|A Few Drops of Wine|
|Summary:||Harlyn, Alek, and Senna make each other's acquaintances|
|~ The Rockcliff Inn is one of the better inns within the town and it shows with the well-lit interior and the relative cleanliness to the other locations in Terrick's Roost. The tables are polished with oils and the floor regularly swept. A set of booths towards a darker rear of the Inn's bottom floor, just beneath the staircase, are where whores generally socialize and eye prospects from when not waiting tables. Signs over the undersized bar area advertise prices for ales and wines as well as several different choices of food to be served at the small eating area by the bar or in the main open area in its comfortable seating. A door behind the bar leads to the kitchen and cellar while another near the staircase leads to a private room that would appear to be off-limits to the 'wait staff' except for food and drink service.|
|Sun Jan 15, 289|
Harlyn is at the bar, sans armor, with a half-drained glass of wine near his elbow. He's dressed in dark greys with a small flash of orange at his collar that may either be a scarf or a tucked in hankerchief, and this flash of color may be a lazy attempt to dress in Haigh heraldry. Veritably. His black hair is loose, ear-hidingly loose, and he appears to be restless looking over the doors and booths rather than enjoying his drink.
"Looking for someone?" Alek murmurs in a question as he slides through the crowd of the Rockcliff to the bar, entering not from outdoors but from the halls of private rooms that designate the 'Inn' part of the building. Bathed and dressed in simple clothing, there is little except recognition that would give hint to the fact that a single Valentin knight resides in Terrick's Roost. A bruise has already started to blossom on the line of his angled jaw, that side to the Haigh where he hitches up next to him.
"Guess not any more," Harlyn says with a quick smile as he turns back to his wine. His marking of Alek's bruise is careful and sidelong. "Run into a few adventures getting here, did you?"
A bright, boyish grin breaks onto Alek's features even as he gestures for his own drink. He confesses wryly, "The damsels-in-distress here are rather prickly, for just being rescued." His fingers splay over the bar as he settles, lean and strong. "How have you found them?"
"A woman hit you?" Harlyn snorts, and a second snort spreads into more of a laugh. "If the ladies here insist on being that prickly, I'll have to insist on keeping my distance." His hand, rather spindly for a swordsman's, curls around his glass.
Senna was late in arriving in the Roost, following behind with the wounded who were well enough to move forward rather than back. And so she's just making her way into town - or what remains of it - in search of…Well. She hasn't been on the battlefield, but she's been working hard, too! So she makes her way toward the bar, slipping past wandering hands with a smile that promises later.
"For the best, really," Alek muses thoughtfully, accepting his drink with a grateful tip of his chin towards the barmaid. "It's on his tab." Hopefully Harlyn was serious when he mentioned sharing, as the more knightly of knights lifts his ale to his lips. "You do not mind, do you?"
Harlyn turns his head back briefly to mark Senna's entrance before glancing back forward, over the bar. He raises one shoulder. "I don't mind," he says. "The one talent I have is for coin. Within reason, of course. I have a House to feed."
Senna sidles her way up to the bar, claiming a place just a few feet down from Alek. "Blacksword," she drawls with a lazy smile, sweeping a curtsey toward Harlyn. "Did any of the drinks actually survive the occupation, or are we all pretending we're drinking something other than water."
"A whole House?" Alek begins to question with warm curiosity, shifting to lean conspiritorially closer to the man who is buying his drinks. His attention, however, is arrested away by the greeting and the familiar, melodic voice. "Nothing left that is any good, but it still gets you drunk." He draws straighter, again, saluting Senna with his glass.
Harlyn's glance toward Alek is this time too slyly casual. "Perhaps a mild exaggeration," he demurs, before glancing past Alek to Senna. "Well, well. We have another drinking friend, I see."
"It gets /you/ drunk, Ser Coope," Senna corrects with a challenging arch of her brow. "I make no promises for myself." She does, however, lean just so on the bar, then turn to hoist herself up on the wood, claiming her own seat on the bar. It's not like there's anyone to object, after all. "A pleasure to meet you, Ser," she offers with another easy smile. "Who's your friend, Blacksword?"
"Ser Harlyn, Mistress Senna. Mistress Senna, Ser Harlyn," could certainly be more enthused, tone mild where Alek makes the introductions between the two with a crooked smile. He takes a long, steady drink of his ale at the challenge, not even pulling a face at the quality. "The men of the camp do not need you tonight?" For healing, obviously.
"Everyone is blessedly stable," Senna answers with a sigh of relief, giving her shoulders a slow roll of a stretch. "Harlyn," she echoes Alek, thoughtful. "Would that be Haigh? I had a chance to speak with Ser Aron several days ago. It was pleasant to hear that my father's still remembered by some here in the Riverlands."
"Mistress Senna," Harlyn says with a minor head bow. "It is Haigh. Tell me, then, who is your father?"
Alek uses his moment free of conversation to draw another drink from his ale, desperately as if he could get drunk with it.
"Ser Anson Delacourt," Senna replies to Harlyn. "Though I'm afraid it's a was. He fell at the Trident, with so many others." She looks down to Alek as he drinks again, arching a brow at the Oldstones knight. "You all right?"
"Delacourt," Harlyn repeats, testing out the vowels, then waves broadly at Alek's side. "He's fine. He's a knight after battle. We all do that."
Senna hums quietly in regards to Alek's departure, but she takes his abandoned drink easily enough. "I don't think that's quite…usual for him. But I suppose he'll get over it. He always does." She sips, then turns her attention back to Harlyn with a wry smile. "Delacourt," she repeats. "He was a rather famous tourney knight for a time."
"I'm sure my good brother is nearly intimately familiar with him, then. Oh, the grand tourney, with the flapping pennants and the jousting lances and all." Harlyn laughs short and mild. "I do know the name, however. Fought at the Trident myself."
"Yes, and all that," Senna agrees with a low laugh, rolling her eyes slightly. "Boys and their games." She looks toward the knight once more at his mention of the Trident, brow arching slightly. "Sometimes I begin to think the entire kingdom was at the Trident," she muses. "And I'm impressed that so many of us made it out."
"Only so many people can die in one spot." Harlyn lightly tilts his free hand a fraction. "At some point, the Seven cry 'enough' and the rest of us are lucky or unlucky enough to win a few more years of breath."
"Indeed." Senna drinks what little is left in Alek's glass, giving the empty a lazy spin between her fingers before setting it down once more. "And here we are after another. To Seagard next, isn't it?" she asks with an arch of her brow, fingers tapping absently along the counter.
Harlyn lifts his shoulder. His free hand tap-taps on the counter in echo of hers. "Maybe, perhaps. I suppose I'm along for the ride regardless. Wipe out those Ironborn."
There's a flicker of amusement across Senna's features at Harlyn's response. "You don't seem to be excited about that, Ser," she observes, hopping down from the bar and moving to claim Alek's abandoned seat. "Finding less glory than you expected?"
"The clash and blood of the battlefield are not entirely my interest, no." Harlyn flashes a smile over-shoulder at Senna, then glances back over the door. "You can look to my brother for that."
"And yet you're here all the same." Senna leans against the bar still, considering the man next to her. "Which is a different sort of bravery. Or foolishness, depending on who you ask." Her smile quirks, brief, before she shakes her head. "Family obligation, then?"
"A Haigh man would be ill-disposed not to take up arms, to content himself with coin and figures," Harlyn says with brisk, mock loftiness. "But why are you here? A little knight such as myself is no great mystery. Ser Alek said something about healing, did he?"
"One of many skills." Senna waves her hand in a little circle as she says it, dismissive. "But yes, I know a bit about healing. Enough to see to those without the means to maintain a maester, at least. And between growing up on the tourney circuit with my father and following him through the Rebellion, I've picked up a few things in terms of dealing with knights and battles." Her smile slips crooked at she laughs. "You could say I am a useful sort of girl to have around for these things."
Harlyn smiles back at Senna, less crooked. "A useful sort of girl, weaned on war. Will you follow us to Seacrest."
"I've…been considering it," Senna answers cautiously, tipping her head to one side. "You see, exciting as it is, and as very nice an opportunity it is to make acquaintances in every house of the Riverlands, there is the unpleasant matter of the risk of death. And I do try to avoid that sort of thing when possible."
"All right." Harlyn raises his hand off the counter, flat and open-palmed. "So, what, you wait here to be useful when everyone straggles on back?"
Senna wrinkles her nose. "More like head back to Stonebridge and serve as extra lady's maid to the gaggle worth of young noblewomen left behind." There's about half a beat before she taps a finger on the edge of the counter. "On second thought, war is about opportunity, isn't it?"
"Ah, there's the outside war and the inside war, isn't there?" Harlyn's smile widens. "We know the outside war, but the inside war is always between safety and opportunity. The young noblewomen are safe as houses, but what other good are they to a useful girl?"
"Also a potential source of employment," Senna allows, though reluctantly. "And you might be surprised, good Ser, what goes through the minds of some young noblewomen. They just aren't exactly encouraged to share the good thoughts as much as to fill the time with the empty ones."
"Are you not currently employed?" Harlyn asks, still bearing that smile as he tilts his hand more Senna-ward. "A useful girl like you?"
Senna rolls one shoulder in a lazy sort of shrug. "I am," she admits. "After my father died at the Trident, I attached myself to the Nayland entourage and subsequently made a place for myself there. At the time, I had very few options. I was just about eighteen, and I was completely alone, with fewer skills than I have now." She reaches for the empty glass once more, gaze narrowing on it as she gives it a spin. "I must say, though, that this little adventure has been something of an eye-opener in terms of opportunities."
"How interesting. I am also attached to the Naylands, however loosely - but I've been attached to a number of people," Harlyn lightly adds. "What opportunities are you seeing?"
"Other families, in part," Senna muses. "Perhaps I'm simply inconstant, that I find myself…almost bored after five years in more or less the same place. There is a good deal to appreciate about the Mire. Its defensibility is something I was certainly contemplating recently." She laughs, low and amused. "But it's also far from the center of things."
"Well, you have some time to be distracted and distractable, but if you're only looking for other families to work for … " Harlyn pauses. "You might be shooting a little low."
Senna pauses, looking up with a slow curve of a smile. "But I haven't even told you where I'm aiming yet," she laughs, setting the empty glass aside. "To be fair," she continues, "I haven't decided where I'm aiming yet. But I do think I'll follow this army a little further. So long as I'm of use, it seems promising."
"Then we welcome you." Harlyn gestures out widely beside him - on the opposite side. "Never have too many useful people."
"Or healers," Senna agrees, amusement flickering in her eyes. "I've generally found that most knights who can't have a maester would much prefer a pretty young woman tending their hurts than your typical army barber."
"Please," Harlyn says, his smile flashing briefly wider again. "Especially women with all their teeth."
Senna laughs in surprise, and it's a brighter sound than before, and more genuine. "Fair," she agrees, flashing teeth in a sudden smile. "Very true. Oh, gods," she chuckles, shaking her head and pressing a hand to her brow. "You just reminded me of this /awful/ woman who helped set Father's shoulder once, toward the end of his run on the circuit…"
"Mm. I hope I didn't remind you too well." Harlyn, at this, slides away from the bar. "It was nice to make your proper acquaintance, but I really ought to check on my poor wounded brother."
"Trust me, no one could remind me physically," Senna assures, giving a shudder and looking up once more as he rises. "A pleasure to meet you, Ser Harlyn," she agrees, sweeping a curtsey that's rather out of place in the ruined inn. "And may your good luck hold in the coming campaign."
"We'll see," Harlyn says with a slight incline of his head, then departs.