Page 196: Bloody Debts
Bloody Debts
Summary: Tam and Starling talk about past and present decisions, as dawn breaks. Einion wakes and the talk continues.
Date: 29 January 2012
Related Logs: Everything You've Got
Einion Starling Tam 
Healers Area
An abandoned house, readied for the arrival of lesser-born wounded.
January 29th 289 A.L.

Throughout the night, the small building in the low district claimed by unbonded healers has seen much activity, to say the least. Comings and goings at all hours have kept the folk here busy; the wounded trudging in from the vicious skirmish in the streets namely pikesmen, those of higher station having maesters in their respective camps to attend them. So it seems to make sense to Starling to remain and lend a hand where she can, even if only fetching fresh water, applying pressure to still-bleeding injuries and bundling up the linens and sheets that are ensanguined beyond redemption. She has kept a vigil over Tam and Einion both as she's worked, checking often to ensure there's nothing further Senna needs and exhaustedly restraining the tanner with her slight weight whenever more hot iron is required.

But now, with the grey light of dawn approaching, the girl has finally succumbed to a fitful rest. She's barely had time to think, let alone cry or retch, much as she's desired to do both at some point or another. Still with dried blood on her hands, her dark tresses tangled and tousled, Starling is curled on the floor, soundly asleep, between the cots of her two battered companions; her aged leather coat rolled as a makeshift pillow for her weary head.

Tam has slept like the dead for hours; he had been awake throughout the struggle to save him, biting down on a strip of rolled-up leather, but once it was through the hedge knight simply laid his head back and began to slumber. But now something wakes him; in a jolt, he tries to sit, grasping for where a dagger would usually hang. But of course there is no dagger, and there is no chance of him rising; he falls back on the bed with a soft whimper as realization and memory flood back.

Head turning, he takes in Einion, still passed out - but his chest rising and falling visibly. And then down to Starling, where she sleeps. A gray smile creases his features, and with some effort, the man managed to get himself up onto his elbow, watching her. His hand fumbles until it finds his braided scrap of cloth and he grips it idly, thumb brushing along the fabric.

One learns to sleep light, when they spend most nights curled on a floor or in the eaves of a roof. Tam's abrupt awakening is enough to rouse the girl beside him, albeit groggily, and she blinks up at him for a moment in bleary confusion, through wayward tendrils of blood-matted dark hair. "..what.. mmf.." Rubbing at one eye with the heel of her hand, Starling winces as she recalls where she is. And why. Similarly, she turns her head to regard Einion on her other side, their cots only being a foot or so, if that, from the floor where she's curled. Breathing. Good enough.

Looking back up at the knight who's watching her, the girl sweeps her errant locks aside with a blatant lack of concern for where they should fall and meets his gaze sleepily. "..what is it, Coop? You need water..?" There's a fresh bucket nearby, complete with a simple ladle, which she's been making use of through the dark hours of night to offer sips to those who find themselves parched. So it seems the most obvious reason for his stirring, in these slow-thinking moments. Shifting her weight a little, her other hand reaches within the roll of her bundled coat, as if checking to ensure something is still hidden there. Could be a dagger. You never know.

Bloodshot eyes flicker down to whatever the woman checks for - a man who stops being worried about a dagger is tired of life. But it's not as though he could stop her, and so he relaxes back on the bed. "I didna mean to wake ye.. just had a dream." His voice is thick and parched, and it's obvious the man -does- have a terrible thirst, but he fails to articulate it.

"I was dreamin' I was back in King's Landin', during them last years. Y'always slept with a dagger to yer pillow, for ye never knew who the king'd decide was a traitor next. Livin' with all Morten, poor sot.. a'fore the tooth got him."
Tam pages Anders and Starling: We're just letting those brains go and replacing them with ones encased in Aron. It performs better anyway.

Whatever she was reaching for, it seems, is still there and the presence of it under the mere brush of her fingertips is comfort enough for now. Withdrawing her hand, Starling rolls slowly onto her stomach, then pushes herself up wearily, to her knees then her feet. Apparently she's fetching him water whether he asks for it or not. Only a little unsteady as her long legs struggle to recall their function, the brunette stumbles the few steps to fetch the water-pail and bring it to Tam's bedside. "I wasn't really sleepin'." she assures him, her voice quiet for respect of the others who continue to take what rest they can find, in a place that reeks of blood and sickness, sweat and death. And herbs, of course. Always herbs. Sickly sweet in contrast to the coppery tang. Frankly, the combination is both dizzying and revolting, until you get used to it.

Perching herself on the edge of the knight's cot, Starling concentrates on ladling a small amount of water, cupping a hand under it to catch any escaping drips. " Wet your gullet. Sorry it isn't wine, Coop." Risking a sidelong glance toward him, her pretty features drawn and shadowed with fatigue and worry, she adds, "I didn' think you'd be dreamin' at all, to be honest.. thought you were out cold."

Tam swallows with some effort, lifting his head toward the ladle, a bit of water running into his beard. He brushes his head against Starling's arm in silent thanks as his adam's apple works up and down, exhaling slowly as he lowers himself back away. When he speaks, his rumbling baritone is easier, as though the dust has been knocked from it, but he too pitches it low. Judging by the myriad scars on his burly frame, the knight has had ample opportunity to adjust to these scents in the past.

"I dunno. Didna seem much like a dream, really. Morten were there - and feck, Starling, I was young as ye are. An' his kids there too. Neh full-grown like they are now." Traces of sadness wind their way through his voice, but he banishes them with a crooked grin in Starling's direction. "If I survive the next week, little bird, I reckon I'll survive the month.. An' the month, I'll be fightin' again by year's end. Makin' a bit of coin from Isolde Nayland, mayhap. I was thinkin'… mebbe we could walk out t'gether, sometime. I'll even hire a bully-boy t'be yer escort, make it all respectable an' shiet."

"I'm not as young as I look." replies the girl, with evident meaning beyond the words as she holds Tam's gaze for a moment. True enough, those dark eyes, for all their wide, innocent appeal, have seen more than many of the same years. Especially this past night. Setting the ladle back down, its hooked end over the lip of the pail as the bowl is submerged in the depths of the cool water, she averts her attention from the knight as he speaks further, either uncomfortable or merely weighing his offer with some consideration. Hard to say, when her features go still like that.

"And just where, Ser, do you imagine we might walk out -to-?" Thoughtfully studying her hands, where the dried rusty hues of old blood are steadily ingraining and etching themselves in the lines of her palms and hard-used knuckles, Starling smirks faintly, still not looking up quite yet. "You could hire all the ladies and footmen and squires of Stonebridge, if you wanted, Coop. Wouldn't make me one bit more respectable. Born in the gutter, live in the gutter, die in the gutter." At length, she does look back down at him, watching him settle. "'ve got what you wanted. You're a knight now. Made good, you might say. You can afford to be lookin' for company a mite grander than mine. So don't try to make up for what's passed by includin' me in a world I want no part of. An escort.." She snorts, quietly, with muted amusement. "..reckon you must have taken a crack to that thick bloody skull of yours."

At something the young woman says, Tam begins to laugh - a wince crosses his features, but he can't stop, muscles in his stomach clenching as he half-rises involuntarily. Finally, the fit of painful mirth subsides and the man relaxes back down on the bed. "Aw, fuck," he mutters under his breath. And then, again, louder this time. "Fuck. Got what I wanted." Grinning crookedly at the woman, Tam gestures weakly around the room.

"I been in so many of these places they all start t'look the same." He's still smiling, his gaze lingering on Starling's features. "When King Robert made me a knight, girl, he cursed me. I didna want it. I asked them neh to. An' all my friends couldna speak t'me neh more, I couldna run my own sell-sword crew neh more.. It broke me. I nearly /starved/, 'cos the only work I could find - that a knight could take - was on a melee team, or huntin' down some poor fucken bandits. Seven above, but I wish I'd never been knighted."

His gaze travels up and down Starling's form, then across to Einion. "If I'd have stayed wi' my pa, Id've been a cooper now. Mebbe had a wife like ye. Maybe even kids. But a fool boy doesneh listen to his older self." Another laugh, this one lower and more rueful. "As for the company I keep.. I only met one woman among nobles worth my time, an' that only as an employer. I'm as common as ever I was, thank the Seven for it."

Starling listens quietly, studying the play of emotions across the knight's features while her own remain carefully impassive. When her gaze follows his toward Einion, who remains blissfully oblivious, it lingers there. Only after a long pause does she offer a reply. "..even if you'd been a cooper, you might still have ended up here." After all, the man in the next bed is a tanner, isn't he? "But you'd have been fightin' for more than your keep and your coin-purse. Or less, dependin' how you look at it." Shifting her dark eyes back to Tam, there's a brief flicker of pained disquiet in the girl's manner, one that she can only slowly push aside. "All men fight because they have to, Coop. It's only the reason behind it that's different."

Reaching to an upturned crate nearby, where a bowl of herb-laced water still rests, Starling takes up a cloth and dips it in the liquid, wringing it out in a fist. The man's involuntary motion has drawn a fresh seeping of crimson from his chest and it's to this that she turns her attention, gently leaning across him to daub the wound as she continues. "..if I'd stayed with -my- father, things might have been very different for me too. But that was never a choice that was mine to make. Not sure I'd have made it, even if it were. It's easier, knowin' your place, when you understand you're at the bottom of the barrel." A faint smirk tugs at her lips when she glances upward to him. "Less expectations. But you probably know that well enough."

"Y'see, we're neh so different, ye and I. Want to know the truth, girl? I don't reckon ye're meant to settle down, neh properly. Like me. Whatever happened - whatever *I* did - it made ye like me." His tone is dry, but there is a faint hint of humor in it, and he glances again toward Einion. He seems on the verge of saying something further, but bites his lip and falls silent. "..Then again, I'm a very stupid man. Don't mind me."

"There was a ol' joke, runnin' through the camps around the time I joined up with Morten's Marauders. Went like this - what d'ye get when y'scrape the bottom of a shitter? Infantry."

"In a way, Coop, you just called me stupid." Starling observes, wryly, as she gently blots away the blood stubbornly seeking to rise from his bruised chest. "My knees start knockin' when you turn on the charm, y'know." Smirking up at him wearily in the wake of the jest, she draws back from her lean over him and tosses the cloth into a pile of ruined linen nearby. "Maybe I might've been like you. But I'll keep tryin' not to be. And if I'm not meant to settle down, like you say.." She steals a glance sidelong toward the unconscious tanner in the next cot, through half-lowered lashes. "..then maybe you'll stop talkin' about asking me to. Doesn't matter what's done, Coop. Doesn't matter what you intend to do if you survive the week, or the month, or the year. Whatever's put it in your head that I'm the lass for you.." She trails off, simply shaking her head and slipping from the bed, back down to her spot on the floor. "Get some rest. They won't let you keep that bed forever. Not with more folk headin' in. Besides, doesn't your lady friend have a goosedown bed and servant girls with grapes waitin' for you, somewhere?"

Settling onto her side, Starling puts her back toward the knight, apparently intending to return to sleep. Or at least to end this discussion. Pointedly.

"Nah, she just has a job as is goin' t'get my guts tore out. Aye, and his too." His eyes flicker over to Einion, the bitterness trailing through his words shocking in the extreme. He wouldn't be talking about this at all, most likely, if he were fully in control of his faculties. "I told 'em. I'll do what ye like, just neh the boy, but nobs never listen. Never fucken care." What /is/ he mixed up in, anyhow? Beyond having his guts torn out, that is.

Tam is getting tired again, and it shows, the whites of his eyes visible briefly before his lids settle down. But he continues to mutter. "Ser Tam Fucken Cooper, Terror o' the hedge-row, Lord High of th' fucken Whores. Dies a murderer's death for a schemin' bint, an' never even sees his fucken house." The incoherent mutters trail off as sleep takes him.

The sun's risen over the area that the Naylands have claimed as their own within the bounds of Seagard. There are houses set aside for their ranks, and ones set aside for the chiurgeonry. Whomever had lived there before no longer lays immediate claim to their dwelling, and now, it belongs to the injured. A fireplace glows in a corner, irons set within the embers for when they are needed, a cooking pot hanging over the top for clean water for either making tea or cleaning wounds. Through the windows the sun shines, and there is something of a silence within the walls, remarkably, as well as without— the celebrations are done from the evening passed, and now those who managed to come away from the battles without too much harm nurse their heads from drink.

Einion lays upon his mat, breathing steady.. and only a couple of moans gives an indication that perhaps he can yet feel his wounds through the blessedness of sleep. His eyes open slowly, and he's reaching, trying to reach at something that simply isn't there before him, and failing in his weakness. A quiet sound of pain comes from the tanner, and then he's silent again, but his eyes remain open, looking towards the ceiling.

Tam, too, is awake - he has drifted in and out of a fitful sleep for hours, sometimes calling out names that mean nothing to those present - "Morten," or "Petyr" most often - old comrades, from a different set of battles, perhaps. But for now, he stirs, lifting his head at Einion's sound of pain and looking over at him. "Ye lazy arse, I was beginnin' to think ye'd never wake up." His words are labored, but the fondness in them is genuine as he slumps back.

His eyes roam through the room, gaze lingering on the window. "Sevens damn me, but I missed the celebrations.." A rueful sigh. He closes his eyes again, perhaps intending to drift back to sleep, but can't quite make up his mind to do so. "Battle of th' Bells, I got through untouched. Course we didna celebrate much that night. Just drank myself stupid and damned Rhaegar's lover. What was his name? Connington. Lord Jon Connington.."

Though she has spent a few hours snatching some sleep between the cots of Tam and Einion, Starling is awake now also; still seated on the floor, crosslegged, and sorting what appears to be strips of fresh cloth. Tearing them as evenly as she can into makeshift bandages, she then folds each neatly and sets it into a pile by her knee, the monotony of the task perhaps going some way to quiet and occupy her mind. The occasional sound from the tanner, in his sleep, no longer has her looking sharply in his direction - she's gotten more accustomed to it, through a fitful night. That and the disjointed mumblings of the knight to her other side. But a more marked movement from his mat draws her dark eyes absently in his direction.

Senna is notable by her absence, now, having done what she can for the two men and being much needed elsewhere for the time being. There's no shortage of casualties.. and when one considers that, the silence hanging in the air is a rather less pleasant thing. At least the screams and howling cries of pain in the darker hours was some meagre assurance of life. Starling looks, frankly, exhausted. Shadows circle her eyes and smudge in the hollows of her cheeks, her long hair is mussed and rakish about her shoulders, waifish form clad in only her jerkin and leggings - and the ever present boots. While Tam immediately speaks up toward his fellow's cot, the girl remains quiet, simply watching the tanner rather than daring to address him. Given the events of the past night, maybe she doesn't dare to hope.

"I didn't want to.." The tanner's voice is quiet in the room, strained. He doesn't move a muscle, knowing that the moment he does, he'll feel the brunt of it. "Wasn't at the Bells. Weren't no good, pikemen, there." He pauses, then, "Trident." When he'd lost his father in the battles there. Einion lies for a few more heartbeats, silent, his eyes turned upwards before he dares to try and turn his head slowly. He's afraid to look at his own injuries, but he has to see Tam with his own eyes, that he's not a hallucination. As he does, he grunts softly.. and sees Starling set between them, tending the bandages..

Another hallucination? Starling and Tam? "Starling?" He's forgotten his manners, certainly, omitting her 'mistress', but at the moment, at least she'll find it to forgive him? "Ser?" Seeing the pair of them, he smiles weakly. "You look like hell, Ser.. but she looks prettier than she ever did."

A wry laugh escapes Tam, and he nods agreeably to the other man. "I'm here, mate. Still here. An' -she- ain't left our sides since we got hauled in." He smiles up at the ceiling, a hint of greyness lingering around his lips, but the crooked grin stronger than the day before. "Trident was a nasty fight. I remember seein' Ser Seryn go down, an' next thing I know, there I am, standin' over him with my damn pike, and.." He trails off.

"Anyway, I dunno about Starling lookin' prettier'n ever, Wycliffe. I never once seen her that I didn't have to look twice." He turns his head to look over at Starling, grinning crookedly for a moment. "Course, she's ignorin' me the now. I reckon I asked her t'get me naked, when she was patchin' us up, and it didna go well."

"Einion." The young woman's greeting is simple, but the utterance of his name conveys a tide of warmth, all the same.. and no small amount of relief at seeing him both awake and aware. Setting another bandage carefully down, she leans just a little in order to rest her fingertips lightly on the back of his hand. Thankfully, she's found the time somewhere to wash off the blood staining her skin, returning it to its usual pallor. The tanner's smile is met and reflected for a moment as he offers his compliment - maybe he is still a little dazed after all? - and then she's looking to Tam.

"Actually, you said it was me that wanted you naked, Coop. And you asked if you were as pretty as I'd hoped." She doesn't seem perturbed. If anything, she's in rather good spirits all of a sudden. They're both alive. And there's not a girl alive who dislikes being called pretty. Even Starling. Flashing the knight one of her trademark grins, she shakes her head, offering no comment upon having spent the night on the floor between his mat and Einion's. Doesn't matter much now.

"Really?" Einion sounds, other than pained— surprised, though he probably shouldn't be. "Good to hear you, ser.. I was afraid.." he'd gone down, and last night is just a blur.. random memories that he's not entirely certain are real. "Trident was bad," is given in agreement. There are lots of stories from lots of me. It was a battle where many wives became widows. He coughs, which is followed by a yelp of pain, and his head moves such that he's looking up again. "Don't say that, ser.. isn't nice.. not for a nice girl like her." He can't help it.

Einion can feel the touch of her hand on his, and he takes a shallow breath, releasing it.. not quite as laboured as during the night, but it's painful, with the bandages and stitching.. and the holes. "Hard to look at her sometimes without feeling the fool for staring." He can't help but agree with Tam there, "Can't blame you for looking twice." He lies quiet on his mat for a moment before asking, "Did we do it, ser? City's ours?"

"Yeh, that's right, Einion. We broke 'em and then the knights" Possibly forgetting that he *is* a knight, himself, "rode them down, from what the other lads've told me. City's ours." Tam grins nastily up at the ceiling for a moment, pain and humor mixing in the expression. "And us the willin' sacrifice." He seems to be quoting something he's heard, but doesn't elaborate.

"I said y'wanted to see me naked, did I? Boy's right, that -ain't- a nice thing t'say. Especially not when it's a bloo..bloomin' lie." He grimaces briefly, hand clenching around a piece of cloth; perhaps his wound twinges. Clearing his throat and carrying on, he says "By the by, Einion, y'need to keep yer head down around Ser Rygar for a bit. I might'a mentioned, ah, that y'deserved a reward for savin' a knight's life thrice over. Sorry."

For perhaps the second time in her life, Starling feels the telling warmth of a blush stealing across her cheeks. Clearing her throat softly, she withdraws her fingertips from Einion as he looks back up at the ceiling, settling her hands back in her lap rather helplessly. "Shut up, the pair of you. It's Mistress Senna you ought to be showerin' with compliments, not me. I didn't do anythin'." Her brown eyes flit to the tanner as he coughs, regarding him warily. She doesn't know anything of healing, save what she learned last night. An abrupt first lesson. Still..

Pushing smoothly to a stand in a single, fluid motion, the girl pads across the room to fetch the water-pail and ladle from where they've been left. Only as she's carrying it back does she glance sharply to Tam. He did what? She doesn't speak her concerns out loud.. that's the last thing either of them needs right now. But for a few beats, there evident horror and lingering fear in her expression. Rewards for soldiers tends to mean just being made more of a soldier. And that means an even greater likelihood of meeting one's untimely end. "..least you didn't offer to strip for him." she mutters, to ease the tension somewhat, as she sets the bucket down by Einion's mat. Lowering to a kneel, she scoops up a little water, barely more than a sip, and offers it out carefully toward him, other hand reaching to slide behind his nape should he need the help.

Einion exhales in relief; there'll be no lines pushed, which gives him a measure of security. "Means we can go home." No one tells pikemen news of pitched battles elsewhere. It's 'point', 'form', 'fight', 'done'.. until the next. But this was the next, wasn't it? They're done now? He turns his head slowly, looking back over, at Starling, at Tam just beyond. He's content now that nothing untoward'd be said to the mistress between them, but before he comments upon it further, if it was at all possible for him to blanch further, to get any paler, he does. "You .. what?" This was the man who'd kept him out of Lady Isolde's sights, as much as he knows. He's laid low, worked at his craft, and no follow-ups had come from the earliest inquiries. Now, he's not certain which is worse— the Lady Isolde, or Ser Rygar Nayland. No, he does know.. Ser Nayland. "Sorry.." he whispers. "No offense, Ser, but I wish he has more important things on his mind than calling me out." His voice is a whisper, "He'll find wrong.. wrong step, wrong target.. stupid for overstepping my bounds in calling out a better.. even Ironborn.. but I couldn't let him finish you, ser.. and I called.." and by all rights, probably endangered the whole of his pike line along with it. That's how Lord Rygar will see it, he's sure. There's no thought of what Starling considers to be a potential fate for him.. thankfully.

Einion does need the help, and water is such a wonderful thing… and he reaches a little, trying to lift his head, taking some of the water. The single sip is taken, and he lays his head back down; now he's able to lick dried lips.. and thankfully not cracked from fevers. "I don't see her here, though she's t'be thanked, aye." Of course, that makes him feel a little guilty.. her time away from others that may have needed her aid? "Thank you for staying.. you didn't need to.. and you've got work to be done, I'm sure, and we're keeping you from it." He gives her a half smile, his head turning again to look at her, "I won't say I'll ask you to leave, though." Far from it.

"Yeah, yeah. Ye wish I hadna done it, boy, 'cos you know what happens t'commoners that save knights. Don' worry - I won't let it happen t'ye. A bit of gold, mebbe. Still, jus' keep outta his way for a bit." Tam seems more amused and alarmed by the reactions he gets from the pair - though, certainly, he understands all too well the fear.

"Senna?.. Yeh, I guess I owe her thanks. Whene'er she gets back, I better see 'bout how much I owe her for us. S'a good thing I got some coin laid by.." He does? From where? Tam has always professed to be broke, after all. He smiles faintly at Starling's blush, trading a glance with the wounded man across from him. "But really, all's I can remember from last night was that look on yer face, lass, when y'finally got m'armor off. Seven above, y'looked like ye were goin' to faint. An' I remember thinkin' 'Here it is. The very thing we was all killin' for. Remember what I said, a'fore the fight?"

"I've nowhere else to go." murmurs Starling, in response to the tanner's rather typical concerns for other folk. If they're not in here, they can damn well tend to their own affairs. She's busy. Smiling a little, seeming heartened that he takes the sip without difficulty, the girl sets the ladle back into place on the rim of the pail and remains where she is for now, loosely clasping her hands in her lap again, perhaps to enforce to the wounded pair that she really has no intent of leaving them. Not yet, anyway.

An odd expression dawns across her features as she listens to Tam's gruff voice. As if in need of something to do, she returns her grasp to the ladle-handle and stirs it slowly through the water, eyeing him questioningly in case he, too, should desire something to wet his throat. "Senna's been paid." And that's the name of that tune. "Thirsty, Coop..?" The tinkling splash of water against wood is certainly appealing. Pausing, holding her dark hair aside at one shoulder, Starling herself has a taste of it, if only to soothe her dry mouth briefly. "You said you'd be thinkin' of my arse." she replies, perfectly pleasantly, to the knight's enquiry. that's what he meant, right?

"Gold'd be good. Give to my mum and sister for the farm. Bury it there if it's not needed. Maybe buy a pony for the cart rather than keep using the goats." As soon as he gets it, it's spent? At least Einion can think on how he'd use so much money. "Have them buy new dresses. One each, maybe.. from her ladyship's seamstress.." even if he doesn't know who that may be. Though even in his reverie of how that money will be spent, he's more than happy to lay low for a bit, to not bring any attention to him. That, he can do.

Einion catches Tam's look, a weak but present lopsided smile presents itself. "Then you're here.. and if I do get that gold..?" Wait.. payment? Payment.. and he stares at Starling, and back at Tam. "Maybe that's where the money'll go to." Which means he will have to go see Ser Rygar, and take what comes— and he hopes it's gold. "Paid? She's.." The thought hadn't even begun to occur to him. That's quickly derailed, however, as he catches the answer to Tam's question.. and Starling's response.. and his mouth drops open slightly. "Your..". He can't argue that the hostler is attractive; her form pleasing, but.. but!! "I'm not sure I'd have put it that way…"

"Of course you would neh have put it that way, y'sot. Ye're a kind, gentle, /nice/ lad. I'm a rude, brutish, lout." Surprisingly introspective, Tam grins crookedly over at the others, and - as if to emphasize his point - reaches out to try and pinch at Starling's cheek. Far too distant for him to make it, and he quickly gives up on the effort. Still, everyone has their parts to play. "I tried bein' nice once, an' she got all weird an' stiff an' such, so I gave't up as a bad job."

He listens to the other man ramble on about what he'd use gold for, then - just as he's about to continue - Starling's words sink in. Ever so slowly, his head turns toward her. "Neh water just now, poppet. Y'said she been paid? Did y'go into my saddle-bag and find th'false linin'? Tell true, I won't be mad…"

Dropping the ladle back into the water, Starling offers Tam a brief frown, looking mildly insulted. "No I bloody did not. Cheeky git." Pressing her palms to her thighs, the girl rolls back onto her heels and rises to a stand. "Arrangement's been made, is all. One less thing for you lads to worry about, eh?" A glance goes to Einion, with a slow smile softening her expression once more. "..better things to spend gold on than hot iron, isn't there." A hand rises, raking back her dark hair in a suddenly restless fashion as her gaze wanders the room. This was probably once quite a nice little house. Til it was overrun with soldiers and such, anyway. It warrants a moment's admiration, it seems. "..I'm gonna go and see if Mistress Senna needs anythin'. May as well, if you two are settled."

Managing to hide her amusement, just barely, at the tanner's fluster and shock, she shakes her head gently. "..don't worry about it. I've heard worse, believe you me." Her brown eyes wander speculatively toward Tam. "..and he's at my mercy now, anyway.."

"You're a good man, Ser Tam.." and that is Einion's feelings on the matter. "Rude or brutish, makes no matter. Though," the smile plays ever so slightly upon the tanner's face, "I could see why bein' nice'd be a surprise she couldn't handle. Might have to try again, just so's she can handle the idea.

"Arrangement." Einion looks at Starling, his expression one of, well, pained concern. "There's better things, aye.. but if it's a debt owed?" And now, he's trying to follow the line of debt, and while good with numbers, he has no idea where to begin. "Ser.." and again, the tanner looks for aid at that quarter, at least some back up. "Tell me at least, will you be free to go home and do as you will when you get there?" When all this is done, anyway.

But, Starling's desire to move around is fully understandable, and Einion exhales slowly and softly. He hasn't moved much but for his head, and so far, as he lies still and is careful in his breathing, there aren't any slices of pain.. and now knowing, or being more conscious of cost.. he won't take anymore milk of the poppy, nothing more.. the bandages torn here and not from supplies will do.. or maybe he'll be fine just with what he has. Time and money.. for the tanner? Perhaps for a knight, sure.. when all is said and done. "I'm tired.." He closes his eyes, knowing full well the only way he'll sleep is if exhaustion overtakes him, what with the thoughts that now run through his head? "Thank you, ser.. mistress Starling.."

Speculatively eyeing Starling, Tam seems to take her word that she has not looted his saddlebag of its hidden cargo. If anything, he seems more troubled by the fact that he believes her than by his initial thought. When she announces her departure, the knight nods and drops his head back onto his mat, peering up at the ceiling thoughtfully.

Einion's own words register in his head dully; he listens to the man talk himself out of comfort without the energy to stop him, his own breathing whistling a bit in the back of his throat. Not good. Despite this, he manages to answer the other man's question in the end. "I ain't got a home, Einion." Closing his eyes, he settles in for another fitful visit to whatever place sleep takes him.

Alas, unknown to Einion, he'll take the best of everything the Maesters have. That much has already been promised for he and Tam both. "There's no debt owed. Not from either of you." Starling's words are audible, if soft-spoken, as the pair close their eyes. They're followed by a moment's silence before quiet footsteps cross the room and the door is pulled gently closed.