|A Shopkeepers Claim|
|Summary:||A disturbance in the marketplace at the Roost attracts the attention of the law.|
|Marketplace, Terrick's Roost|
|Residents of the town and surrounding area bring their wares to sell here among small tables built upon the slate grey stone flooring of the outdoor expanse. The area is surrounded by thatched roof buildings and shops on all sides with roads and paths winding their way in and out of this thriving part of town. Most of the commercial capacity of Terrick's Roost can be found here with the storefronts attracting the attention of those among all classes.|
|Wed Nov 14, 289|
The town square is cloaked in a busy muttering of many voices, a few fisherman just pushing their emptied carts back to the coastline, a bunch of boys chuckling over a ruffled looking dog and other more or less pleasant conversations.
One of the less pleasant one's is almost impossible to overhear, since it sounds loud enough into the peace of the afternoon to quieten the others slowly. Out of a small shop where everything from ribbons to eggs is tried to get sold, a sturdy, redfaced merchant woman drags a young commoner often to be seen at the Roost lately. "No, gal, I ain't selling things to liars or even thieves. I saw you crawl up to this city with a commoner's name, crawl up high enough to steel our nobles jewellery and trust shame on you. Out of here!", the woman says loudly to Samphire, whose mien is mostly a surprised one, as she walks reluctantly out of the street. "Seven, I just said back at Stonebridge we had prettier ribbons, woman. And gentler mistresses.", she answers sharply, while the woman's nostrils flare.
Mortimer has had what can best be described as a middling day so far. He's managed to piss off one noble, but it seems that it achieved the outcome he was hoping for so he figures it might have balanced itself out. Fingers crossed. Having managed to take a few minutes out to head home and have some lunch with his family he's now back on the streets attempting to ensure the busy market passes peacefully.
Perhaps it's not to be is day after all though. The sound of the altercation catches his attention and he glances round briefly until he can pinpoint the source and then he's moving his way through the crowds towards the merchant in question. It looks like a small crowd might have been thinking about forming, but with the arrival of the law most of them seem to have somewhere else to be. Glancing between the two apparently involved women, Mortimer asks simply, "Alright, what seems to be the problem here?"
"Ah, good sheriff, the Seven send you!", the merchant woman proclaims to get the man as soon as possible as close as possible -and to draw as much attention of the gathered crowd to the little scene too, for she doesn't seem to be the most subtle type of womanhood. "Listen, Master, I don't meet that girl the first time -she introduced herself to me as Samphire Undyl. Now she introduced herself to me as Samphire Rivers. My head is still working, I can assure you, but a fool can point out a liar like this. Then she not only insults my goods, my fairly crafted work known through all of the Riverlands, but also the noble House of Terrick itself, by claiming our beloved Lady Lucienne got dishonoured and…"
Samphire rolls her eyes. "Woman, keep quiet. I never claimed anyone to be dishonoured, I just asked where she is going, now that she is with child and still said unmarried. The Terricks are fine.", she answers with a meaningful gaze at the sheriff himself. The curtsy she wants to perform is hindered by an insistent grab of her upper arm, by the older woman's firm hands.
Mortimer glances to the women in front of him, the crowd, and then back to the women. First things first, control the situation, "alright ladies, let’s take this inside shall we?" It'll make him unpopular with the crowd, and possibly the shopkeeper as well, but the last thing he wants is for this to turn into an audience participation exercise. Gesturing for the merchant to lead the way he'll bring up the rear. "All right, from the beginning, what exactly is your complaint Mistress?" he asks of the merchant before turning to Samphire and saying "I'll give you a chance to answer once she's finished."
The shopkeep's mien freezes for an instance, for the prospect of far less witnesses doesn't seem to please her much. But dutifully as she is, or at least claims to be with much effort, she leads the two in. Unobtrusively followed by two of the audience's cheekier members, who suddenly decided to develop an unusual strong interest in everything from ribbon's to eggs.
Samphire's brows jump up into the height of her forehead, but with a shrug she follows as well, nodding with an unamused smile sneaking around the corners of her mouth.
"Defamation of house Terrick. Defamation of my work. Lying and theft. The last time I saw her, she hadn't had that ring on her finger an honest girl in her position never could afford.", the woman claims.
"Stranger's backside.", Samphire shot's back, without waiting for Mortimer's reaction. "Your ribbons are mediocre but probably the least thing I'd worry about, the ring is a gift of my lady, Lady Rebecca, who took me as her handmaiden and the Terricks… I just asked the question, claiming nothing at all. And with my own name… name's change as the seasons, good woman." Now, though, her murky green-grey eyes wander expectantly to the man. "I did nothing wrong.", she ends.
Mortimer eyes the two eavesdroppers, giving them his best 'displeased' look. "Out," he says simply, pointing back into the market square, "I'm sure you'll hear all about it soon enough." He waits until they've turned tail and left before he listens carefully to what both women have to say. The merchant gets his attention first and he holds up four fingers, one for each of her complaints. "One. Defamation of House Terrick. What do you allege she said? Her actual words minds. Two. Defamation of your work. I'm afraid that criticism of merchant wares is not a crime in the Roost and is in fact, one of the hazards of trading as you are no doubt aware. Three. Lying. While a reprehensible habit in anyone is no actually a crime either. Four. Theft. Are you basing this on anything other than simply seeing her with a ring? Is it a ring you have seen before? Are you aware of such a ring being reported by anyone as missing recently?"
By the time he has finished, the middle two of his four fingers have been bent down to indicate that he has nothing more to say on points two and three. Turning then to Samphire he asks "You say you simply inquired as to where the Lady Lucienne was going? Was there anything else in what you said?" He glances to the ring on her hand, but not having seen the Lady Rebecca much he can not say he's familiar with it. "Is your Lady still in residence here at the Roost that your claim might be verified?"
Now the shopkeep's brows are furrowed, as she hastily seems to ponder how to twist the situation back to her benefits, snorting silently with every finger, the serious man keeps up.
"Ah, well… I might have used the words 'unmarried' and 'with child' also, while mentioning that certain Lady, master.", Samphire answers slowly. "But since it's only rumors I heard and thought a woman of her talents", a small movement of her head indicates the present woman is meant and a small peak in her voice offering the word 'talents', that her appreciation of the latter may not be the most sincere "I just wanted to find out whether I can get some news out of this. But now, that I know the truth, I'm most thankful for my enlightenment, mistress." lazily she glares at said opponent before facing the sheriff again.
"The ring… of course m'lord. My lady is still at the Roost, in all her generosity and love of truth. She will tell everyone how I got to this token.", the maid adds while absently fumbling the pale metal with the grenn gem, her hand seems pretty used to by now.
"Believe me, sheriff, she may not claim to have broken a law by now, but… the Seven will judge her soon enough.", the shopkeep adds with emphasis as now the sept seems to be the path to her humble glory.
The two curious witnesses, meanwhile, wander with the most plain faces to the door, slowly, though and not without resting for a heartbeat or two in the doorframe before finally departing as they have been told to.
"The Seven will judge us all when our time comes Mistress," Mortimer answers with a wry smile, "for now though, I'm afraid you are stuck with me. Or of course, the Lord Sheriff himself should you decide you have cause to dispute my conclusions." Because this sort of thing is exactly what Justin needs right now. Pointing to his first finger, the one that represents 'defamation of House Terrick' he glances between the pair of them for a moment, obviously weighing up something in his mind before he states simply, "Not a crime. Possibly not wise given the changes and local feelings, but not actually illegal." Lowering the finger that leaves just his little finger, the one representing 'theft'. "There is no way to prove or disprove the matter of the ring right here," to Samphire he asks, "do you know where your lady is likely to be found? It is probably in everyone's interest that we get this cleared up as soon as possible." Wagging tongues and all. He debates for a moment asking for the ring so that he can keep it safe until the matter is resolved but in the end opts for "Would you mind taking me to her?"
Between glaring, Samphire sighs. Because this sort of thing is exactly what Lady Rebecca needs right now. But a bit of a surprised blink crosses both sighing and glaring, as the sheriff claims defamation of the noble House is no crime at all. Studying him a bit more closely, she answers "Of course, Master. She should be in her chambers up the tower and I'm sure we're all most pleased to set things right. For my part I got at least this much of the Seven for now, that the Crone enlightened me with never setting a foot in this hole of a shop again."
"I'd be pleased, for I only sell to honourable customers.", the shopkeep mutters back, before restoring the expression on her face to an afflicted smile. "Good sheriff, forgive to have bothered you, then, but believe my sense of such things -you'd be better of to send that gal off and away of this town."
Another rolling of Samphire's eyes and she heads towards the door, absently waiting for Mortimer to follow her, as she leaves the room without any further words.