Page 300: Elderberry Wine
Elderberry Wine
Summary: Dania and Lord Justin share a bottle of elderberry wine and speak of the future harvest, make a few toasts, and mention a roll in the hay.
Date: 15/May/2012
Related Logs: None
Dania Justin 
Rockcliff Inn, Terrick's Roost
The Rockcliff Inn is one of the better inns within the town and it shows with the well-lit interior and the relative cleanliness to the other locations in Terrick's Roost. The tables are polished with oils and the floor regularly swept. A set of booths towards a darker rear of the Inn's bottom floor, just beneath the staircase, are where whores generally socialize and eye prospects from when not waiting tables. Signs over the undersized bar area advertise prices for ales and wines as well as several different choices of food to be served at the small eating area by the bar or in the main open area in its comfortable seating. A door behind the bar leads to the kitchen and cellar while another near the staircase leads to a private room that would appear to be off-limits to the 'wait staff' except for food and drink service.
May 15th, 289

"Names were learned." Dania says this with a grins to Justin before she looks to the others and she offers them a bow of head and warm sunny smile. A stable hand appears from the stables of the inn to come and get the gelding from Dania. "It is pleasure." She says to them. Then she looks to the stable hand. "No grain, but extra ration of hay if we have it to spare if not let him gaze. Thank you Hyde." She turns her attention to her saddle as she takes off her saddle bags and the bedroll. "I have a treat if would you share it with me. One of the famers sent me away with some elderberry wine, Lord Terrick."

Justin of course has no horse with him this time so he gives the others a nod and steps on into the Inn to follow Dania to the table of her choosing. He hooks a chair and pulls it out, taking a seat positioned so he can watch as much of the room as possible. "Elderberry wine… I haven't had that in some while, not since Tully's lands. Infact, anything /not/ watered down around here is a treat." He skims a hand through his hair to strip it back from his eyes and leans back in the chair to regard her, "Things .. been so wound up tight in my gut, some relaxing would be appreciated." He makes a gesture at her in general, "I expect people here appreciate what you are doing, Dania. We certainly do."

"I do not mind, as long as my skills are used. It keeps them sharp." Dania says as she goes to take a seat. From her saddle bag she draws out the clay bottle of the wine. It has been wrapped up in a chemise. She sets it on the table for him to open. A server comes by. "Griddle cakes if you have them." The girl nods and heads into the back. When she returns she has to mugs. "So what has your stomach in a knots?"

He leans forward to put hands to the bottle to see if he can patiently work the cork loose without having to use his dagger. Justin works at it and grimaces, "Lots of things. Mostly though, afraid I'm going to be another f- …" he stops and glances to her, changing words mid-breath, "Screw up." POP goes the cork, pulling it free and setting it onto the table, "It seems to run in my generation." He frowns as they haven't any glasses, yet. So he slides the bottle over to her and he'll wait. Leaning back in his chair, he huffs a faint breath, "But I haven't managed to mess anything up yet. Don't worry about it." When that server comes back she'll almost certainly bring them a pair of glasses.

"Lord Terrick, how on earth could you be a screw-up? I have to ask. What did you to tell some high ranking nobleman that you were not keen on his daughter?" Dania asks him as some cheese is brought to thier table. "Honestly talking things out sometimes does help." She adds as she watches him work the cork out.

Justin has probably already said too much and he's perfectly damned sober, alas. He looks annoyed with himself, "Close enough. Nevermind. No reason you'd know my brothers, Goodwoman Dania." He draws a deep breath and when the glasses are brought, he takes up the bottle to pour them each some of it. "Let us drink to my father. May he know no more serious dissapointments in the coming year, especially from his own family." Justin is in an odd mood but raises his glass to Dania and by the look he gives her, dares her not to meet his toast challenge.

"I can drink to that." She raises her glass and to in good humor and she has not trouble meeting his gaze. The stuff is stronger that what most fine wines would be. After all nothing beats home-made wine. "Here is to the recovery of the Roost." She goes to take a long pull of her drink with a warm smile. "Those are some interesting folks outside of the inn, travlers or are they part of your fathers household?" She asks as she takes another drink. "I know you said you have not seen or ment them before but I was hoping you may have known the horses."

"Aye, to the Roost." Justin taps her glass with his own before he takes a taste of it, savouring the stronger flavours. Stronger kick too he can appreciate and now if only she had a couple of bottles instead of only the one. "I wonder if whoever you got this from would trade or sell a few more." Justin glances back outside through the nearby window, "No, I haven't the faintest idea who they were. I don't remember them coming out with Riordan's people though. Probably just locals. I certainly don't know everyone in the Roost by sight." Far too many people for that. "And travelers still come and go from Stonebridge, even if there isn't much trade." Ah, Dania is a sharp one. Justin smiles at mention of the horses, "Now those two I might have remembered. But no, I hadn't seen either horse before either, I don't think."

From another pack she takes out another bottle and places it on the table. "Oh I think so. His wife takes pride in her wine and if she knew you were interested she would be more than happy to trade." Dania tells him with another smile. "I say we enjoy these two bottles." She takes another long drink as she grows quiet she seems to be enjoying the wine as well. Hot griddle cakes are added to the table for them to eat along with the cheese while they drink. "Now why would your father be annoyed at you? You are the perfect son. You drink to his health and you care about your people."

Another sip of the wine. Justin isn't a heavy drinker usually but this is really good and perhaps dangerous for all of it's excellant taste. His glass is already half finished. "I am far from being a perfect … anything. However, my father has no cause to be annoyed with me as far as I know. I certainly would like to keep it that way. If I can dodge whatever curse seems to have befallen my family of late, all the better. Let it be behind us that we may move onto better things." He takes another sip of wine before once more leans back in his chair, relaxing some. Justin fingers the cup thoughtfully before he asks, "What do you think they'd take in trade for one of these bottles? What do they need most?"

"Help to bring in the harvest." Dania tells him. "I would say send the squires to them for the harvest. It will take a week. You could also see if they will trade for wild game." She goes to refresh both of their glasses. "I honestly think she will just be tickled pink you like her wine. Their elderflower wine is also very good. I talk her into teach me how to refine my recipe. This is their first child and she and her husband got the farm from her father who had died in the war. She was his only daughter so she was a prize. " She takes a sip. "A good draft they could use, they have a good Ox."

Justin sadly shakes his head, "Beasts … there are none to spare and if they have an ox already, they have more than most. This the family who's son broke his leg?" He is thoughtful before he adds low, "Father will surely wish to help everyone we are able to assist with bringing in the harvests. Yet I can't vouche who we'll be able to spare or where they will be sent. Game meat I can surely trade a bit of for a bottle or two." He smiles at that, finishing off his first glass. "It is very good wine."

A second glass is poured for them both. "No this is the farmer who's wife just had a child. Crestwood. The other farmer who son broke his leg does not have any animal or help for the harvest. It will be him, his wife and five daughters. He lost two of his sons to the Ironborn. This is his youngest son." She explains. "People talk a lot to me, it comes with the territory." She takes a sip of her new glass of wine. I was thinking of lending him Sparrow, as he is trained for a cart. But I am not certain how the old man will react to the plow."

"But Keelin might lend me tiny or let me ride double with him if there is need." She adds thoughtfuly.

Justin muses, accepting the refill, "What it sounds like to me is that all these little farmers who do not have enough help, need to band together to help /each/ other. That is precisely the kind of role someone like me can organize and oversee. Things don't all come ready to harvest at the exact same time so teams of men can rotate to work the fields as needful. Weather permitting." But it's usually pretty fair, dry weather as they go into early autumn. "You can train him to plow." Justin's pale eyes flicker up from his glass of wine and back to Dania herself, "You should put the word out among them. If they can not bring in their own harvests themselves, they need to come forward. I'll set a man up in charge in the town who can collect their names and the locations of their plots, how much and what's to be harvested and expected dates." And then he adds, "It would also be helpful to know who will need the most help."

"It also will help with us getting more food here to the Roost. The crops are in poor shape with what has been happening, but they will share with their Liege especially if they know without a doubt they have not been forgotten. Would you like to take him to the plow? I suppose I could and it is just a loan. I am rather fond of him and I do need him as he is nicer to ride than Tiny and I do not need to worry about him being high strung. Tiny on the other hand, I do." She looking at him and her smile is bright again. "You know I think with the rotating teams and if they could get some of the folks from their liege's house to help it would also help with moral. Lord Justin, you would make a good Liege."

The first parts are easy to nod to. Justin sips more of the wine, warming up to it nicely, "Yes, but not just that, /they/ need the food as well. The food shipments from Stonebridge, if that works out, will help. And if somehow we can buy House Grove's surplus to share with the Mallisters, we might do all right. If we take every bit of harvest seriously." Or, well, he hopes. Justin is surely no farmer and has limited knowledge or skills to draw on here. But he may have heard others who do so speaking upon the very topic earlier. He nods, "Yes, I can easily train him to pull a plow, Goodwoman Dania. He already knows the bridle and teaching him to pull once he's a saddle horse isn't that difficult. Many a saddle horse is trained on the long lines first, so they already know it. They only need to learn to use the collar and push into it."

To her last, Justin who had sat up and leaned forward in his seat, stops his train of thought to look at her. "Moral's very important just now. For all of us." He chooses to make no comment on the last part except to say, "I am not heir and my brother will surely do it better. But I can still help. This is my home."

"I know that, but I am just stating what I see. You are an asset to your brother and your father." Dania tells him between sips of her wine. "If you have the time, you are welcome to teach him. I am worried about sickness. I will be honest with you. This land will be ripe with it if thing do not go as planned." She says softly. "The sickness will take the old and the young first then those in their prime. I am hoping for the best but honestly expecting the worse." She goes to refresh their glasses again if she is allowed. "Knowing that their Liege cares about the land and its people as much as they do goes a long way."

Maybe the wine is loosening his tongue for he's not normally quite so … exuberant. Justin drinks more of it, finishing his another glass already. Damn, it's been a long while since he dared unwind a little. He fingers the glass and nods his thanks to her refilling it again, "We shall see. I know little or nothing of sicknesses." He frowns faintly as he looks at his glass, "It is our duty and responsibility to look out for our people. We as a House would be empty, and without …. purpose, without people to work the land." Justin lifts his gaze to look towards the north, "I am very sorry for the Camdens."

"That makes two of us, and it also proves that no matter what it is a fate we all can share." She takes a drink of her wine as she leans back and she seems to relax as well. She smells of horse and the hem of her skirt is caked with mud. "I think that you and your family are wise. I also think that the Mallisters are wise as well. Even though I am only allinged with them as my brother is. But, he is a good judge of character." Her eyes are bright as she says this and from the look in those eyes of hers. She loves her brother.

Almost he laughs. Justin stops short of it but he grins, "Your brother wanted to knock my teeth out. I dared him give me a thrashing and now he owes me a sparring. If he's such a good judge of character, who's right about mine? You, or him?" Ah, but Justin's eyes are laughing. Not at Dania but at himself. He tastes the wine before he adds more quietly, "I would like to know what the Naylands are /doing/ with Stonebridge that makes it thrive under their hand better than it did before. And I wonder, does it really thrive or do the people there simply pay more to their new overlord's coffers? For if they are doing better, I should like to learn from that. Better management benefits everyone, /if/ indeed it is better and not simply spun to sound so."

"I would bet this wine that they are paying more to their to their new lord." Dania says. "They also had to put on a show to show that it is better in their hands not yours. It is a game of smoke and mirrors. I would bet money on it. If not I will ride through town in nothing more than my hair down to cover me." She does laugh. Her laugher is warm and unrestrained and it fills the common room. "My brother is a fine judge of character. But, I milord am even better than he." She smiles brightly and that smile turns to a grin. "Now for the rest of those knots let us speak of them."

There's some giggling over there, where the girls flirt and try to lure the men upstairs. A pair of the ladies of the night have spotted Justin and are trying to get his attention. He looks over their way and lifts his glass to them, momentarily distracted. Ah, by the look he gives them how he would like to go and dally with them, then sleep himself out for the night. A man could be tempted. Alas, it would waste coin he must keep for more pressing uses so he reluctantly draws his eyes from them and finishes off his glass. What, his third, fourth, fifth? In short enough time that he is a little buzzed. Wait, what did Dania just say? It draws his gaze back to her. Something about riding naked, garbed only in her hair!

Whatever /were/ they talking about? Knots? He gives her a funny look before Justin says a little too smoothly, "That is a bet I could hope you'd loose, Goodwoman. A fine and tempting sight to behold." Justin turns his cup over upside down ere they might breach the second bottle, "I think … I have had enough. I have no horse to ride back tonight. I need my legs plenty sound enough to see me to my own bed."

"What you need is a good old fashioned roll in the hay. I see the hunger in your eyes. I should let you go so you can find some rest." She pushes the unopened bottle towards him. "I have two more." She tells him with a grin. "Enjoy this one." She picks up a piece of cheese and she starts to nibble on it. Those blue eyes of hers are dancing and her smile bright.

Or maybe he'll wander to the coast and lay himself down in the tall windblown grass beneath the stars and sleep there. No one would know or care if he didn't return to his room. Justin is brought back from his musing by her words. He blinks at Dania, glances aside to the whores and then clears his throat as he moves to stand, "Eh, thank you for the bottle. Both the one shared and the one given. I will owe you for it, and you have my thanks." Justin so makes no comment on whatever longings he might have. Instead, he raps his knuckles once lightly on the table and turns to go. It's a very pleasant night and the moon is up high and bright. Still, he glances back over his shoulder once - not to the dissapointed girls by the stairs, but to Dania and her very bright eyes.