A Rowdy Wonkey Donkey

“I’m Zelda Ives, Sir.” She held her hand out to shake his. Oh yes, rough hands, definitely a hard worker. That didn’t mean he had money, of course but it did mean he had some sort of trade or physical activity to pass the time. Actually, that meant very little, he could be a grave digger for all Zelda knew. But she was tired and would be getting off work soon and there just seemed to be something in the air that made her feel frolicsome.

She had an arm resting on the back of his chair and leaned in close, having developed a habit of standing directly next to the customers instead of across the table from them as she had on her first day. A habit that seemed to increase her tips as well. “I wasn’t there when Miss Jeters made this batch, but I’m told the secret to her recipe is more in the prep than the ingredients. You see, she kneads the dough for ages until it’s like putty in her hands,” Zelda’s fingers had crept up Jericho’s shoulder and were massaging the muscles near his neck. “She then plunges them in and out of a steaming hot bath of spiced water until it permeates just to their centers. Then she grabs her massive dipper and pulls out just in time to keep their insides silky smooth. The smaller the dumpling, the better.” She may have been poetry in motion on stage, but she was no lady until some rich man made her into one. She gave his earlobe a gentle tug and pranced off to the next table, collecting their empty plates and noting their nearly cleared beverages. These two had grown quiet in unison each time she approached so she took that to mean they preferred their privacy and that was fine with Zelda. It was much harder to flirt with a man when his lady friend was not approving and the pub was busy enough that she had plenty to do.

She was dropping off the plates behind the counter when the front doors swung open and in flowed a bitter breeze. Beyond the doorway the light outside looked odd, something was different. Zelda assumed it was because she’d been inside all day under the subdued gas lights of the Pub, but of course that wasn’t it. The Maelstrom above their heads, ever violent and agitated had found some peace. One of the newly arrived customers had said something to that effect, but he’d also been rip-roaring drunk for the better part of ten years so no one thought to go outside and investigate the claim.

The assortment of individuals who entered on that breeze were clearly made for one another’s company. They were freaks and Zelda hated that word, but it was really the first word that came to mind when taking in the medley of dwarf, giants, Ashen and consummate showman.

<<His smile grew wider as he opened his arms wide, pointing a thick black cane with a silver handle towards where the bar maid stood gaping.

"Drinks are on me good wench! Fill up those tankards and keep the wine and ale flowing." he turned to the side where a short hunchback stood holding a coin pouch, "Alexander if you would be so kind.">>

On Zelda’s first day she’d been warned by Mr. Jeters not to take an easy offense to the things that came out of the customers’ mouths so long as they were paying customers and kept their hands to themselves. She’d heard some off color remarks, but by and large the clientele at the Wonkey Donkey managed themselves with some level of decency. She herself had probably been the most indecent part of the day here at the pub and she was okay with that. So being called a good wench was at least better than being called a bad wench and the dwarf had technically kept his hands to himself, offering his feet instead to Zelda. She wasn’t entirely certain what the course of action was here; was she to take the entire coin purse from his outstretched toes? Was she to count out an arbitrary cost in coin? How much were they planning to drink? Screw it, she pulled the loops of the coin purse drawstrings free from the inverted dwarf’s toes and gave him a quick tickle along the bottom of his feet. “Have a seat and I’ll get your drinks flowing.”

When the tall man introduced himself as Barnaby Rust after commandeering someone else's table there was a bit of a fuss, but Zelda got the seasoned patron set up at another pair’s table and told them to make friends of each other. By the time free drinks were being poured poor Zelda was busy as a bee and it was looking like her shift would be carrying over. There wasn’t much time for flirting and playful talk now, she was dealing with some seriously thirsty individuals; a pub full of them. So it was quite a relief when her relief wench showed up for the evening shift. Evening shifts were the only time Wonkey Donkeys were known to get a bit rowdy and Zelda hadn’t been around to witness any of that, yet. She was quick to bring Tulip up to speed; yes that was the name of the other barmaid; and once the initial madhouse rush was quelled Zelda was allowed to take a break if she promised to help out as needed.

“May I see one of those,” she asked the Ashen girl who was wearing just enough to keep the bits and pieces concealed that men always wanted to see. The Ashen handed her a flier and was off to continue her rounds distributing them to the patrons. Some were appalled by her presence among the public, but the free drinks eased their concerns considerably.

Zelda sat down in the seat next to Jericho and looked over the flier. Blackthorn Imaginarium in the East Twins. That was close enough to the Theater District. And the Regent would be there? Zelda just HAD to be in attendance.

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