The Not Quite Quiet Meal

The tavern was lively with people milling about, dancing, swaying or clapping to the bard’s music. Tonight she didn’t care about the music, just wanted to get a meal, update her To Do list then get some sleep.

“Saadia, dear? Wake up, dear!” Hulda called out.

The Redguard woman scurried from the kitchen area to Lurren’s table and began wiping down the table. “Looking for something to eat? Drink? Or Both?”

“Bring me some mead and hot stew with bread. Oh, plus some ink, please.” Lurren was digging through her knapsack when Carlotta sat down across from her.

“Will do.” The woman’s smooth voice said before leaving to get Lurren’s order.

“All these men proposing to me.” Carlotta sighed. “Some were even single.”

Lurren looked up at the woman then continued getting her notes together for another update without answering.

“They just will never understand.” The woman was saying to Lurren who tried her hardest to ignore it. “But that bard Mikael is begging for a dagger up against his neck the way he goes on about me.”

“Want some advice?” Lurren finally offered.

“Sure, anything to help with him.”

“Then why don’t you use that dagger strapped to your side and put it against his neck?” Lurren smiled across the table to her. “Zany idea, novel one too!”

“Some adventurer you are, it’s not a dagger.” Carlotta turned to face Lurren straight on.

“Looks like one, iron in fact.”

“Wherever you got that idea, it’s wrong. This is a parry knife.” Carlotta proudly proclaimed about her cutlery tool.

Saadia sat the mead and ink on the table, “Stew will be here shortly.”

Lurren was looking down at her notes when she reached for the bottle of mead that was suddenly missing. Her hand kept grasping at air until her eyes checked out the problem. “That’s my mead.”

Carlotta was taking a long drink then lowered the bottle to snarl at Lurren. “Since you won’t help me, I need to get good and drunk to confront him with my parry knife!”

Lurren ran her hand through her hair, “Want me to speak to Mikael?”

She shrugged, “You can try but I doubt anything will get through his thick skull.”

“Yeah, seems to be a real problem around Skyrim.” Lurren said as she stood up and walked over to the bard.

“Well, well, well, what can I do for you on this lovely evening?” Mikael using his charm laid the red carpet out for his approaching admirer.

Lurren smiled, “You need to leave Carlotta alone.”

Mikael replied quickly, “Anything for my sweet lass.”

“Many thanks.” Lurren said as she watched Carlotta dipping her bread into the fresh stew Saadia delivered In Lurren’s absence. “Good news, he said he would leave you alone so bye.”

“You convinced that flute player to stop chasing me? I would thank the gods but I’ll thank you instead. Here, for your trouble.” Carlotta dropped the rest of her bread onto the table then departed.

Lurren was looking through her notebook when a voice spoke. “Hi.” She kept her head down when a small hand was waving between her book and eyes.

“Hi.” The little girl finally got the woman’s attention and climbed into the opposite chair. “That looks good.” Her little hand grabbed part of the bread then dipped into the stew. “Yummy!” She replied after popping the moist morsel into her mouth.

“I wouldn’t know about that.” Lurren replied wondering what the child wanted.

The child pulled the hot stew and rest of the bread over to her. “I’m on a mission in Skyrim. Name is Singpe Ctoomild and I work for the Monetary Business Bureau. We have uncovere…”

Lurren stopped her to clarify a few points. “You name is Singpe Ctoomild?”

“Correct! I’m 8 yrs old.” Singpe replied while stuffing another piece of bread into her mouth.

“And you work for the Monetary Business Bureau at such a young age?”

“Correct again! I knew what I wanted to do with my life the moment I saw the color yellow. Now, we are trying to sort out a problem with the currency in Skyrim.” Singpe was digging through her knapsack for a book. “You will be perfect to help me out.”

“No.”

“No what? Singpe looked sad when the woman said no without hearing her out.

“I’m not helping you. No.” Lurren reached for her stew bowl and was promptly whacked on the back of her hand with a spoon.

That spoon then proceeded to scold Lurren as her hand retracted. “Here’s the problem, the money system in Skyrim makes no sense at all.”

Lurren rubbed her hand and stepped into the muddy waters. “What doesn’t make sense about it?”

“Let’s review the chart.” She spread one out on the table and tapped at it. “We have the Imperial septim, septim, gold septim, gold, gold coins, coins, money and here is where it gets interesting.”

“Really? Don’t want to miss this part.” Lurren was holding her chin in one hand and trying not to fall asleep.

“There is also the alms, bloody septim and even the bandits have their own with rusty septims. What we are trying to establish…hey, lady, wake up!” The little girl was shaking Lurren’s arm that jolted her awake. “Pay attention here! We need you to determine if there are multiple money systems or perhaps a poorly developed system based on a word that has multiple meanings but still means the same thing. Oh, don’t bother with the crazy Professor Doon up in Solitude he thinks he sees pennies.” The little girl leaned over the table to whisper, “There are no pennies in Skyrim. He’s just…” Her finger was spinning around one ear to tell Lurren the man was crazy without verbally admitting to it.

“I’ll mark it down.” Lurren kept fighting to stay awake but mostly to get her eyes to shut.

“Excellent, glad to have you aboard.” The littler girl piled twelve books on the table and patted the top one. “These are the guidelines and other reference books, keep them handy and read them all.” She dipped the last of the bread into the stew. “Our organization is called MIMCIC. Watch out for other organizations, like Underground Little Feet, Thieves Guild, Companions…groups like that. They are just the type that disrupts the Empire’s system and those we fight against.” The bread was popped into her mouth. “Any questions?”

“Just one…what does MIMCIC stand for?” Lurren was sure she heard all the details correctly but her body was giving out.

“Money is Money, Coin is Coin.” She slapped Lurren on the back. “You be careful out there and report back soon. This could be huge should we uncover a plot against the Empire and its money system they have in place.” The charts threw off the table and left with the little girl.

Saadia came by to pick up the empty dishes, “You want anything else?”

“Same as before but no ink.” Lurren was moving the stack of books away from her.

“I ain’t done nothing;” The beggar said as he sat down in the musical chair.

Lurren chose to show him the error of his ways, “Until you sat down in the chair uninvited.”

“What? Why you lookin’ at me?”

“You tell me. Is there something you wanted?” Lurren asked the dirty redguard beggar.

“Hey. In the kitchen over there over, is this bottle of Argonian Ale. The good stuff. Get it for me. They won’t even know it’s gone. Come on.” He asked Lurren while Saadia put the second serving of food on the table.

Lurren stood up, figuring it was easier to get the ale and rid of him than to have any conversation. She returned with the bottle of ale and wanted to smash it over his head. Her second meal was gone, all gone including the mead. All gone. She slammed the bottle on the table and ordered him gone.

Brenuin left a healing potion on the table in return as he raced off with his new drinking buddy.

Saadia took the dirty dishes from the table and left a bottle of mead for Lurren. “I’ll be back.”

Collapsing into the chair, Lurren tried again to update her notes while waiting for meal number three to arrive. She reached for the bottle of mead and found it gone.

Ysolda was holding the bottle while sitting in the chair opposite of Lurren. “I like to watch the tavern from this spot. I spend a lot of time at the market stalls so I can learn the merchant’s trade. I need more experience if I’m going to run an inn someday.”

“Here’s an idea for you, just hop on over to that counter and lend the lady a hand. First hand experience right there!” Lurren was pining for that bottle of mead that really was hers to start with.

“I can’t just yet, need a mammoth tusk. I met one of the caravan leaders, Ma’dran. He said he’d help get me started if I could bring him one.” Ysolda moved the freshly made stew over to her and started eating it. “Delicious.”

“I would not know about that.” Lurren growled back.

“You could do that for me. Find me one. I could teach you a thing or two about trading. Help you get a fair bargain in the future.” She slurped down the last of the stew then finished off the bottle of mead.

Lurren had no idea what just happened there, “You need a mammoth tusk to give to some caravan leader to buy an inn within the city? That’s the dumbest thing I have ever heard. Perhaps being wanting to..”

“It’s for lessons in trading.” Ysolda interrupted to say.

“You don’t trade running an inn. You provide a service that your cust…” Lurren stopped and nodded. “I see, you wish to run that type of trading service”

Ysolda replaced the empty bowl and bottle onto the table. “Just get me the tusk, please.”

“Lady, can you spare a coin?” The small voice said behind Lurren.

Lurren didn’t even bother turning around, just flipped a coin over her shoulder that Lucia caught.

“Thanks! You’re the best! Can you be my grandmother?”

“Gray-Mane or Battle-Born?” The Nord man asked Lurren as he past her table.

“What is your name?”

“Idolaf Battle-Born.” He gruffly replied.

“Battle-Born.” Lurren replied as she watched him take her bowl number four from the table and walk away.

“I knew you were a sharp one the moment I laid eyes on you.” He remarked as he carried the hot bowl away carefully.

“Could you put the bowl back…please? No?” She sighed while pushing everything back into her knapsack.

“Keep walkin’, softgut. I’m more woman than you can handle.” Some large nord woman said to Lurren as she approached the counter to pay for all the meals she didn’t get.

Lurren just ignored the woman, paid her tab and turned to leave the tavern.

“Think you can go blade to blade with me? You’d be dead in six seconds.” Uthgerd the Unbroken dared the stranger. She knew she could take the smaller woman, smash her down like she did that young boy in the Companions. “I rephrase that, you’d be dead in 3 seconds.”

Lurren faced the woman and looked up. “Don’t know how you would manage that after I crush you like a bug in 1 second!”

“Let’s go, worm!” Uthgerd threw a punch that sent Lurren flying backward.

She crashed into tables and chairs, causing patrons to scramble and drinks spilling everywhere. “Why you!” Lurren lunged back at the Nord woman, diving over Sinmir’s shoulder to reach her.

Uthgerd fell back when Lurren tackled her with swinging fists.

“Who taught you to fight? Keep those hands up!” One spectator yelled.

Sinmir stood up, not happy about being kicked in the face by Lurren’s passing foot and punched Mikael for it.

Mikael outraged that anyone would harm his handsome face, smashed his lute down upon Breniun’s head.

Breniun whacked Ysolda over the head with a gourd that was sitting on a nearby shelf.

Ysolda screamed, grabbed an apple and threw it across the room hitting Idolaf squarely in the chest.

Lucia and Singpe were watching from the balcony upstairs.

Hulda was yelling for Saadia to do something, anything. Saadia was trying to calm everyone by talking in a seductive voice. “Need something?” “Mind your manners.”

Lurren felt her body being lifted with her arms swinging in the air like a wildcat and carried out of the tavern.

Vilja picked up the knapsack and the stack of books on the table. New reading material she thought since she assumed the books belonged to Lurren.

Lurren was kicking and flaying her arms trying to get back to that woman inside and finish her off.

The town guard rushed over to Lurren still hanging in the air. “You have committed crimes against Skyrim and her people, what say you in your defense?”

“It’s all right, guard. I’m the Jarl’s thane.” Vilja said as she walked down the stairs.

“Oh, sorry, thane. Just be careful, the Jarl’s patience only goes so far.”

Vilja bend down to look at Lurren, “Tsk, tsk…can’t leave you alone for a minute.”

Lurren just puffed and blew air from her lower lip to move hair dangling in her face. She didn’t even need to know who was holding her, if Vilja was here…so was he.

Thrynn released Lurren then folded his arms across his chest. “Honestly, woman…” He then walked off toward the new house Vilja bought called Breezehome.

Lurren landed on the ground on all fours, “Owie” She managed to bring herself back upright and straight into Vilja’s frowning face.

“We were waiting for you to come out but when we heard the racket from in here,” She pointed to the tavern. “We knew it was your fault.”

“It wasn’t, I assure you.” Lurren was feeling sore along with being hungry and tired.

Vilja was headed to her new home and demanded Lurren to follow. “Come on, we will start fresh again tomorrow.”

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