|Gold Dust Morning|
|Summary:||Sofya and Dania watch what could be their last sunrise from the Bandit Hole and speak with the practicality of peasants.|
|Related Logs:||A Wonderful Day for a Picnic and related logs.|
|Bandit Hole — Wilderness|
|It is less of a cave than a hovel of earth that has collapsed into the ground, large enough for the group of women to cower together and stretch their legs a little. The taller women will have to stoop to move around beneath the packed earthen ceiling. In the back a trickle of water drips from a bed of rock, turning the earth around it into gloppy mud, but providing something to drink. The bandits are ever on patrol at the mouth of the cave, quick to strike if the ladies get too lippy, loud, or simply because they feel like it.|
|Mon Jun 04, 289|
Early morning creeps through the entrances of the Hole, pale light slowly disturbing the sharp black shadows that seem to swallow the sleeping ladies whole like the maw of a great, lost beast. Sofya has similarly crept towards the light, sitting nearer to the entrance of the cave than she has in these past days. Her blue eyes track the slowly angled light of the sun. It might be the last sunrise they see, after all.
Dozing off and on and not really getting enough sleep is causing Dania wilt a little. She has not complained of hunger or anything for that matter. She has been keeping quiet and only speaking out if the about the health of Muirenn or Corrie come into play, she too watches the light from where she is sitting on the dirt floor the cave. The dust glitters like gold as it drifts through the shafts of light. Her expression is thoughtful and she just looks exhausted. She rubs the back of her neck to help with the kink in her neck as she was the light. After a while she comments. "The light is beautiful and the dust is like gold flakes drifting."
"That's a bit poetic," Sofya comments softly. It wouldn't do to wake up any of the noble women. Her tone is wry to match the crooked angle of her smile, looking towards Dania with the light casting the dirty lines of her face in an warmer, more fetching light. Similarly, she has been quiet in the days of captivity, seeing to the Lady Lucienne but contributing little to coversation. "It is the season for pretty mornings."
"Indeed they are, call it the ray of light in this place." A warm smile tugs at Dania's lips. The smile seems strained. She looks back at the light. "I do not think anyone who is not a Terrick or Mallister or Tiaryn have been sent to bed without supper before." She says very softly so as not to wake any of the others. She smiles again and this time it is less strained. "I do not think we have been properly introduced, as there is always a crowd around us. I am Dania Dorsey."
"Or if they were, it was long enough ago in their rememberings that'd be children yet. Or might not even be — Noble families don't seem as fond of that particular punishment in my experience," Sofya offers dryly, settling her elbows on her knees. "I'm just glad we have water." Lack of water will kill you all the faster. At Dania's introduction, she dips her head in a short, polite nod but lacks a smile. "Indeed, we haven't. Sofya Dale. I've seen you up around the Roost."
"I travel a lot between the Roost and Stonebridge. It is true. I am also glad we had water. That we would die without." Dania just shakes her head. "Or if they were someone snuck them food." She shrugs her shoulders. "Food I can live without for while longer yet, but the dirt and being this cramped up is starting to wear on me." She admits. "It feels like my skin is crawling with dirt and bugs and I swear is something in my hair." Her long hair is still bound up but is dirty and oily and wisps has escaped and a curl or two fall on her brow. It is not a pretty sight. "How are you holding up? For that matter how are you feeling?"
"If you like, I could check you for nits," Sofya offers, scrubbing a dirty hand across her cheek. It isn't…impossible that something could have crawled into her thick bound hair. The Vance retainer's own locks are reasonably kempt considering the circumstances and have been neatly braided and swept over one shoulder. "Hungry. Foul. Bitter. But, not nearly so dire as some of the others," she offers on her own state of being, glancing over her shoulder at the sleeping ladies. "That may change as this wretched day goes on."
"No, it is most likely all in my head. I will check after I have had a chance to bathe." Dania says softly. "Indeed, I am normally sunny, but the practical part of me thinks that they cannot afford to feed us and even if the Ransom is paid we may still die." She says gently and very softly so that only Sofya can hear her. "We will have to see. Part of me hopes they prove me wrong. But I do not think they will."
"If…" Sofya shakes her hand, fingers tugging at the piece of cloth she has looped around her wrist. If she gets the chance to bathe. That part goes unsaid. A bitter rasp of a chuckle curls in her throat at Dania's words, as she quietly returns, "I think Mistress, that you have the right of it. There is no guarantee for our well-being in that deal. I would said better dead than other things…but death is so final. At least you have some skill you might barter for life with?" A healer with medicine could be of use to them.
"That and two of the other noblewoman has the skill they can barter with as well. But I am not certain they can keep all of us, their condition is poor at best. We are dispensable in both eyes of both parties. I know I am thinking too much. But there is little else that can be done." Dania nods. "If but that bath is my small glimmer of hope. None but one know I am here and I do not think they will recall." This is said as a fact she does not seem bothered by folks not knowing where she is. She smiles. "I think we all have skill we may barter. The only thing our ladies have going for them is that they are worth more dead than alive. But they also know now who is with what house."
"The Noblewomen are valuable though, still valuable even if they don't pay the ransom on time…you just need one or two houses to soften on the idea," Sofya disagrees, looping her strip of cloth around her fingers to begin the pattern of the cat's cradle. Her gaze flits from Dania to that morning sunlight, as if unwilling to miss it climbing in the sky. She snorts softly. "The only skill I have that these men would find of use is between my legs and I'm not stupid enough to pretend otherwise. I'm common as this dirt and no healer besides, much as I can work a needle better than most, a bit of embroidery doesn't do much here. We are lucky that they haven't chosen to make bigger examples, but time is running out on that." Her fingers loop, twisting the pattern further. "Do you have family, Mistress?"
"Both my parents are still alive and I have three brothers. How about yourself?" Dania looks at her. "The skill with needle may come in handy as I doubt they have many women in this encampment. But I agree time is running out and I am not sure if the bandits will see them as valuable if the ransom is not paid on time. Then again I could be wrong. I am better suited for healing and tending births than figuring out what the Bandits will do next. Sunset, we have till then. I will be lovely." She adds. "The sunset that is."
"Near a half dozen brothers and sisters, alongside both parents. They're old now, still tending the Family though," Sofya answers, the way she says family makes it clear that she doesn't mean her own — but that of her Lord's House. "No. I imagine that'll lead to a rather pointed example of them and us, then." The fabric hisses as she twists it between her hands, flipping it and extending it again. "If we see it." That sunset. "I'd rather remember the morning, still quiet like this. Tensions'll be high."
"Oh I am sure of it, that tensions will be high. I do not care what happens so as long as I can die standing upright and out in the fresh air and on my terms. Either way my fate at the moment is out of my hands. Come the time of reckoning with the bandits I will see what will happen. For right now no amount of planning or will help and no amount of tears will help as well." Dania continues to watch the sun as its rays of light travel across the cave.
"Bold," Sofya judges, looking towards Dania with a mild expression. "Pehaps foolhardy a wish to speak aloud, but bold."
"Why bold you say? I think it is bold of the farmer to rebuild after losing so much. I think is bold of the lord to actually care for the lands he holds by his birthright." Dania says to her. "How can I be bold, I have no desire to speak to them but how else can bargains be made. Wanting to die on my terms is not a foolish thing." Her voice is gentle. "I deal with life and death every day and have done so since I was eight. I hope my words do not offend you as that is not my intension."
"There is no offense, Mistress. Boldness is a trait that some think a credit," Sofya replies with a shrug, dark lashes dusting her cheeks. "I have no wish to die — on my own terms or no. I do not pretend that I will do other than what I must for some internal nobility or idea of 'dying on my own terms.' People die. I just want to live."
"I am not suicidal mistress, believe me. I love life and I find beauty in it. But, I do see what you say." Dania says to her with a smile. "Now, has any man caught your eye?"
One arch brow arches at that particular question, leading Sofya's mouth to quirk with dark amusement. "I will presume you don't think me such a girl as to try to distract me with that question…but, no. Although Riverlands men are ever the best. You?"
"No, I do not it is just curiosity that drives me to ask it. I do not either; it really does not bother me." Dania laughs softly. "I think you are as practical as Lady Anais and me at this moment. That is a compliment. Lady Tiaryn is just as practical I think or at times she appears so."
"I know neither of the ladies so well as to say," Sofya demurs gently, missing an angle of her cloth to see it slip around her hand. Darn. She seems not to notice, rethreading the pattern without breaking conversation. "No sweet woodland lover for you then? Seems like you wouldn't have trouble finding one, you seem a reasonable woman, even with your travels."
"I could say the same for you. Let us just say I have my faults that keep it from happening. Besides, I do not mind not being married." She shrugs her shoulders. "I travel to heal and attend births. On that note, I do pray Sparrow my poor horse has not been eaten. I just got him trained to pull a plow. There is a need for him. So why is that you are not married yet?"
"I am a bit recently returned to Riverlands to have acquired a lover so quickly," Sofya drawls, lifting her brows as she looks to Dania. Far too quickly. "I think they know the worth of a horse too much to eat them, Mistress. Even the price of a plow horse could fetch a pretty price to feed a family for awhile." It'd be a waste. She snorts softly at the impertinent question. "Let's just say my duties for my Lord have not been so contingent to such."
"There is a shortage of horses most were eaten during the seige." Dania explains to her. "We all are tightening our belts out here to make what food we have last until we can get supplies until the fields can be plowed, those that were not turned to ash that is. We also are hoping that we can get a good harvest. But the weather is and can be a fickle bed fellow."
"Precisely why they won't eat them, then," Sofya replies, aware of the details of the siege with her present stay at the Roost.
"I really hope not." She shrugs her shoulders. "We will see. Foolish to worry about a horse." Dania chuckles again. She then grows quiet. "I am sure you find someone to your liking. Honestly in my eyes there is more to life then marriage. Scandalous as it is to say this."
"I can say I have other things to busy much of my time with than to be worried about finding a husband at this point," Sofya pauses, biting the inside of her cheek and then adding, "Well. Normally." Not…this point. "I should like a husband and a family of my own, but it is not the time for them." The ladies lapse into other quiet conversation, carrying on for a time until the others awake.