|A Witch, a Bitch and a Wench|
|Summary:||Kathryna and Aubra meet for some reminiscing about the Iron Isles. Thea comes in to make mischief.|
|Rockcliffe Inn — Terrick's Roost|
|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.|
|Mon Dec 19, 288|
It's an average night at the Rockcliff Inn. Gentlemen are drinking, socializing and taking up the services of one of the many pleasurable women of the Inn. Women not working here in any capacity are instead enjoying the company of friends and eating. One elderly commoner woman, however, seems to be sitting on her own. Aubra has food before, some sort of fowl of one kind or another, as well as bread and a slight bit of wine in a glass. She eats the meat slowly as she gazes about the room, looking at all the happenings. A good number of the local commoners, including servers, seem to try to avoid her except when bringing her food or drink. Otherwise, she is left to her own accord.
Kathryna steps into the room, a tired wariness in her eyes. She's in her normal leathers, sword at her side, and everything screaming Ironborn all about her from her ice pale eyes to her white blonde hair in a messy mass of waves down her shoulders and back. She stalks towards the bar like some great predator, power and strength in every step. She moves for the bar and nods curtly to the keep. "Ale and a pitcher." She grumbles to the man, pulling out several coppers in paymenet as her ice eyes scan the room.
When her eyes land upon the woman who is so evidently not from Terrick's Roost, the woman with the multicoloured eyes can't help but smirk. Aubra doesn't see many from Kathryna's part of the world in the Roost, and seeing how others react to people from the Iron Islands amuses her. Should Kathryna look her way, the much older woman will bow her head in a nod to her, and motion a hand to another seat at her table, should the woman wish to join her.
Kathryna scoops up the tankard of ale and the pitcher in her opposite hand, a hint surprised as the older, unfamiliar woman nods in her direction. Kathryna looks everyone's way, normally, because it's a good gauge to see who might be wanting to start a fight or stab her in the back. But she sees no one but this lady. She tilts her head in greeting and stalks a few feet in her direction. "Good evening, ma'am…" She murmurs huskily, perhaps a touch uncertainly.
"Good evening to you. I hope the Drowned God has faught a good fight for you today, hmm? Kept you from the Storm God for one more day?" Aubra raises her wine glass and takes a sip. "Or have you been fighting the Storm God yourself, hmm?" She lets out a little cackle and shakes her head. "Please, would you care to join an old woman at her table?" She watches Kathryna with interest, a gleam in her eye as she smiles widely. "Don't worry, I won't bite you.
Kathryna cocks a single brow towards the woman, especially as the older lady rambles on about her gods. "And what would you know of my gods and their fight?" Kate asks somewhat suspiciously, not entirely certain she's not being mocked. She sets the ale and pitcher down upon the table before grabbing the chair and turning it about to casually straddle the thing. Her ice eyes study those aged features closer, trying to figure out the emotion and intention behind all of Aubra's words and that gleaming smile.
"Oh, I lived in Pyke for a few years, missy! I know a good little bit about them. Oh yes I do! I know of the Drowned God and his fight to save us mere mortals from the Storm God. I know that what is dead can never die. Oh yes, I know that much!" Aubra responds to Kathryna in kind. "Is that good enough for ya, Ironborn lass? Or should I go on?" She grins and goes to taking a piece of meat off her plate and eating it. "I like ya Ironborn folk. Not afraid to speak your minds. Not afraid to fight either, mind."
Kathryna narrows her eyes a bit more, not being able to find a speck of dishonesty in the old woman's features, and she is speaking many of the basics. Kate grunts out a small not of approval to the words, "Aye. You are correct in all of that, lady. And I am most impressed with your knowledge… and your ability to have survived time in the Pyke. You must be a tough old bitch." Kate cracks the smallest of smiles as she says that, indeed not afraid to speak her mind it would seem.
Giving a nod of approval of her own, Aubra eats more of the meat on her plate. "It may be just the basics, but even if I attempted to speak more, I wouldn't want to. Why bore you with information you already know?" She chuckles. "I am no lady. I am a mere commoner." She gives the woman a little wink. "One has to learn to be tough sometimes. Where better to learn than the land of the Ironborn, hmm?"
"Wisdom? Pah! Just what I've been forced to learn. I'd say I've got no more wisdom than a snake with legs." Aubra chortles and takes a sip of her wine. "I am Aubra. And you can call me that, too. Nothing formal about my name 'cept for it's a name and that's that!" She eyes the other woman with a grin and shakes her head. "No. I never when to meant to go there to learn to be anything. And I didn't go to marry, either! I went so that I could go. It was a life different than what I knew and all I knew was that I wanted to know another life! And the rest is of little importance. I learned some skills, I learned something about the people from the Iron Islands. It's a really drab, boring story, really!"
The rambling story from the older woman draws slightly more lofted brows from Kate's features. She tilts her head to the side, trying to follow the words as best she can, just parse through everything that's being said. "…Really now. And you say it's drab… but it is a story of my home. A home I am very far from. I… think I would rather enjoy hearing it." She confesses, genuine curiosity in her face. And perhaps a bit of homesickness.
"It may be a story from your home. But it's also a story from before you were born, no doubt!" Aubra takes a big chunk of meat and bites into it, chewing slowly, placing the rest of it back on the plate. Once the foods is swallowed, she looks Kate straight in the eyes. After a moment she says, "You sound homesick to me! Homesickness never did anyone any bit of good." That being said, the old woman's mind has certainly been set in motion, whether anyone knows it or not. "You know what I did? I lived on the streets of Pyke for a short while before being taken in by a woman who seemingly took pity on me. Maybe I reminded her of a younger version of herself. I do not know. But I learned some…well, some might say medicine from her. Others would use different words for what I learned from her. I loved learning from her, going to the market, collecting items that she needed. I loved becoming my own person. Life…was good. Pyke was a marvelous island, it was. Still is, no doubt. Oh, how I wondered the woods and collected herbs and various roots. Those were good days."
"The herbalist I met and lived with was kind. I never said others were." Aubra cackles. "I gained a passion from that woman. I passion I have kept with me. It is that passion that make some think I'm a witch, you know." She cackles once more, though she looks at some of the servers with a stern gaze on her face. "Oh yes they do. They don't think I've heard them whisper…but I have. But don't you go thinking none of that nonsense." She grins at Kate. "Oh, I remember some of them Ironborn men. They were something else. But I left for a man from here, I did." She smiles. "What brings you here, Kate? Adventure, perhaps? It's not the gods, I can tell that much!"
From the back rooms of the Inn comes a squeal and a tiny wee thing spotted with flower is chased by a rather sunburnt and robust young man. Wild blonde hair springs about her face like lion's mane. She giggles, turning as she bats him from her skirts, seized up for a kiss in her efforts. He lifts her easily enough but she has to squirm to get free and one of the wenches begins to fan at him, beating him away as Thea beats her retreat though the front of the Inn, quickly fixing her skirts and apron back into place, as if they had hastily been put on. She is zipping past a table and deftly grabs a roll from a man lost in his mug of ale and tipped back. She lifts it to her lips and begins to nibble on it.
Kathryna rolls her eyes to the ceiling at the comment about others, "I don't suspect others were. Us Ironborn are not known for our kindness… no matter how I perhaps try to change that perspective." Then the woman goes on about being a witch and Kate sits just a touch straighter, staring at her closer. Perhaps she believes in such things. "A witch, eh?….Witches have power… If you are one." She half grins again, that skepticism back in her icy eyes. "As for me… I am come to be a diplomat… My house has had relations with the Riverlands before. We are just trying to see if there might be another way that is not war… it is an uneviable task."
"I've learned not to care what others think or say about me. You gotta learn that. I'd imagine that it's hard, being an Ironborn in the Riverlands. People are bound to think your ways are strange. Not me. But I'm an exception!" Aubra says with a stern nod. "I'm no witch. I'm merely good at what I do! Too good." She cackles. It's almost an evil laugh, this time. "A diplomat?! Well, are you a noble one then? Hmm? Could be interesting if you were, as I serve the Terricks, I do!" Looking about the room, and going quiet for a moment, the older woman closes her eyes and takes a deep breath in. "Thea!" She gazes toward the girl, stern gaze on her. "Haven't been getting yourself in trouble, have ya? Am I gonna have to ask you to do extra chores tomorrow? Hmm?"
Thea had been bounding for the door and freedom when the sharp call of her name stops her short. There is a momentary look of pain and despair before she turns her head to look towards Aubra. "Old Nan…" She bobs closer, quick to try to fix anything out of sorts. "No…course not.." Her gaze darts from Aubra to her companion and pauses there. Kathryna is a familiar face, at the Roost where the little maid spends most her time. She bites at her lip and then grins a bit more. "You are the Lady Harlaw…" She chirps in a mischevious way. She worries her lip again and finally the bun in her hand that still tastes of some of the stew it had been sitting in before she had claimed it. "Please no extra chores, old Nan…please." She says sweetly. "There are so many attending the Roost lately, I can barely sleep for want of baking.." And perhaps hanging around the stables and the various hands that work there.
Kathryna's head turns a touch as she catches Thea scampering like that through the room. She doesn't interrupt, letting the older woman do the talking, but her brows arch again as she studies the naughty young thing. The question of her nobility brings a small, distant nod from her to Thea. "Aye.. in court they would call me Lady Harlaw… but, as I said, Kate is most fine. And I used to be good at what I do too… but I don't do that any more. I'm a diplomat. I do not know if I am good at that."
"If I find you're lying to me, Thea, I'm going to be displeased!" Aubra eyes the young chambermaid. "Join us, won't you?" She motions for Thea to sit. "At least while I've got you in my sight, I know you'll be alright. I don't want you to be hurt, neither!" She looks between the two women. "Now, this is getting to be like the gatherings I used to go to as a young woman. Better this than being avoided, it is for being thought what I'm not!" The older woman finishes off her wine and holds the glass up for a server to see, indicating for her to bring more. "The Ironborn lass here has been doing me the honour of keeping me company! What do you think of that, young Thea?" She asks before turning her attention back to Kate. "Diplomats…they do lots of talking. When do you diplomats get to do any action, hmmm?"
"I never lie to you dear, nan…" Thea protests and then huffs a bit, moving to take a seat and give a look to the Ironborn. "I think..Kate is quite nice to put up with your old stories.." She says with a growing grin. She winks at Kat and then gives the older woman an innocent look. She nibbles at the bun, tearing off chunks to eat at it slowly, not daring a look at the man she had lifted it from. She tilts her head, gazing towards Kate again with quiet interest.
The pale ironborn shakes her head, a touch of amusement deepening on her icy features. "No, no… not putting up with. It was good to hear old tales of home and the Pyke. Old Nan here tells a good story." Kate winks casually towards the older woman before she takes another deep, full gulp of her ale, finally almost finishing the mug with that brief chug. Fortunately, she has a pitcher before her for more. Then she's looking back to Nan and sighs, "I don't suppose diplomats are supposed to see action. If I do, then I've failed in my duties."
"Put up with? Cheeky! I should put you up against a three headed snake one of these days! I bet you'd be less cheeky then." Aubra mutters. Not that there ARE any three headed snakes. "Do you want some wine or ale, Thea? I'll pay!" There really are two sides to the older woman, one who is stern and threatens pitting a person against a three headed snake, but then she turns around and offers to pay for wine. "And you see, she likes listening to my stories. Maybe you should listen more. You might listen how to bake the bread more quickly!" She pats Thea on the shoulder. The old, multicoloured eyes woman looks back to Kate. "Well, if you ever find your meetings get boring, ask for them to send for me to bring some food or my flute. I'll offer a bit of a break for you all!"
"Now …I hate snakes.." Thea says with a soured look. She sighs and then perks at the sound of ale. "Just ale, please..wine upsets my stomach." There is a laugh and the little imp hauls her feet up beneath her to be able to be taller at the table. "Oh now now…you do not realize that I have spent many years hearing those stories from the same old woman…they never change. And I bake just fine, it is the one thing I can do rather well besides sew, so I will stick to what I do best." She shrugs off the pat but in truth there really is no animosity.
Kathryna finishes off her ale and then unfolds from the seat, leaving the mostly full pitcher on top of the table. She shakes her head to Aubra, "I'd have to have meetings first. The men seem truly quite busy to bother with it all…I guess more leisure time to spend for me here." She shrugs and half smiles. "That being said, I might actually attempt and sleep, ma'am… Miss. There is ale to finish, please have it… on me. It is good here. And consider it payment for the story." She smiles to Thea, "Well…I assure you that is not wine. Do enjoy it. Perhaps it will soften the stories a bit." She tosses off one last wink and heads for the stairs.
"And my stories are not for nothing, I'll have you know!" Responds Aubra. "I actually have something to say!" She raises her glass and calls out, "More wine for me and a mug for the young lass who has just arrived!" She stares unblinkingly at Kathryna. "Sleep? Bah! I remember when I needed more sleep. Then I became a serving girl. And you can take that straight to the ocean!" She nods firmly. "Well, if you must, you must, however! May the Drowned God let you see another day!" She turns her attention to Thea. "Now, young Thea…maybe I'll just have to help you with your baking so that you can get it done more quickly!"