Page 580: Bella Goes Roostal
Bella goes Roostal
Summary: Some chatter about finances and lack of them leads to disparaging comments.
Date: 23/February/2013
Related Logs: None
Arabella Keenan Harold 
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.
February 23, 290

The Inn is a living thing tonight with a ribald band in the corner that has been playing its crass songs for most of the evening and a drinking contest between farmers and fishermen in one corner. Keenan counting himself a keen observer of human behavior nurses a single ale and watches the morass with detached amusement - perhaps mentally documenting it for posterity. It was rare that such merriment broke out spontaneously in this most austere of times. Someone had even posted a one crown reward for the winner of the drinking contest spurring the men involved to spend probably even more in lesser currency just to win the prize. Conversations in that area are becoming increasingly incoherent. "I hope there isn't a brawl," Keenan casually observes, "Or maybe I hope there is one."

Not exactly the time and place or even atmosphere for a lady, yet Arabella Fenster is in the midst.. maybe not the midst, perhaps just a sideliner like several others, quietly placing her own bets within her own mind. The bigger they are the harder they fall, so she'd stayed away from the rather large and boisterous farmer and opted for the quieter fisherman who seemed to be holding his own, steady and solid. Beside her, her maid Serah was observing as well, though attentive to her lady's needs. Leaning against the wall was Talbot, he was watching with detached interest the whole game while seeking out possible signs of danger for his charge.
Overhearing the words from Keenan, Bella happens to glance over and do a double take, "Why Lord Keenan, it is a pleasure seeing you again!" She discovers she is sitting close to him after all, having been sidetracked by the game, and only moves one chair nearer to be able to speak quieter. Her lips lift in a warm smile, "I have not seen you for some time. I hope you have been well?"

Keenan ever the picture of propriety (when it came to ladies anyway) pushes himself off the seat he is on and manages a bow with a broadening of his lips passing for a smile. "Lady Arabella - well met indeed. I have been about as well as can be expected - politiciking ineffectually from the shadows. You've heard of Young Lord Ozric's engagement to Lady Nedra? the finely oiled wheels of the Bolland machine have made another turn it seems." Changing the subject, "How have you been? Did you frequent the Masque?"'

For a moment, Bella looks back towards her chosen bet, though quickly loses interest when his eyes close for several beats too long, looks like he is about to pass out. A quick grin accompanies a shake of her head as she looks back to the Terrick. "I had heard mention of Lady Nedra and Lord Ozric being betrothed, I do wish them then best." Gratefully unbetrothed herself at the moment, she can sympathize with the two. "I regret that I know neither one of them well enough, though I imagine both families will be pleased with the match, it was a good one, bonding the Mallisters and the Terricks, I suppose." Her own house is of little consequence and she knows it. At the question, the Fenster replies, "I did go, I dressed as Nightshade, deadly and dangerous," the laugh that follows is full of self depreciation. "I had a good time. You were unable to be there?"

Keenan smiles at Arabella, "Yes politically sage. My father runs his house like a well oiled machine. All of his decisions sensible - but many of them hardly surprising. I knew a friend who ran his shipping business like that. He prospered for a while but well without imagination luck also tends to run out and he failed. What I would give for just one little rod in the works of that machine…" Keenan is in a mischevious mindset it appears. "Nightshade," he echoes smiling, "Alas I had other concerns that necessitated my presence here in the Roost. But the results of my efforts are such that I might as well have blown it all off and gone."

"I suppose if you were running a house, sensible is the way to go about it. Foolish would only make the failing happen all the quicker, I would think." Though Bella certainly is not political, nor does she pretend to be, it only makes a certain sense to her. The mention of the little rod in the works of the machine brings an enigmatic look to her eyes. "What would you have done differently then, to further the cause of your family?" In fact.. Leaning in just a little, her brows lift, "You know how small my house is. What would you do to.. alter that? To assist in the growth?" Now she isn't just speaking in general, it seems as if she is asking for advice, all mention of the Masque forgotten other than that brief flash of a grin at the mention of his efforts not resulting in gain and a quick dismissal of the festivities. "It was just another dance filled with preening nobles, you missed little."

Ser Harold Charlton had not been seen west of the Green Fork since Lord Aleister turned from the Charlton banner in the aftermath of his disasterous defeat at Stonebridge, and the only Charlton noble in residence at Highfield who hadn't forsaken Hollyholt and taken up the name Ashwood. Since then he had gained a few more pounds - fat rather than muscle - and his already thinning and greying hair had turned both thinner -and- greyer. It made his black-and-yellow tunica sit somewhat tight around his belly. His crisp winter-grey eyes were still sharp, however deeper the lines around them sat, and the ponderous way in which he moved his broad shouldered frame was still effortlessly confident and authorative. He'd the manner of a man well used to being obeyed. A young squire held the door for him, while a grizzled man-at-arms dogged his heels. Lean where Harold was broad, but just as grey and weather-worn.
Ser Harold paused just inside the Inn, his hand alighting subconciously on the battered pommel of his sword, and took himself a moment or ten to study the interior. His eyes picked out faces, bodylanguage and positions in relation to exits. Inevitably they landed on Arabella, the only familiar face. "See a room secured," he grumbled to his squire in a voice like distant thunder. The boy scampered.

Keenan smiles at Arabella, "Ah you are being sensible my lady - perhaps a little too sensible. Trouble will come whether it is of our own making or not. And a house without it i find to be a little sterile." Raising his eyebrows at the question in relation to the Fensters the Terrick suggests,

"Money my Lady - the Fensters should seek out coin where ever they can find it. Unfortunately it is in the nature of noblility to know how to spend coin but not how to raise it." He looks to the arrival of the Charlton whom the middle son of Ser Bolland does not recognise. A polite bow is directed to the man.

Bella had never actually been accused of being too sensible, though she does see it more as a compliment. "Money, why is that not the answer to every problem in all of Westeros? We are slowly working on it, building a mill now for more income. I want to… increase our worth, for my own reasons."
Recognition does not immediately dawn, a few pounds will do a lot to a person. Perhaps the face is more round, or the middle.. the hair thinning and greying, but the voice… the familiarity of it does not mesh with the image in the Fensters mind when she hears it and confusion is more prominent before the match clicks in her mind. A ready smile forms, for surely she had met this man in her more formative years, many times. In Hollyholt. "Ser Harold Charlton." The name is said with perhaps a little more reverence than necessary, for in her time there with the Charltons as a ward, he had always seemed a larger than life specimen to be observed from afar. "Lady Arabella Fenster." Just in case he did not know her name. Former vassals of the Charltons. "Have you met Lord Keenan Terrick? Lord Keenan, this is Ser Harold Charlton."

"Lady Arabella," came Harold's gruff greeting of the young Fenster, and after a pause that lasted the length of a couple of heart beats, he added a slight inclination of his head that was somewhat less than her noble birth and standing might have warranted. His eyes made a brief pass down her frame in assessment - though nothing too direct or even remotely lecherous - before he added a grunt of confirmation. "No longer quite a child, I see." While she had that easy smile on offer, Ser Harold's features remained stonily impassive. Not exactly a new thing; he'd always been someewhat grim in his counterance.
"I've not had the pleasure. Lord Keenan." Turning his attentions towards the younger lord, he offered a small bow. No more or less than etiquette demanded. "But I've heard the name. One of Lord Bolland's get, am I right? How're you settling into the Roost?"

"Not so much coin my Lady but what you buy with it - though I'll ad mit the distinction is fine," Keenan holds back comment on her seeking to increse the Fensters wealth though guesses a dowry might be part of what she is implying. Tact freezes his tongue.

"Ah Lord Harold Charlton I have heard of you." Bowing in return, "Yes our little usurpation runs at a convenient pace with equally convenient matrimonial plans for our Young Lord. A shame for the displaced but huzzah for us," Keenan takes a sip of his ale. The whole thing is darkly amusing to the nautically inclined coin counter Terrick. "But I personally would rather be on my fair boat and miles away from the whole turgid mess."

The only response to the hesitant nod is a knowing smile, Bella does not let others ways bring her dissatisfaction, yet she does let them know she is aware of any slights, so instead of continuing a conversation with him, she pointedly looks towards Keenan, not responding to the comment the Charlton lord had made about her having grown up.
Ah, it was not for a dowry the Fenster seeks to increase the wealth of her house, though assumptions could certainly be made in that regard. Sometimes more could be learned from listening than from questioning and the younger lady had discovered that early on. Men always spoke around the ladies, it was the ladies place to hear the wisdom of the words and separate the bul… separate the good advice from the bad. With keen interest, her gaze moves between the two, perhaps giving a bit of a shrewd look to the Terrick.

"Bah. I've had my fu-," Ser Harold caught himself at the last moment, and rephrased for the benefit of the female company present: "fill of boats." A look flicked in Arabella's direction with a vague hint of apology for the near miss of social niceties. "Almost turned myself inside out when we went for Dragonstone, and swore I'd never get in another bloody wooden tub. Then the blasted Ironborn invaded, and I was fu-" he frowned as he caught himself yet again. Too much time spent shouting at recruits in Hollyholt, too little time socializing with young ladies of late. "Forced on the ocean again. It was even worse than I'd remembered. If I'd had the energy to crawl out of my hole, I swear I'd tried swimming instead."
Absently he made a wave in the direction of his squire, a summons so he could bark out: "Get me some bloody ale." He had the look of a man who didn't think he aught to have been forced to ask for it in the first place. Beneath his breath, he muttered: "Squires these days."
"So what've you heard, then?" While Harold was directing his conversation in Keenan's way, he still paid attention to ARabella out of the corner of his eye.

Keenan smiles politely at the now silent Arabella before turning his attention to the more manly talk. "I was rarely more at home than on the sea. I got blooded there - though I was on sweet sleep so I do not remember much about the fight. Only all the backslapping that went on after." As for Harold's reputation, "Just as a warrior Ser nothing fancy a dossier of where you have been and fought - I try to keep up with the Heraldry - but it is not my principle area of expertise. Mostly I handle coin - try to make sure more is accumulated than spent. And that is a low priority at the moment."

Amused more than insulted by the near slips, Bella does not draw attention to them, having heard them in full glory at the recent Masque courtesy of a certain Nayland Steward of Stonebridge. The laughter dances in her expression, though she attempts to keep it in check. When she catches the ever so vague hint of apology her smile does widen, perhaps not one to hold a grudge, she then returns the gesture, the flickered look, but it holds more than just apology. The boat talk has taken and held her interest. "Two such varied opinions on the boat and the sea, I wonder what one can find so charming about it, yet the other find so discouraging." Just musing quietly between them. With her own wine in hand, she regards the Terrick with greater interest when he again mentions handling coin and accumulating it. Tapping her fingers on the side of her goblet, she offers quietly, "Perhaps you could speak with me sometime more in depth about your ideas on accumulating wealth."

"Hah," came the sound from Harold, somewhere between a snort and a chortle at the mention of heraldry. "I tell my squire all the time that if nothing else, it pays to recognize who you're trying to cut down, so you know how many bloody brothers and cousins now consider you the.." this time he just paused as he almost slipped again, "principle target of their hate and vengeance." He leaned forward a touch conspiratorially and added: "The scrawny kid thinks he's the next Arthur Dayne, Sword of the Morning himself. Heh. If that'd been the case, he'd not be stuck squiring under me." Though to be fair, Harold was known as one of the very premier swordsmen in the Riverlands, or indeed the Seven Kingdoms themselves.
He leaned back again. "Coin. Sinews of war. Can't underestimate its importance, but easier to spend it than earn it."

Keenan smiles at Lady Arabella, "My lady it would be an honor - my expertise it seems is being all but ignored here. We could most assuredly trade ideas." A bit of tension is removed from keenan's shoulders - a service Lady Arabella has perhaps inadvertantly provided. Nothing worse than being the middle child it seems.

"It depends on your preclutivities Lord Charlton. I find it difficult to spend coin myself and easier to make it. I can tell you though that overall no coin is ever made through warfare despite what mercenaries might tell you. There is always less around to buy when the dust settles and all of it is more expensive."

"I disagree with you, Lord Charlton, to a degree. You cannot spend what you do not have, so it would be far easier to earn than spend in that case. Were I able to earn coin for my own house and invest it equally in the growth of my house, I would do so. Spending it just for the sake of spending it would be a waste greater than any I would want to see in that regard." Bella does only input little in regards to his side of the conversation, though she feels strongly about it.
Replacing her wine on the table before her, the Fenster returns the smile offered by the Terrick. "I look forward to it then, my lord, your knowledge far surpasses many I have spoken with as well as your ability to be.." Pausing, she searches for just the word, seeming to be unable to find it, so she simply substitures another, "Prudent, in the concerns of coin and expenditures."

"War is destruction," remarked Ser Harold patiently, but firmly. "There's always less of everything at the end than when you start, but 'overall' matters none at all. What matters is a man can make his fortune from war, or the fortune of his House. Even if you end up with little at all gained, it can still be worth it if your enemies are reduced even further."
His attentions slid in Arabella's direction, arching a bushy grey eyebrow at her disagreement. "You can certainly spend what you don't have. Ruining a House comes easy, as does indentureship for the common man. But my point is this; everybody wants more coin in their purse, but that means that as you try to make more, you're always coming head to head with others. You put coin to making a winery, but whether or not that winery pays for itself depends on quite a few matters. If it was easy, everybody would be rich."

"You may be overestimating me my Lady - I tend to act unconsciously with alot of these matters. Still I have come out on top. Never made a bad trade - or a loss - until I came here…" He couples that with a generous smile.
"Not rich perhaps but comparatively better off. Even in times of plenty the presence of mere coin helps to inflate the prices. Real wealth is in production and trade not hard currency. the Latter is merely a medium of exchange." Keenan has also thought about this.

"I cannot spend what I do not have, but who am I? The main line of a insignificant house is the equivalent to nothing, yet I would do many things to see that we not fail. I do see your point in that everyone would be rich, yet.. there are very few rich houses and too many on the brink of losing everything. Most of the houses under the Frey are considered to be poor." Bella reaches for her wine one more time, mostly to keep her hands occupied than for any real thirst. Her gaze once more settles on the sailing Terrick and her smile twitches with amusement. "I am not overestimating you, my lord, I am simply taking you at your word. Should we speak further soon and I learn more, than I am better off. Should I learn nothing, I am still better off for having spent the time in your company."

"I hold lands in my brother's name, and I'll tell you; making them profitable is as easy as willing it. Yet the costs are always there. Gold to maintain the standards of nobility. Gold for armor, gold for horses. Gold to pay the ransom of a tourney loss. Gold to keep the manor in a respectable state, and the upkeep of the staff and men. Gold to improve the roads, gold to rebuild a barn that burned down, or taken by a storm. Gold to my brother in tithe. Gold the King, in taxes. If I were a lord who knew nothing of management, and there are plenty of those, then I'd still have to expend my purse on all those things, but my income would be far less. What to do, what to do? Look like a pauper is not an option, because a Lord who does not act a Lord or look a Lord, is no true Lord. So, the choice is often to run up debts instead." Harold shook his head. "Plenty of lords decide to do it.. But even if you do know how to drive the most from your lands, if they're offering is meagre, and your coffers already shrunken, you'll have no coin to make the improvements that needs to be made to create yet more coin. A vicious cycle."
He looked towards Arabella. "You yourself are draining your House's paltry coffers right now. Upkeep of your servants, the horses you and they use to travel. The cost of staying here. The cost of horse feed. The cost of," he made a dip of attentions down to her dress, "appearences. On your name alone, little though it might be worth in truth, you could draw goods from merchants and traders and workmen and pull even more out." He said it with just a hint of bemusement, as if it was something that might have happened to -him-, having coin vanish by the errant whims of a lady.
"Current state of plenty of the Frey vassals makes proof of how easy it is to spend coin."

Keenan smiles at Arabella, "Indeed we shall speak - and it is a pleasure having you and Lord Harold at the Roost." Rubbing his eyes, "Unfortunately all this ribald congress has made me weary and I must retire I am afraid. I bid you both a good evening."

Whether the Charlton lord makes good points or not, Bella does listen, nodding now and again to the lessons in spending and running a keep. Though she knows Tavin's Rest is the same on a much smaller scale, she does voice one certain objection to his entire spiel. "I never purchase anything new, I travel with a single guard and a single maid, there simply is not the funds to overspend on my part. Should I be able to purchase goods on my name alone, I would never deign to find out. I try not to be more of a hindrance. When I visit neighboring towns, my first choice is of course to stay in the keep where a bed and food is provided, however times being what they are, and the Terricks in their own fix, I would never be a burden to them. I agree with most of what you say and having never run a keep myself, I can only take you at your word and believe what you say is the truth. I recently stayed in Kingsgrove and I have to say for a house with very little, their hospitality was heartwarming and I have been invited back, though I again say would never want to burden a house for no reason." Having gone off on some random tangent, Bella laughs, shaking her head at her own failure to stick to topic, she lifts her wine. "So, to coins, wherever you can get them and save them. That is all I can conclude." That same self-deprecation in her tone as before.
As the Terrick rises to leave, the Fenster rises as well, offering curtsy, "As always, it was a pleasure speaking with you, my lord. Be well." Then she reclaims her seat.

"One trained warrior, and all his equipment, along with a horse to ensure his travel in your company simply for the sake of your safety away from home, it does not exactly count as 'little'," remarked Harold, then added dismissivly: "Not that Fenster armsmen were ever any worth, but the point stands that your House can barely field any at all, yet one is bound to you."
A shrug answered her rant in the end, and the lift of her wine. By then his own ale had long since arrived, which he hearthily drank from. He'd given Keenan a farewell nod, but left it at that. The man was not a knight. By definition then, he was worth less.
"Save them if you can. But don't be afraid of spending them, either. All those things I listed earlier, they're necessary. As is your armsman. You need coin to pay for all of it, but ultimately gold locked down in some chest isn't of any use at all. Gold's only value is in being spent. Though I'd hestiate to call the Groves poor. I intend to make a visit to House Groves myself, truth be told. My niece is marrying Young Lord Stafford." Aeliana had spent as much time in Kellen - Harold's little hold - as she had in Hollyholt. It was no secret Aeliana was his favorite among all of Harold's numerous, numerous nephews and nieces.

"Bound to me because my brother is stubborn and has given me one of his guards and his new wife his other guard. So what to do? Travel without?" If Bella seems a little mutinous perhaps it stems from the same old argument and her jaw tightens when he mentions Fenster armsmen worth nothing. "My Lord Father is a knight," she says quietly, hand tight around her goblet. "I never said Groves were poor." Lifting her chin perhaps offended by this man who, once upon a time, she would have had to tolerate to some extent simply because of the vassalage of her house to his. Now she is under no such restrictions. "I said that the house as very little and by your definition with all the amount of coin a house has to pay, everyone has very little." Then he mentions his niece and she straightens, "Lady Aeliana… I adore her and she is the reason I went to Kingsgrove in the first place, yet she was away at the time so I did not get to see her. She is back then?" Forgetting all about the offense now.

"No, you shouldn't travel without," Ser Harold said with a gruff shake of his head, though his sharp grey eyes fixed on her own directly. "But if your main concern is saving your House unnecesary expenses, then perhaps you should have stayed at home. Sewing and knitting, and contributing to the upkeep of your household. But you're not doing that, instead you're spending your House's coin on upkeep on you and yours. That's my bloody point. Do I care either way? Bah. No. But were you part of my household, girl, all you'd be is another red blot in the fucking," this time he didn't catch himself, and bullied on without noticing, "ledger." The tankard of ale swung up, and when he was done drinking heavily, it came down all but empty. Moisture glisned in his beard before he wiped it off with his sleeve, then commanded another ale to be brought.
As far as her father being a knight? The contemptious snort Ser Harold issued made it clear just what he thought of her father, as a knight or a man: Little and nothing. At least he was polite enough not to -say- that out loud.
"I'd say most Houses have fifteen to twenty out of a hundred crowns left, after expenses. Little is relative. Richer Houses have bigger expenses, but then again, they've got a bloody lot more to spend on. House Groves probably has more after their expenses, than House Fenster had to start with. So I'd still not say 'little'. Bah. No matter, why am I discussing economics with a slip of a girl?" He shook his head briskly, part annoyance, part bemusement.
"Aye, she returned from the Vale. Her betrothed was introducing her to his mother's kin in the Vale."

What should have come across as a scolding, or at least something offensive, Bella waves away, she knows his opinion which is most of Westeros when it comes to her house and its holdings, or lack thereof. "If I were home, I would be living off their food, using their threads and needles and doing pointless sewing for a house that has little need for it. Our drapes are fine, our tapestries in good repair." Amused despite herself at his bah'ing, she looks down into her wine goblet simply to keep from laughing.
Ah, but the contemptuous snort gets her head rising and she regards him now with a cool aloofness. Say what you will about her, but her father was off limits. When he goes on about expenses and says nothing more of her father, the Fenster bites her lip refraining from saying a cutting comment to him, though she does have a few words to say on the matter. "Of course they do, Lord Charlton. I would never claim my house to have more than they have. I.." For sake of argument, she bites her tongue. "Yes, why are you?" Substituting instead, a challenging lift to her chin. "Are you intending on staying long in Kingsgrove then, to visit Lady Aeliana?" If there is a reason for her question she does not voice it.

"Don't be a fool, Lady Arabella. What you'd cost at home is a fraction of what you cost out on the road. And what household doesn't require more clothes? Do you think your retainer clothes himself? Or the rest of the staff? Or your father's and brother's clothes mysteriously appear? A Lady's place is to see her household well clothed, along with her other duties." Said with the brusque decisiveness of a firm patriarchal lord.
Harold caught that look his snort had provoked, and met it with with quietly bemused challange. As if asking her to dare say his unvoiced sentiments were wrong, so that he had a socially acceptable reason for speaking all his thoughts aloud. In public. Fenster leaving Charlton banner had obviously not endeared them in the grizzled knight's mind.
"No, you said they had little. I say they have fair enough. I was merely correcting your bloody mistake, and used the fact they've lands and wealth ten - twenty times your house to make the point." Grumbled out, before he took another swallow.
"What? Oh. Probably not. A brief visit."

What Bella had been through at the Flint camp had only made her stronger so when she would have backed down before, now she does not. "Your dislike of my house is clear, so I would suggest we agree to disagree and save us both the embarrassment of a public display on what is quickly becoming a contest of opinions based on past experiences." Her word are short, concise and final. "I wish you a safe journey then and I do so hope that your kin is doing well. I will make sure my visit there coincides with your departure. Do give them my best though perhaps even you deem that would not be good enough. I admit I did misspeak in using the word little. Of course they have more than us. I should have realized my house having -nothing- you group in as the same as someone having little. Admittedly -everyone- has more than Fenster, yet at least we do have a land we can call our own. Good day Ser, be well." Offering a deeply exaggerated curtsy, she bows her head demurely only to lift it and look at him with something akin to pity in her gaze, she has finished the conversation and is now preparing to leave.

"You're barely more than a child. If you had any experiences of worth to draw upon, Lady Arabella, you'd have concluded that the wise choice would have simply been to have listened and nodded to the words or your elder. There is no contest, my Lady. I am merely being fucking helpful enough to educate you on your mistakes, so you can make less of them in the future. Which is a flaw of mine, I'll admit. Considering I'd rather wish you and your House the future you deserve, I should have left well enough alone." He watched her the whole time with those pale steady eyes.
"For now." To the Fensters having land.
Not -too- smoothly, weary from a long ride and having a knee that tended to ache after being active too long, Ser Harold stood. He really was a tall man, one that towered over most. Writ in his scars and the broadness of his frame, was a lifetime dedicated to brutality. She got yet another small nod of his head, barely an acknowledgement of her rank. She was just a Fenster, after all.
"Good day, Lady Arabella."

There is a certain line to cross and when he does cross it, Bella can only regard him with a neutrality she draws upon whenever she thinks of her time in the Flint camp. "Your opinion is your own, yet I have perhaps seen more suffering and death in a single months time than most knights see in a war. Say what you will, Ser Harold Charlton, even think what you will. It will not change the things I have seen, the things I have done nor the things I will do." With that, her much more able-bodied self pivots on her slippered heel and she moves for the door so that her maid and guard hurry to follow.

"Words spoken by child who has not seen war," replied Ser Harold, making it clear he thought that her parting message merely reinforced whatever impressions he had already made of her. When she pivoted, he watched her for a second or two longer, then sank back down by the table with a thump that bespoke of the gratitude his knee keened with to be free of the pain of supporting his weight, all two hundred and thirty odd pounds of it. Though with his recent inactivity (but not corresponding lack of good food and drink) it was prbably closer to two fourty. Or fifty.
"Another fucking ale, already," he grumbled. "Gods be damned, boy, how the hell are you gonna anticipate a fucking ambush, if you can't even tell when I've drunk up my damn ale?" Mutter, grumble, while his squire suffered.