"What am I doing wrong, huh?" A tiny Bosmer elf looked over the rim of the cup with spiced tea across the table at her Khajiit friend and soul confidante. "He said that I'm reckless and intimidating! Intimidating! Can you believe that?"
"Mmm... You can be that, this one thinks."
"Hey! Don't look at this one like that! Remember that thug back at Khenarthi's Roost - you promised to castrate him if he doesn't leave this one alone and--"
"But he did threaten you, Ragi; that makes the difference! That guy hasn't threatened any of my friends. Or me... What am I doing wrong? I really want some sort of proper relationship, someone who cares for me, not just a one-night stand, you know! Girls can dream, right?"
"This one knows. Rin, you can be nice and cute. Raz thinks you're cute, by the way,” the Khajiit thief dropped casually. “This one thinks he speaks about it even too often for this one's taste..."
Hearing that, Gwilwering choked on her drink. "What! Ragi, you know I would never... Gods above! You know I know how you feel about him."
"I'm kidding! I'm kidding! Don't fret!" Bagir-Ra laughed heartily. "Ah, but you should have seen your face! Raz was right when he said telling you that would be fun!"
"I will shave him! I will shave both of you bald!"
"See? Now you're intimidating! Oh, this one knows. Let's just ask someone if you are cute or intimidating and not suited for courting and other fluffy stuff!"
"Bagir-Ra! Don't--" Rin felt her cheeks going hot.
"How about that guy over there? This one will go ask."
"Ragi, stop! Don't you dare!" She leaped across the table, trying to catch her friend's tail, but the Khajiit was already out of her reach.
"Hey, you, yeah, you!” Bagir-Ra stood at the middle of the tavern facing the broody-looking young Altmer mage who was sitting alone at the table in the corner with a glass of wine and a fat book. "What do your high elven standards of female virtues tell you about this one's friend? Is she good enough to become someone's muse?" She shot the Bosmer a quick glance, baring her teeth in a wide grin.
Rin looked at the mage too, the emerald green of her eyes meeting golden honey of his, her face dark crimson with embarrassment. "Will shave you!" she mouthed, glancing at Bagir-Ra.
The Altmer shut the book and downed his glass, rising from the table. "They say you two are just insane and drunk tavern wenches worth neither courting nor even a mere shade of interest," he said lowly, heading toward the exit.
Color drained from Rin's cheeks.
"Well, that was... rude." The Khajiit shifted her attention back to her friend. "I'm sorry, kitten, I thought it would be fun..."
"Shut up, Ragi."
"Who would have guessed that he's going to be such a Mister-Broody-Pants!"
"Just. Shut. Up."
* * *
"Is she good enough to become someone's muse?...Am I good enough to become your muse?"
Lian sighed and shut the book that had been open to the same page for at least an hour; as much as he tried, he hadn't gotten through it anyway. Emerald-green eyes on a rapidly paling face haunted him.
He had seen that Bosmer girl before in the Guildhall--wandering around, crafting glyphs at the enchanting table and talking to the senior mages. Something was different about her; maybe it was almost dreamy expression in her eyes when she looked at the books at the guild bookshelves. A hunter that fancies reading--a peculiar sight indeed. And she was lovely; he had to give her that. And tiny. And now he had called her a drunken tavern wench though knowing perfectly well that she was completely sober--he had overheard her ordering a spiced tea. Brilliant! Simply brilliant.
"You could congratulate yourself," the mage scoffed.
That coal-furred Khajiit had caught him off guard. Why had she needed to pester him anyway? "Stupid cat!" the Altmer mumbled, plopping down on his bed. It was well past midnight and he really had to try and get some sleep; there was a lot to be done next morning.