|Summary:||Josse finds Amelia for a favor, but she needs help as well.|
|Date:||28 July 2011|
|Private Room, Some Tavern in Stonebridge|
|Not a real upscale place.|
|28 July 288|
Well if the individual can afford the wares, they can pick where they want to meet. So when she is passing through one of the more middling inns within the town, it was somewhat surprising to be tapped for it. She heads upstairs to a room regardless and does her best to spruce it up. She uses a rag to clean some of the dust off the obvious surfaces and the pillows on the bed are fluffed. The main problem the past few days is that she's not 'dressing the part' anymore. Her dress is far more modest and she looks more like a well-dressed commoner than a whore — which is a first. She's taken to waiting in a chair with her legs crossed and hands folded, her richly deep purle cloak lain across her knees.
The costume parade isn't her domain alone today. When the warning rap comes at the door, a serving wench admits a tall man in fairly lower-class clothing, dark but at least recently washed (from the relative lack of stench). Plain belt, plain boots, little to distinguish this man from any other — and even moreso for the fact that his cloak has a hood that partly obscures his face. He passes off a coin or two to the wench to thank her for her oh so important navigational skills, and the door begins to creak shut.
As the door opens, Amelia rises with her cloak draped over her hands in front of her. She is used to taking coin from nobility, so the movement is almost reflexive to her. The gentle, controlled bow of her head. "M'Lord," she greets evenly. Even for the man's dress, some prefer to be discreet. "I am Miss Amelia. I was informed you required my services." Her head lifts. "If this is in mistake, my most sincere apologies and I will be on my way at your leave."
The door latches with a soft click. "Required is an ugly way to put it," The voice from the hood is deep and soft-spoken, and…familiar. He brushes the hood off his head with one hand, the dark scruff of adulthood on his chin and cheeks marking a difference from the last time she saw him. The smile is exactly the same. "I just wanted to say hello."
The whore tilts her head at the sound of the man's voice. The recognition takes a moment to process and is still kicking over when his hood is lowered. Amelia's smile grows and there is visible releif on her face. "Septon," she whispers graciously, taking a slow step towards the man. "This is a most unexpected but a very welcome surprise!" There's genuine welcome and warmth to her voice but she keeps it quiet. The man was wearing a hood for a reason.
She may have noticed the way Josse moved his head before the wench left, giving her the barest glimpse of one side of his face. Perhaps she would mention him to someone who would recognize, perhaps she wouldn't. Walking the line between an image of perfection and a more accessible one of a man who sins, relying on an unreliable rumor mill to keep a precarious and potentially ruinous balance.
"I've only been back a week now. Just in time to be cracked on the head with a tournament and crowds." Josse gives her a slight grin, tossing battered gloves onto the table. "I meant to look for you in the Roost, but here we are. How have you been?"
Amelia takes a few steps over towards the man to a more conversational distance. "Its good to see someone like yourself back with us, Septon. I can't tell you how relieved I am to see that its you come through the door." Faking that warmth and the look in her eyes takes a lot of skill or real emotions. The question finds her another smile as well. "I have been.. well. There have been a few spots of trouble, but it was upon the shoulders of my own risk that those points arrived. We live and learn. Otherwise things have been quite good." A flitted hand lifts, considering her own actions unimportant. "Tell me of yourself and how you have been! Two years, Josse. You must have quite the tale to tell!"
"I'm delighted you don't find me too offensive," Josse says blithely, giving the arm of his dark shirt a slight sniff. "I'll try not to change that by the end of two hours, but I can't guarantee." He smirks and glances around the cheap room, motioning for her to sit back down. "Two years…yes. Whether I have any more stories to tell than you, I doubt. Mine are also rife with stupidity turned lesson, so I can at least understand some of that."
"You were a perfect gentleman, if not confusing for it, during our encounter. Finding you offensive might actually be something this woman would have to make an effort towards.. but that requires motivation. I lack it." Her eyes dance with mirth at the words and the sight of him sniffing his shirt. "And you think my stories would be different? You work an honored profession, I do not. But both teach impartable life lessons, Septon, that would likely make the other flush." She takes a seat close by and motions for him to join her.
"Not too different." Josse folds himself onto the other rickety chair, elbows braced on the splinter-filled table top. A bit of dirt picked out from under his thumbnail. "I have heard someone crying out to God at least as many times as you have."
Amelia smirks and actually reddens a bit about the cheeks. "I think there was a compliment in there somewhere, though unintended." She clears her throat, chuckling just a bit. "Indeed. So what has brought you back? What brings us together today? I have some things I wanted to discuss with someone I can trust but, ah, I could have waited for Sept. Are you just looking for another few hours to have with me?" The whore does not sound exactly put off by this. Rather pleased, actually.
"Well. I sort of had a favor to ask. Again." Josse gives her a slightly apologetic look. "Since you were such perfection last time I had to do such a thing." He shifts in his chair, glancing at the door and then back at her. "If you want to talk, I mean…we do have two hours." He smirks a little bit. "Let's hope they're as good at keeping time here as they were in the Roost."
Amelia holds up a hand and laughs, smiling brightly. "Thank you, Septon. But you paid and are one I hold in good standing. Favors and requests require only that they be made. I will do what I can to fulfill them." She sits straight. The woman is the lowest rung of society but carries herself much higher. Whether or not this is a thorough act or sad delusion is not even clear. But she holds her posture as if she were descended from the Terricks. "Have no concern to the time. I made out well during the betting on day one. I have some extra coin. I will handle the debt of the room any longer than the hours we have." She blinks slowly, dipping her head. "So what of this favor? How can I help the church?"
She probably has more money to her personal name than Josse does. "It's nothing to do with the church." He looks down as he scratches his nose, both dark brows making a slight lift. "I may need to ask you to do essentially what you so graciously did for me, just for someone else now. I assured him I had once known a woman who takes my trust quite seriously, and understands sometimes we need…unusual things." His blue eyes meet hers.
The initial report of it being for something other than the church has her loft her brow. But the rest has her struck silent for a moment. Eventually she smiles and laughs a bit. "Septon, I dare say that in my years in Terricks Roost, I come across a lot of odd requests. Not all of them sexual. I do many favors. I've even had women pay to have their brothers and sons sent to me for counsel so they might stop seeing women not their wives. I've even had two girls twelve and thirteen sent to me who wanted to be whores. Wanted… to be whores. But I can honestly tell you that you are the only man to come to me to pay for a deed and act as if it occured, but to have never done a thing but be kind." Her smile finds her again. "I can do this. It would be my pleasure. I just find myself curious as to why this seems to be occuring. I mean, at the least, if you pay for my time I don't mind giving a massage that is strictly just innocent to other intents."
"How we spend the time is fine," Josse assures her, opening his hands on the table. "I have never had a massage…save the time someone told Sister Belen that it was a good idea to walk over someone's back. She has very sharp heels." His fingers drum the table pointedly with that memory. "Anyway, I trust another odd request will be just lost in the jumble, and…if he does decide to do it I shall send him to you with more than enough coin." He clears his throat quietly. "And I realize you must be curious but believe me when I say some things are best smiled at and left to the breeze."
"If you ever change your mind about having your shoulders eased, just voice it. I can afford half an hour of my day to help a Septon in such a way." She dips her head to him once more, one more looking back with the discussion of the request. "Absolutely. A man who requires discretion is still one who requires discretion. My only request is that this individual be named to me beforehand. There are some that I will refuse to see for obvious reasons. The 'why', you are correct, is irrelevant. I would also advise that if this person is a commoner, two hours would suffice and they would unlikely be able to afford more — though I do not usually take commoners. At least, I didn't. Do. Whatever. Nobles or those attached to Houses usually purchase for a night. Anything less could be looked at with suspicion." She isn't exactly the type to try and pull lies for coin. Its said carefully. "If they are noble and require the night but you cannot afford this for whatever reason, we can speak on it again and work something out. However, rest assured that I will perform the favor for nothing up front, or at a lower rate, if that is required."
Josse nods at all this. Perhaps it's the first time he's thought of details like that. "Alright. Once I'm sure he still needs the services I will give his name, and you can tell me what we'll do from there." He summarizes that as his fingertips rub over his forehead, skirting his black hairline. "And if he doesn't fit your tastes it's not an offense. We can't all be this suave." This is, in its deadpan, painfully facetious as he indicates his exceedingly plain suit of clothes.
Amelia tilts her head forard to Josse once more. "We will move at a pace suitable for whomever this gentleman is. If he has any requests for how to spend the time, please forward that information to me as well. Bedding many not be required but I can do whatever is required since you've indicated this is a paid visit." The last gets a laugh and she reaches out to pat Josse on the arm. "Indeed. You may not think so, but you are an example, Septon. It is why people trust you with important things like confession and their prayers."
More details. "True what they say," Josse mutters mildly. "Relationships are fucking complicated." He shifts his feet around under the table, allowing his shoulders to slouch into a slightly more comfortable position. "So, pretty Amelia. There was something less mundane you wanted to talk about before."
Amelia tries to be lady-like about it but deadpans the next in spite of herself: "And that's why some whores say they've got it made." She shakes her head. "Easy job in terms of work. What's not so easy? The women without a master spend most of their earned money on their injuries. Broken bones, stabs, burns.. Men are vicious. Women can be worse." She sighs and drifts her eyes to the table. There's a finality to it. A hand lifts to play with a silver necklace, turning the chain around a finger. "Uhm, yes. I need confession. Or.. or something like advice. I'm not sure what I need but I've been racking my soul about this for some time. In the last few weeks its starting to come to a head. I'm not sure what to do, Septon." She wets her lips, looking to him as so many people have before.
"Mmhmm." Josse's quiet encouragement invites her on without interruption, one of his feet hooking behind the crossrung under his chair.
Amelia recrosses her legs nervously. Her eyes shift to the door and then back to Josse. "I know that many in Terrick's Roost are concerned for the House that rules over them all. I don't blame them. Especially when it comes to a family like the Naylands." She swallows. "Septon, I do my best with what I've been alotted in life but a whore doesn't have much hope of being anything else in life short of miracles or the marriage of a man who would be willing to suffer that shame." Her face ticks a smile — one devoid of good humor or warmth. "I've been careful to cultivate who I am and who I cater to with what I do. I've also been careful to avoid relationships. Especially considering the overwhelming majority of my men are nobility. I can't afford to embarass the family and they can't afford to be embarassed. But.." The woman sighs, turning the necklace faster now. Eyes dart to the window and back to the door. She's safe. For now. Her hazel eyes fall back on Josse. "I'm starting to fall for Young Lord Ser Jaremy. And I suspect he is for me as well." As if there weren't already problems enough. She doesn't sound done, either.
Josse lets his head rest back against the wall as she speaks, his hands laced idly over his waist. He doesn't look away once as she talks, even as she starts getting into the potentially embarassing meat of the issue. "Alright." Again, no opinions inserted quite yet. He waits.
Amelia stands rather suddenly. The cloak is dropped onto the table and she walks away from the man towards the window while she crosses the splayed fingers of her hands into each other over and over. Very nervous. "Right. So, that's bad enough. That could cause a lot of problems. I try to counsel him. I am his confidant. We give each other advice. Annnnd. Its widely known that most children born of a whore are.. ahem.. they do not know who their fathers are. So, its never a topic of discussion. So far, I've been able to avoid it." She turns to look at Josse. "I- Okay, I know who my father is and if it comes out and I am involved with Jaremy it could cause a lot of problems." She swallows. Very nervous. "I took my mothers last name.. rather than Rivers." She's a bastard. "Mostly to hide who I am. My father is Lord Ser Rickart Nayland." Her knucles are white. "And he knows who I am, for a fact."
"If he knows and chooses not to note you as his blood," Josse remarks quietly, "Then he has forfeited any right to control you as he would a member of his household."
Amelia stares at Josse, watching for a reaction. She's on pins and needles even as he gives that soft note. "I am almost positive he is aware that the Terrick's do not know. If he wanted to control me, he could simply let it slip somehow that there is an enemy in their midst.. and to look at the whore. He could note who I am without directly claiming me through a proxy."
"Not to be harsh, sweet Amelia," Josse gently scratches at his collarbone. "But there is no being 'involved' with Ser Jaremy Terrick. Not in public, not as his chosen lady. What position you occupy with him may be very emotional but it is always going to be limited; one day he will wed. So you knowing this, something still makes you think there will be occasion that your father will maliciously out you — even if I myself can't see the usefulness of that. Why do you think he will. Do you flaunt what you and Ser Jaremy do?"
The whore deflates. "I know this. I will never be his wife. Whatever I may be to him, it will never be at his side in public. I have told him as much. I have brow beat him several times that he must find a woman who will marry him to some kind of advantage over my father. Or at least match him. I?" She shrugs and steps back over to the chair and sits. "I am not applying for sympathy, Septon, but I am quite worthless to him as anything except a secret. But I aspire to be as much as I can, so this is a problem." She looks ot her hands. "I don't know that he would, but my being compromised by these feelings? He could use it to try and control me." She coughs once, forcing some thought down and away. "I have been thinking of telling Jaremy. My heart weighs heavily on the fact that he does not know. Given that his intended is suddenly unavailable thanks to my father, if the rumors are to be believed. Jaremy hates everything about the Nayland name. Everything. He thinks they are all despicable. ..And no. Jaremy and I-" He's not a customer. Not in many years and this is different. "We have done nothing. There is nothing to flaunt."
"If one knows animal is likely to attack, take away its teeth," Josse murmurs thoughtfully. "If you are certain your father knows of this…tryst…and would use this against you then your choice is simpler: would you rather Jaremy know it from him or from you?" He inhales through his nose and exhales slowly the same way. "Both will have consequences but the former I suspect would have far more."
Amelia nods a few times, eyes still to her folded hands. "I suspect you are right. I've been praying for something else but.. my only alternative is to shut Jaremy out of my life. To do that to a man in his position right now? It would sadden him greatly. I dare not disappoint. I would likely lose my standing with the members of the family who value me. Of course, that is likely to happen even if I tell Jaremy." A hand lifts to run through her hair and her eyes lift with the movement. "So either I leave town for good or I stay and try to hold my head high. And I care too much for the Terricks now. They have been so kind to me.. and I am not even, for all my efforts, an upstanding member of this town for what I have become in my life."
"Who of the Naylands knows of your blood besides your Lord father?" Josse asks her, tapping his finger idly on the tabletop.
The whore suddenly looks like she doesn't want to have this discussion. Its speculation she does not want to think about and its obvious. "I-" she stammers a few times. "I have no idea. I could guess at a few but, but.. I could not say! My mother knew, I think. Inside the Mire, though?" It chills her to think about.
Josse keeps on despite her discomfort, his voice anything but accusing. "That at least is good. In the worst case is there is any kind of row, at least you will not have four Naylands standing up and saying they've known all along. They have a wedding to worry about shortly; I highly doubt they'd risk a nasty scandal involving a Terrick right then."
The entire idea seems to make Amelia ill. A slew of Naylands pointing fingers while a father looks on without a word? It turns the gills green. Her head tilts to the side, forehead dropping to her palm to prop her head up. "A scandal. Of course. I hadn't even considered that. Oh, just wonderful. Precisely what the Terricks need right now, too. Or in the future as you indicated." She rubs at a temple with her thumb and looks up to him from the tilt. "I want horribly to be accepted, Septon. I try. I know its not possible. But I mean them no malice. I want only the best for them. But once again.. My whoring ways will be the cause of some problem." It might be time to seek out a new line of work.
"Everybody's ways are the cause of some problem," Josse replies, a touch drily. "But, as you say, if you've narrowed it down…then what would you do about it?" The question is hardly pointed, just picked up from her own words and handed back to her.
The woman shakes her head and sits back up, leaning back in her chair. "I've no idea, Septon." She lifts her thumbs lazily as if at a loss. "I want to be with Jaremy. It hit my like a horsecart at full gallop the other morning. But I cannot do this anymore." She looks sadly at her hands. "I suspect it may be time to leave the Roost. For good. If the Terricks are kind, maybe a letter from them to my services so I am not left to go back to.. chasing pennies. Being abused horribly." She clears her throat once more and straightens her skirts over her legs. "I guess that is the option to put to Jaremy. Either I flee during the night and leave the poor man as he is.. twice in as many weeks for him.. Or I tell him." Her eyes lift. "Should I give him the option? Or take it on myself? Go back to Seagard, maybe to King's Landing or farther."
"What do you think you should do?" Josse's eyes are on her, observant but not unkind. The first 'you' has a gentle stress on it, the silence afterwards giving her all the time she needs to answer.
Amelia tries to smile and it more or less fails to reach her face, she she hides behind her hair and looks to her lap. "I think.." The whore takes her time. Seconds tick past. "I think I could do a lot of damage to them if I stay," she whispers. "Especially Jaremy. Jarod might be horrified. No, he probably will be. The man might actually kill me. Jerold might order me jailed." She leans harder onto the arm. "I know a lot of things I should not." Its obvious where her mind is going with this. "I need to leave Terrick's Roost. I don't know how far I can get.. but.. they're all I have. I guess sometimes bravery means doing the hardest thing you can think of and walking away."
"Jerold would not order you jailed," Josse says, waving a hand. "Much as the Naylands would not want to stir trouble just now neither would the Terricks, and jailing a woman who is known to a Nayland as a Nayland would do just that. Are you considering leaving because it would be safer for the Terricks, or because you'd rather not risk Jaremy's rejection?"
"If he knew what I knew, he'd likely place me there. Quietly. Besides, if they decided to out me, it does them no good if I'm jailed. What would.." Some thought dawns on her and it visibly disturbs her. Its shaken off and pushed away for now. "Septon," she breathes. "I've tried to love before. Its never returned. I've been rejected enough to know how it feels. A man once beat me severely with a piece of firewood because I made a gesture towards my feelings. I fear no rejection. For all I am, I am not weak of will. But with Jaremy, I know there is no rejection to be feared, regardless. His heart is pure. ..I believe that is why ..why I should go."
"If you wish," Josse replies. "And if in searching for you, Ser Jaremy uncovers your Nayland name? Would you be alright in knowing he will have nothing but assumptions to explain your disappearance?"
Apparently that had not occured to her either. She stares at her lap. "I can dish out advice to men and women quite well. I can usually look over a problem and find a solution." A beat of pause. "But when it comes to myself I lack any ability to do such a thing." She breathes only, thinking in completely still stature. Again, seconds tick by. "I don't know that he could find out. Four years, it has remained on my shoulders alone while I have been here. But if he did know? If he found out?" Hands move to the silver chain once more, turning it nervously. "That could kill him all over again. But- but he'd have to.. No, no he wouldn't have to assume anything." She rolls her eyes. "You don't see any way I can run from this, do you? You believe Jaremy would search for me until he found me?"
"I believe you're handing me a contradiction, Amelia," Josse's elbow cocks behind his head, his fingers scratching gently at the dark hairs at the nape of his neck. "You believe there is a danger of him finding out when you're here and he isn't looking, yet not if you aren't here and he is looking. Do I think he would search? I don't know for certain, but men do strange things and I put little past them, especially if there is some feeling between you." He goes quiet a moment, then asks her: "If you fear neither rejection nor maltreatment, then what have you to fear about being honest to him?"
"The danger I fear if I stay is that either my father could ruin me by outting me, or that he could try to use my blood as leverage with threats of slipping it to the Terricks." She looks back up to him. "If I leave, and he looks? He might. I don't know. I had not considered it possible until you mentioned it." She goes quiet with the last, her eyes clouded as they avert. She doesn't want to say.
"As we've said." Josse rests his bent arm atop his head. "If you do tell him then you have disabled your father, at least as far as Ser Jaremy is concerned. Now, of course, what Ser Jaremy does about that is beyond your control. Then there's not telling him and remaining, which carries this risk you're clearly unable to accept that your father will beat you to the punch. That's not on the table anymore. Third, you can leave in the night and risk Jaremy and the Terricks' being blindsided by your identity if it ever comes out — and judging from the sheer fact that you're afraid it will right now, I'd say there's a chance." Recovering from that long-windedness with a breath, he says, "So the question is, what are you most willing to live with?"
Amelia listens to the options and looks to her lap. There is something like mild panic on her face. For a woman that does not fluster easily, she does seem to be presented with something that shakes her down deep. "I think I may not live given some of my options," she mutters, slowly recovering after a few moments of silence. "I guess I will have to trust Jaremy, then?" Not 'Ser' or 'Young Lord'. They are clearly on a first name basis in her mind. "But leaving.." She closes her eyes, taking a few steadying breaths. A hand is lifted and flattened in the air in front of her. Almost like she is centering herself. "I will have to think on this and weigh my options."
"Indeed." Josse nods to that, as if approving of her giving it further thought rather than acting on impulse. "I know you wish advice, my dear, but I can't tell you what to do. I can only encourage you to act on the virtue that's most important to you." He clears his throat quietly. "If you would like to come to me again…tomorrow or the next day or the next, it doesn't matter…I shall help you pray on the matter."
Amelia nods along with his words, her eyes focused intently down at her lap. There's something about her like a cold stone. That maybe under the surface there is more than just a friendly, concerned face. In the end she looks up to him, "I may do that, Septon. Thank you. But I fear I may not be able to lay this at the feet of the Gods and must take responsibility for the lie I have sewn in my own way." She takes a heavier breath. "Your man that requires discretion.. Send him to me when you can. I will delay my concerns with the Young Lord Terrick until afterwards. No matter where I go or what is to become of me, I will keep many of the secrets entrusted."
"Prayer and accepting responsibility for acts are not mutually exclusive," Josse assures her, in a tone that's for a moment unusually empathetic. "We don't ask the Seven to make our passage through life and consequence easier. Some people pray like that, and they end up turning away when things don't work out as they prayed. I don't want that to happen to you. You come and I'll show you what I mean." He leaves it at that and shakes his head to the next. "That issue isn't so important that it ought it override the rest. If it happens in time, it happens. If it doesn't, the world will inevitably go on."
"I've had several prayers answered and many more apparently ignored." Amelia is patient with the discussion. "I believe that through wisdom, we can identify the chances to have our prayers answered. But as that saying goes, they can provide the door. However it is up to us to pass through it. I can no more blame the Gods for misfortune than I can myself." She's been to Sept a few hundred times. At least. The woman is clearly devout. To the rest, she shakes her head: "The needs of others come before myself, Septon. At the very least, if I am to be thrown out or otherwise punished, allow me the honor to help someone once more who requires it. The people of this town are good folk. They no more deserve to have chances dashed than anyone else I can think of."
"Ah, ignored prayers…" Josse sounds for a moment like he might get into the topic but thankfully the septon has some notion of what's more important here. And it's not that, right now. "If that's what you wish I'll send word soon as I know." A slight pause. "And let's not talk about it all as if we're already arranging a funeral. There's nothing inevitable here, or even predictable. Don't put on blinders too quickly."
"Thank you. Simply send them to me and when we go upstairs, have him mention your name. No reason for cloaks. He will be taken care of." The last gets a chuckle from her. "Many people in life have to deal with the worst case scenario. I am no different. When the worst does not happen I find clarity in what I suddenly have gained off what was once expected."
"As the Crone would have us do. You're ahead of many." Josse smiles at her. "Is there anything else troubling you?" Not that that isn't enough, but he always asks.
Amelia shakes her head. "No, Septon. That is what has my nerves. But I appreciate both the compliment and concern. Is there anything else you might require of me?"
Josse shakes his head, chuckling under his breath. "No, I'm…well sated." The irony seemed to amuse the septon, who's always aware of how much time has passed from the movement of the setting sun. "I should be ready to duck my way back past this very nosy young wench. I swear I've heard her footsteps go by once or twice; her heels make a funny sound. I feel like I should muss your hair up or something." He smiles.
Amelia rises and gives him a soft smile. "In my line of work, such hair is an artform. The tusselled look is the last thing a man see's when he goes. Best to make a lasting impression." She winks. "If the wench bothers you, just threaten to complain. Fear The Innkeeper: its the law of our land."
Josse smirks and stands up, pulling that hood just enough over his face to let half a glimpse get by for the insanely curious. Image, you know. A reach over to squeeze her hand and then he's gone, before the wench (or worse, a bouncer) comes knocking.