Jer snorted, tossing his head just a fraction, a shadow of a smile still barely clinging to his face.
"Oh, I see how it is. All about the money."
He didn't exactly move when Cole mentioned a gift, but his body changed nevertheless. Still leaning (or slumped, depending on the magnanimity of the viewer) against the door frame, a slight energy seemed to infuse him. He now waited instead of merely existing, and within their heavy lids a spark of curiosity twitched to life in his dark eyes. It only grew the longer Cole drew out the process, though he knew perfectly well it was an intentional show. The word "tease" flitted across his mind, and his mouth quirked slightly in amusement, but he said nothing.
Finally, with a ringmaster's flair, Cole had materialized a book and nudged it up against his chest. Jer collected his balance with his free foot, finally straightening up from his slouch to bring both hands to rest very, very gently but firmly on its weathered cover. His ironic little smile blossomed into something far more open and unguarded, unbeknownst to its owner, and his eyes burned, fairly shivering back and forth as they took in every detail. He made an appreciative sound, something like a sigh.
"Averian!" he said. "We haven't had anything from them in years."
Eyes still on the book, he drifted to the nearest table, one of many that filled the main hall, empty chairs always expectant. He somehow managed to navigate smoothly around and maneuver himself into a seat without looking up, turning the book carefully over and over to inspect the binding. He even sniffed it surreptitiously as he lowered himself into the chair, halfway oblivious to Cole's activities with the amphora.
"Oh," he said quietly, once he'd delicately lifted the cover open and begun exploring its interior. Those delicate fingers, still fine and pale even in these days of hardship, lifted each page lightly. "These are some of the oldest legends I've seen about the Stone Garden, I think. At least, in scripts we can still read. A few scrolls with librarians' notes identifying them as on the subject, but the lucky bastards didn't think to reference a corresponding paleographic text..."