Page 356: Appropriate Dinner Conversation
Appropriate Dinner Conversation
Summary: Dmitry shares a table with the Haighs at the Rockcliff.
Date: 12 July 289
Related Logs: Social gossip going on around, you know.
Katrin Ilaria Dmitry Harlyn 
Rockcliff Inn
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.
July 12, 289

"Yes, Sheriff," Katrin confirms with a smile. She chuckles at the image Ilaria has presented, a small blush appearing on her cheeks. "But we shall see what happens in the near future, hm?" The Haigh sisters have moved on to find a table to sit at and gossip while their dinner is being prepared.

It is a somewhat travel-worn and dusty Dmitry Terrick who turns up at the Rockcliff this evening, taking shelter from the warmth of the evening by going into a comparatively crowded enclosed space. Perhaps he looks rugged? Well, unusually rugged for Dmitry, anyway? Maybe? Still, he does not present an image of being weary for all the dust on his boots. He saunters inside and surveys the inn, arranges transactionally for some ale to happen for him posthaste, and then rubs his hand over his mouth, a musing look to his expression.

Heolla serves the table, setting down a tray bearing tea for the ladies and plates of cold food. The heat of the day has taken its toll on many. "Thank you," Ilaria murmurs, accepting the piping hot tea and letting it cool in her hands while she studies her sister. "We shall see, indeed," she answers quietly, glancing up as the door opens. She squints at Dmitry as if trying to place him in her memory.

Sitting does wonders for Katrin and she reclines, legs stretching out beneath the table. "Ser Justin offered to escort us over some of the grounds outside of the Roost," she says absently. "Offer a bit of a tour so we might better familiarize ourselves with the area. If you might be interested. He is spending time studying law with his new appointment so given the time you spend studying, I thought perhaps you might wish to study with him one afternoon. You are always so isolated, Lari. It concerns me."

Tankard in hand full of the cool ale, Dmitry does not immediately drink from it, but wanders past a few tables with people he knows, where he exchanges idle greetings, and possibly even arranged by mime for someone to get a drink on him — maybe. It's hard to tell. Gesture can be ambiguous! Conveniently. "Good evening, ladies," he says, cheery and conversational with the sketch of his bow as his drift takes him by the Haighs' table. "I hope you are enjoying the hospitality of the Rockcliff. Lady Ilaria, it is so pleasant to see you again." His smile is slight, his dark eyes warm, and he cants an eyebrows-up look at Katrin, as though he thinks he guesses but isn't quite rude enough to assume.

Katrin looks up at Dmitry's approach, one brow lifting slightly. "Good evening," she says politely. "You are…" Her lips press together as she tries to place the face. "Ser Dmitry. I remember you from the tourney in Seagard. You sat near me during a few of the events and you spoke with some of the ladies I was with."

Dmitry's smile is an easy, almost playful curve as he tilts two fingers out away from his drink. "I fear I said a great many things during the tourney of Seagard," he says, dark eyes bright as he widens them at her. "But it is my sincerest hope that since you aren't throwing your tea in my face or anything none of them horribly offended you, Lady Katrin."

Katrin chuckles and shakes her head, "Oh, you did no such thing, Ser Dmitry," she replies. "At least not yet," she adds, pausing as she regards the Terrick over her cup of tea. Her dark green eyes study the man, taking everything in before her smile curves into something more genuine and amused. "Won't you join us for a few moments?"

"I would be honored." Dmitry uses the hook of his booted foot to snag a chair from another table with a quick, disarming grin for its current occupants. Then he sits in it, drinking a swallow from his ale as he peeks laughing-eyed at Katrin above the rim. "To aggravate such fair flowers as yourself and your sweet sister," and he tilts his head in Ilaria's direction, easy breezy in the idle fling of his compliments, "would make my heart ache indeed. I admit I'm glad to see you haven't left the Roost while I was off riding all over the place on Terrick errands. It is a much less languishing place with beautiful and elegant ladies to adorn it, even in these worrying times."

"Oh, Ser Dmitry, I have already been warned of your smooth tongue," Katrin warns with a gentle laugh. "I have oft wondered if the flattery from a compliment would be lessened if I knew the type of man that it came from as being one who gives them so freely," she ponders. "But no, I still think I find them quite enjoyable to receive. Perhaps this is why I enjoy the company of Terricks. You are all so very flattering."

"Are we?" Dmitry raises his eyebrows. "Lady, have other Terricks been speaking prettily to you? Tell me, do! I came home to find my cousins in such a staid reputation I found I must learn all the words in Westeros for calling a lady beautiful, just to make up for them." He grins: it is a crooked, easy expression, bespeaking mischief in the midst of readily-served lies. His next sip of ale is not very ambitious, barely a moistening of his lips, but then, drinking more would slow down his talking. "Lady Anais informed me some of the knights around here don't even dance, I was quite baffled and appalled to find her so bereft."

Katrin chuckles with a smile. "You would not ask a lady to reveal a secret, now would you, Ser Dmitry?" she asks in reply. "You seem far too gentlemanly to ask such a thing of me." Or maybe not. With the amusement floating in her eyes, it's hard to say what she really thinks. "I have found the same trouble, wherever I go. I have started to fear it is merely an excuse men offer so they might avoid dancing with me. Perhaps we have been hidden away at Broadmoor for far too long, Lari," she notes to her sister. "That we are to be shunned by handsome young men."

"What idiots," Dmitry dismisses them all with ready, sunny certainty. He lays his hand over his chest. "I would ask you to dance right now, but without musicians or a ball it would be a trifle improper. I will beg you save me one when we next attend the same party, though, my lady. And Lady Ilaria, too; presuming, of course, that you enjoy dancing." He gives her one of his better charming smiles, kept readily available like the arrows in his quiver.

Ilaria sits in silence, absorbing the conversation with back-and-forth darts of her hazel eyes. Her eyebrows rise up and then down and then up again, but her lips are curved up in a smile of amusement. She, too, sips at her tea; her dinner plate remains untouched, as if perhaps the company has made her forget her hunger. Leaning forward over the table, she brushes the worn wood with her fingertips before venturing forth into the witty repartee passing between Katrin and Dmitry. "I do dance, my lord, and shall be most honored to reserve one for you. If your talk is always this amusing, I would even volunteer another. Between my sister and I, we could keep you occupied through an entire evening and then enjoy the tidal wave of gossip on the morrow. I suspect you are fond of gossip, my lord." No, it isn't a question.

"I believe I could manage to save you one," Katrin says with a nod. "So I do hope that the next opportunity to hold a ball will not be overly long else you forget your promise." She places a hand over her heart, "I would certainly be devastated if you were unable to dance with me at the next possible chance." She looks aside to Ilaria with fondness, smiling with warmth as she finally speaks up. "My darling sister speaks truth."

"I always do my utmost to be as entertaining a partner as possible," Dmitry assures them both with a solemnity to his mouth that is totally given the lie by the gleam of his dark eyes. "And I shall be sure to write my promise down. In engraving, if necessary. To see the shadow of disappointment fall over your brilliant eyes would be a tragedy." Having riffed enough on this point, he sets his ale down on the edge of the table and leans in toward them with eyebrows climbing, smile a bare twitch at one corner of his mouth. Ingenuously, he asks, "Is there any harm in liking to know what is said? I'll not deny it, the lie would be too obvious."

Katrin chuckles, "I believe having a hand on the gossip is the best way to ensure that none of it is used against you," Katrin muses, perhaps from being the source of gossip herself. "So where have you been traveling to, Ser Dmitry?" she asks curiously. "I always enjoy hearing what is happening in other areas."

"Oh, Lady Katrin," Dmitry laughs easily, and turns out a hand in a splay-fingered gesture, palm up. "Of course. Though I believe that gossip will eventually turn on anyone. It is just a question of how, and with whom. As anything else." He lets his hand fall to rest against his drink again, and tilts his head. "Ser Inigo and I are late returned from Kingsgrove, so none too far, really."

Katrin perks in curiosity. "Kingsgrove?" she asks curiously. "What is happening with the Groveses? I am acquainted with both the Lady Rosanna," A hand reaches up as if she's going to cover the slowly healing burn, "And Ser Kittridge."

"Oh, this and that," Dmitry says carelessly, lifting his ale again for another slow sip. "Marriage politics, you know, what else do nobles talk of these days?" His mouth hooks in a sidelong smile, dark eyes flicking toward Ilaria almost consideringly. Then he says, "Have you heard about the betrothal, then?"

As the talk turns to Kingsgrove, Ilaria's enthusiasm is dampened; the gleam leaves her eye, her smile falters, and she is suddenly interested in the contents of her plate. She picks at the food, pulling tiny bits of bread from the small loaf and sprinkling them on her plate like a garnish, but nothing is consumed. Glancing up to Dmitry from beneath her eyelashes, she offers the faintest of smiles. "With so many young people gallavanting about hither and thither, my lord, it is not a wonder that marriage is on everyone's mind." As a shining examplar of ladies with politesse, she refrains from mentioning what other things might dwell in said brains. Instead: "What betrothal? I have not heard."

"Betrothal?" Katrin asks mildly, reaching out to touch Ilaria's arm gently. "Is it finally official between Lady Rosanna and Lord Rutger?" Her brows lift in polite interest but there is a blazing fire in her eyes.

"Oh then you haven't heard," Dmitry exclaims, like he is surprised. Which he isn't. Because he is spreading this one around like wildfire at his earliest opportunity, even if he is going to make fun of nobles for gossipping about thhings. He glances thoughtfully at Ilaria, and then leans back in his seat as he lifts his fingers to gesture along with his news. "No! Ser Kittridge has thrown himself before that spear. He's plucking the Nayland spinster, or so they say. And of course once he's wed Lady Roslyn, the Naylands and the Groves will hardly match twice."

A hundred and one rather spiteful thoughts flash through Ilaria's mind, and although her lips contort into a grimace, she keeps them all to herself. "Then I wish them well; Ser Kittridge shall have his hands full." And just like that, she has contributed all that need be said upon the subject. Waving one pale hand at her cup, she waits in silence while Heolla serves more tea. Even after this momentary respite, she continues to refrain from adding fuel to the proverbial fire while sipping carefully at her drink. Really, her reserve is nearly admirable at this point; her face, however, looks pinched with the effort to stay her tongue.

"Why, what a shocker, I must feel sympathy for Ser Justin," Katrin replies, overly bubbly as she squeezes Ilaria's hand. "What other places have you traveled to of late, Ser Dmitry?" she asks curiously. "I must say that I do not have memory of you participating in the tourney at Seagard. I do hope that you will do so at the next Tourney so that you might show everyone your skills. Would that not be lovely, Lari?"

Dmitry glances thoughtfully over Ilaria. "Shall he?" he says, watching her with an extended moment's intentness as though to read a hint of something in her face — if what, he does not know. A long student of the human animal, he lifts his dark eyes from Ilaria to Katrin, and favors her with a smile. "I fought in the melee at Seagard, m'lady," he assures her. "Got quite the bump on my head for my trouble, too. And I shot in the archery contest as well. But I'm sure there's little to remember from that archery contest, Lady Katrin." His smile is wide, a bright flash of humor in his dark eyes, but he moves on quickly, blithely: "I have long said Ser Justin would do better to find a bride … younger than Lady Roslyn." His eyes skip from Katrin to Ilaria and back. His eyebrow quirks, and he goes on, "I do not think they were well-matched. It is very much for the best, I think."

Carefully, Ilaria's expression settles into a complacent smile, and she sets her cup upon the table. "Unfortunately, I was taken a bit ill at Seagard and missed the tournament - but of course not the dance. Ladies never miss dances. I hope for the pleasure to see you participate again, my lord." Settling a steady gaze upon Dmitry, she watches him in turn as he continues to speak. "Ser Justin is of a certainelevationthat would require betrothal to a family of equivalent standing. No doubt a younger match can and will be made for him." Oh foul spite, oh villainous vindictiveness! Did she let that slip by accident? Blushing faintly at her blatant rudeness, the girl runs her fingers over her lips to hide a smile and busies herself with finding the most appropriate spot on the table onto which to move her teacup.

"I am sure Lady Roslyn will be far… happier with a sister like Lady Rosanna. They are certainly two peas in a pod," Katrin says graciously. "I am pleased that someone is finally willing to take her from spinsterhood and make her a proper wife. The years have been as kind as one could expect for such a situation." Her head shakes. "With so many competitors, I must have just missed you in the crowd, Ser Dmitry. I do hope that next time I will be able to focus more on your skills, now that I have made our acquaintance." She smiles and touches Ilaria's arm. "I should check on a few things, sister mine. Will you be alright for a short while?"

Dmitry favors Ilaria with the slow slide of a smile, a look that lingers just a heartbeat too long, and then says lightly, "I believe that one can, if it turns out the young lady in question is amenable." He seems to enjoy her discomfiture, a little like a terrible person; his smile lingers irrepressibly even as his dark eyes flick away. "It was delightful sharing a table with you, Lady Katrin, if only for a little while," he says. He does not leap to Rosanna's defense. He is a terrible makeout buddy.

"Of course," Ilaria murmurs to Dmitry, fixing him with a steady, searching stare for a moment. Katrin's touch on her arm draws the girl away from her study, however, and she blinks rapidly before offering her sister a smile. "Of course, of course. Go. I have Septa Shiella sleeping in her tea and Heolla to flirt with all of the men here. Strictest most worthy guard a young lady could ask for." Ilaria leans in to peck Katrin on the cheek before turning back to Dmitry. "Now that the games are finished and everyone has returned to their stations, what shall you be doing to occupy your time, my lord?"

Dmitry watches Katrin go with a blithe ease as he lifts his ale for another swallow, turning warm dark eyes back to Ilaria. "Aside from paying compliments to the beautiful and bashful among our guests?" he asks easily. "Whatever Jacsen asks me to, I suppose. Boring answer, isn't it? As of late, the Roost needs much, and it needs quick tongues to speak for it." He sets the tip of his between the teeth of his smile, and then glances away as he closes the part of his lips again.

Sip. No slurping. Ilaria gazes down into the murkey depths of her tea, rotating the cup to cause the brown liquid to slosh over the rim. Oops. "The Young Lord has a silver-tongued servant and a stoic knight at his side? We shall see the Roost prosper in no time at all, I think." Despite her somewhat flippant tone, the girl's smile is genuine. "I hope to watch the transformation with my own eyes. The raising of the new Sept was a triumphant affair."

"Is Ser Justin the Stoic, then?" Dmitry asks, apparently much entertained by this prospect. He sets what remains of the ale down — not much — and sits straighter in his seat as his hands fall to his lap to rest lightly across his knees. "I hope that you shall be able to, Lady Ilaria. Restoring the Sept was an important gesture, but there is much more work to be done."

"I have been visiting for some several weeks, and I can see now how much is still to come." Ilaria pushes her cup and plate away firmly and abruptly, causing the tea to slosh all over the table. Some of it dribbles onto Heolla's skirts while the handmaiden is busy flirting with a commoner at an adjacent table. Gasping, the tawny-haired girl leaps up and, without a word, attends to the spill and the dishes as well. Turning a satisfied smile on Dmitry, Ilaria continues the conversation as if nothing at all has happened. "I have not yet been introduced to Ser Justin, so from a distance it is easy to call him 'stoic'. Perhaps my impression is influenced by the timely dispatch of those awful bandits." Her smile falters and she shivers while rubbing her palms together.

Dmitry barely seems to note the progress of the servant cleaning up the spill; it is easy, at certain levels of privilege, to let one's eye drift on by people doing their jobs in proper order. Or else he is just good at the polite ignoring thing. He says blithely, with a startling lack of need to claim any credit for his own derring-do, "Oh, yes, he was instrumental there, wasn't he? I am glad to know that my cousin has made an impression. I believe he is a good, strong young knight with a bright future before him."

Ilaria casts a glance over her shoulder to be sure her handmaiden is finished. The girl is in place in her chair once more, staring sullenly at the nodding Septa who is shaking herself awake from time to time in an attempt to pay attentiont to the conversation. "Instrumental? Did I say that?" The young noblewoman offers Dmitry a knowing smile - perhaps even a bit mischievous - but flicks her finger dismissively. "I mean only the end to them tomorrow. I will be present despite Septa Shiella's many protestations. I am not a child, after all." Yes, she actually says this with a straight face. "Lady Katrin will be with me. Will we see you there, my lord?"

Dmitry and Ilaria are seated a table with her dynamic duo of a chaperone.

Harlyn is descending the stairs, his hands clasped behind his back. He rather scopes out the lay of the tables from that vantage before descending all the way and moving right for Ilaria and Dmitry.

"Shouldn't miss it," Dmitry says blithely, shifting back in the seat and jiggling his booted heel a little against the floor. "Though I don't expect it to be a grand entertainment, my lady. Just quick, smooth justice."

"I do not expect a ball, my lord. It will be enough." Ilaria leans back in her chair, reaching down to pluck at the silk of her skirt daintily to busy her hands. Due to the macabre nature of the subject, she is quick to avoid it by looking away, and in time catches sight of Harlyn approaching from the floor above. Her attention returns to her companion, however. "Does the Young Lord send you running about the Riverlands much these days?"

Harlyn closes his approach, his head tilted down almost beneath his shoulders, his hands the tighter behind his back. "Cousin," he greets, "Ser Dmitry."

"Well, he sent me to Kingsgrove; perhaps more in future, I don't know. Wherever I can be useful. Sometimes," Dmitry smiles a slow, wide smile as his dark eyes lift. He drums fingertips lightly against the table's surface beside his empty (or close enough to empty) tankard. "Sometimes I can be useful right here at home! — Good evening, Ser Harlyn; it's good to see you again. I think I owe you a drink, don't I?"

Ilaria looks up again when Harlyn arrives by their table, and she offers the man a pleasant smile. "Cousin," she returns the greeting with the warmth of familiarity. When the men begin their conversation, she falls silent to allow them to talk uninterrupted; she gestures to a chair, beckoning for Harlyn to seat himself beside her.

Harlyn takes a seat, unlatching his hands and dragging the chair out with a paired clunk-clunk. "If you wish to owe me, ser, but I can only sit for one. Busy, busy." He glances between ser and cousin. "Have you been entertaining each other, hmm?"

"I try," Dmitry says modestly, though as has been established elsewhere, this is not his strength. He waves over a servitor to fetch another round for him and one for Harlyn, and arched his eyebrows with another easy smile. "We were discussing bloody justice and marriage politics, though not at the same time."

Light laughter follows on the heels of Dmitry's jest, and Ilaria shakes her head at the man in a playful admonishment. "I think some married men would say you had it right the first, Ser Dmitry! Yes, cousin, he is very entertaining, although I could not say the same of myself. My sister is of the more gregarious disposition; I try to find serious, important questions, when truly I should be focusing on my lord's favorite color coats and fond memories of conquests. I hope you are well, cousin."

"Extremely well, thank you," Harlyn answers readily enough. "Politics and justice are both entertaining, as long as they are happening to other people. Is it a serious discussion or a playful one? With my thoughtful cousin and my ser of the conversational dice roll, I would not know what to expect."

Turning solemn dark eyes on Ilaria, Dmitry says: "Oh, tell me a serious, important question, Lady Ilaria; do. I am desperately curious to hear one. The last question anyone asked me was how many times I think Roslyn has opened her legs." This is not an appropriate question to relate. It is a good thing Harlyn is here to rescue Ilaria from Dmitry's sense of humor. "Am I a gamble for you, Ser Harlyn?" he asks as with great delight.

Harlyn pantomimes throwing a pair of dice. "I think you are your own gamble, Ser Dmitry. Poor Roslyn, tsk tsk. What purpose do you serve spreading such gossip." Harlyn is not smiling, entirely, but his eyes are a bit crinkled. "Corrupting my wise, but still impressionable cousin, I fear."

"Purpose?" Dmitry widens his eyes at Harlyn, boyishly ingenuous — but where his eyes meet Harlyn's, the laughter is buried sharp and canny in the warm, dark depths of his gaze. "What purpose could I possibly have?" He doesn't linger long over this question, because a number of them strike him as obvious. "But you are right, I should watch my words around the impressionable. What was I thinking."

"Lady Roslyn?" Ilaria catches that, but looking between her cousin and Dmitry is enough to keep her from being lead astray like a lamb to slaughter. She brushes away the thought physically by tucking a lock of hair behind her ear. Her tongue darts out to wet her lips. "Gossip carries with it the sting of truth, dearest Harlyn. My guess would be one or perhaps two, but no more. I am too conservative with numbers to find entertainment in gambling."

"Oho," Harlyn says, more word-spoken than strictly laughed. "When did my dear cousin get versed in even this much gambling? Well, if the innocent is already corrupted," and his gaze flicks back over to Dmitry, "what's your wager? Is my cousin too conservative, friend?"

"I have it on good authority that Kittridge has sampled his bride's charms," Dmitry says airily. (Good authority by which he means he totally made it up based on no evidence besides someone told him and it wasn't even in a pub!) "Which makes a solid one. You seem of sound and practical mind, Lady Ilaria; your estimates seem well in line with reasonable thought." He slants a look at the third gambler at the tabler from beneath the slant of dark eyelashes, mouth quirking up at one side. "Does she share your head for business, Harry? May I call you Harry?"

Ilaria plucks up her magically refreshed teacup (Heolla has been doing her duty!) and takes a sip, gazing over the rim at both men. "Innocence lies in the lack of doing, not the lack of knowing, and I know very well there is a great lack for good authorities. I call your bluff, Ser Dmitry, and raise you one unmentionable who was not a suitor. On good authority, of course." The cup clinks as she sets it down once more.

Harlyn makes an idle gesture toward his cousin. "A better head for business, I'm afraid. Listen to her. I could not play dice with you half so confidently." He lets his hand drift back down. "I will permit Harry for this meeting. I reserve the right to change my mind."

"I'll have you know that my news is fresh from Kingsgrove, Lady," Dmitry returns as though greatly offended by her doubt. "And really, it only makes sense. Why else should the Naylands be so ready to swap suits? From son to daughter, from dower earned to dower spent? They certainly couldn't get away with fobbing off used goods on Jerold's bold young son. Particularly not when he has" Dmitry smiles. "Other prospects." Oh look. Ale. He picks up his fresh tankard to sip from it, but barely wets his lips, glancing back at Harlyn with a bright twinkle in his eye. "I'll remember," he says. It's hard to tell if this is meant to be a warning.

"I must remind you that I spent nearly two days confined with several young ladies in a most stressful situation, my lord. I have been told that a bird in the cage sings twice as loud as a bird in the tree." However, Ilaria hesitates only a fraction of a second before flicking her fingers at Dmitry as if tossing away cards. "I will let you win this round, but only because ladies should not gossip. Well, and a good conspiracy is more entertaining than 'bower chatter'."

"I would never threaten a good host such as yourself." Harlyn picks up the ale and begins to down it with rather hastened sort of fervor. He swallows heavily. "My cousin also knows the value of letting the house win, so to speak. Still. Harry. An odd sort of truncation. Quite removes the l." He takes another swig. "I fear I must go soon."

"There's been a whole tourney since then," Dmitry points out blithely. "You can't imagine how much illicit goings-on can happen in the carnival atmosphere of a proper tourney." (That's right, Dmitry. Point this out.) "Do you want the L back? Harly? No. Harry is much better," Dmitry decides, having now randomly renamed his drinking partner. Okay. "Really, I should get back home at some point. Ser Inigo has probably beat me to telling all the tales."

Ilaria exchanges an unreadable look with Heolla, and the handmaided rises up silently to rouse the dozing Septa. No doubt the woman was merely pretending and shall be lecturing her ward most severely on the morrow. "I doubt most heartily that there is a shortage of 'tales' in your book, my lord. I thank you for the most pleasant diversion - no, I mean it with all sincerity! But I, too, have matters that require my attention. One does not purchase new gowns sight unseen. Cousin, Lord Harlyn, I am glad to see you about the Roost." She rises from her seat in one fluid motion, nudging it back out of the way with one slippered heel. "If my lords will excuse me?"

Harlyn shoves himself standing, again, any grace subtracted for something rather over-rough. "Let us all home, then, to tales and handmaids as the case may be. I expect we will all be at the Roost a little longer."

"Good." Dmitry rises too, and sketches a bow to Ilaria for her retreat. "I should very much look forward to the next time I see each of you again."