Page 317: Eyes and Ears
Eyes and Ears
Summary: Just asks Mortimer to keep his eyes and ears open regarding potential black markets.
Date: 01/06/2012
Related Logs: Bandits in general
Justin Mortimer 
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.
Fri Jun 01, 289

It's early evening and after a day out riding around, swimming, a little hunting and generally taking his nameday off to do whatever he pleased, Justin has now arrived at the Rockcliff Inn. He has his saddlebags thrown over a shoulder and as he takes a seat, he opens them up to take out a special bottle of wine, this one elderberry. The saddlebags are set carefully on the floor for there is a second, similar bottle within as well as a few other things. Justin sets to opening it up and when a server comes by, he smiles, "Bring me a cup and a bowl of stew with bread, please."

Mortimer is on the lookout for trouble. Not that he's expecting to find it mind, but then it is a Friday night so who knows. Still, his circuit around the Roost could equally well be described as an evening stroll. Last stop on his route, the Rockcliff, then it's home for what will hopefully be a quiet and uninterrupted evening with his wife. Sticking his head through the door he gives the barman a brief nod in greeting and notes the entirely untroublesome atmosphere. Jolly good. A quick glance round confirms his first suspicion and he's about to slip out again when he spots the young Terrick and offers a congratulatory, "Happy Nameday m'Lord."

The serving lass, the very same one he sometimes brings game birds to for her granny and very poor family with several children, curtsies and dimples before turning to hop back to the kitchen and see to his order. Justin idly watches her go before he sets his hands to opening up his gifted bottle. "Thank you, Sheriff. Care to join me a moment to taste this most excellent and undiluted wine? It's elderberry. I'd have a word with you, if you've a moment." As soon as the gal comes back out with the bread, stew, and cup, Justin sends her right back again for a second cup. Just incase.

Just because his usual tipple is porter, doesn't in any way mean that Mortimer is about to turn down Justin's offer. "That'd be most kind of you m'Lord" he answers, moving over to take one of the free chairs at the table as he does so. "Not celebrating with ya family?" he asks conversationally while the second cup is fetched, "but anyway, how can I be of service?"

Justin pours some of the wine into each cup, it's color dark and rich, the fragrance as you might expect, fruity. It is however dryer than expected and not too sweet. He picks up one of the cups to taste of it before he shrugs, "Perhaps I will though … I'm something of a stranger in my own House, Sheriff. I have been gone a good many years and I'd rather not walk into a surprise party. I intend to spend the evening here with very fine company." He pauses to set his cup aside and bread the bread to start on his stew. Before he tastes his meal, Justin says, "I'd like to know if you are aware of any black market activity in the Roost. People selling seed grain, food, or other goods at gouging high prices who are trying to stay low profile. And if you aren't aware of such folk off hand, do you think you could sniff around discreetly to see if you can pick up any word of such?"

Mortimer leans back in his chair a little, one elbow resting over the back and the other facilitating the raising and lowering of his cup. He has no easy news though, "If I knew about such things m'Lord then so would your Lord Father. Prices are higher than last year, thats for certain, but thats easy enough to understand given the situation." He takes another sip then adds, "could be worse out in the other villages though, ones not so under the nose as it were. Haven't heard any reports but I'll make sure eyes and ears are open and let you know if anything comes to my attention."

Jerold's third trueborn son eats his stew and then pauses to clear his mouth with some wine before Justin nods, "Very good. I will personally be surprised if we find any such thing. I don't think there's been enough /to/ steal to feed such a market. However, whatever coin or valuables folk do have, I wouldn't be surprised if they were eager to trade for things they need. Seed to plant, or an oxen to plow. Or even a small donkey would be something to turn a field over." Most of the animals are long gone so that it's hard to even find a dairy goat. The Ironborn were most thorough.

"Best to be sure," Mortimer states in easy agreement, "this is not exactly the kind of situation where uncertainty is to our advantage." He raises the cup again, but then changes his mind and sets it down again, better to keep alert while business is being talked after all. "I take it that so far this is just a theory to be eliminated and not something that there's information on all ready?" he checks, just in case he can save time by not going over work that's already been done, "and do you want us to concentrate on those areas that were hit hardest, or do a blanket check?"

Justin muses, finishing off his stew and scraping up the drippings in the bowl with the last of the bread. He chews his food and is slow to make a response, not about to speak with his mouth full. A few swallows, then another sip of wine, "Unless my lord father knows something he hasn't shared with us, we have nothing to go on. Not even a rumor. However, if he wants it checked, then of course we check it." He thinks about it and shrugs, "Around the Roost itself first, in general. Then we can see about any whisper of rumors further out in the hamlets."

Mortimer nods in understanding. "Aye, Roost first it is." The agreement is simple, even if left to his own devices he'd have started further out, somewhere under less close watch then the town below the keep. "Was there anything else m'Lord?" he checks, wondering if thats the business part of the conversation done, because there's that wine on the table that's looking at him invitingly.

Someone who has no intention of cluttering up /today/ with too much business pushes his bowl aside to top up his glass of wine, "No, I swore to myself to take today off and worry about other things tomorrow. Tonight, I intend to drink at least two bottles of wine, as much ale as I can, and visit a couple of girls. You're welcome to stay and join me or go as you like." Justin gives Mortimer a wink and leans back in his chair to drink his wine. Idly he recalls he had asked Lady Muirenn to play her dulcimer on his nameday. Perhaps she still might tomorrow.