As Vaeros stepped beside the bar, the noise of the club abruptly died down into a low background hum, as if being heard through a thick wall. Soothing Dusk music, coming from a cube behind the bar, filled the air at a far more reasonable volume than the pounding music behind him.
The bartender, a Bith in a plain black shirt and grey slacks, took note of his gesture and strolled over at a relaxed pace.
"Greetings, sentient. How may I serve you?" he asked politely, his voice serene.
Thankful for the muffling of the dancefloor noise, Vaeros greeted the Bith bartender with a faint smile. Of course there would be a Bith on staff; they perceived sound like other races perceived colour, so this must be an especially vibrant place for him to work.
"Good evening," he began. "Much as I wish I could sit back with a drink, I'm here on business first and foremost..." He leaned forward towards the barman, ostensibly as if making sure he could be heard above the music. "Varrik's cutter sends her regards."
"Ah," the Bith nodded. "I'm certain my employer will be delighted to know his friends have him in their thoughts, even across the expanse of space," the bartender said sincerely. Reaching beneath the counter, the Bith produced a bottle of what Vaeros immediately recognized as Corellian ale and poured him a glass of the pale brown drink. "One of my co-workers will be with you shortly. In the meantime," the Bith nudged the glass towards him. "Please, have a drink on the house while you wait, I insist. I would be remiss in my duties if I failed to extend our full hospitality."
This was a pleasant surprise. The name had already sparked recognition, and the bartender was quick to give a timely response, as if he had been waiting to hear this request. It was most likely that Niamh had contacted this Varrik ahead of time and arranged the circumstances of their reunion, only for her newfound duties to drag her away from the planned journey.
"Ah, thank you!" He smiled and reached for the glass of ale. He half-imagined that if Niamh were here, she would warn him to consider the possibility that the drink was somehow spiked; but he was expected, and he hardly imagined that the barman just so happened to keep a tainted bottle of Corellian ale. The choice of drink couldn't be a coincidence.
Sliding onto a stool, Vaeros availed himself of a shallow draught of the ale, and set himself to waiting for the next stop on his covert little journey to meet Varrik.
The ale was good. Sweet, like a Corellian ale was supposed to be. Taken with the music and the friendly bartender, the wait was a soothing reprieve.
A few minutes of calm later, he heard a few footsteps behind him, before a Mirialan woman entered his peripheral vision, leaning against the counter beside him. She placed a small disk of some kind between them and pressed a red button in the center, and the music from the bar went silent, while the dull hum from the club behind him vanished entirely. He could see the Bith pouring a drink for another customer, but there was no sound as he did so, or as the patron moved his lips to say what Vaeros could only assume was a quick "thank you."
"Hara Ulin, Niceta meecha," the green-skinned woman remarked hastily. "So, one of Varrik's cutters sent you, eh? Which one?" she asked, tilting her head quizzically.
He whiled away the time sipping his ale, listening to the music at the bar, and turning to observe the dancefloor and its almost entrancing cacophony of lights and dance. A little while passed before a Mirialan approached him, set a device on the bar, and all of a sudden, all other sound died. He blinked in confusion and looked around; it took him a moment to realise what was happening. Very clever. He turned back to regard the Mirialan.
Vaeros gave an easy shrug and sat back. He may have looked calm, but there was a lump threatening to lodge itself in his throat all throughout this conversation. He couldn't help but carry a measure of trepidation.
"Ace of Sabres? Don't you mean the Seven of Coins?"
The Mirialan nodded seriously. "Follow me." She hit the button on the disk again, and the music from the bar and the hum from the club faded back in. Standing up and looping her right arm through Vaeros' left, she led him away from the bar. "Get your ears ready," she advised, visibly clenching her jaw. Abruptly, about two meters away from the bar, the pounding of the club's music hit him again at full force, and the vibration in his chest was back. Not as jarring as it had been when he first stepped in, but certainly a less than pleasant experience after his time in the comparatively mellow bar.
Passing by the dance-floor, she led him over to the stairs. The Trandoshans leered at him like jungle predators stalking a potential meal, but turned their attention back to the crowds when they caught sight of the Mirialan.
As they ascended the steps, bright blue light enveloped the pair from below, casting strange shadows on them. A quick glance downward revealed the source; each step they took caused the stair they stepped upon to glow a brilliant blue. An impressive, and probably expensive effect. The glow also helped illuminate the stairs themselves, which certainly helped in the otherwise dim lighting.
A short way along the enclosed, curving stairwell which now seemed to run along the wall of the club, the noise behind them vanished abruptly, and the vibrations in his chest suddenly lessened. The music coming from the second level was still pounding, but at a mercifully lower volume, muffled slightly by having to echo down the stairway, growing mildly louder as they continued their climb, until they eventually emerged onto the upper level. This upper level was illuminated by blue lights along the walls, bright enough for Kasto to see the individuals present, rather than indistinct shapes, and lacked any of the disorienting flashes from the room below. The setup was similar to the floor below, with sabacc tables and a dance floor, but there was only one bar, at the back, this one green, and tended by a pale-skinned Twi'lek woman, tossing a shaker through the air gracefully as she mixed drinks.
Even before the Mirialan lifted her hand to indicate him, Vaeros spotted Varrik. A short distance away, Vaeros saw a set of stairs, flanked by a pair of humans, leading to another section above the second floor, notably darker than the rest. And there, leaning on the railing of a platform that jutted out slightly over the second floor, was a human male, smoking a cigarillo and garbed in a white jacket not altogether dissimilar from Darth Niamh's own. Catching sight of them, the figure appeared to give a nod, before turning and strolling away from the railing.
The Mirialan walked the young apprentice over to the stairs, before releasing his arm. "Head on up. He's expecting you." She cast a nod at the pair flanking the stairs, and they nodded back in response.
It had worked. Taking his glass in his right hand, Vaeros belatedly offered his left arm for Hara to take and allowed her to lead him toward the stairs to the upper floor. Likewise, he braced himself against the return of the din of the music and the thunderous bass. With Hara on his arm, the mountainous Trandoshans who guarded the staircase allowed him to pass.
A short distance across this upper floor, presumably a VIP space, Hara raised her free hand to indicate the man Vaeros was looking for. He stood upon yet another upper floor, looking out over his property from above through a haze of cigarillo smoke. There stood his objective. He allowed himself to be led toward the stairs up to that level, he took his leave of Hara with a grateful smile and nod, then made his way up the stairs, passing his glass into his left hand and taking another quick draught of his ale. At the top, he took a few steps forward, toward the man in the white jacket.
Darth Xaos: Talk to ya later, mate.
Sept 6, 2017 16:51:17 GMT
Darth Strigus: Alright, gotta head out. Nice chatting, though, see you soon
Sept 6, 2017 16:50:43 GMT
Darth Xaos: I might just check those out. I've definitely never read/watched any murder mysteries with such an unexpected setting.
Sept 6, 2017 16:43:24 GMT
Darth Strigus: Found it by coincidence, too. A friend found it in a sauna, knew I liked Rome, and gave it to me for secret santa. I started in the middle of series, but they're stand alone, so it's basically fine
Sept 6, 2017 16:43:22 GMT
Darth Strigus: If you like either one, I'd definitely recommend them.
Sept 6, 2017 16:42:31 GMT
Darth Strigus: It's called Roma sub Rosa, by Steven Saylor. It's a bunch of murder mysteries that are set in Ancient Rome, so it combined two things I love
Sept 6, 2017 16:41:33 GMT
Darth Xaos: Oh, yeah? What series is it?
Sept 6, 2017 16:40:56 GMT
Darth Strigus: I'm in the middle of a series now, though, so it might be a bit before I start
Sept 6, 2017 16:40:31 GMT
Darth Strigus: I might just go with NuCanon. As much good as I've heard about Thrawn, it'll probably just be hard to keep everything straight going forward
Sept 6, 2017 16:40:14 GMT
Darth Xaos: I'd say start with the books from the '90s since that's where it all began. Unless you'd like to jump right into the NuCanon in which case any of them seems a fine place, I've heard good things about most of them.
Sept 6, 2017 16:39:18 GMT
Darth Strigus: I've never read any of the Star Wars books, oddly. I'll have to give them a shot. Any starting place you'd recommend?
Sept 6, 2017 16:38:01 GMT
Darth Xaos: Just finished Dark Disciple and it's given me an itch to read a bunch of the the NuCanon books.
Sept 6, 2017 16:37:23 GMT