The Dreaming City I

A Tavern In Shadowport

The single tavern in Shadowport does not have much business tonight. A few patrons are scattered sparsely in the dimly lit interior. Smoke fills the air. In one shadowy corner, a wavering candleflame lights up a figure, reading quite intently from a grimoire, a glass of wine, untouched on his table.

An old floorboard creeks slightly, as a lone Gith enters the dusty Tavern. Pushing back her cloak, she throws one of her long braids over her shoulder, glancing around as her eyes adjust to the darkness.

The bar-keeper glances up as the cloaked figure of a female walks in. He continues to wipe at his glasses. Just another patron. Nothing weird he has seen. This -is- Shadowport. Falennt lifts up his glance from the grimoire, his hand lifting to touch the lower rim of his wire glasses perched upon his nose. There is something about that…newcomer that is familiar.

Talaria strides up to the bar. "A glass of wine if you will please, barkeep" She slides a single gold coin across the bar. The bar-keeper eyes the coin, Gold. He shakes his head slightly, handing a glass of wine to the newcomer. Taking the glass, Talaria turns, glacing back for a moment. "Keep the change."

Falennt tilts his head, his black eyes blinking slightly. His fingers are poised to turn the page of his grimoire, but he seems more interested in watching this cloaked, slender figure.

Talaria leans back against the bar, her cloak falling back to reveal a glimpse of her figure. Taking a small sip of her wine, she looks intently at the figure in the corner.

Lifting a lazy hand to draw off his glasses, the sea-elf folds them, placing it on the chipped table. He shifts the candle, the flame shuddering at the movement.

Falennt rises up from his seat, picking up his glass. As he stands, his cloak can be seen, a piece of dark, soft material, draped onto the chair he was seated in earlier. He moves towards the bar, eyes intent on the bar-keeper.

Smiling softly now, Talaria rests her glass on the bar and stands up straight to face Falennt. "What would someone like you be doing in Shadowport, escaping your handmaiden?" (She refers to Natayah Kulria, formerly engaged to Falennt many years back)

Falennt is only intent at the bar-keep, placing his glass onto the counter, 'Change the wine.' He utters, flatly. The man looks at the glass, and presses his lips together before taking it at the sea-elf's command.

Talaria's eyes sparkle with amusement.

Running his tongue across his teeth, the sea-elf makes a soft click of disapproval at the service of the tavern. He places one gloved hand onto the counter and glances at the woman who had spoken. 'I live here.' Comes the rather cold reply, the gaze in his eyes becoming hooded as he observes her again, blinking slightly.

A slight look of disapproval flashes across Talaria's face. "Interesting. I used to live here, but I have not been here in quite a while. It is odd that we should meet like this once again."

Looking over Falennt once again, her expression softens. "I don't believe I've formally introduced myself to you. I am Talaria."

'Oh?' Falennt merely remarks, his tone not exactly unfriendly. The bar-keeper makes a soft noise behind his counter, pushing the wineglass towards the sea-elf. Falennt turns towards the counter, picking up the glass of red. He does not slip any coin to the bar-keeper, nor does the man ask for any. The sea-elf returns dark brooding eyes at the gith,'Falennt Sarien.' He replies, again in a cold tone.

Reaching for her glass of wine, Talaria takes another sip and gives Falennt a sharp glance. "Yes, but it was many years ago. I have not spent much time in this city lately."

Leaving the counter, Falennt walks towards his table, twirling the stem of his glass lightly, 'I am not rather inclined to stand and speak. You may join me if you like.' He looks at her, offering a thin smile.

Forgetting all about her glass of wine, Talaria smiles at Falennt. "I think that would be an excellent idea, for you."

The thin smile widens just barely, before his lips fall back to a nonchalancy again, 'Come then.' He pulls out the only empty chair at his table for her, the movement wavering the candlelight slightly.

Hesitating only slightly, Talaria follows Falennt and takes the offer of the empty chair. Glancing at the books on the table, she asks, "What is it that you are reading tonight, in this place?"

Seating himself after the lady has taken her place, Falennt shifts his glasses away to the side of the table, and draws his own cloak-draped chair to sit himself. Falennt arches a silvery eyebrow, placing the crooks of his elbows onto the table, fingers lifting to link each other, 'A grimoire, of magic.' He replies, a hint of amusement in his voice. A faint scent seems to rise from him, somewhat like, crushed rose petals.

Her smile disappearing quickly, Talaria glances at the glasses, only now noticing them. "Magic you say? I would not have placed you for /that/ type."

The candlelight dances as Falennt replies, his breath seemingly able to breathe life into the dancing flame, 'Oh, truly' His voice chimes with soft laughter. 'What did you think I am?'

Talaria laughs softly. "Does that really matter?"

Falennt's dark eyes mirth a little, 'No, because I didn't ask a question of you.' Languidly, he closes his grimoire, letting the tome shut with a low thud.

Talaria's eyes wander for a moment, first to the flame, and then to the grimoire. Pausing a moment, she raises her eyes to look directly into Falennt's. "You don't seem like most magic uses I've come across in my travel."

Leaning against the back of his chair, Falennt's linked fingers rest on his lap, 'Oh?' He grins slightly, tilting his head. 'I cannot wield magic.' Comes the rather frank answer.

Unconsciously, Talaria's hand drifts to the talisman resting between her breasts. Catching herself, she rests her hands on her lap. "Oh? Then why would you be sitting in a dark tavern reading books of magic?"

Falennt's lips purse, before they decide to curve to allow a smile towards the lady, ''arven, the users of magic need not appear ..magical, should they?' He glances down at the grimoire, 'This?'

Almost in a generous move, Falennt's fingers unlink and one hand snakes out to flip the grimoire open, 'Read it for yourself if you wish. Arcane study, nothing much to do with wielding rains of fire or such gimmicks alike.'

Talaria's eyes glance down at the open page, surprised by the gesture. Hesitating only slightly, she looks up. "I'm afraid I do not recognize the language."

Falennt tilts his head towards her, leaning slightly closer, the scent of roses slipping around him and perhaps towards her, 'It is in the common tongue. Or are you not educated in such?'

Talaria's eyes darken sharply. She glances down at the grimoire again… the words on the page making perfect sense. "A trick. I could have sworn…"

A soft laugh trickles down from Falennt's mouth at the lady, 'Possibly the light then, 'arven.' He relaxes visibly, leaning his arms onto the table. The candelight wavers again at the motion, shadowing both your faces.

Looking back down at the grimoire again, Talaria simply shakes her head. Returning her gaze to Falennt, she smiles. "Yes, it must have been the light." Her gaze shifts to the candle.

Talaria relaxes slightly, leaning forward a bit. "So what is your interest in the arcane arts?"

Falennt chuckles, watching her with an intent gaze, 'Perhaps.' He closes the grimoire and places his glasses ontop of the aged vellum, 'My interest? Pertaining to?' He lifts an eyebrow at her, more curious, then questioning.

Leaning forward, closer to the flame, Talaria places her hands on the table and interlaces her delicate fingers. "Well, no one but a scholor would sit around reading it for pleasure. Scholors don't sit in dark Shadowport taverns."

'That is very true.' Falennt murmurs, his lips shifting. 'But I am no scholar however.' Lowering his gaze towards Talaria, Falennt runs a finger down the spine of his grimoire.

'There is nothing secret reading for pleasure in a tavern, especially when you /can/ meet people of interest.' A feral smile slips onto Falennt's lips, the gaze in his eyes turning a little predatory, but he blinks and the expression wavers, and flees his face.

Shifting her hands back to her lap, the candle's flame wavers, causing her talisman to sparkle for a brief moment. She glances down at it quickly, and moves further from the flame. "And how is that search going?"

Falennt tips his head to one side, noting to himself her hand shifting, 'I don't search, they will come. Shadowport has always been a point of interest, for many different people,' He yawns briefly, 'How can I say this…'

'All types, all characters, rather a potpourri of everything. It is a place for people who seek a purpose, be it magic, profit, knowledge, religion, it is all here.' The sea-elf closes his mouth, flicking his tongue over his lower lip lightly.

Talaria's expression softens. Leaning back into the chair, she gives Falennt an amusing glance. "That it is, the city has not changed much since I last saw it. It begs the question though, what is your purpose here? What do you seek?"

Falennt replies simply, 'I seek my heart's desire. My purpose is defined by it. And what do you seek, 'arven?' He places his hand onto his glasses, closing his fingers around them, light glinting off the aquamarine on his ring.

Talaria's eyes darken and almost seem to glaze over for a moment. Shaking her head slightly, she replies, "What I seek, I could not begin to put into words." Hesitating for a moment she adds, "You still have not answered me though, what is your heart's desire?

'Persistent, aren't you? You leave me quite, with nostalgia.' His hand leaves his glasses, his fingertips tapping lightly on the table top, 'I desire knowledge. And what comes with it.' He shakes his head a little, 'Most will tell me I want power.

Smiling at the hint of a compliment, she simply nods. Looking directly into Falennt's eyes, how full of mystery they are. "Power comes in many forms, and most people are usually wrong. Despite what some believe, the quest for knowledge is not always about power.

Falennt returns the glance, tilting his head, a loose lock of silver separating from the ponytail behind his neck. 'That is very true as well, I see you are not a conformist.' His eyes run down her neck, picking out the talisman she wears, but he makes no comment, nor does his gaze linger on it.

Catching his glance, but not reacting, Talaria looks upon Falennt with the full force of her dark eyes. "No, that is one thing I can never be."

Talaria ponders for a moment… "It is also something you can never be."

Falennt nods a little, drawing up his chin, lips pursing into a faint smile, 'I seem to be.' He stretches his back a little, like a cat, 'Another of the thousand masks we have to wear, sometimes.' His fingers twine around the wineglass, drawing it near.

An understanding look tempers the harshness in Talaria's eyes, as a true smile forms. Shifting her glance to Falennt's wine glass she asks, "Is there something wrong with your wine?"

'Mmm..' Falennt murmurs, lifting the glass and placing it up his lips, 'No, nothing was wrong with it. I just let it sit too long earlier. It settled.'

Talaria raises her eyebrow at this comment, staring intently into Falennt's eyes. "Then why have you not taken a single sip since we sat down here?"

Falennt lets his gaze drift past the rim of his glass towards Talaria, locking his dark eyes unto hers, another starkly frank reply following, 'I was too intent on speaking to you.' He takes a sip of the tepid wine and puts the glass down, licking his lower lip slightly.

Looking down at the table, Talaria's skin begins to flush as she notices that she neglected to even bring her wine with her! Smiling at Falennt she says simply. "It would appear that I too suffered the same problem."

Falennt stands up from his chair and drifts past behind her, trailing his fingers on the top of Talaria's chair, fingers barely from touching her back, 'I will get a new one for you.' He murmurs, pulling his hand away as he heads to the bar.

Talaria's eyes widen slightly at the touch, surprised by the gesture. Her gaze follows Falennt intently, almost in a rapture, as he makes his way to the bar. Shifting her hands back onto the table, she nervously clenches her talisman for a moment.

The bar-keeper slips the sea-elf a glance, and a frown before placing a fresh glass of wine on the counter. With a curt nod, Falennt takes it, bringing the wine back to where Talaria is seated.

Talaria smiles warmly at Falennt. Reaching into her cloak, she quickly takes a coin from it and places it on the table. "Thank you for getting my wine, but I'll buy."

Falennt places the wineglass down before the lady, his fingers lingering a little on the glass's stem, 'Are you cold?' He asks concerned, perhaps out of habit or mere court etiquette that he was taught in years ago.

Talaria shakes her head slightly. "No, I am not cold." Smiling softly, she looks up at Falennt. "You wonder why I am still wearing my cloak, yes?"

Falennt nods faintly, slipping back into his seat, 'The conditions of Shadowport leaves little for comfort. Especially when the underwind blows at night, or whatever we consider night here.' His finger twist the aquamarine ring he wears absently.

Talaria's eyes darken a bit, a slight frown forming on her lips. "I wear it because this is Shadowport, not for comfort. I prefer to be… less noticable in the crowd. I have not forgotten what this city is."

Falennt lowers his eyes towards Talaria, 'I see.' He remarks, tiredness etching into his voice as he turns to glance out of the nearest window in this tavern. 'How depressing, is it not?'

Talaria's eyes dart quickly to Falennt's ring, her face registering a slight look of familiarity, though she can't quite place what it is. She says nothing. Looking back up at Falennt, she shakes her head. "Depressing… No. Reality."

'Reality is naught, but often depressing.' Falennt continues to look out of the window, at the faint yellow lamps that light up the catwalks of Shadowport. His expression turns bemused.

Talaria shakes her head. "Reality is neither depressing nor joyful. It simply is. We make of it what we please, through our actions. It's all perception." turning her gaze to the window, Talaria wonders what Falennt sees in these cold city streets.

Falennt's murmur floats back to you, though his eyes are still kept upon the intricate web of catwalks, and their twinkling, muted lights. 'Your philosophy is such truth, 'arven.'

Following Falennt's gaze, her eyes fall upon the catwalks… a smile forms. Reaching for her wine, she takes a sip and states with a hint of fondness. "I used to visit the catwalks often when I was young."

Falennt shifts in his chair, returning to look at her, studying her quietly, 'Beautiful, aren't they, the catwalks. A web of constellations, to replace the night sky we never see here.' He smiles a little.

Lost in thought, Talaria hesitates, her gaze still fixed on the catwalks. Softly, almost under her breath, she replies "Yes, beautiful they are. If not the most beautiful thing in this city. A refuge, if you will."

Falennt leans back against his chair, feeling his cloak bunch up against him, 'Dangerously beautiful, 'arven.' He half-smiles, not continuing his comment, and not indicating who or what he directs at.

Falennt picks up his glass, draining the wine suddenly, not at all bothered if it seared his throat.

Talaria's gaze instantly moves back to Falennt, a smile she tries and fails to contain faintly crosses her lips. She focuses on Falennt's eyes… "Many beautiful things are dangerous, and most dangerous things are beautiful. Such is the nature of the life we lead"

Nodding, the sea-elf replies, 'Indeed and your philosophy rings such truth again.' His voice lifts above beyond soft, a little veering on admiration perhaps, and his eyes blink ever gently, that slow deliberate blink.

Taken aback, Talaria shifts her eyes down, once again focusing on the flame of the candle. Shaking her head ever so slightly, she looks up once again. "Is it my philosophy or me, that interests you?"

Falennt's gaze travels up and down Talaria's face, the dark irises within his eyes sharply observant, 'Persistant, and frank, and straight to the point.' He wets his lips slightly with his tongue, 'Does it make a difference, your mind, and you?'

Talaria meets Falennt's gaze with equal intensity. Nodding slightly, her hand once again wanders to touch her talisman… "Yes, it makes a difference which is more important to you."

Falennt tilts his head, finding her question amusing in its own right, 'Why does it even? And you are so insistant on it. Your body is seperate from your mind, 'arven?'

Talaria reaches for her wine glass, and takes a long, deliberate drink from it. Looking down at the candle's wavering flame once again, she softly replies, without looking up. "Perhaps… or perhaps it just feels that way sometimes."

'If I wished for your physical self, it will be a waste of time to sit here exchanging philosophy.' Falennt's silvery eyebrow arches impassively, his arms coming up to fold upon his chest.

Talaria looks up sharply and laughs. "That's bold. You assume that you could take it if you pleased?"

Falennt shrugs almost with infinite patience, 'You asked the question first, wondering of my intent.' His voice grows cold, 'It is not bold, 'arven, merely a logical deduction of what you asked earlier.'

Talaria looks up at Falennt, her eyes softening. Shaking her head apologetically, she captures his eyes. "Forgive, I fell into habit once again. You are correct, I spoke without thinking."

Falennt stands up from his chair, drawing off his cloak and tossing the dark material around his shoulders. He picks up his grimoire and the silver wire glasses ontop of it. 'You did not offend me.'

The sea-elf draws his cloak around him, hiding his clothes from view. He tilts his head again at her, 'We will speak again, anon, 'arven.'

Talaria looks up at Falennt with hope in her eyes… "It would be a pleasure. Let it not be too long from now."

Falennt glances at Talaria, his expression changing, although the dark orbs in his eyes remain obsidian hard, 'Fair tides.' He says, slipping from the table, leaving the flickering candlelight to toss shadows over his emptied wineglass.

Glancing down at the flame once again, she whispers to herself. "May the gods protect you, in all the empty places we must walk." Returning her gaze to the catwalks through the window. She sits in silence.

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