|Late Night Gossip|
|Summary:||Freya and Jiselle meet at the inn and exchange some gossip.|
|Rockliff 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.|
|15 October 289|
Three hours left till her curfew cam into place and Freya Caul is making the most of it. She was in the Leatherworker's good books having 'saved' his daughter the other day. She had clambered up on the roof to save the overly adventurous girl from a nasty fall. Then someone had simply asked her why she didn't use a ladder. Tonight she is nursing one of the two ales she can afford on her low wage and fending off the attentions of the local lads - pretty little thing that she is the bandit girl. A low humming sea shanty has broken out in a corner. "Heave ho together hoist our colors high; Sing thieves and beggars - never shall we die!" they sing. Sticks in the head that song - Freya thought. She was singing it earlier in the day.
The door to the inn swings open to admit the bosomy form of Jiselle who is, oddly enough, completely alone. It is not usual to see her without her knight in tow, but tonight some of the more drunk locals seem to be finding this to their advantage. As the woman weaves her way through the evening crowd, her hand lashes out to swat away the impious digits of lusty lads meandering a few inches too close to her derriere. One stops her by stepping into her path and sketching a deep bow, greeting her as "Mistress Hill" and inviting her to his table. Murmuring a word of thanks, the buxom beauty flicks her hair over her shoulder and flashes the man pretty smile, promising to buy him his second round.
This seems to please the man enough to step out of her way, allowing Jiselle to advance as far as the bar. She flops onto a stool with an exasperated sigh. With an elbow atop the bar and her chin cradled in her palm, she sweeps the room with an imperious green gaze while waiting for her customary pint. The raucous band of singers in the corner draw her attention, and she watches them impassively for several minutes.
Freya Caul is sitting right next to her having herself swatted away the advances of the boys. "Ah Mistress - I wasn't suggesting you should hang the indentured from earlier in the evening. I was not able to express my gratitude before you retreated…" And Freya is not being sarcastic - she needed someone in her corner. "Can I buy you a drink?" She could stretch her budget to three drinks - the manacled indentured. "Oh sorry - my name is Freya Caul… didn't catch yours?" Her accent is a thick thieves cant.
Jiselle's eyelids lower to half-mast, and she peers at Freya through a fringe of dark lashes. When recognition hits, her eyes open fully and she offers the familiar woman a cheerful smile. The expression remains in place, perhaps growing a bit rigid, as her mind scrambles to make sense of the woman's words; the accent, perhaps, seems to be throwing her off her game. "Oh, a drink? Nay, the next round shall be on me," she answers, tapping the counter with a finger to signal the delivery of a pitcher. Her shrewd gaze studies Freya from the periphery, watching as the indentured woman continues with the introductions. "A pleasure, Mistress Caul. I am Jiselle Hill, a half-Banefort, you know," comes the reply, although her words dip into an amused stage-whisper as she details her prestigious lineage. "And it wasn't your words that angered me, Mistress. The Sheriff has come to dinner and heaped far too much upon his plate, so rather than eat what he can he opts to brood over it and let the food go to rot."
Freya beams at the woman, "Half Banefort? The Deputy Sheriff was asking me why given the bulk of the Cauls were ugly as hell and I was well not so ugly. Well I'm half Caul - not such a bad thing to be. Means you must have had a beautiful mother. If you are any indication that is. I like that you are here - maybe we can split the attention of the lads and split the work of saying no thank you a thousand times." She sips her ale, "Pleasure to meet you by the way." On the subject of Lord Justin the Sheriff, "I'd cut the man a break - his brother is missing after all - and there is some scandal that he wont talk to me about. He talks about everything other than that."
"He broods," Jiselle retorts, and when the pitcher arrives she takes it upon herself to fill their mugs. Her own is lifted, and she uses it to gesture toward Freya firmly before taking a hearty gulp. "And men who brood do so because they refuse to share their burdens. I hear enough around the tower but say nothing to them. I will damn well grumble about it here." A loud thunk accompanies the rather rapid descent of her mug as she slams it onto the counter - although judging by her momentarily chagrined expression, the vehemence was unintentional. "Perhaps the scandal has something to do with his sister's cancelled betrothal? I heard she physically attacked the Lady Kingsgrove - slapped the broad right across the face! She was supposed to come home, but I haven't seen her face around the tower. Mother only knows where they put the chit. Noblewomen are going crazy left and right these days."
Freya cants her head, "I do often get schooled to be sensitive to Lady Anais - and under normal circumstances I would. But it is difficult to sympathise with someone who wanted to and still wants to hang you. That's a form of objectivity that I can't quite grasp." Raising her shoulders in a shrug, "I was practically a prisoner with the bandits they found me with. Now I am practically a slave - and when I jape about being as such your brooding Knight scolds me for it and threatens to put me back in the dungeon." Coughing, "They say I am disrespectful of the law - but why is it I have yet to be sent to a dungeon for something I have actually done. And all I get is trumped up calumny. Justice is blind? It is blind deaf and dumb." Freya vents. "No I share your frustration. Wish I'd met you earlier - life might have been easier having someone to talk to."
The seamstress listens in silence to Freya's rant, sipping at her ale in as ladylike a manner as she can - although a woman with such a low decolletage cradling a beer is not very ladylike at all. Her pink, pouty lips split into a wide grin as Freya laments her fate, but Jiselle does not appear to be buying into the self-pity very much.
"Look at it from their point of view, Freya," she continues, gesturing a second time with her drink. "Bandits have been running amok around here. Did you know a while back they kidnapped an entire party of noblewoman? Took down their guards in the blink of an eye, dragged them off to some cave, and did gods only know what to the poor women. They hadn't done a damn thing, mind you; the men were pissed they were starving because the Roost was razed by Ironborn. My own lady was abused at their hands. Lady Anais was abused at their hands. They lack in love for bandits around here, friend, and the Sheriff let the last living one trek off to the Wall. The women are bitter. What is your excuse for being their prisoner? Be grateful you have your life, even if it is temporarily theirs while you pay off your guilt-by-association. I don't see any other bandits in here drinking and chumming it with locals."
Freya nods, "I know I know - and again I'd be sympathetic - but for the fact that I might have seen the noose - and might still. Change of leadership around here as you might have noticed. I'd make my peace with Lady Anais and even stay as her most loyal retainer rather than a petty detractor but I can't get two words in." And Freya throws in - "I was a thrall when the Ironborn invaded you know. I can relate. Escaped after two hours - I think during Lady Anais' banter with Meron Greyjoy. So I suppose I should be grateful. But my Da' Mern the mummer taught me locks - and sneaking," Mern being a famous thief hanged in Kings Landing, "So all the Ironborn might make right turds salivating over her gave me all the time I needed to get away."
Jiselle snorts and shakes her head at Freya. "I doubt the new Terrick lord's interested in overturning Ser Justin's decisions. The Sheriff's an admired man around, respected and lauded for his just ways. Might'n do the new blood any good to set themselves against him so visibly." Pausing, the woman wets her throat with a last swing before taking a moment to refill it from the pitcher. "As for Lady Anais - she's floating in the same boat as the Sheriff. Might be your best option is to lay low, do your work, get the irons struck clear and turn your nose toward another township. Maybe Stonebridge? They put out a call for more permanent merchants. Guess the new Steward's trying to pick up the pieces."
Freya cants her head idiosyncratically as she always does when she is thinking, "Hmm - not sure I'd move - might run if they come looking to kill me - but this is home - and I have a point to prove. You know the Deputy Sheriff Mortimer scolded me when I baited him calling my family 'scum' and asking him to tell my friends who they were hanging around with. 'Your words', he said." She turns to her, "You are linked to the Mallisters no? Or are you still Banefort? Don't know much about either of them." Hunting for a new home if things go awry here. Freya plays survivor.
Something in Freya's story catches Jiselle off guard, but here expression is nothing more than rather puzzled with this newest tidbit of information. Perhaps it is simply out of sync with the timeline of their conversation; in any case, the information is filed away for a future date. For now, she returns Freya's look with a half-smile and shrugs one slender shoulder. "Both. I am a half-Banefort, and I serve the Lady Saffron Mallister nee Banefort, so I suppose my association is with both Houses. I'm not sure what there is to tell that isn't already well-known about either family…"
"Don't clam up on me beautiful," Freya flirts - perhaps for it's own sake - perhaps because because Jiselle is thoroughly worthy of it. "You can give me the basic facts surely. Do that and I might tell you which noblemen have been 'familiar' with me someday soon…" It's a good offer - a bit pie in the sky.
"I'm not clamming up on anything," Jiselle replies, nudging Freya and laughing lightly at the compliment. "I honestly don't know what basic facts you're looking for, dear, but if it's something juicy - I got nothin'. And even if I did have something, I wouldn't share. Biting the hand that feeds you proves to be a terminal decision." Still, she grins, fishing a couple coins out of her purse and tossing them down on the counter. "Speaking of hands, a seamstress's work never ends. I should be getting back to it. Nice to have met you, Freya, and if I don't see you again - good luck."