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Kethba-dro - 'Sailor of the Salt Sea'


1. Misplaced Priorities

It became perfectly clear after a mere mouthful that the innkeeper, a rather portly man devoid of personality and humour, knew as much about keeping ale as he did about attending to his patrons. The ruddy-brown liquid, served in a heavily dented pewter tankard, smelled rather too much of hops and much less so of everything else. The taste was disappointing, to say the least. In fact, it was an ale of such rare blandness that it deeply offended Kethba-dro, who considered himself sufficiently experienced in such matters to pass judgement. That it cost significantly less than anything else on offer in the tavern, and was all he could afford, was conveniently forgotten. And so clicking a claw forcibly on the bar to draw attention, Kethba-dro, his face a perfect expression of feigned disgust, pushed his refreshment towards the innkeeper. He was testing, teasing and deliberately being awkward, but it was a tactic he had used before to try to induce a better quality replacement whilst keeping his gold firmly in his pockets.

But not this evening, it seemed. The innkeeper was either wise to his tricks, or just plain stupid he thought. He couldn't make up his mind, but after some considerable time even he was beginning to lose patience with the game and with his quarry. He stared despairingly into the dull tankard at his dull drink, becoming more and more resigned by the minute that this watered down, stale-tasting horse pee was about as good as it was going to get. He sighed, let out a short belch, scratched his belly for no particular reason and reached into the pocket sewn into his shirt to pull out a short, stubby clay pipe and a well-worn small leather pouch. Lifting the flap revealed a dark mass of sweet-smelling tobacco inside. He afforded himself a slight smile, for this was very good tobacco, acquired from the pocket of a finely dressed Redguard gentleman but a few days before.

Perhaps it was the sweet smell that captured the innkeeper's attention, or perhaps it was just the thought of a patron about to enjoy something in a place supposedly known for enjoyment. Whatever it was, the humourless man had finally made his appearance in front of Kethba-dro, stubby hands on wide hips and beady eyes firmly on the pipe in his hand. He didn't say anything to the Khajiit, and in truth he didn't need to. Reluctantly, he very slowly - almost stubbornly - folded up the pouch and returned it and the pipe to his pocket. By the time he had looked up, the innkeeper had wandered off leaving the battered tankard of horse pee masquerading as ale unattended to.

Kethba-dro was in a bad mood. A very bad mood indeed.
Edited by menedhyn on August 1, 2017 6:38AM
'Pure rains make sweet rivers'
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