@Lithfangel and @Dark Cloud
The tension fled from the strangers body, the weird wild energy suddenly slack and sullen. With only the erratic movements of his dancing eyes to reveal any sign of life. Uhhh, Ophelia could feel her mind desperately grasping at straws with adrenaline laden fingers. This definitely wasn’t the reaction she was prepared for. The swelling silence grating her nervous system and leaving them raw.
With an almost disjointed fervor the stranger snapped back. His body looming, demanding, and thick with arrogance while leaning towards her new acquaintance. At least that’s how she read it. ” Why my apologies fine sir, I must have mistaken this for a different sort of establishment. Free of charge simply won't do, I will make sure when I'm done imbibing to tip you most handsomely. Thank you very much~" He had turned completely from her, focused on the barkeep before her.
Why you— Her thoughts were snapped into sudden silence as the hulking man lurched in her direction. Those dark eyes boring into her with a steady confidence. Ophelia quietly squashed the pooling anxiety that was beading in the pit of her stomach. Her body wanted desperately to lower her gaze and break away from the stranger’s intruding energy. But past experiences held her together like sutures. To look away would be to admit weakness. Something that could be proved fatal if showed unwisely. Instead she drew in a slow, deep breath through her nostrils and lifted her chin a touch while keeping her gaze steady with his own.
”Likewise you’ve my apologies, I only assumed a smith at their station creates swords and a bartender at his bar serves drink. It was not my intention to slight you nor your business.” His eyes never wavered with each syllable spoke. Not a twitch, blink, or falter. Ophelia could feel the fine hairs on the nape of her neck rise with a chill. Everything about the stranger read as off. “I can fetch you a coin for your inconvenience once I have my bearings about me. What say you, fine lady? Would you forgive my rudeness?”
There would be no hiding her emotions, not from that unyielding gaze at least. She felt as if he was stripping the skin from the muscle beneath and the idea prickled at the forefront of her consciousness. Her shoulders drooped dramatically, letting out a sound like could be taken as a sigh of disappointment. Just another entitled spoiled brat, her thoughts wrote him off while the adrenaline began to wane. He was still dangerous as much as any other stranger in a dark tavern. Impatient. Crass. Arrogant. And all the other words that scrambled through her brain that colored him the same as the others. Though the thought of coin for free was tempting it was equally dangerous.
Without realizing it she had closed her eyes, breaking free from his maddening stare down. Before she reopened them Opehlia let her body go lax, turning back to the old man. ”Keep your coin. Instead, I’ll take a favor should I ever need it in the future.” Debts. She doubted they would cross paths again. But a debt was a debt, and that sometimes was more priceless than gold. ”As for a sword for sword and barkeep for drinks. Have you never been in a tavern before,” she asked while her left hand deftly plucked the strings from her bag. ”Things are never quite what they seem.” She could feel her tone shift while she spoke. Her words smoother, softer while her hand pulled something out.
In her hands was a rectangular box, covered in a mossy green fabric. Her face reflected the swirling warmth that she felt in her core. Ophelia’s eyes now encompassed by the object in her hand. She softly set the box on the bar; folding back the fabric to reveal the tarnished box within. It was dull and worn in places. With hinges that showed signs of rust. An impish grip broke out as she flipped open the lid, looking up briefly at the old man. ”Now, back to business.” Of course there was no business discussion prior to the stranger’s meddling. But she wanted something to do with her hands. Plus, having her cards in hand brought on a certain sense of calm that very little else offered.
Ophelia pulled out equally worn looking cards. The once golden edges now darkened by time and oily fingers. It’s rich purple back swirled with dark designs that was worn in several places. She knew each card by heart. Every line, color, and word printed on them. Reading fortunes was often a parlor trick but it was something she was aptly attuned too. Though she would often fluff the readings to her clients. After all, no one wanted to pay to hear bad news. Her hands shuffled the cards with pure ease before dropping the stack in front of the old man. ”Tell me what you want to know, old man.” Her smile had widened, a toothy grin that in her head rivaled the arrogant man beside her.