elf in very carefully — and, interestingly, there's no hint of racism in his gaze. No condescension in his tone.

Truth be told, Fenris was not the best person when it came to talking to others. In some instances, he could be incredibly polite, in others his shortness and severity would never serve him well. Waht he was very good at, however, was observing other people. It was the only thing that had kept him alive on a number of occasions, how such perception had bought him minutes. The way people would shift their weight guiltily when they had sold out his location, or the subtle fear that came when people grew tired of his presence and were easy to manipulate. So there is no part of him that believes for a moment that this is idle curiosity. It does not get a snap from him, though, just a deep breath, a roll of one shoulder, and a drink before he answers. "Yes."

"I notice," says Luthor thoughtfully, "that if a man looks like you and he stays alive, then he's usually very skilled." He considers for a few moments, gazing down at the wine, taking a slow sip. And then he lays his hand, palm-up, on the table. "I'm very poor, Fenris. Couldn't afford to hire you even if I wanted to." He quirks a brow slightly. "But I wager I can quirk your curiosity. And if I don't manage to do that by the time this bottle's empty, I'll leave you be and send you another." He raises a brow. "You interested in the bet?"

Well, at least it's just the Qunari that know him by reputation alone. Well, that an the Magisterium, but that was another matter entirely. For a moment, Fenris looks Luthor over again. It's a long thing, this look, full of consideration. Eventually, though, Fenris shakes his head. "I am no child to be distracted by shiny objects." He says, though there is no bite to this either, "I do not work for whim."

A brief glimmer of amusement on Luthor's face, far from disappointment. And approval. "You work for hard coin only, then? Or for hard coin and principle?" Sipping at his wine more slowly now, he says, "I've been…contracted to take up some dangerous work. Sort of work a man needs imagination for, and a sharp sword. Contracted without pay, I ought to say." He leans back in his seat. "You got an opinion on pimps, Fenris? You know, the sort that operate down in Darktown?"

"For survival, little else." Nevermind that the amount most people ended up paying him was well more than survival wages, if he was honest. Not exceedingly so, but enough to keep up his drinking habit, and that was enough. "Contracted without pay? Either you are a bleeding heart, a fool, or a man with more baggage than I care to make my problem." He shakes his head again, drinking… And then… That question makes him cringe, but it gets no other answer.

"See, that's the other interesting thing about a man like you, mate." Luthor drains his wine all at once and pours himself another cup. "I may carry my baggage, but I can spot another man with a heavy load too." His smile is friendly in response to the elf's cringe. "Me, I hate those bloody sick bastards. Make a habit of beatin' them, when I can. Especially the ones that trade in little children. Lots of little children down there now — Fereldan refugees, y'know." He trails off after a moment. "My..employer wants to do something about that. That's gonna be my payment. But first, I got to do some killing on their behalf. A certain woman who really, really, hates people like those pimps."

Man like him. Fenris was starting to chaffe under this idea that Luthor knew the first thing about him at all, and it's obvious in the way that he shifts uncomfortably. Nevertheless, he sighs, and he listens, and just focuses on his wine for a minute. But this sounds… Eerily familiar, actually. Enough so that Fenris blinks, narrows his eyes, and looks at Luthor intensely for a moment. Deciding such was madness, though, he just shakes his head. "She does not happen to be a tiger, does she?" It's muttered, covered mostly by his cup, and followed by a small laugh that means he was making a joke for his own benefit. Fade tigers don't just talk to everyone in the city, surely. "No, Luthor Traske. Hunt well, but I will not be joining you."

"Sometimes she's a tiger, yeah. So you've met her." Luthor ignores the refusal; he isn't the sort of man, it seems, to simply accept a no. After all, he's managed to keep Fenris's interest thus far. And Luthor doesn't look as though he's sheepish at all about speaking to a fade tiger. Or to whatever other form the tiger had taken. "She and I are friends. Or maybe let's say we had a friend in common, once." He takes another sip of his wine and smiles and watches Fenris. "Imagine the two of us working together, fella. We could make a red dawn down in that cesspit."

Well, fuck. "Oh… Oh no." Fenris says, laughing dark and mirthless, "I am not doing another job for that cat. Never again." The last time had been a nightmare he does not ever wish to think about again. No, thank you, he'll just finish his wine and push his chair back from the table. Though he doesn't rise, not quite yet. "And precisely how much time have you spent in Darktown?" In a tone that says he doesn't much trust that Luthor knows what he's on about.

"Where the fuck you think I've been living, Fenris? I'm an impoverished Fereldan refugee myself. Well. Until recently, I been living down there or sleeping here when I could." Luthor smiles crookedly, watching the other man with that same calm competence. He pours them both another cup of wine. "What do you think I am, mate, eh? Some sort of fucking dilettante?" He settles back into his seat. "Tell me about the first job you did for her."

That seems a fair enough answer to his question, and Fenris does not press the matter. That smile does Luthor no favors, though, and Fenris sets a look that is not quite hostile, but it certainly is not friendly. "No." One word, spoken firm and almost aggressively. And at that point, Fenris does stand. "Good luck." And he's walking away, his movements lupine and oddly fluid for a man whose preferred weapon appears to be a sword that is rubbing elbows with the idea of being taller than him.

Luthor watches the tall elf go, twisting around in his seat. And then he stands, walks around the table, and takes Fenris's seat. Pressing his back against the wall, he continues to stare after the elf. And for the first time — now that no one is looking — doubt and deep concern etch their lines into his lean face. "Fuck," he says softly. After all — what could scare someone like that bruiser so badly?

Any additional notes fall to the bottom.