Morbid Curiosities

Half Moon Bay Weyr - Tiki Lounge
As one walks onto the wood panelled flooring of the patio, they are greeted with the scent of burning oil, the likely source the various torches burning along the perimeter of the flooring. The flooring is littered with tables shaded with umbrellas, matching chairs tucked beneath when not in use.
The inside of the Tiki Lounge seems far bigger inside than outside, even when full of relaxing weyrfolk and travelers. Towards the front, in the western corner, is a small stage, generally occupied by harpers. Several tables with chairs decorate the floor and a small area is open for dancing. The bar is rather long and well stocked, glasses of different shapes and sizes hanging suspended from a rack above the bar. Behind the bar is another open window that gives one a view of the forest behind the tavern. Turning around, one is greeted by a lovely view of the lagoon. A decent breeze helps to cool the room. Up above, rafters provide a perch for fire lizards and local avians. The thatch roof, made of straw, rarely lets in any rain.


It's late afternoon at the Tiki Lounge, that odd hour between lunch and dinner that never really sees more than a handful of customers. While some might see this as bad for business, the waitstaff is using it to catch their breath and reset the lounge before the dinner rush. Heryn, for one, is making use of the time to wash and dry a series of differently-colored and -shaped glasses behind the bar, inspecting each one to make sure it's free of water droplets before hanging it in the rack overhead. On the bar next to his wash basin is perched a circular bowl, in which one of the shiny creatures from the tidal pools beyond can be seen hiding (poorly) under a small seashell. The effect is more of it wearing a hat than it hiding, but shhh.

"Why are you confiscating one of our research subjects." Citayzleat's got some tact, but unfortunately, it's gone the way of the poor glowy creature's hiding place. She's also got an unreasonable number of books for somebody frequenting a place of leisure, and doesn't look particularly thrown by either fact. Gracefully throwing herself into one of the stools, Cita eyes the bowl of water, and turns an expectant look on the closest person she can find: poor Heryn. "Is that…meant to be a house? Like a canine's?" Alright, judgy. At least she's smiling, albeit trying very hard not to look like she is.

"Research subjects?" If Heryn's fazed in the slightest by Citayzleat's introduction - from her appearance to her tone - he doesn't show it, hardly even missing a beat as he finishes polishing a martini-shaped glass and slides it into the rack with its compatriots. Instead, he offers her a crooked smile and a shrug. "I think that's supposed to be the idea, but I didn't have a thing to do with it, I swear. It appeared overnight, that's the extent of my knowledge," he says in the tone of 'that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.' Dunking another glass into the water, he switches his gaze from the tank to Cita's large stack of books, head tilting just a little sideways in a curious gesture. "Are those all books about them?"

Natali comes in shortly after her Apprentice, stretching. She's changed out of her healer's working clothes, and into a long, flowy gown, that clings to her figure, yet also hides it. Seeing Citayzleat's load of books, she shakes her head, but doesn't say anything. After all, she has been like this as long as Nat's been acquainted with her.

Out comes the grin — a wherry's, sharp and…beaky. That fell apart a little. Cita doesn't notice. "Right. A likely story, I'm sure." The grin is short-lived, though, reminded of the books. The healer huffs, dropping her books onto the counter and making a rueful face. "This one," The biggest. "Is a detailed summary of *dangerous* sea life and the effect of their secretions or teeth on human," Cita pauses, abruptly remembering, perhaps, the existence of tact, or maybe the fact that she's in a place people *eat*. "…beings. These two are anatomy. This one's a Steward's log from turns back." The healer ticks off the books, and eyes the wild assortment of glasses with wary curiosity. "What are all of those *for*? Hello, Natali." The apprentice smiles at her Journeyman mentor, nodding an offer to the seat nearest.

Heryn's hand lifts in a greeting for the Journeyman Healer as she enters, but it's Citayzleat that earns a noise of protest. "It is! I'm pretty sure I know who to blame, but he isn't hurting anything, so he can stay so long as he's healthy. Besides, people seem to think he's interesting." If not outright entertaining, for when the Apprentice drops her stack of books, the little squid is spooked, jetting forth a heinous cloud of glittery ink as it flies out from under its shell and darts behind a small collection of plants in the far corner of its bowl. The seashell drifts down to the sand in its wake with comical slowness. Chuckling for the poor thing's plight, Heryn focuses in on the Healer's books, one brow lifting slowly as she goes on. "Shells. I can see why you came to a bar to read," he says, tone tactlessly implying just about anyone'd have to get drunk to make it through all that. "The first couple sound interesting, but Steward's logs?" Cue playful shudder. As for the glasses, "Different kinds of drinks come in different glasses, depending on their taste and how to best enjoy them. Which, speaking of, can I get either of you ladies a drink?"

Natali grins as she's greeted. "Hello, Citayzleat. I don't remember assigning you homework… Ahd hello to you to, Sir. I'm Natali." He hand is offerd to Heryn in greeting as she sits. At the little squid's antics, she giggles. "I'd be creful, too. Possibly let him out back in the tidepools. TJhere's no telling how long he'll be able to last in that bowl. So, what's good to eat and drink tonight? Anything but barbeque, that is…"

Cita may or may not be charmed by the poor fellow's alarm; at very least, she watches the trail of ink with a researcher's interest. The healer might mutter something about abductions, but it's teasing at best, since she's thumping open one of those books. Ah, a detailed visual of some sort of festering bite, good. "You didn't assign me, no." Cita cedes to Natali, lips quirking. "I'm finished for the day: this is for Journeyman Telj. His research on the creatures is very interesting." Back to Heryn, the apprentice makes a face, lips pursed and definitely not grinning. "It's quieter than my room. The Steward might have noted prior appearances of the creatures." Cita eyes the glasses thoughtfully, then Natali, but maybe she's feeling bold. Or testing her boundaries, with a peer-turned-superior. "Something warm. Like klah?"

"Well met, Natali. I'm Heryn," the bartender replies, taking a moment to dry his hand on a towel before returning her handshake. "And it will take a stronger man than me to rid a young lady of her pet." Heryn chuckles for her mention of barbecue. "Yeah, I think we're all pretty sick of that at this point. If you're feeling fancy, the cook's special tonight is a heardbeast burger with a fruit chutney and a side of spiced tubers. Otherwise, there's the usual fare," he says, sliding a folded menu full of usual bar food her way. "As for drinks, we have a few summer ales from up north, an orange citrus martini of my own making, and the usual bottles of wine… and klah," is added for Cita's benefit, eyes slanting over towards the apprentice with a 'really?' sort of look in his eyes, teasingly judging her. "Can I at least spike it?," he jests with a grin, moving away to pour a mug of klah before returning. "That looks… delightful," is said of the graphic images in her book, the young man leaning his elbows on the bar to peer at them more closely. "What kind of creature does that? You raise a good point, though - we were just wondering the other night if they were a migratory species or if this was a freak accident."

Cita makes a thoughtful face, somewhere between a grimace and sympathy. "The barbecue is…tasty, at least." The apprentice hedges, diplomatically, for once. The healer opens up the steward's logbook, too, running her finger down the pages until she's sure of the right one. The listing of the drinks gets a thoughtful squint. The question of spiking, though — Natali gets a broad sideways grin, and Heryn high-raised eyebrows. "That's the *idea*, isn't it. Unless you can't think of anything." Cita cants her chin, a vague challenge. As for the illustration, the healer eyes it dispassionately, taking in the scene. "Fish. Not one from around here, though. Well," A beat. "Not that we know. Lots of spines. Dreadful. No real treatment but packing it with poultice and hoping for the best." Cita is remarkably serene about that. "Telj isn't certain yet. Mostly, we're focusing on potential medicinal uses." For the glittery squids. Genius.

Natali thinks for a moment. "I'd like a mug of klah and the special, I think. The spiced tubers sound teriffic." She shudders as she thinks of the fish under discussion. "Horrible things. We had them near the cothold. Ma and Da always told me not to go in the water." She listens. "So, what sorts of uses is Telj thinking about, other than the skin moisturizing effect? I've not touched base with him yet."

"It's something. Not complaining, mind you, but there's only so many things you can barbecue before it all starts to taste the same." Heryn doesn't linger, instead snatching up that mug of klah before she changes her mind. "Oh, don't you worry, I can think of something!" Or, many somethings, as it turns out; the bartender carefully layers a heavy klah-flavored liquor, a clear liquid from a small bottle, the klah, and cream garnished with a healthy dollop of heavy whipped cream and a dash of spice on top. Warmed by the hot klah, the drink is an appealing brown ombre by the time he places it back on the bar next to Cita. "You got it," he says towards Natali with a smile, moving away to place the order and bring her a mug of regular klah before rejoining the conversation. "Eugh. That sounds terrible, and that's just from one fish?," he asks, tone incredulous as he gestures at the rest of the book. "What other kind of stuff is out there?" Why not cultivate a good, healthy fear of the ocean while living in an island weyr? "Shells, everyone's trying to find uses for them beyond the cosmetic, aren't they? Once they rule out toxicity, I want to try to use the glitter water in drinks." Because that's sane.

Cita, having gotten away with ordering liquor, subsides a little into staring at her book. She nods ruefully for the warnings against going near the water, eyebrows scrunched up. "Mine too. Although I think that was the mud, maybe." The healer shrugs, then makes a thoughtful noise. "He hasn't actually made much progress. It seems they are — well, very good at hiding, for small sea creatures that spout glitter." Cita grins, shrugging expansively and flipping the book's page. Lovely: mangled face-parts. She doesn't watch the book, though, but the bartender, whose concoction of liquor and klah gets steadily more delight from the Apprentice. The drink actually garners a laugh, bright and amused. "Hmmm. You might be onto something." Cita admits, looking shifty as she takes a drink and sighs contentedly. "Maybe." Which is why she takes a long drink next, setting the cup down reluctantly. "Well, there's this one. Secretes a slime that blinds ya and eats your skin if you don't wash it quickly." So helpful. So not even concerned for the nasty nature of her proclamation. "Hmm. I wouldn't think it's toxic, but maybe hold off for a while yet." Until they're sure there's no…face-melting, maybe.

Natali nods in agreement, taking a sip of her klah. "It may well be edible, but we don't know that yet. It could also have some side effects. I remember once when a hunter came into the cothold after eating some mushrooms. He claimed he was seeing rainbow colored runnerbeasts. Ma had to put him to bed for three days."

Heryn snorts at the idea of the squids being good at hiding, blue-grey eyes darting over to the captive creature on the bar, who as resumed hiding under his shell. "Defective," he mutters before the new page in the book diverts his attention. "Oh, gross," the man says in a tone that indicates morbid curiosity, resuming his earlier lean against the bar to get a better look. He peers down at it for a long moment before allowing the healer's contended sigh to distract him, gaze jerking up so he can twitch his eyebrows in a cocky fashion. "I know, right?" Aww yeah, he knows he's good. As for the slimy face-melter: "… Ah. Yeah. That's… that sounds less than good. Does it often target humans, or is that a case of being at the wrong place at the wrong time?" He wants to know for Reasons. He snorts at Natali's story despite himself though, lips splitting in a wide grin. "You have a point. I do supposed it would be looked poorly upon if I sent half the weyr on a bender, good intentions or not."

Cita doesn't seem to mind the book-ogling, nodding calmly at Natali's story. She doesn't look all that surprised. "It's remarkable, what some mushrooms can do. Have you ever seen a case when somebody got into…oh, I forget the name. The hemorrhaging ones." The Apprentice all but bounces in her seat. "'Gross' is right." She adds brightly, shaking her head down at the book. And if she takes another really-not-subtle drink of her klah-drink, well. "Wrong place. Misidentification, usually. It looks a lot like another species, and, you don't wash your hands before you touch your face." Cita wiggles her fingers in a disturbing kind of demonstration. Possibly of exploding face-parts. Ew. As for the last, the Apprentice makes a face at Natali, then squints at the bartender. "Please don't send half the Weyr on a bender. I *hate* to think of the mess."

Natali nods, agreeing with her mentee. "It's bad enough if they're drunk. If they're hallucinating…" She decides to change the subject. "Anyway, Citayleat, we've got a round of physicals coming up soon. II'm going to need you to help me with the women." She takes another sip of Klah, as her burger arrives. "Oh! That looks delicious, Heryn. Thanks for recommending it. A nice change of pace from pulled porcine and ribs…"

Heryn has to laugh for Citayzleat's enthusiasm, eyeing the young woman with an amused shake of his head. "If I didn't know better, I'd say you rather enjoy this kind of thing," he says, waving one hand to indicate the gruesome image, the hemorrhaging mushrooms, and all. "Are you looking to go into trauma or research at the end of all this?" Studying, he seems to mean, as he eventually withdraws a few steps to continue cleaning his various cups and glasses. He hums quietly in acceptance of the 'wrong place' dialogue, head nodding to show he understands, lips eventually quirking up with a nasal laugh for her demonstration. "That was… a vivid mental image," he drawls before shifting his attention to Natali. How the Journeywoman can eat after that is beyond him, but he nods just the same. "Quite welcome, I hope you find it to your liking! And I promise I won't willfully inflict hallucinations on anyone, even if it would be pretty funny a couple turns down the line when everyone's forgiven me," he promises, unconvincingly. "Anyways, enough of the little stuff. Anything in that book that looks like it might star in a Seacrafter's nightmares?" Because who needs to sleep tonight? Pff.

Cita perks up a little at mention of physicals. "I excelled at physicals at the Hall." Which Natali already knows, probably. "At least, that's what they tell me. Do you think the weyrfolk here will come willingly?" Healers and mandatory physicals were sketchy at best, and all. Heryn's innocent question throws the Apprentice for a loop — she gapes, wide-eyed, up at the man over her glass of klah-liquor. "Um." Eloquently. "I…don't know. There are so many specialties. Natali is here to help me choose, in part." Cita inclines her head towards the Journeyman ruefully. Thankfully, his laughter for the face-sploding demonstration is distracting, and the healer does a little bow. "I do what I can, thank you. We have to be precise, you see. You never know what could happen, with an imprecise healer." She's full of crap and she knows it, grinning. As for the book: "Oh, that is a *good* question. Let me look."

Natali doesn't seem to be showing any sign of queasiness, as she takes a spiced tuber round, and pops it into her mouth. As Cita starts shoveling the bovine droppings, she gently elbows the other girl, giggling slightly as she does so. "I wouldn't know, mind you. I've never looked at the book in question."

Heryn has little investment in physicals (short of being made to do one himself), so after a wary squint in the direction of the pair of women, he quickly finishes off the washing of his cups before setting out to dry and rack them again. Cita's oh-so-flattering gaping earns a sheepish look from the man, his own face scrunching in a gesture that might be called apologetic by someone being kind. "Sorry, I uh, didn't know how far along you were in your apprenticeship," he apologizes with a chuckle. "It just seemed like you take more than simple academic joy in the afflictions of others," Heryn adds teasingly, offering a knowing nod to the idea of Healers needing to be precise. "Only too right. You are a true credit to your craft." Twinkle. Bright eyes switch over to Natali, then, head tilting curiously while Cita searches. "No? What's your specialty, then? If you don't mind me asking, that is. Isn't often I get to poke Healers back with questions, forgive me if I'm being nosy."

Cita flashes Natali a sharp grin, but her eyes are wide, perfectly innocent. "Oh, you should. It's a real gem." The Apprentice informs the other healer solemnly, flipping through the pages and pausing occasionally. She waves a hand for the next from Heryn, grin falling off into a scrunched-up face that, too, is very flattering. "Me?" A hand flaps to her chest indignantly. "…maybe not. But finding ways to *fix* them is where it's really at. Put it all back together." You know, like this guy. Even Cita makes a bit of a face at the way this new illustration depicts decapitation. "Faranth." It's easy to be mollified — and distracted, too — by flattery, though. Even if it is teasing. Cita can deal with that, grinning easily again. "Of course we are. Why else would we be here." Loftily. She doesn't deign to respond to the last, though. Poke back, indeed.

Natali and Citayzleat are sitting at the bar, sipping mugs of klah, Natal;i eating a burger, as they chat pleasantly with Heryn. "Me? I'm a general practicioner. That's one of the reasons I was posted here, we needed someone here to take all; the smal;er cases, help out with familys and kids." She grins at Cita.

Well, everyone has their breaking point, and Heryn's morbid fascination apparently comes to a sudden stop right at decapitation. "Aaand, we're done!," he says in a sing-song tone, hands going up to admit defeat. "You've officially gone on beyond what I can handle. Bluh," he says, shuddering a tad over-dramatically as he pointedly refocuses on hanging the last of his glasses overhead. "I should probably restock supplies before the dinner rush anyways. Thank you both for the entertainment. Good luck on your studies, and on your posting, Natali. That sounds like an admirable take on things," he says with a grin. "If you're still here later, I'll see you then, but if not, have yourselves an excellent evening," Heryn murmurs before sidling towards the back of the lounge and out of sight.


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