It wasn't his work to do so, but Pavo always kept an eye on other waiters at the Jones Anchor tavern. Especially since they got the new, younger ones. They were clumsy, and it annoyed him way more than it should. It hurt to just watch them.
Like right now, one of the younger boys was taking the dirty plates off an empty table, attempting to only carry two at the time, one in each hand. Why were these people even hired, Pavo had no idea.
But then again, the Jones hired anyone who asked nicely enough, it's how he got a job, so he really shouldn't be the one complaining about it.
Pavo, you see, was a native, a Peacock native born in the civil society, a settler town. It was hard for a native to get a job in such towns, and it was a long while before Pavo finally got one.
It's not that he wasn't grateful for it, but he couldn't say he liked it at all. He too intelligent to stay a waiter, and he always had his eyes open for a chance to get out of here. It might take him years, but one day, he'll head out, he was sure.
He walked over to the younger waiter with a sigh, frowning down at him.
"That is not how you do it," he said, rather quietly, and picked the rest of the dishes off the table.
"You better work on that, of you'll be no use as a waiter, boy," he said, carrying the dishes to the kitchen.
He might as well wash them while he was at it.
Pavo did a lot here, even the jobs that weren't his to fulfill. It wasn't because he'd want to prove himself to anyone, he just liked to stay busy. Some people found him odd, but it was certainly a fact, that Pavo loved to work.
Mr and Mrs Jones, the owners of the tavern sure noticed that, and made sure he was never left without work. They couldn't deny that the young native man grew to them. He was frowny, sure, and seemed distant most of the time, not to mention how proud and sometimes haughty he was, but he knew a lot, was a quick learner and he was ready to help.
"Hey, Mr Pavo,"
Mr Jones tapped the tall peacock's shoulder to get his attention.
The young man turned around to face his employer. He wasn't used of talking to him in the kitchen, it was usually his wife who was the boss around here.
"Me and Jane 'ave been thinkin' about expending Jones Anchor, since we've been havin' a lot of business flyin' in here for the past few months, you don't think?"
Pavo nodded slightly. It was true. More and more people have been making their way here, to eat and drink. Certainly a lot of pirates among them, but no one was bothered, as long as they didn't cause any trouble, which they haven't so far.
"We have everythin' set, all we need to make it happen is a signature from our gov'ner. Well, I gotta stay here to keep everythin' in order in the tavern, and Jane needs to keep the eye on the kitchen, and we came upon agreement to ask you to take the letter over, we both trust you very much, boy,"
"Sir," the peacock replied, with a slight frown.
"You want me to take the letter to the governor? They won't even let me through the front gate, probably,"
The tavern owner just forced a smile, shaking his head. He probably expected an answer among these lines. Natives were always victims of racism, sometimes subtle, sometimes not at all. Pavo has been lightly picked on in the tavern several times, but nothing bad happened so far.
"There is no one here who we trust as much as we trust you, Mr Pavo, you could at least try? We were even thinkin' bout giving you a raise after that…"
Pavo sighed a bit. He needed money. His father made barely enough to feed the family of three, and Pavo's own little pay only helped a tiny bit.
He sighed a bit and nodded.
"Okay, sir. What do I do?"
The man's face instantly brightened up.
"I always knew you were a good kid," he smiled.
"I'll give you the letter with the request, and you just deliver it to the gov'nor."
Later that day, Pavo made his way out of the tavern, blinking at the sunlight once he was outside. The tavern was set close to the port, he could see the ocean. Pavo loved to breathe the ocean air. He grew up here, but he could never get tired of it. How clean it was, and how fresh the scent of it was.
He nodded a bit, to himself, as an encouragement. He was worried about facing the guards before the gate. He doubted that they would get violent, but still, he needed to get inside to pass the letter to the governor.
Sighing, he went on the way. The sun was shining particularly warmly that day. Pavo loved the paths that lead from one town to the next, they were peaceful, only a few people passing by on the way.
It was about 15 minutes of normal paced walking to reach the governor's mansion. It was a big place, seen from afar. And boy was it posh.
It was surrounded by green meadows, a forest somewhere in the background.
The fence was built around the building, one guard by the gate.
The man, tall, well built, dressed in a white uniform, was a swan. He watched Pavo as soon as he reached his viewpoint, not trusting him at all.
It wasn't until the peacock was only a few feet away, that he moved the spear over the gate, frowning.
"State your business." He said, with a deep, threatening voice.
It didn't affect Pavo much though.
"I am here in the name of Mr Thomas and Mrs Jane Jones. I have a letter for the governor, a request for expanding their tavern, Jones Anchor. I would kindly ask you to let me inside, sir,"
Pavo was a little tensed, not knowing what to expect. The swan guard scanned him from head to toes, suspiciously.
"If you have any weapons, hand them over before I let you in," he said.
Pavo relaxed now, realizing everything went fine.
"No weapons, sir," he said, watching as the guard unlocked the gate.
He was amused to see how incautious the guard was. Not that Pavo had any weapons on him, but he expected that the guard would at least check if he was lying or not.
He shrugged it off and walked inside.
Two guards before the front door didn't question him. They seemed to heavily rely on the first one, huh.
He was then finally met with the governor's assistant, who gave him a rather nasty look, before nearly spitting a 'what do you want' at him.
Pavo resisted the urge to stare him down or show his disgust, and just cut to the deal.
"I'm here to see the governor, sir. I have a letter from the—"
"The governor is out of town." Snapped the assistant, as if this was common knowledge and Pavo should be ashamed for not having this information.
"Oh? Well, is there anyone replaying him, who could–"
Pavo rolled his eyes as the short scrawny swan cut him off again.
"Of course! Our dear governor would never leave the town without leaving someone in charge!" the man spoke with the annoying tune.
"Well then, sir, could I please just get this letter to that person's hands?" Pavo asked, unintentionally raising his voice, taking the letter out of his bag.
The screechy assistant put on a shocked face, just inhaling to probably tell Pavo off for raising his voice, as a very finely dressed young swan lady slowly walked through a tall opened door from the room on the right.
"Who are you arguing with now, Rogers?" she asked, looking at the assistant, then at Pavo.
"Oh excuse me, are you here to talk to me?" she said, her gaze fixed on the letter.
Pavo politely smiled at the woman before answering.
"I am afraid not, dear lady, I just came to give this letter to the governor – or someone who is currently doing his job."
"Well, that," she said, putting on a very victorious-looking smile, "would be me."
She raised her hand and motioned for Pavo to follow her, before she returned to the room she came from. "Follow me, and we'll settle this."
Pavo hurried after her, grateful to finally be able to get rid of the annoying assistant. He has never seen a woman to be given a governor's responsibilities, but knew better not to question it.
The lady sat down and reached for the letter, which was instantly handed over to her by Pavo.
"So what is this?" she asked, while opening it.
"It's a request to expand the Jones Anchor tavern, ma'am," he said, standing behind her chair. He didn't look over her shoulder, that would be rather rude. Instead, he looked around the room a bit.
"Do you think it's worth expanding?" She asked, reading through the request, not looking from the letter.
"Well," he said, raising his eyebrows.
"We have two pretty good cooks and one that's nothing special. We have eleven tables, four chairs to each. Five waiters – I'm one of them – and a fairly long menu. I'd say it's more or less an average tavern, but the owners are nice people and the business is good. If it was up to me, I'd let them expand it." He said.
"Oh, you work there?" she asked, with notable surprise in her voice, looking up at him.
It made Pavo frown a bit, and she noticed that, looking away again.
"Yes, I do, why is that surprising, if I may ask?"
"Well, it's just… I don't see many natives, is all. I'm sorry if I offended you." She said, trying to sound strong and official, but Pavo could clearly hear it in her voice, that she regretted her last question.
"Well, I said. The owners are nice people. After months of looking for a job, they were the only ones who gave me one. As you can guess, it's because of my race. They didn't care. Which is why I think they deserve to get their business bigger."
"So, you are short on money at home, I'm guessing? Since you've been looking for a job for months? What do your parents do?" she asked, not realizing that her interrogating made the native a little bit uncomfortable. He didn't mind this, however, and answered with a voice as calm as ever.
"Well, my mother washes dishes at a small tavern near our home. My father is a potter."
"A potter? That should make quite a profit, shouldn't it?" she asked, raising her eyebrows, white as snow.
"Hah, well, my lady," Pavo couldn't help not to chuckle a bit.
"Us natives pay much more for taxes, debts and food than.. normal people." He said.
"Oh dear, really?" the lady looked slightly shocked, moving her hand to her chest.
"My father couldn't sell his masterpieces himself. People wouldn't buy. He instead has to pass them over to a local heron merchant, who takes sixty percent from the income. It's how we live, but we manage now that I have a job. So, please, don't worry."
He wanted the swan lady to stay out of the way he and his parents lived.
The old natives might not appreciate it, but if she would try to offer help, Pavo would certainly refuse. He was too proud.
"That's really unfair. But, as you wish." He said, holding her head high.
"You said your father makes masterpieces. So it's not only pots?"
Pavo raised his eyebrows a bit. Why was she talking to him about it was beyond his knowledge.
"Well… no. He's very skilled in his profession. Pots, Vases, plates, he does it all. In fact, if I am not wrong, the vase with those hydrangeas was made by him," he said, motioning at a smooth blue and white vase that stood on a table a few feet away from him and the swan lady.
She was quiet for a short moment before letting out a playful but short laughter.
"You're kidding me?" she said, smiling.
"Oh, I'm not," he said, making a step towards the vase.
"If I'm not mistaken, there should be a signature on the bottom of it. Looking somewhat like this," he said drawing the signature in the air with his finger.
"It says Pavo. That's his last name, and mine." He said, stopping before the vase.
"May I?" he asked, motioning at the vase.
"Sure, go ahead. Just don't break it. May not be my favorite vase, but I think it looks great in this room, I'd hate to lose it," she said, watching Pavo and the vase.
He took the dry flowers out of the vase – there was no water in it – and carefully turned it to see the signature.
"Here it is," he smiled, showing the bottom of the vase to her.
The lady looked very surprised, looking closely at the signature, then up at Pavo.
"Well," she smiled, "You win,"
"I do?" he laughed a bit, putting the vase and the flowers back on their place.
"You were right, and I wouldn't believe you. I insist you stay for a cup of tea. Accept it as your reward," she said, smiling sweetly, but she looked pretty determinate about it. Upon seeing that look of hers, the native man decided it was best not to deny the offer. After all, it would be rather rude.
She lead him to another room and motioned to a chair for him to sit on, then she sat opposite to him. She was smiling truthfully and kindly, and Pavo smiled back a little, what else could he do. She seemed so childish, yet so serious at times.
"What's your name anyway? You said your last name was Pavo?" she asked.
"Chris. Chris Pavo," he said, nodding to confirm it.
"Very well, Mr Pavo," she said, "I believe you know my name?"
"Sadly, I don't think so, dear lady." He said, shaking his head.
That seemed to surprise the swan woman, as she raised her eyebrows in that way again.
"Well, you have to understand, I am working from morning until dusk, I really have no time for things like—"
"Oh, I understand. Well, make sure to remember this time; Cecilia Trum." She exclaimed.
He smiled, nodding.
"I will surely remember, dear lady. I'd like to ask you though, why are we doing this?"
"Doing what?" she shrugged, as a maid brought their tea.
"This. Why did you tell me to stay for tea. Not that I mind, it's just… not something I'd expect, you understand, don't you?"
Pavo felt pretty uncomfortable with all this, to say the least. He was the kind of man who liked to know what was waiting for him, the kind of man who would plan his next step. This was not what he was planning. This was completely unexpected.
"You cornered me now, sir," she said, smiling a bit.
"It's truly not something you'd expect, I understand. But I think you are a very interesting man, Mr Pavo. I can tell by the way you speak, that you are not uneducated, and by the way you lead conversation, I can see you are clever. This is nothing like what I've been told natives are like. I sincerely apologize if I offend you by this, but would you mind telling me what your people is really like? All I hear are stories, sprinkled with racism, some people might fall for them, but I see right through it. You see, I am an intelligent woman who loves history, and I want to know about the past of these islands."
She was certainly a politician's daughter; you could tell by the way she spoke. Determinedly, clearly, knowing exactly what she wanted.
This truly took over Pavo, it amazed him like not many things did in the past. This was not what he expected.
"Well," he said, when he finally snapped out of the speechless spell she put him under. "I truly don't know what to say, but sure, I'll talk to you about it. I come from a very traditional family, so I know the ways my ancestors lived by,"
"Well then, I have nothing to say to you but thank you," she smiled.
"Now, It's getting rather late, you might want to take this letter to your boss soon. How about we meet tomorrow at… five in the evening?" she suggested, sipping her tea.
"I am still working at that time, I'm sorry," he said. He assumed she forgot that he had a fulltime job from morning until evening.
"Oh. Well, how about I give you a letter with a request to see you tomorrow at five? The owners of the tavern can not object my word." She said, ordering the maid to bring her paper and a quill.
Pavo nodded and agreed on that. He wouldn't leave his job unless he absolutely had to, and with a letter from the governor's daughter, it's pretty much an order.
He quietly drank his tea and watched her write on the white paper with a fine, curved and tilted handwriting.
"Here you go," she said and handed the letter to him.
"Tomorrow at five then, dear lady," he smiled, standing up.
"Thank you for the tea, but I should go now. Mr Jones might get worried," he chuckled.
She stood as well, handing him the signed Jones' request letter too.
"Give your father my compliments, and have a good day, Mr Pavo," she smiled and offered her hand.
"I will, and a good day to you as well, dear lady," he said, kissing her hand, as it was polite.