... now they must watch their abundance of luxuries fall away, making room for the tools of survival, and witness this time of relative peace wither into the same fears that harper's ballads had warned them about for generations.
 
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Eloaene

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PostSubject: No parlor tricks   Sun May 19, 2013 7:41 pm



Daylight was upon them and the local seafaring crowd was of course already up and running to make use of every moment of day. The streets were filled with the smells of fresh catch being unloaded from fishing vessels where stalls were set up to sell what was just being brought in from sea. Takei liked that about Fort Sea Hold -that so many people were willing to be up with the sun, ready to take on a new day. The people themselves intrigued him; he enjoyed watching them and listening to their stories, learning to better understand each person as a true individual. In a place that was full of so many different people, locals and travelers from far off places, Fort Sea Hold made a perfect place for him to work his business as a con artist. It made it all the easier to create for himself any number of aliases under the guise of which he could conduct his trade.

Today however, Takei was dressed as himself, acted like himself, and had a bit of a spring in his step. As the young man approached the Wild Green where he'd planned on dropping off a payment to Emberlynn, he tossed a small fraction mark up, and then snatched it out of the air. This he did two or three times before his steps brought him to the door of the Inn & Tavern; a sign stood out front to indicate that they were closed. For them, it was off business hours. Regardless, Takei walked in.

Tucking the fraction mark into his pocket, Takei let the door swing closed behind him, hardly glancing to see if anyone else were around. His gait carrying him straight through the front room, Takei slipped beyond a curtained area leading to both, the kitchen, and a private parlor area. Opening the parlor door, he disappeared through it.

With no one behind the serving area there, Takei took it upon himself to take a seat and wait. Someone would have noticed he had come.


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PostSubject: Re: No parlor tricks   Sat May 25, 2013 10:51 pm

It wasn't long before the door opened, though no one stepped through it immediately. From the hall, a couple of voices could be heard laughing about something, and the closest called "You wish!" to the other.

The door opened a little wider, admitting an arm and a good third of a curvy body clad in skirts, and the laughter pealed again. "Sure, if he has any energy left when I'm through, you can have a go. But I wouldn't count on that."

Emberlynn was still wearing the wicked grin she'd turned on the other barmaids when she stepped further into the room and glanced over at Takei. She gave him a wink, waggled her fingers in a little wave at whoever was in the hall or kitchens outside, and then closed the door behind herself.

"In case you're interested, Avanette said she wouldn't mind a round with you when we're done here," she said, angling her thumb to point back towards the door as she stepped further into the room. "Although that's always assuming she hasn't found someone else in the meantime." Given the number of men the other woman went through in a sevenday, Ember would be completely unsurprised if that were the case.

"So, how are the streets of Fort Sea Hold treating you today?"
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PostSubject: Re: No parlor tricks   Sun May 26, 2013 3:18 pm



The day was young, but Takei wouldn't have minded the additional female attention if he was elsewhere. He'd typically been pretty cautious though about his involvement at the Wild Green. Letting the other women think he was 'busy' with Emberlynn was enough. There was no need for other noses getting stuck in his business unnecessarily. That was something Takei hated dealing with.


Takei sat on his usual stool in front of the small bar area within the private parlor, unmoved by the silly, girly chatter that went on as Ember entered.

Warm brown eyes that might be understood as more welcoming than he intended, were on her while she closed the door to offer them privacy and then moved to bid his welcome. "Fair enough to pay my debts." Referring to finding enough work to pay herself and the Fixer he frequented for the information they gave him in exchange.

Wasting no time, as usual, Takei reached for a handful of marks wrapped snugly in a cloth and tied with string. Takei was very organized when it came to his work and payments to those he sourced information from didn't seem removed from that very nature. The small package was placed on the bar counter for her retrieval, then relaxing himself again in his seat.

"The next time's free right?" Only half-teasing. "I'm out of work at the moment but I do have a new tenant about to move in. That should provide a little extra income." Typically he was quiet about his personal life, but it wouldn't be difficult for Ember or his Fixer either one to find out about a new tenant at his home if they so desired; and it wasn't too personal, so he had no real reservations speaking of it.

Of course Takei didn't need help when it came to paying debts. His were typically relatively large sums and short-lived terms of agreement, and he rarely found himself at a loss to be able to pay. It had happened only a small number of times when he first began learning the art of being a swindler; the lessons were hard-learned, so he was very careful not to make those mistakes twice. So far, he'd done well to avoid doing so.

He did need to find more work though, so he'd be going to visit his Fixer when he got done here with Ember, in order to see if Rami had any other jobs for him to take. Not to mention, each new job would put him a little closer hopefully, to finding the one responsible for the death of his family.


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PostSubject: Re: No parlor tricks   Sat Jun 01, 2013 10:27 pm

Ember eyed the bag on the bar. "Do I even want to know how you managed to convince them to hand this over?" It was a rhetorical question-- she knew she didn't want to be privy to his methods.

There were times she wondered if she was doing the right thing in passing information on to him in the first place-- it felt wrong to sometimes take advantage of customers who had simply needed someone to talk to. Then again, she did have to consider that Takei's victims were usually the lying, cheating, no-accounts that had swindled or hurt her clients, and she didn't feel quite as bad about it. Plus, the information she gave typically came from rumors of one sort or the other, not directly from a source. If she did pass on something said in confidence, she kept the identity of the source hidden and made the story as vague as possible to protect them-- in the end, she was trying to help those that needed it, not take advantage of them. Takei, on the other hand, walked the fine line between.

"You know I'm not helping you for the money," the young barmaid told him. Even if she honestly appreciated every bit of funds she could pass back along to her siblings in some way, she wasn't going to sell herself or others to get it. "If you're down on your luck like so many patrons here are, I'd be happy to talk to you without expecting payment." Just like any of the other people who visited the Wild Green in search of respite and confided in her or asked for her advice.

At the mention of a new tenant, Ember leaned on the bar and eyed him curiously, the bag of money still lying on the wooden surface between them, for now. "A new tenant? Do tell." She was always interested in stories, especially those from people she'd not met before. Hopefully whoever was going to rent a room from Takei would have some good ones to share.
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PostSubject: Re: No parlor tricks   Sun Jun 02, 2013 9:52 am

"Do I even want to know how you managed to convince them to hand this over?" It was a rhetorical question-- she knew she didn't want to be privy to his methods.


Well, lucky for her, he wasn't telling, either. Takei was a little surprised to hear she was serious about handing over information freely. The young man wanted to assume that more difficult to obtain information would probably still hold some price, whether it be in marks or otherwise. It made him wonder how serious she was about her business. The Ember he'd come to know was not one to let herself be taken easily advantage of, but without giving something in return, he felt like that's just what he'd be doing -taking advantage of her. Likewise, that would make him feel somehow indebted to her and Takei didn't like being in debt to anyone.

The two of them weren't super best friends or anything, and really didn't know an overmuch about one another, so he was skeptical about Ember's simply wanting to be nice to him. Perhaps that was just how she approached most of her customers. Takei supposed that would make sense.

Talking was talking on the other hand, and he wasn't about to confuse Ember's information gathering for her information trade. They were not the same and Takei didn't want to be involved in the previous of the two. He didn't need to be. In the several turns of his odd trade, Takei had learned that having a loose tongue was of no benefit to him; it could only work against him. So, the times were few that he opened his mouth to speak freely.

And apparently that was enough for the day. Takei was smirking lopsidedly, not seeming to care much for her concern. He was not like most of her other patrons. Let them indulge themselves for her, in ways that he did not. "For today, that will be all."

Standing from his stool, Takei seemed to be ignoring her prompt to get him to converse more openly until he was about to turn to the door, his hands sliding into his pockets. "I don't know much about the person. All I've heard is she's a weaver."


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PostSubject: Re: No parlor tricks   Sun Jun 09, 2013 12:06 pm

The trip to the well known Fort Sea-Hold had been a rough one. Even when taking into account the extreme kindness of the men and women aboard the Red Star's Revenge, Zerjna had been troubled by nightmares and sea-sickness at the same time. Now her more weathered appearance had people moving out of her way in the streets. She was at a complete loss as to where to find the place she was going to rent. Since it seemed she was as good as Holdless to the people here, she went to the only place which she thought might still be willing to help her. She'd never been in a tavern nor any place where women sold their bodies for money. She would starve before she did such a thing herself but then she had never been starving. Maybe she would. Maybe if she had a child to support and it was her only means of keeping the child safe and fed, she might do it then. Her thoughts stopped abruptly as she saw herself right where the Captain said to go if she found herself unsure of how to proceed. He must have known the kind of reception she would recieve coming off a smuggling vessel.

Zerjna had not presumed to delve into the Captain's history at Fort Sea-Hold nor had he been all that open about his past here. He knew the place well enough to know where the tavern was though. She reached out a shaky hand to open the door and entered the establishment. She did not take much note of them men standing about the place, instead her dark eyes searched for someone who worked there. Despite her life or rather in spite of her life, Zerjna had made it this far. She would be a damned fool to turn around now just because she knew the people here thought she was bad news. She wasn't. She knew a perfectly good trade and a few other things as well that were considered respectable for a woman to know.

Everyone in what appeared to be the main room, seemed to be patrons. Though it was early and there were very few of them to begin with. Zerjna did not consider herself a snoop by any means but she wondered if maybe there was an actually worker around here somewhere. She was too nervous of what she might see if she went upstairs so she began to walk towards the back of the building. She couldn't hear anyone in the kitchen area so she didn't go back there. She did here someone talking in another of the rooms.

She opened the door to see if perhaps it was a manager and employee of some sort. Seeing that the man was already off of his chair, she figured he was a patron. Feeling completely embarrassed for interrupting, "Sir, miss, I beg your pardons for interrupting. I was looking for someone who worked here who might be able to help me. Captain Thatch said I might be able to get some help here..." She said, backing out of the doorway.


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PostSubject: Re: No parlor tricks   Mon Jun 10, 2013 9:29 pm

Ember mentally shrugged and wiped her hands on her apron as Takei stood. She wasn't going to push. It wasn't her way, and she knew he liked to keep things strictly business. Then again, it wouldn't completely stop her from gently encouraging, but she wouldn't say anything else when it was clear he was done talking for the time being.

Of course, when he turned back, she couldn't help but grin slyly. "And yet you're renting to her? Tell me, is she pretty?" She enjoyed teasing him, even if he didn't respond well to it, if at all. Which, of course, he didn't. "Even if she's not, you know where to send her if she's in need of someone to show her around." She doubted he'd take the time to do any such thing himself, unless he had some other motive for it. And it certainly didn't hurt her to offer, no matter what his new tenant was like.

Glancing back at the pouch he'd left on the counter while she waited to see if he'd say anything else, Emberlynn had to hide her surprise when the door opened on its own. Or rather, by the force of someone on the other side of it.

Figuring it was one of the other barmaids, she readied a grin and almost let a teasing invitation to join herself and Takei past her lips. But she caught herself just in time-- the young woman who came through the door was not anyone she knew. And by the way she was apologizing, she was probably lost-- though Ember did find it interesting that she'd barge through any closed doors she found at a tavern without first knocking. Given the usual types of people who frequented the Wild Green, she could have found anything behind the door into the private parlor. And yet, she'd chosen to come in, anyway.

Was it possible someone was pursuing her? Smiling warmly instead of frowning at the thought, Ember gestured toward the girl to come back inside, assessing her for possible rank and craft. "Oh, no worries, miss. Do please come in. We were just finished."

Captain Thatch had instructed the young woman to come here, had he? What possible business could she have had with him? "You've certainly come to the right place, if the good Captain referred you here. Emberlynn, humble barmaid, at your service. What can I do for you?"
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PostSubject: Re: No parlor tricks   Tue Jun 11, 2013 12:29 pm

The corner of Takei's mouth quirked into a smirk at Ember's comment. "I haven't had the chance to meet her yet, so I'm afraid I can't entertain your curiosity."

Still smirking when Zerjna arrived, he met the girl's eyes briefly with a neutral gaze that spoke of nothing beyond passive interest. Attention turning back to Ember, he nodded and then turned to the door, stepping around Zerjna to exit the parlor.




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PostSubject: Re: No parlor tricks   Sat Jun 15, 2013 6:09 am

Zerjna knew nothing of what had transpired so she said nothing about it. She watched the man leave with a wariness that perhaps was a little strange. She had thought about what would be the right way to start her conversation with the bar maid or whomever was in charge of the Tavern, but she lost it all when the young woman spoke.

"Thank you. I am pleased to meet you Emberlynn. My name is Zerjna." No title necessary, she thought to herself but then again perhaps that was just as suspicious. What could she do though? If word got out she was a weaver, anyone here could find a way to get in touch with her husband and he would pay for her to be brought back to him.

"I was wondering if there were any openings in the kitchen, for work. I'm a good cook and I would only need a position until I could get on my feet. I can sew or fix any of the dresses the women here wear too. I desperately need employment miss, or I won't be able to afford my rent."


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PostSubject: Re: No parlor tricks   Tue Jun 18, 2013 9:46 pm

Ember waved to Takei as he left, returning her attention fully to Zerjna.  Her expression revealed nothing but attentiveness to what the girl would say, ever the helpful hostess even when her curiosity was piqued.

The barmaid's own situation aside, young women didn't normally walk into the tavern alone unless they were looking for someone or something.  And she was guessing the girl before her wasn't necessarily seeking male companionship and a room to enjoy it in-- there was plenty of that to be had on Captain Thatch's ship, and Zerjna had left it behind.  So why was she here?

The lack of title when Zerjna introduced herself wasn't completely lost on Ember, but at the same time, she didn't quite find it out of place.  Many of the patrons of the tavern left their titles behind, preferring to enjoy their time reveling in merriment away from the bonds of their positions, without the restrictions of formality.  There were a few, of course, who insisted on the use of their rank when the staff addressed them, which Ember rather felt indicated either a lack of confidence in their own abilities, or a great overabundance of it.  It was usually fairly easy to tell just which category a person fell into after a few moments of speaking with them, and she tried her hardest to charm them in either case.

Though she didn't think much of the lack of title, Ember had noticed the quality and cut of Zerjna's clothing, despite the plain colors.  Clearly, the other young woman was either part of a well-to-do family with the means to pay for well-tailored clothing, or she was, or was related to, a weaver.  She didn't say a word, though, instead mentally filing the information away with the rest of her assessment.

"You're looking for work, miss Zerjna?"  Strange, that she would come to the tavern, of all places.  The young barmaid was growing more and more intrigued.  "I'm sure, if you truly wish to find something here, we could find a place for you.  The boss says we can always use an extra pair of hands."  Or other body parts usually only found on females, Ember thought wryly. 

"Have you been at Fort Sea Hold long?"  Really, she wanted to ask if the girl had tried anywhere else, or if she'd truly come straight here after being redirected by Thatch.  Was it possible the captain had stolen her away from her family and strung her along, only to send her here to get her out of his hair?
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PostSubject: Re: No parlor tricks   Sun Jul 07, 2013 3:23 pm

Although it would be easier to turn back now and go home than to admit she needed work at a place filled with the type of lower class morons she had been warned to avoid all her life, she did need a discreet place to work. If this was where that place was, then it would do for now. "Yes, I am. Though I cannot be a consort of any kind, I can do other work if needed." It wasn't that she was going to look down on the women who were. She understood poverty better now than she ever had before. More to the point was, she could not allow herself to be brought that low by a man when she had the skill and education to do other things with her life.

"I had no idea where to go. He said no one would look too much into my history here. Captain Thatch allowed me aboard in return for working on the ship." She knew it was completely unseemly to have been on the ship at all, being a woman in the company of so many lonely people.

"Please understand I am in a very desperate situation and the Captain has taken it upon himself to help me out of it. I hope you can help me too. Even if not with the position, I could use some directions in getting to the place I'll be leasing..." She didn't like the sound of begging but it might come to that in the end, if she couldn't keep things quiet about where she was from and that she was indeed being looked for. The last thing she wanted was to be dragged off to her life of abuse.

She didn't know the people here, as friendly as Emberlynn might be. Indeed she did ask more questions than seemed necessary. Who was Zerjna though, to have her be less curious. Even if the other woman was using her to glean some information, it wouldn't be of use to anyone around here and she didn't think that Emberlynn would like the idea of Zerjna going back to the horrible life she had left.


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PostSubject: Re: No parlor tricks   Tue Jul 23, 2013 9:54 pm

Ember almost snorted at the other girl's refusal to be a 'consort.'  It was a rather polite word, but she could tell what Zerjna really meant.  There was little derision in the tone of voice, which the young barmaid was glad of, but she did have to wonder just what Zerjna would say if she were told that the only work available was as a 'consort.'  If she were truly that desperate...

Thankfully, as Emberlynn had discovered herself when she'd first arrived, the Wild Green wasn't necessarily that sort of establishment.  The women who worked at the tavern were not expected to participate in such a lifestyle, though many of them did for their own enjoyment.  Ember, herself, wasn't such a woman-- she had too many other things to worry about, and rather thought intimate acts should be carried out with someone she knew for longer than a few hours.  No matter how tempting some of the men she'd come into contact with might be.

Of course, there was always the chance that someone irresistible would come along, but she had no ties to a relationship and so would be free to take such a man up on an offer if that time came.

"The Captain was certainly right about that," Ember told Zerjna, finally reaching for the pouch of marks Takei had left on the bar.  "So long as you put in an honest day's work each day, no questions will be asked."  Why the other young woman would mention such a thing, though, piqued the barmaid's curiousy even further.  "Even if you're holdless or even a consort."  With a tiny smile, she winked at Zerjna and headed for the door to the room.

"So, why don't we go see if the boss is around and introduce you?  If you don't mind late hours, there's always serving customers when they come in.  Or if you don't mind a little cleaning, servicing the rooms is another option."  Ember, herself, and most of the other barmaids shared the duties all across the board, though she also entertained the patrons by singing and dancing.  Something she wasn't sure this Zerjna would want to do if given the choice-- she was looking for a way to hide, after all, wasn't she?

"Once we get you settled, I can take you around the Hold and help you find your quarters."  The tavern wouldn't be open for a bit yet, after all, and the other girls could cover her duties in the meantime.  "Thatch didn't tell you where to find the place you'll be staying?"
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PostSubject: Re: No parlor tricks   Sat Aug 10, 2013 2:22 pm

"I promise I am a hard worker and hours don't matter to me either. I can take care of anything that would normally be done in a home." Or as she could have said, anything that might be the wife's responsibility. Zerjna figured it was easy to understand. Most women who were poor but not Holdless were taught these basic things. She most certainly was not Holdless nor was she a consort of any kind. She had no desire to be either.

"Is the boss generally trustworthy?" She asked, looking into the other woman's eyes. While Zerjna had no friends here, it would be best for her not to get into any trouble. If the boss was some kind of brute, she might not be able to work there. She had to feel some sense of safety where she worked. Her nervousness was becoming more apparent. Everytime Zerjna heard a sound, she looked fit to jump from where she was standing.

She shook her head, "No, but he said you would know the man by name." The Captain had arranged lodgings for her since she was unable to do so. She had the first month's rent to pay up front to the proprietor. "Takei, is his name." She said softly, her next words were hopeful, she really wanted to get settled after her long sea voyage. Sea travel and her stomach did not get on well. It would be nice to finally be on solid ground to rest and eat. "You do know him, don't you?"


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PostSubject: Re: No parlor tricks   Sun Aug 25, 2013 12:31 pm

Despite the cut of Zerjna's clothes, Emberlynn had noticed the other young woman's lack of meat on her bones.  Which probably meant she was no stranger to hard work.  Or at least not to the lack of essential human needs, much like the young barmaid herself.  Was it possible Zerjna had run away from a family or husband who treated her poorly?  Or, if she didn't want to be a consort, was it possible she was a girl from one of the establishments offering companionship to anyone who would pay for it?  Ember had certainly heard of such places existing outside of taverns and waystations, and from the rumors she'd heard, it would explain the cut of the other girl's clothes, and her lack of size.  Then again, the things rumored to happen behind the closed doors of a Hold could be just as bad, or worse, than what a client might demand of a paid courtesan.

Whichever the case, Ember certainly looked forward to hearing the other young woman's story.

"Like I said, the boss doesn't ask too many questions, and he's not much of one to care about rumors so long as they don't interfere with work here."  Unless he could use them to his advantage, which was probably not unexpected from the owner of a tavern.  "I've been here for a couple of turns now, and have never had a problem.  He doesn't tolerate anyone abusing his employees, but also won't hesitate to let slackers know he is unhappy with their work."  A businessman through and through, the owner of the Wild Green would take workers from all walks of life, so long as they proved to be an asset.  "So, just do your work and you'll be fine."  Ember had no doubt the man would hire Zerjna, but it would remain to be seen whether he'd let her stay-- the young barmaid doubted he'd have a problem if the girl was determined to stay hidden here in Fort Sea Hold.

At the mention of Takei, Emberlynn let out a laugh.  What luck to have met the man's new tenant before he did.  He'd left the room quickly enough that he'd likely barely paid attention to Zerjna.  "Takei, hmm?  If we move fast enough we might be able to catch up with him, as he just left."  She angled a thumb back over her shoulder towards the entrance of the tavern and raised a brow to see what Zerjna would prefer to do.  "If I may ask, are you a weaver, then?"  Just so she could confirm the other girl wasn't some random other person sent to Takei.
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PostSubject: Re: No parlor tricks   Wed Sep 18, 2013 12:45 pm


Zerjna believed what Ember was telling her and let her doubts lie where they were. This was a new place, a new life. She needed to trust the people she was around. Ember seemed nice enough anyway. "Really?" she asked, at once feeling completely foolish. Why would Ember lie about that. "We'd better hurry then." She said with a smile. She was excited to start her new life, just as much as she was nervous to.

At first she didn't know how to respond. She didn't really want this to be common knowledge. "Yes, I am a weaver. Understand that no one can know this. Its vital to keeping my location hidden. Takei knows of course but he needed an assurance that I could pay my rent. Skill sets are important to earning wages."

If she didn't have a true fear of what could potentially happen if her husband found her then it wouldn't be so vital. In time everyone would grow used to her here and when they did, it would become clear what she was but there would be less of an inclination to go spreading it around.

Hopefully this man, Takei, would understand as well as he seemed to. Though she wasn't sure how Captain Thatch knew the man was renting out rooms. Or why any of them had agreed to help her. Perhaps they liked a damsel in distress but she thought it was more likely there was something they would be getting out of the arrangement. She didn't really care as long as it wouldn't come back to bite her later.


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PostSubject: Re: No parlor tricks   Wed Oct 02, 2013 8:35 pm

The barmaid nodded, beckoning Zerjna to quicken her steps.  "Unless you'd prefer to go find your new quarters first?" she asked, just to be sure.  Takei hadn't really said where he was going, after all.  But then again, he knew his new tenant was coming-- he'd likely be waiting around  for her at some point sooner or later.

Interesting, that his new renter's story was growing more and more intriguing, the more Ember heard of it.  So not only was Zerjna a weaver, but the other girl preferred it not be known.  Entirely too curious as to why, but completely understanding that some parts of one's life needed to be kept secret for one reason or another, she simply nodded.  "Of course.  It will go no further than myself.  Takei mentioned that he was waiting for his new tenant-- a weaver-- to arrive, and I simply wanted to confirm that you must be her."  Just to ease the tension a little further, she winked at Zerjna.  "Though I am wanting to ask just why a weaver would wish to keep her skills secret, especially in a place where she could put them to quite good use.  Trust me, if you were willing to work on interesting undergarments here, the other girls would be offering you all sorts of things as payment."

If nothing else, it might the Zerjna a secondary income-- or a primary one, if she so wished.  There were plenty of fisherwives in the town that would probably welcome the chance to buy something for themselves.  It wouldn't hurt to try to open the young woman's mind to the possibilities.  If she truly wished to remain out of the spotlight, Ember wasn't going to force the issue.

"Now, let's just see what we can do about getting you set up here..."  And with that, she led the way to the tavern owner's office door and knocked, smiling warmly at Zerjna to ease whatever remaining nerves the girl might still have.  She hoped she'd eventually learn the weaver's story.  And if not, it would be quite amusing to see just what the other girls came up with for her themselves.
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