|Midnight at the Oasis|
|Summary:||Nobles talk, commoners talk, drinks are bought, two musicians play, and one requires payment. Just another night at the Rockcliff.|
|Related Logs:||You Gotta Fight For Your Right, possibly others.|
|Rockcliff Inn, The 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.|
|22 July, 289|
It takes Saffron a few moments to recover, and she beams with a warmer smile. "Lady Alys, I'm sorry… you look remarkably like my sister at first glance." She brushes a lock of red hair behind her ear as she sweeps forward, bending to pick up the wee pup. Bear releases the smallest little growl of affection and irritation at being plucked up before he settles happily into her lap as she sits. She glances over toward Harold at his words, and a bit of embarrassment touches her expression, perhaps a sympathetic embarrassment as her cousin has married into a House of bread, dried fruit, and moldy cheese. She glances back over toward Alys now, smiling a bit. "Forgive me, I didn't expect you in the Roost. Have you just arrived?"
"I shall not be sad at all, nor even care to pretend it," remarked Harold's wife, the nee Frey who could have, in another life, made a remarkably Septa. Good fortune put her on the right side of the bedsheets. When he'd finally said they were leaving, with no further excuses to delay them she'd taken the metaphorica whip to their entourage. "But it was nice to see the Lady Katrin again," the last of anything she could think of that was half pleasant. "And I enjoyed riding with you." Though they could have done that elsewhere.
The way those hazel eyes roll at mention of him having an ale before the trip leave Serica with a somewhat…put upon expression, especially when he mentions more family. She does try to look pleased with the notion at least, for his sake. "Time aplenty." Spoke as well, with a straight face, for all that she eyed the door like a bird preparing for flight.
"Oh?" Alys looks over the woman's features and smiles brightly. "I can see where you get that from. Not many a lady has as bright red as you and I." She curtsies to her Uncle before taking a seat. "Uncle good-Aunt Serica, this is Lady Saffron, if you two have not met." She smiles to Harold before finishing the cup of wine that sits on the table. She gestures for more and a few extra glasses as a servant passes by. "Are you leaving, Uncle?" She asks before turning back to Saffron. "I arrived yesterday actually, my lady. I made no grand entrance, I wished to see the Roost for mine own self. It has been lovely so far." She eyes the whores/servers for the briefest of moments who sit on the laps on a few patrons in the dark corner of the room.
"Alys," Ser Harold said with a fond smile creaking there in a face that had a tendency towards the stern. He barked to the server who'd just tended his niece for an order of the best ale they had. Which he knew wouldn't truly mean too much around here, but a man must take what he could, rather than necessarily what he wanted. His eyes passed in Saffron's direction at the introduction, and offered a knightly bow. "Ser Harold Charlton, my Lady. And my wife, Lady Serica Marie, recently stolen from the Twins." His eyes followed Alys' for a moment, eying those of lewd repute with a hint of a frown on his lips. Apparently her uncle wasn't much in approval of it, but there were limited places of high quality for a noble to reside in the roost. "Ah. Aye, we've overstayed somewhat already. Still, it's good to see you, even if it's only briefly. Let us have a drink at least."
Darek looks absolutely worn out as he comes into the common room of the Rockcliff Inn from the kitchens, scrubbing his hair back out of his face as he does. He's sporting a nice mellow bruise on the left side of his jaw, and carries a battered fiddle and a bow in his left hand. He gives a cocky smirk to the serves/whores as he crosses past them, starting to whistle at them before he flinches at the shifting of his bruise. "I think I like it inside here." He glances around for additional entertainment, and spots the pretty lady his knight is guarding, heading over in that direction. As he approaches, he brings his fiddle up to his chin, shifting the bow to his right right and then bringing it up to the strings, starting up a soft, low-swooping melody, meant not to intrude on the conversation but to enhance it.
"My Lady, My Lord… it is a pleasure to meet you both." Saffron bows her head from her seat, her lap consumed with puppy; Bear is given a rather stern look to the pair, his mouthful of something that looks like a fish or a weasle or maybe even a vague rat. She casts a glance toward Serica, and its hard to hide a bit of surprise on he rexpression. "Lady Serica, you are… lovely." Because obviously not all Frey women can boast that. She does smile quite gently. "Are you heading to Stonebridge, My Lord and Lady? There was some talk of some of the ladies of the Roost venturing that way for a couple days."
"Lady Saffron," Seri offers courtsey to the pair, "Lady Alys. A pleasure to both meet," where that smile inclined in Saffron's direction, "and see you again," where it finished directed at Alys. The puppy though, does seem to catch a measure of her attention after the greeting and the little grin that dotes on her lips is that of one who's been charmed at first glance. It takes her a minute to realize she's been complimented, the near surprised blink says as much. "You're too kind, Lady Saffron," because she's also well, humble. "And if I may, that's a charming little creature you have there." Where whatever it is he's chewing on almost makes her chuckle, though the question brings her back to the topic at hand, "Aye, we are. Yes. Though I'd not know of any others who're traveling. We're to swing through and visit my brother, Ser Wayland."
"Sphinx, stop pulling!" a voice shrieks outside. A few minutes later, there's a thump against the door and a very faint, "…ow." The door even sways back and forth from impact. Finally gathering herself together, Aylene pushes her way into the room, ignorant of a slowly growing bruise on her forehead. The girl hugs the wall, inching her way around the edge. "Empty table, Sphinx" she says to the dog that trots along with her. He's a big, black thing with a white marked face and chest. His tail wags but instead of paying attention to the command, he lets out a small growl at the sight of Bear. Time to throw down against the puppy.
"Of course Uncle, it is good to see you though. It has been a little while I should say." Alys quirks a smile in the direction of her uncle as the Inn begins to take on more patrons. "Is it nearly time for Sup? I suppose I have been sitting here for a long while." Alys looks out the nearest window as Darek enters and starts to fiddle out a light tune. A sigh escapes the Charlton girl as she turns to Saffron and her little Corgi precariously perched on her lap, "Stonebridge might not be the best of places for us Charltons at the moment." Alys smiles at the redheaded lady though cocks a brow to her good-aunts words. "Do tell me you will stay at the Inn and not in the towers?" She asks Serica politely yet with a confused look upon her face. Could they have forgotten the ill that befell the rest of the Charltons there. Aylene gains glance from the Charlton lady as her dog comes in with a growl at the Corgi pup.
The Banefort smiles softly at the compliment to the little pup, who perks up as if he knows he's being talked about. He starts to wag his tailless bottom, almost vibrating in Saffron's lap. The girl laughs. "I think he finds you quite charming as well, Lady Serica." She then laughs a bit, though her gaze does follow the unnatural notes of the fiddle and she eyes the young squire with a tilt of her head. She watches him for a few moments before she looks back toward the others. Her attention would have remained there if not for the sudden and intrusive sound of the dog. The growling causes Bear to look up abruptly from the woman's lap, forgetting the strange fish-mammal toy. He stands, starting to growl.
"Have we been engaging in fisticuffs, young squire?" Ser Harold asked of Darek, lifting brows in arch question as the young man approached with his fiddle. "I hope at the very least you bloody well won." AFter all he was attached to their house. With a bit of a grunt he eased into a seat by Alys, now with a tankard of frothing ale in his hand, having been promptly delivered. He offered his wife the one next to him with casual courtesy.
"I've got no intention of asking hospitality of the Naylands, but if they offer I see no reason to say no. We came by Stonebridge here, and they seemed in no hurry to make an issue out of it. I suppose the last bit of grief taught them better manners. Besides, the Ladies of the Tower are friends and family of my wife."
Darek keeps the notes soaring softly in the background of the conversation, circling the table a moment, and then stops as the growls rise up from puppy and larger dog. He looks between the two, and then shifts his fiddle up to higher notes, the sound vibrating upwards. Looking sideways at Harold, he speaks under the sound of his fiddle, "I took a punch from a man who had a problem with something I said, Milord." A smirk twists his lips then, and he adds, "I dodged the first two. If he hadn't been a Lord, I woulda laid him out."
"And now," Seri offers a little grin to Saffron, "You're just being sweet a'purpose." Though a little wink is given, before her attention is distracted somewhat with Alys question, "I've no fear of Naylands, nor staying in the Tower. The Lord Regent has been a remarkably gracious host to me only recently and as my husband says, I have very dear friends there, as well as family." That they all bend knee to her Father makes the notion of someone being hostile to her almost silly. "Though I realize those born Charlton's may find it somewhat…uncomfortable." She agrees, "And I thank you, for your concern." Lawd, but she's trying so very hard to pretend Darek doesn't exist. And now there's growling dogs to distract her, "Brazen little fellow, isn't he," she grins, offering Bear a compliment by way of Saffron.
Aylene perks at the sound of music, wherever it might be coming from. She taps at Sphinx's head and the dog desists in trying to rile up the corgi puppy. "I hear music," she says brightly. But the location of the mysterious fiddle player is lost on the girl for the time being.
Alys looks to her uncle as he takes a seat, though sparing a glance for the little corgi who seems to not enjoy the other dogs advances. "Perhaps, or, they wait for a better hostage." She snaps a look to Serica. "Friends, eh? Who might -those- lucky ladies be?" A slight raise of her brow accompanies her question. She looks back to Harold, "I had a friendship with Lord Riordan, and he invited me to stay in the same manner uncle, Lady Serica. A gracious host indeed, and he remained as such as he failed to answer any of my questions. We are less the friends now, that is for sure, I am not even sure if my brother has respect from his once friend anymore."
Alys sighs, "Do as you will, but if you are captured you know my father will not be pleased." she almost chuckles at that though. The servant returns with the wine and offers it to the ladies in turn. She nods her head in thanks to the servant as she leaves a flagon on the tables surface. She watches as Darek comes on by.
Ser Harold's features darkened with a disapproving frown at the tale Darek spun, and said with a blunt grumble: "Then I hope you bloody well learned to keep your mouth shut in the future when around your betters, squire." He scratched at his beard before adding: "But at least you showed a smidgen of maturity in not trying to get yourself cut down for accosting a man of station, too." With that he took a long swig from his tankard of ale.
"Wouldn't be the first time I'm a hostage," Ser Harold told Alys with a small smile. "But I've a doubt it'll happen quiet in the way you fear. Though I understand your worry. And hah, aye. My brother's unlike to be pleased if it does happen." He scratched his cheek.
Saffron comforts Bear with several pats and ruffles until the wee pup plops back down and resumes trying to eat the fish-mammal toy. "He is that," she agrees with Serica. "He tends to think he is ten times as big as he is. He tried to herd a couple horses in the paddocks a few days ago. They just snorted in his face." At Alys's words, she frowns a bit. "I do not think they would dare test your Lord Father's patience again, My Lady… I believe the Naylands would be wise to perhaps leave the Charlton's alone, especially those obviously there to visit and not stir up trouble." She nods her head to Serica and Harold. She does glance toward Darek with a bit of curiosity in her gaze — so that's the squire who apparently got into a fight with Martyn. She eyes him up and down for a few moments before she looks back toward the other nobles.
"I would think more honor is gained for owning up to your words, not to make excuses." She looks to Darek with a small smile. "Do you remember, Darek, what I said to you on the road. About your words around the Ladies and Lords of court?" She grins, "T'would seem Ser Jac has given you a clout, has he not? I am sure I would seem my words held true." Alys chuckles lightly and nods to her uncle and Saffron. "Yes my lord, my lady, I would hope so. Still Lord Riordan did nothing ill to me besides keep me captive. He even sent my horse back to me, I hold a bit of respect because of that. Though, as to my brother, I do not know. He did not seem to happy when he met Lord Rutger to take us back." She shrugs, "If they are the wiser for it, then by the Seven, the lesson was not lost. Still yes, practice caution."
"Oh come now Niece," Seri offers Alys with an easy laugh, as she settles to the right of her husband, a hand smoothing down the back of his neck, for all that she remains standing, "I'm sure that someone as charming as you has found far better company, more inclined to share than hide away. After all, you seem to have a fast friend in the Lady Saffron here and together the pair of you smiling is enough to light up any room." Not a single ouce of artifice in the tone, though Saffron's mention of the wee pup trying to herd horses courts her laughter once more.
There's a gentle shake of her head, too. One that dismisses many a thing, before her hand pats lightly on her husband's shoulder and she directs his attention towards the door with a faint nod of her head and the paitently waiting Squire, recovered from her use of him on errands those nights prior. "Let the girl's visit, Harold, I do believe our company is waiting."
Darek shakes his head at Harold, "He was too angry to hit me if I didn't let him." Someone's a bit over-sure of himself, "But he wasn't going to stop until he did, Milord. So I let him hit me. Don't see any problem there. I didn't even say anything offensive, I don't think. Just snapped. All uptight and stuff." He shrugs a bit, then glances up at the query toward music, bringing the volume of his playing, "Was that a request for music from over there? Is there a request in particular from someone?" He stops at Alys' words, blinking sharply and gaping a moment, "I said a lady was pretty. Really, really pretty. 'pparently he took offense at that." He draws his mouth to his right, showing off the bruise a bit better, "An' Ser Jac's not hit me, Milady. Except in training. Mostly, he just makes me run. A lot."
Nathaniel slips unobtrusively into the inn, and pauses by the door for a moment. His glance encounters the tables at which some nobles sit, and he bows instinctively, before he continues to look for some quiet place to settle in a busy inn.
Alys giggles at her good-aunt. "Of course, my lady. I have found many and more a good-natured lady on my travels. I hope to find many and more." She smiles lightly and looks to the door as Serica does. She looks to Saffron, "How is your betrothed, my lady?" She asks with a bright smile. Chuckling at what Jac makes Darek do, "You should be lucky your knight is a kind hearted soul, Darek." She says before turning back to Saffron.
Now that's she's had a chance to hear Darek, the small girl zeroes in on his position, trying to cross the Inn's open floor. Unfortunately, someone left a chair in the way and with a shriek, Aylene tumbles right over it. Sphinx just sits to the side and watches forlornly.
Ser Harold looked towards his wife, then his own squire waiting at the door. He made a kind of grumble about youths having way too much impatience in them, then finished the last of his tankard with a single sturdy pull, his adam's apple bouncing up and down in a merry jiggle for the foamy delight. With a wooden thud he slammed the tankard down onto the table, and declared himself: "Done." A good natured smile on his weathered face, as he gave his niece a light kiss on the cheek for a farewell gesture, then lifted up and away. He moved with the ease of a man half his age. "Again, good to see you, Alys. Hopefully it won't be long until next, and we'll have ourself a bit more time, too." Saffron recieved a polite courtly bow, then, before he turned away. "And lay off flattering the noble girls of the Roost, too, eh?" To Darek as he passed, a meaty hand come down onto the squire's shoulder for a comradly slap. "You'll only get yourself into trouble, barking up a tree far too tall for your reach. Too young to be cut down just for being stupid." So said, he started towards the exit.
Serica trailed in Harold's wake, having made polite courtesies before slipping out the door.
Saffron finds herself liking Serica, even if she is a Frey. She cannot help but smile as the woman laughs, giving Bear a gentle ruffle; he looks up, almost confused with why he keeps getting disturbed. Can't Saffron see he's eating here? As the pair of Charltons begin to make their leave, she bows her head a bit with a budding smile on her lips. "May your journey be swift and uneventful, Lady Serica, Lord Harold… perhaps I will see you in Stonebridge when we come visiting." She then glances over toward Alys at her question, and she seems to be quite warm at the simple mention of her betrothed — glowing nearly. It would make the more jaded ill. "He is wonderful. We have finally been given our date, and the Banefort has sent my two cousins to help me prepare. It is quite an ordeal." She cannot help but grin.
Darek rocks aside under the blow to his shoulder, his bow skipping with a squeal. "I didn't want to climb her, Milord…" And then he clears his throat, "I mean… you're right, Milord." And then Harold's gone, and the squire is left to grumble, "And Ser Jac says I'm supposed to flatter noble ladies. Fuck me blind." And then there's a shriek and clatter of a fall to distract him, and the squire shifts his bow to his left hand and heads over toward the fallen girl, "You alright there, Miss? Nasty tumble." As he speaks, the youth holds out his hand, offering help up.
That clattering chair and the girl's shriek quickly wrenches Nathaniel from his search for a spot. Being close enough to her to do something, he takes a step toward her, reaching a hand instinctively in an effort to catch her arm if possible. "Ho there!" he calls, his voice clear but gentle. "Are you injured, lass?"
Alys accepts the kiss to her cheek with a sideways glance and a smile. "My thanks, Uncle. You two stay safe, and yes, I hope to see you both sooner rather than later." She smiles and dips her head in courtesy as they both make their leave. Her attention snaps to that of Saffron she smiles brightly as the lady does herself. "How wonderful. I am so very glad for you, my lady. What date would that be, if I might ask." With her family gone Alys relaxes slightly, she turns with a chuckle at Darek as he speaks of what Jac says. "Perhaps a lesson in etiquette then, Darek? You should say a lady looks lovely today, not that she is really, really, pretty. " She chuckles again and gasps slightly as the woman takes a tumble. "Are you alright, miss?" She asks the woman she does not know.
Aylene flails back and forth, trying to figure out which direction is up. "What happened? what was that?!" she squeaks breathlessly, her golden curls amass and sticking out every which direction. She blinks repeatedly as her head turns back and forth repeatedly, as if trying to clear whatever fuzz had gotten stuck in there. "I-I-I… thank you," she says all around, following the directions of every voice.
"In nine weeks," Saffron says to Alys. "I have decided that I do not care about family politics or the state of the Cape, I want to be able to invite everyone to the affair — Haighs, Charltons, Naylands, Mallisters, Freys. I would just like there to be an opportunity for everyone to come together and have a nice evening with each other. I'm sure the sour wine will help lubricate the event." She grins, though it doesn't last long as the squire and the courier boy seem to suddenly flock in on the fallen girl. She tilts her head, looking curiously after her, though as she seems to be alright, she relaxes and smiles.
Nevan makes his way in from the town square and is slightly perturbed by the sound of screaming the moment he enters, peering quickly around the inn before likely determining the reason was insignificant. "I suppose a common room without some screaming and falling over is a little dull," muses the young Erenford to himself, a sigh escaping his lips. He positions himself by the doorway, eyes looking over the room curiously.
Darek points down to the fallen girl he's trying to help up, "That's good etiquette, isn't it, Milady?" And then he looks down to the fallen girl, "Oh! You're blind." Brilliant deduction. So the young man reaches down, putting one hand in the fallen girl's hand so that she can lever herself up with his assistance, "It was a chair, Miss. Nasty thing, attacking you like that."
The girls admittance of her state and the fact that she looks alright proffers a light smile from Alys. "Good, to see miss." She says before turning back to Saffron. "I see no reason why not, my lady. No matter what happened at Stonebridge I do not lay hate to a single Nayland for what happened there." She smiles, "As you saw at the dance in seagard no doubt."
Aylene flushes a deep red and her denial comes tumbling out of her mouth before she even stops to think about it. "No I'm not!" A backtrack as she thinks about what she just said. "Okay, maybe I am." She uses Darek's hand to drag herself back to her feet, smoothing out her skirts and checking the satchel at her side to ensure that nothing inside is broken. She frets over this as her fingers root around.
Nathaniel shakes his head. "I doubt that she believes in chairs attacking her," he comments, lifting the chair and setting it into place beside one of the tables. Then he turns to the girl and offers, "If you need anything, lass, just ask."
Pale blue eyes continue to watch after the blind girl and the two commoner boys. Saffron glances toward Alys now with a small smile quirked on her lips. "I hope that everyone else will see it that way. My mother wrote a letter suggesting to be strategic in my guest list, but to Hells with that," she proclaims softly. There is a small smile that dimples her cheeks before she glances back toward the group once more. "Who is that?" She whispers to Alys, pointing at the squire.
Darek looks over to Nathaniel, rolling his eyes dramatically, "C'mon, man. It's better than, 'you tripped and fell.'" Looking back to Aylene, he flashes a dimpling grin that the girl can't even appreciate, "Let's get you sitting down somewhere, yeah? Then I'll play you something." He waggles his eyebrows, starting to guide her over to a chair that hasn't attacked her, "That'll take your mind off your troubles, I bet."
Alys nods curtly, "As it should be, my lady. You should not have to separate your friends because of a few quarrels. Likewise, your friends should not have to separate themselves from you on your most celebratory of days." a smile dances across her lips as her gaze trails to where the lady points. "That be Darek, my personal guard, Jac's squire. I do not think I caught his last name though, but Ser Jac has taken him under his wing." She miles sheepishly.
"I like music!" Aylene says brightly. "I play and sing. I am learning from Master Faulon to be a bard myself." Attempts at making her swoon through the grin fall on blind eyes - literally - and the girl is content to just follow along. She looks back in the direction of Nathaniel's voice. "Thank you for your help," she offers. A hesitation. "My Lords?" It's a question.
"I've heard Ser Kamron mention a Ser Jac… he looks to be a bit of a troublemaker," Saffron comments toward the Charlton girl. "If I understand it, he punched Ser Martyn. Something about complimenting Lady Katrin. I feel as though there is more to that story, but trying to talk to Ser Martyn about Lady Katrin isn't the easiest quest." She blinks suddenly, and she even colors a bit — that lovely noblewoman's pink shade. "I'm gossiping," she says abruptly.
Nathaniel nods by habit to the girl, and answers with quiet reserve, "You're welcome, lady." Then, when she asks about lords, he counters, "What about them, lady?"
"He what?" Alys casts the squire an unapproving glance. "Why ever would he do that?" She sighs heavily, "I think you are right my lady, trouble does seem to follow him. Whether it his fault or no." Alys deflates slightly though nods at Saffrons's next. "Aye, I had suspected as such. He seemed absolutely smitten with her at the dance." She blushes lightly before sipping her wine. "Gossip makes courtly life interesting, and you cause no harm in your words. It is hardly gossip if it is truth. I should say it is truthing." Alys chuckles lightly and sets down her cup. "I have been told I should meet my betrothed soon." Alys says staring into the cups contents.
Nevan only really recognizes one person, and sort of recognizes a few more from the group in the common room. Good enough for him, apparently, and he steps his way past other patrons to get in on the conversation. "Greetings, Lady Saffron. I'm not sure if you remember me - I am Ser Nevan Erenford, 4th son of Lord Miraz Erenford, Lord of Heronhurst - Ser Brennart's younger brother. I met you at the tower, I believe, a few days ago. Congratulations on your wedding date," cheerily greets the young Erenford, seeming genuine enough in his well-wishes as he glances around at the noblewoman's company. "There was no trouble, I assume? This place is usually a bit quieter."
Darek laughs lightly at Aylene's appreciation for his words, if not his grin, "Well, I'm a fiddler, myself. Never going to be bard, but I don't want to be that. I just let the music roll through me." And he collects his bow again, raising it up to the strings of his instrument. "And I'm not Lord." He looks over to Nathaniel, "Don't know about this gent… but I'm a squire. Darek Boldt's the name, and bein' bold's my game." The squire pauses, thinking that statement over, then changes his mind, "nope. That doesn't work. Let's try this instead." And he starts to play, a bouncy, jolly little song to the tune of a Riverlands nursery rhyme. Too bad he's focused on Aylene and Nathaniel, so he can't defend what's left of his honor against Saffron's heinous rumor-mongering.
"Wait no," Saffron says as she blinks a bit. "No, Ser Martyn punched him… that's what I heard." She flushes again, pink at her cheeks. "I worry that if Ser Martyn is finding it so easy to swing about at a squire that things are getting too intense. I wish there was something I could do about it." Then she shakes her head a bit, breathing out a sigh. Her ears perk a bit at the news of Alys having to meet her own betrothed and she blinks. "Who are you betrothed to, Lady Alys?" That question is allowed to hang there as she looks up toward Ser Nevan, and she patiently waits for him to announce his full title. "Ser Nevan, I do remember you." She smiles a bit. "And thank you." She turns a bit, gesturing toward the Lady beside her. "Ser Nevan, this is Lady Alys Charlton." She pauses to smile. "A friend of mine."
Aylene giggles at Darek's words and after she's safely seated in a chair, and out of the possibility of falling over another one, she looks back toward Nathaniel. "Are you a lord?" she asks. "I don't want to be rude but… obviously, I can't see you to know for sure." She looks back at the Squire. "Being a squire must be exciting. You get to see all sorts of places and meet new people." And then she looks embarrassed. "Aylene Sedley," she introduces of herself.
"Oh dear." Alys says with her hand covering her mouth. "I could speak to him, it was my guards squire he hit." She smiles lightly, "And it is my dear cousin he wishes to be with. I am betrothed to my cousin, Ser Perrin Haigh." She smiles weakly before looking up to Nevan, though blushes slightly as it was the Erenfords her father marched towards. Dipping her head in courtesy she greets the knight. "Ser Nevan, well met."
Nathaniel shakes his head when Darek looks to him, and answers, "I'm no lord, lady, nor am I a squire, but a courier for the Terricks." Then he loosk from her to the dog sitting hear the door, and he mentions, "There is a dog by the door, lady. Is he yours? If so, and you want him near, I'll gladly bring him to you."
Darek laughs softly at Aylene's words, "Being a squire mostly means taking care of your knight's horse and armor, and being told to go run around the Keep five times whenever you step out of line." Throughout his words, the bubbling little song keeps at it, his hand darting back and forth with the bow to keep the music flowing. "I get to run a lot." That could be a complaint from another youth, but Darek makes it a laughing near-boast. Nathaniel's offer to Aylene draws a chuckle from the squire, but he concentrates on his playing.
"A pleasure, Lady Alys," Nevan answers to the Charlton noblewoman, smiling brightly to her. He does lift his brows a bit at her words with Saffron, though, the young knight letting loose a small, awkward chuckle. "Apologies if I was eavesdropping, Lady Alys. I'm reminded of when my father used to say the Charltons snubbed us by setting their marriages to Haighs and largely ignoring us, but honestly I see too many examples to the contrary. Lady Isla Haigh is mother to a couple of my cousins, and I think they're a fine house with fine representatives in the Roost despite the supposed rivalry. I've been treated well by all of them…except perhaps Lady Katrin, but I could hardly fault her for being absentminded, given her situation," Nevan explains, though does shift his focus over toward Saffron as he gives her a broader, more carefree grin. "So, Lady Saffron! How many casks of wine do I need to give your betrothed to get put on the guest list?"
Saffron's maid, who has kept very quiet up to this point, makes a soft noise as if to remind Saffron she is there. The Banefort looks up with a start, glancing over toward the older woman with a tilt of her head. Then understanding dawns and she releases as light exasperated sigh. "I'm sorry, Lady Alys… its about time for me to be back at the tower." She does grin toward Nevan before she shakes her head a bit. "My Lord, you are of course invited. Though if you would like to donate a few casks, I'm sure neither of us will turn them down." She smiles toward Alys and then back to Nevan. "Perhaps you will keep my friend company for a time, Ser Nevan?" Because there's nothing like putting a Charlton and an Erenford at the same table.
"Not necessary," Aylene replies and turns towards the dog. "Sphinx!" she calls and the dog immediately stands and trots over, pressing his muzzle into his mistress' hands. "He is very well trained, Master courier," she says. "He watches over me when I travel about so that way nothing will happen to me."
A bright smile lights Alys' face as the lady excuses herself. "Of course, my lady. It has been a pleasure to see you again. Give your family and your betrothed my best. I should be about the Roost for a few days yet." She dips her head, "I should think Ser Nevan will keep me company." She gestures to the man to sit down at a seat across from her before addressing the kindly Erenford man with a smile. "Join me if you please. That is kind of you to say, Ser Nevan. Though, it could say that every family has it's faults. I think there is enough intermingling between families, some more or less than others. though I hold none any ill will."
Nathaniel grins while he watches the dog prance across the room to his mistress. Then he laughs. "Indeed, lady, he is quite well trained, and looks to be the fine and faithful traveling companion that you need." He looks at the dog and smiles. "You needn't bother with giving me a title, lady, Nathniel is enough." He looks to Darek and nods. "I wish that I could have stayed last night to hear you play before the interruption, but I needed to take my horse to the stables. I'm sorry that I missed the music."
"I'd be happy to, Lady Saffron, good evening to you," speaks the Erenford knight in farewell, smiling back at Alys as he takes his seat at the table. "As I've seen - but as 4th son, politics are thankfully none of my concern, and I prefer it that way. The Charlton I know best here is Ser Harold, an admirable if not somewhat quiet man. He reminds me of my master."
"Mine nuncle, yes, he is a very good man. Fair and true. I care about politics for as much as I have to, or as I m aproched with it. I can be deviously adept in such things if I am cajoled into doing so." Alys giggles lightly at the thought. "Pray tell, ser, what do you like to do here at the Roost." Alys lifts her cup of wine and takes a drink holding it for the moment as she listens to the Erenford knight to speak.
Darek looks over at the dog when it comes as its called, "Damn well-trained dog, Miss Aylene." He draws the little nursery-rhyme song to a close, flourishing a bow that the young woman can't see, "Glad to see you've got someone watching after you." Nathaniel's words draw a shrug of his shoulders, "I play a hell of a lot. You'll get another chance." He plays a triumphant little sting on the fiddle, then adds, "Everybody should hear me play at least once…"
Aylene chuckles. "I'd like the chance to play with you sometime, Squire Darek," she says, clapping her hands together. "I like getting to play with different people. It helps me to learn more." Squinx is given a loving pat on the head. "I worked with him from a small puppy to help me," she explains to Nathaniel. "I may not have my sight, but I won't be useless or bound to one spot."
Nevan, noticing free wine on the table, /of course/ pours himself a glass and imbibes of it gingerly. Alys's words about politics causes Nevan to grin at her playfully. "Oh, is that so? I'd almost like to see that, Lady Alys, but I may be too fearful to witness it. As for the Roost…" Nevan stops to ponder, glancing over at the bard-ing going on over in another part of the common room. "Well, merely sitting here and watching the antics of all the bards passing through is one. Though I tend to enjoy going around and meeting everyone, unintentionally angering people by making poorly worded jokes - but that's standard noble faire, not very interesting I imagine. I enjoy sparring when I can with the fellows here, the coastline is nice for general wanderings or spearfishing - a common hobby of boys over in Heronhurst. And, of course, making sure my family here doesn't get into much trouble. Or causing trouble for them. Depends on my mood! What about you, Lady Alys?"
Nathaniel glances from Aylene to Sphinx and back to Aylene again. "Did he come to you, or you to him?" he asks. "Then he invites, "Why don't you play something for us now? I can't speak for others, but I would like that very much."
Alys takes a glance at the patrons and the bards working for coin or a single drink. Alys sends a drink to a bard for such a feat, though not so much a bard he was but her guards squire, Darek, a mug of ale. A boy should have some ale, even though he was closer to her age than any boy. "Aye, I do enjoy simple entertainment. Poorly worded jokes, eh? I must hear one of these jokes. I promise to take no offense." Alys smiles brightly, "I enjoy a good book, a quite spot by a river, but I would not be opposed to learn to fish." Alys takes a sip of her cup and smirks as the knight takes a cup for himself.
"I doubt I could make a living doing it, but I'd be glad to take you out there and show you at some point if you'd like. Hm, perhaps not spearfishing - that depends on how horrified your handmaiden looks when the subject is broached," Nevan supposes with a bit on an evil grin at the end, taking a further sip of his wine as he relaxes back in his chair with a calm, peaceful expression over his face. "Mm, well, unfortunate comments at the wrong time to the wrong people that I thought were a little amusing, and were misunderstood. Fortunately both matters have been resolved - personally, at least. That situation with Ser Martyn was unfortunate, that brawl could've easily started with me, I think, but he eventually ran into someone who wasn't nearly as diplomatic as myself."
Darek gestures toward Aylene with his bow, "So what do you play, Miss Aylene?" He frown in thought, "I bet it's a harp. Maybe a flute?" Looking over Nathaniel, he grins crookedly, "Something you'd like to hear in particular?" He makes a slight gesture, "I can play most anything," and his puts bow to strings, "Ballads," and the bow moves slowly, bringing up a soft strain, "reels," and the tempo rises to a quick skirl, "and just about anything else…" And there's a sudden aggressive moment of the bow, raising up a sharp squeel that descends into a low hum. It's not… traditional, but there's a sort of contagious music to it. The arrival of the mug of beer for him brightens his features, "Hey… great!" And he looks around for the one responsible.
Alys slides her maid Matty a look. The sweet older woman smiles back at the woman as she feels Alys' gaze. "Spear fishing, no. Though I am sure if you do the spearing I am more than alright to watch." Alys smiles brightly as she turns her attentions back to the man at her table. She chuckles lightly at his next, "Is that not how it always is, ser. Improper words at the worst timing that is? Though, I take little or no offense to most of the words said to or about me ser. Though if I blush, pay no mind." Alys chances another glance to her guard's squire as the barmaid/whore brings the lad a glass mug of ale. "It would seem the boy has much and more to learn Ser Nevan."
"Lots of things!" Aylene says brightly. "I do play the harp," she adds with a nod, her fingers brushing over the strings within her satchel. "And the pipes. And even the drums. My last Master liked me to be able to keep tempo with him when he played big parties so I learned to play the drums for him." But after some deliberation, she pulls out the pipes for this particular evening. "I also like to sing."
"Actually …" Nathaniel begins, when a well-endowed barmaid delivers a large mug of ale to Daven. He grins at the sight of the squire's eagerly welcoming the brew. Then he continues, "Actually, I was hoping that the young lady might play something." He turns to direct his words so that she will have no doubts. "Please?" he requests. "Whatever you would like to play will be fine."
Darek takes bow from fiddle to accept the mug, even setting them both down on the table. Alys glancing in his direction as he's looking for someone to thank causes him to lift up the mug in salute and bow his head before he looks back to the bardlette and courier, taking a swig of his new ale as he does. Swallowing, he catches all of one things from Aylene's words, "Drums? You play the drums? My knight sings… they call him the Songbird. And I play fiddle. We've been looking for a drummer. I think that's the sound we need." And then Nathaniel's words settle in, and he blinks, "Oh… right." He clears his throat and settles down into a seat, taking another swig of his ale.
"I'm certain I wouldn't mind if you blushed, Lady Alys. It wouldn't be an unpleasant sight," Nevan adds teasingly, giving a nod over to the squire. "Ah, don't they all, but I was just like him…maybe…not /just/ like him…only 5, 6 years ago. I'd say most of what you need to learn starts glomming up in the last couple years, however, he'll have his time."
Nevan seems to enjoy the wine, as he continues to sip at it intermittently. He looks sarcastically disappointed as spearfishing is swiftly denied, though grins afterward. "I'm certain a line would be acceptable, if you don't mind a calmer experience to thrashing about in the surf with a stick."
Alys lifts her glass and speaks to Nevan, "Let us hope that mug causes no issue." Alys smiles and speaks heavily to Darek, "The sweetest songbird in all of the seven kingdoms. I have most respect for Ser Jac, let us hope you will too Darek." Alys smiles and turn back to Nevan and blushes as if on command. "I… well, you are quite the charmer ser, I will give you that. You flatter truly. " Alys smiles through the pink on her cheeks. "He will learn, Ser Jac is a good man, gentle when the time affords it, and hard when it is needed. The boy is lucky." Alys says with a passing glance towards Darek.
Aylene blushes a little at Nathaniel's request, "O-o-o, I could do that if you'd like," she says shyly. She considers and then tucks the pipes away and pulls out her harp once again. She clears her throat. "I hope that is alright with you, Squire, sir." But the blind girl does manage a smile. "I would like to play drums for you and your knight some time. It could be fun to play with more people!" A pause. "If it's alright with my Master, of course."
Nathaniel steps away to fetch a chair for himself and places it so that he is not in the way of Aylene or Sphinx. Then he enoucrages, "Please, play what you want. I'm sure that you'll do your best when you play the songs that you like most."
Darek waves his free hand airly as Aylene checks in with him, his other hand still totally busy with the mug of ale, "Totally fine, Miss." And then Alys' heavy voice causes his shoulders to tense up instinctively, looking for a moment like a turtle trying to retract his head back into his shell. Turning back around to address the Lady, he adds, "Oh, he's a right good singer, Milady. And a good teacher too." The blush causes the squire to turn his attention on the other noble, his eyes narrowing for a moment before he offers up another grin, "I heard you're supposed to be meeting your betrothed soon, right Milady?" As he speaks, he keeps his attention clearly on Nevan, however. Apparently, the squire plans to play guard-dog while his knight is away.
Alys narrows her eyes at the squire. "Aye, I have announced as such. But that is a hope of mine, not a fact." She gives the squire a look of 'what are you getting at?' "Do you cast aspersions on my good name Darek? I simply have a conversation with a Knight whose homelands my father marched upon. It is diplomacy." Alys blushes with a bit of ire, and waves for the squire to depart, and quickly.
Alys seems to have the matter all well and handled, so Nevan can only offer Derek an innocent smile as Alys berates him. That he obviously isn't enjoying in the slightest! No, not at all. Any smirk is hidden behind his glass as he sips as his wine. "The matter was quite quickly taken care of, or else I wouldn't be out here," Nevan adds in response to the thing about the whole invasion and whatnot.
Uh oh. Aylene can hear if nothing else, and the growing ire in Alys' voice is not lost to the blind bardette. She clears her throat once and immediately starts plucking out a tune on her harp which swiftly turns into an outright melody. Her notes are clearly accentuated with each movement across the strings, giving birth to an upbeat number. But what really catches the performance and offers life is the girl's voice when she adds in her song. A sweet, clear soprano, she sings the tale of a lad who runs away from home to fight in a far off war and is knighted for his bravery after saving a village of women and children from rape and murder by the evil barbarians that attacked the shores in the Riverlands.
Darek blinks in total surprise at Alys' response, paused with his mug of ale halfway up to his mouth again. Setting the mug down quickly, he bounces to his feet, bowing his head and knuckling his brow, "No Milady. Not at all, Milady. I'd never cast asper-whatsits on your good name." He very carefully doesn't look over at Ser Nevan pointedly, because that would be rude, and he's been told not to be rude." The wave causes him to snatch up his fiddle and bow, nodding his head to Nathaniel and Aylene, "Sorry…" the words are whispered harshly and quickly so as to not interrupt the song as it starts up. And then he's scurrying out. He knows his cue to exeunt stage that-a-way.
Alys is atleast kindly enough to let such matters drop as she proffers the squire a keen grin. "I would hope my betrothed to not be so against diplomacy. If he does, I should think him to be most unwise. Enjoy the young woman over there she plays the harp most lovely, will you please and leave the politics to the Ladies and Lords of court. " She smiles to the squire as he corrects himself. "Of course, Darek." Alys dips her head and turns back to the Ser who sits with her. "Aye, that it was. It was no time at all that word was sent then the matter resolved." she smiles lightly. "I should think I will have quite a time with this squire, no?" Alys chuckles just as lightly. "Ah well, ser, such is the way of boys and those who know not the better. Sometimes I believe we should strap bells to their shoes and make them wear silly hats and play the fool for all the dimwitted things they say." Alys says with another chuckle, clearly is jesting as she rests her chin on that of her hand who's elbow is resting gently on the table.
Nathaniel listens attentively to Aylene's song. He taps one finger on the table in time to the music, and laughs at the occasional word-plays and subtle jokes in the story that she weaves in song. He nods to Darek when the squire sees the wisdom in a hasty retreat. When she brings the song to a triumphant finish, his grin is evident even in his voice. "Well done!" he congratulates her. When she lowers the harp again, he explains. "I fear that the squire needed to leave." Then he offers, "I cannot offer much, lady, but if you would like something to eat or erink, and if we have it in this humble place, I will order it for you. You've earned it and then some."
"I'm sorry if I caused you trouble with him, Lady Alys, but squires are squires for a reason. Too long studying under your master and you forget how things work in society, I suppose? You handled it quite expertly, anyway," Nevan compliments with a dip of his head in thanks to Alys, keeping a little grin at the corner of his mouth. "So - have you heard about the hunt, Lady Alys?"
As Aylene brings the song to a close, she carefully lays her harp on the table next to her and beams in Nathaniel's direction. "I like that song. It's so full of bravery and heroic deeds!" she says brightly. She tilts her head. "He left? I hope he didn't take offense to my song." And now she frowns with concern.
Alys blushes at the compliment. "My thanks, this is Jac's first squire, just gained the other day. And therefor, my first time with a squire. He is like a father figure to me, ser, Ser Jac I mean. That man would take an arrow for me so long as that means I am safe, he loves my father muchly I should think and myself like hiswon daughter." Alys smiles and turns a brow upward to Nevan. "Hmm, no I have not heard of a hunt. When and what shall you be hunting, ser?" Alys takes a drink of her wine, casting a small grin over it's rim.
"Not just me, of course. Ser Justin is organizing it - he's gained permission from one of the last Camdens to lead a hunt into Tall Oaks to get supplies and food for the Roost. It's going to be a large event, and the other Ladies are talking about organizing competitions out of it for the men and the women. Ser Justin's organizing it, not sure exactly when he plans to make the foray. Annoying a quality as it may be, you'll find if you know me for awhile that I certainly cannot resist the allure of that, and I think a few of my cousins are going as well. My brother, Ser Brennart, may still be in Heronhurst during it - though with the way he's dragging on about that, I doubt he'll ever leave. I think I even inspired Lady Nedra to organize a scavenger hunt for the Ladies." (Nevan)
Nathaniel sighs audibly. "No," he assures. "It wasn't your singing. The lady near us commanded him to go. He said … something that offended her. I'm sorry to say that he has done so twice in as many days, with different people." He watches another barmaid hurrying past their table, and he urges, "But come. You haven't told me what you would like. I'll order seomthing for Sphinx, too, if you'd like. If it were a contest between you and the squire, you win quite well to me."
"You don't have to do something like that for me!" Aylene protests to Nathaniel. "You wanted a song and I wanted to make sure you had a good one." She blushes and looks down at her hands. It's the gesture that counts, right? But her stomach rumbles. "I guess I am a little hungry and thirsty," she admits slowly. "Whatever they have for both me and Sphinx. Thank you, Master Nathaniel."
"The ladies about tend to not be too creative. I shoot bow, and I have a hawk, though I am not sure how to exactly use it. But it has been trained. So I do not think there is much I have to do." Alys ponders. "A scavenger hunt would be most pleasing, perhaps a horse race. A small one mind, we do not need ladies falling from their horses and getting injured." Alys smiles, "Do you know which -other- ladies are planning such things I am afraid I do not know Lady Nedra personally." Alys' eyes glance to the glass of wine she has placed in front of herself, she lifts it to her lips and takes a sip before setting it down.
"Then you're in luck. Lady Nedra managed to cajole Ser Justin into agreeing with hawking and archery competitions for the Ladies as well. Ser Justin said 'herb gathering' and Lady Nedra thought that'd be a little boring, until I suggested the hunt, which she took great interest in," Nevan explains, seeming a little proud at least of his input there. To Alys's question, he pauses and strokes at his beard. "Hm…Lady Muirenn is 'in on it', as well, I believe? I don't recall any others."
Alys perks up at the man's words. "That is most interesting, ser." Alys also ponders as she sits with the glass in her hand raised to her lips. "I know Lady Muirenn, albeit slightly." She lowers the drink enough to clear her face, framed in full think fiery curls. "I should think to speak to either one of these ladies." Alys smiles. "I think you for the information, ser. It should make for a fun event." Alys dips her head to the Erenford man.
"Lady Nedra is very, very personable and quite friendly with my family, or perhaps I mean my brother," Nevan suspects with a chortle, his lips set in a grin while he refills his wine glass. "I think they match well…but I also think if I continue making the insinuation in front of her she'll throw me in the wharf." He then nods back to the Charlton noblewoman. "Of course! I look forward to seeing you - I can handle a bow quite well myself, not quite the same as I can a lance, so I'd be very interested in seeing how you do."
Nathaniel glances to the table where Nevan is explaining this hunt to Alys, and with a deep nod of his head, he adds, "Lady Muirenn is indeed helping with the plans, as is Lady Anais. Lord Ser Justin said this afternoon that he planned to hold contests of many kinds, with modest prizes to the winners. He has talked about allowing women who can sing or tell stories to accompany us as well. Lord Brennart Erenford is aware of the hunt, and said last even that he intends to go, if possible." Having offered all that he knows, he lifts a hand to signal to a passing barmaid, and instructs, "Please bring a large bowl of venison stew, a round loaf of bread, a ration of meat, and two cups of tea." THe barmaid leans to whisper something to Nathaniel and then man sighs. "I know that it's my week's ration. I'll find food in the woods. Pleaes, do as I asked." Then girl hurries for the kitchen, and Nathaniel turns to Aylene. "IF you want wine rather than tea, I'll order that and pay for it myself."
Her eyes widen a little and Aylene immediately shakes her head. one advantage of losing one sense is that the others increase to compensate. Her hearing is excellent. "Master Nathaniel, I cannot let you waste your rations on me!" she protests. "Please, a cup of tea is all I'll need. I can find food elsewhere."
There is no hood nor breeches on this little bastard girl today. Instead, she is dressed in a simple dress of oatmeal linen accented in bands of blue silk. It is amazing how neatly she goes from the little thief with her hair in plaits in boy clothes to a teenage girl of loose curls and a feminine figure to boot. She strides into the inn — through the door no less. This shocks one of the serving maids who looks dead-on at Sela before she smirks. "Can't get through the window in a skirt, Miss Hill?" The maid asks as she carries a tray of empty mugs toward the bar. Sela just scowls at her as she strides for the little bar at the back of the common room.
A grin is set for Nathaniel. "Stories, I have loads of stories, based on the lore of King's Landing and beyond. I shall speak to whomever I need for the occasion. As I am a decent marksman with a bow, I should say it would be a pleasant trip." Alys smiles brightly and looks to Nevan. "I should make my leave soon, I have matters to attend to as I am sure you would understand my lord." Alys' maid nods and starts to pack up her wares as Alys begins to make her farewells.
"Then I have accomplished by task for Lady Saffron, though I think she did me the favor in this case and not the other way round. It was very pleasant speaking with you, Lady Alys, I look forward to seeing you again, on the hunt as well if you attend. And of course, my thanks for the wine," adds Nevan with a small wink to the Charlton Lady, finishing his glass in one last gulp and rising steadily from the table as he bows his head to Alys. "If you've need of me again, I'm easy enough to find."
"You earned it, Mistress Sedley," Nathaniel insists. "You and Sphinx are strangers here. I can find food here easily enough. I'll be fine." For a moment, his attention goes back to the lady, and he urges, "Speak with Lord Ser Justin or Lady Anais, then. I'm sure that one of them will be pleased to speak with you." While he is talking, he sees the busy barmaid returning from the kitchen with a tray. The buxom girl delivers it to the table that he and Aylene are sharing, with Aylene's large but quiet dog, Sphinx, lying on the floor at the girl's feet.
"Oh, but…" Aylene tries to protest again, but she sighs. "Then I will owe you another song whenever you feel the need," she says firmly. "Thank you so much for your kindness." She bites at her lower lip. "You can call me Aylene. Mistress Sedley just sounds way too grown up for me." Sphinx looks up at the possibility of being fed with big hopeful eyes.
Alys lets out a bright watt smile for the knight Nevan. "I am most pleased as well ser, I shall thank Lady Saffron when I next see her." Alys stands and curtsies. "I should hope so, I would be happy to join you all on the hunt. Perhaps I shall speak of the Rat cook." Alys chortles as she gathers her maid and tome. "Until next time, my lord." Alys smiles towards the last place she saw the squire Darek, twitching her head toward the blind commonwoman. "Good eve, all." She says directly to Nathaniel.
Nathaniel inclines his head deeply to Alys when she directs her words to him. "Thank you lady," he replies. He helps the barmaid to unload her tray, placing the bowl, one of the cups, and spoon before Aylene. "The bowl is in front of you," he explains. The spoon is on your right. The cup of tea is on your left above the bowl." He takes the quite small bit of meat, no more than what a person might use for one sandwich under normal circumstances, and elands down to set it before the dog. When he sits up again, he looks toward the other barmaid making her snide remark to Sela, and then to the girl herself. He blinks, and stares for a moment, studying that face. Then he inclines his head in case she happens to see him.
"It smells wonderful, thank you, Master Nathaniel," Aylene says, carefully checking the locations of each item listed with her fingers, trying to avoid burning herself on any hot liquids. "Are you to eat as well?" she asks. "I would feel bad if I ate and you didn't."
Alys curtsies once more to Nathaniel and heads her way up the stairs to her rooms. The barmaid would put her purchases to her tab. "Good eve, all." With a slight smile Alys leaves all, sparing Nathaniel an extra glance for helping the blind commonwoman.
The little thief — because a thief in a dress is still a ruddy thief — sweeps past several tables, and as she passes a recently vacated seat, Sela lifts a half-consumed flagon of wine with sweeping grace that it is as if she pulls the flagon from her skirts. She sets it down immediately in front of the bar with a winning smile. "Might I have a refill please?" She crosses her arms along the bar, showing off the bits of bosom her corset enhances. The bartender snorts a bit, though he does refresh her cup. "You can put it on my tab," she says with a smoothness to her tone. When she glances over her shoulder toward the rest of the bar, and her gaze falls on Nathaniel and the common girl he is seated with. She offers him a long distance smile, raising her flagon before she takes a sip.
Once Alys is gone, the kitchen door peeks open a moment, and then Darek comes swaggering back through, still carrying his fiddle and bow. He meanders back toward where Aylene and Nathaniel are seated, collecting his mug of ale again and raising it in salute to both of them, "Sorry about that. Duty called." He takes a swig of the ale, looking over to eye the hips and corset hanging around the bar — oh and the woman between them too, of course.
When Aylene reaches to find the cup of tea, Nathaniel reaches, too. softly tapping its side until her hand finds it. Then he withdraws his hand. He reaches for the round loaf and the knife. "I'll have some of the bread, Aylene," he answers her, speaking quietly. "I ate other food earlier. I have a cup of tea, too. Please, enjoy it." When Darek returns, he inclines his head to the squire and agrees, "Indeed, duty can have a sharp voice at times." He cuts the loaf into slices, and places all but one slice to the right of Aylenee's bowl. "Your bread is on the right," he advises, directing that comment to the girl.
"Are you sure?" Aylene asks once again. Her fingers feel out the sheer size of the bowl. "You can have some of the stew! I don't think I could ever eat this much all by myself." She gives a bright smile. "I don't mind sharing. Especially since you're the one who bought it for me."
As the squire makes his entrance from the kitchens, Sela narrows her eyes to watch after him. She takes another sip of her pilferred wine before she departs the bar, flagon in hand. She starts toward the growing table, and her brilliant eyes brighten a bit. "Nathaniel, I thought I saw you over here." Her gaze sweeps over Darek. "Squire… I'm sorry, I never caught your name." Then she looks over toward Aylene, giving the girl a glance over before she offers another smile. "Who is this?"
Darek shrugs at Nathaniel, taking another swallow of his ale, "People are so touchy." He looks back to Sela as she approaches, "Well hello…" The squire blinks then, his voice changing from standard bad-boy-come-hither to pure annoyance, "The fuck? You're the one who was trying to grab me so that knight could slug the hells out of me." Plucking up his bow, he points it at the thief-in-a-dress, "Why did you want me to get slugged? All I did was say that some lady was real pretty." That's how he remembers it, and that's how he's going to keep spreading it.
Nathaniel glances from Darek to Sela and grins at the squire's memory of the previous night's little incident. He speaks first, however, to Aylene. "I'm sure, Aylene," he insists. He glances to the dog at her feet, and then notes, "Sphinx is already enjoying his part. You should enjoy yours. As I said, as far as I'm concerned, you earned all of it." Then he looks from Aylene to Sela, and introduces, "Sela, this is Mistress Aylene Sedley, a very talented bard." Returning his attention to Aylene, he adds, "Aylene, this is Sela Hill, an equally talented magician. Her specialty is in causing things to disappear."
"A magician?" Aylene asks curiously. She looks in Sela's general direction. "I do hope that you wouldn't make my instruments disappear, Mistress Sela," she says with a polite smile. But she blushes at the praise. "I am not… I mean, that is to say I am still just learning…" She clears her throat. "Thank you for the kind words, Master Nathaniel."
Sela snorts. "I wasn't holding you so Ser Martyn could hit you, I was trying to pull you out of the fight entirely. I was trying to come between the two of you." She crosses her arms at her chest, narrowing her eyes at him with the same sternness her mother mastered. She sets her flagon down on the table before she slips into the open seat at the table. She sets down her flagon after another drink, keeping her gaze focused on the squire. "Next time, I'll just let you get hit." There is a combination of annoyance and hurt at his accusations that she wanted him to get hit. It is perhaps best that Nathaniel starts talking because it gives her a distraction. She blinks a bit at his introduction of her, and she actually looks caught off guard. "I… hello, Miss Aylene. I'm not… a magician."
Darek shakes his head, "Hells, girl. I can take care of myself." Halfway through, his tone changes from annoyance to braggadocio. "I only let myself get hit because that Lord wasn't going to give up swinging until he hit something besides air." He raises his fiddle up to his chin, poising the horsehair over his strings. "I recall you like folk songs, Miss Sela. Is that as far as your musical tastes go?" And he's gone straight from annoyed to bragging and now on to challenging.
"I mean them sincerely," Nathaniel replies. "And you needn't call me 'Master.' I hear enough of 'Master' or 'Courier' from people who usually want to give orders. Call me Nathaniel, although if you find yourself in need while you're here at the Roost, find me and I'll gladly be at your service." Just then, a page charges into the inn, breathless and with eyes darting from one table to the next. He finally looks at the table where Nathaniel and Aylene are sitting, and he runs across the room.
"Master Corbitt, I've been sent to fetch you back to the tower. Lady Nedra's mare has escaped." Nathaniel sighs and leans down to offer the uneaten portion of his bread to Sphinx. "I need to go," he tells Aylene, "but please remember my offer. I'll return soon if I can, and if you'll play another song for me, I'll be grateful. I think that I'll need it after hunting for Jinx." He stands from his chair and bows to the others at the table. "Good day to you," he offers his farewell, before following the page at a trot.
Aylene smiles brightly up to Nathaniel, "It was nice to have met you, Nathaniel!" she says. "Thank you again for the meal. I will happily play you another song when we next meet." She then turns her attention back to the large meal in front of her, clearly perplexed on how to eat it. After grasping and groping for a spoon, she stirs the hot liquid around in its bowl before sampling a small bit.
"Next time, I'll just let whoever is trying to hit you do so then," Sela says with a grunt. There is still several moments necessary before the little thief can recover from being introduced as a magician. "Folk songs?" She asks almost uncertainly before she shakes her head. "Oh, well… that is what I've heard the most. There are not many musicians in the Finger." Too poor. "My Uncle Tristan use to sing to me the Minnow and the Trout. Do you have something better?" She then glances after Nathaniel, frowning a bit. "Bye," she says after him before her gaze shifts back toward the others.
Darek raises the tip of his bow to Nathaniel as the courier departs, then looks back to the two young women, "Spoon's to the right." And then he looks back to Sela, "That's all you know? Too bad… there's so much more to hear." The young man kicks out a chair, resting one boot on the seat as he closes his eyes a moment. His smile spreads slowly, turning into an anticipatory grint, "Alright…" He winces a little as he tucks his chin into the guard on his fiddle, and then puts bow to strings, starting with quick, hard slashes at the strings, getting faster and faster for a few moments. And then he brings the bow back across in a low squeal, fingers causing the know to hum in a vibrato. It's hard, aggressive playing.
"You are going to damage your bow if you are not careful," Aylene comments to Darek as she has another bite of her stew. She's content to just eat and listen, keeping her instruments close at hand, just in case the mood suddenly strikes her. Or she's afraid Sela will make one of them disappear. Who knows.
It does not appear as if this thief has any wish to steal an instrument, though she does not the closeness that the woman has with the items. Her gaze cuts back toward Darek as he starts to play, she taking another strong swallow from the flagon. Its hard not to smile at the young fiddler, though she does seem to be trying to resist beaming at him. He is still a stupid squire after all. She does look toward Aylene briefly. "He has extra bow strings in his pocket," she comments. Now, how does she know that?
Indeed, several hairs have broken free from the bow already to dance at the end of it, not that Aylene could possibly know that. Still, the squeal sinks lower and lower, then returns to those quick, hard strokes, music that's not standard, but it's got an undeniably intoxicating feel to it. His foot starts tapping on the seat of the chair in time with the slashes across his strings, "Y'see why I need a drummer." And once more the fiddle sound rips upward before tearing downward. He makes it through two more… riffs… before Sela's words cut through his music-induced haze, and he blinks hard, bow ending its contact with strings, and he pats his pockets, "Yeah… I do. How the hells do you know?"
"Because she's a magician!" Aylene replies brightly to Darek with a smile. "Play another song, Squire?" she asks pleadingly. "Perhaps one that will not fray the bow beyond all use. She's still happy to eat and listen and talk and contemplate her own music. "One day, I would be glad to play drums for you."
Sela takes another swallow of the wine, letting it dance about in her stomach. She starts to tap along with the music, and it continues on for several more moments after the fiddler has stopped. She glances over toward Darek as she straightens up in her seat. "Magic," she says without missing a beat, offering a smile toward Aylene. Though she offers him a slightly sheepish smile. "No… I just… assume you must carry extra strings. Good musicians do that, right?" She takes another swallow of wine, hopefully washing down her lies. "But… yes… play another song."
Darek looks from one girl to the other, frowning a moment before he eventually shrugs it off, "Magic doesn't exist. Unless you'd like to start talking about grumkins and snarks." There's a moment's pause, and his smirk returns, "I've got a song about that, you know." A bit of a laugh lifts to his lips, and he holds his bow with his left hand a moment to brush back his long, luxurious locks, "March of the Grumkins and Snarks. Bit of a folk song," and he turns his grin over to Sela again, even sneaking a glance at that corset-induced bosom.
Sphinx makes a whining sound. It's a little desperate. Aylene looks down with a knowing look. "Oh. If you might excuse me… I think Sphinx needs his evening walk," she says somewhat sheepishly. "Thank you for the company and entertainment."
"You're welcome," Sela says simply as she looks after the blind girl as she makes her leave. "Perhaps we will see you again," she calls after her. She drops back down to her seat, looking back over toward the long-haired boy. She taps her fingers against the flagon as she considers the squire with those bright blue eyes. "Alright, play it for me, Darek." There is a warm note to her tones, and she leans her weight onto her elbows with her palm holding up her cheek.
Darek looks down to the dog, chuckling softly and nodding, "Nice t'meet you, Miss Aylene." He gestures a moment, then adds, "And your big dog too." Shifting his attention back to Sela, he takes up his bow once more, "Now a guy can get in trouble taking orders from a pretty girl." He makes a gesture with his bow, "What're you gonna do for me if I play you another song, then, Miss Sela?" he emphasizes the title, putting a little smirk behind it.
Sela smirks. "I haven't ordered you to do anything you don't enjoy, Squire Darek," she says with a tilt of her head; dark, rich rye-colored locks sweep across her brow. She finishes off the flagon, feeling the warmth at her cheeks as it draws a flush to her cheeks. His question draws her up short a bit, though the ever adaptable and fleetfooted Sela Shale — or is that Hill now? — does not allow her to miss a beat. She flourishes her hand out — that nimble, thieving hand — and curls her finger a bit to draw him closer to him as if she intends to whisper her payment.
Darek rests his elbow onto his thigh, leaning forward with that cocky grin of his, "Yeah… but my Ma was a barmaid. I know how women worm their way into a man's life." The words are not much more than whispered, and his bow slides across the strings of his fiddle in a soft, quiet little burr of sound. "But that doesn't explain just what it is that you're gonna do in exchange for another song. That song you asked for."
"I'm not terribly good at worming," Sela whispers in return. There is a flush of a blush on her cheeks, and a curve of a smile on her lips. She slips forward a bit on her seat, hands clasping onto the edge of her seat as she leans close to him. "Will this do?" She asks just before she presses a kiss to his cheek. Her eyes close just for a moment so she can again get that little inhale of musk that wafts from his righteous curls. Then she leans back, glancing toward his dark eyes with a lift of her brows expressively over her own brilliant orbs.
Darek resists the urge to turn his face and capture the kiss on his lips, smirking at the press of lips to his cheek, then straightening up, "That'll do." he raises the tip of his bow to pursed lips, "For a short song. Have to give a little more to get something longer." And then he immediately drops the horsehair to the strings, taking in a long, slow breath, and letting it out. What he plays isn't 'March of the Grumkins and Snarks,' but it's something soft, flowing, and melodious.
If Sela indeed has noble blood in her veins, the way she blushes is all commoner — no gentle pink, no little coy flush at the apples of her cheeks. No, she goes all red from hairline to collar, it almost spreading across her chest. She tilts her gaze away with a bit of shyness, though when the boy starts to play, she turns her gaze over toward him with a lift of her eyebrows. As the song begins to play, she relaxes into a small smile. She leans back down into her seat, holding the empty flagon between her small hands. There is definite enjoyment in her pale, freckled expression.
Darek leans into the music, his upper body twisting and turning with the rise and fall of the notes. The soft, sedate music fills the room for a long stretch, and then trails off into one last, lingering note. He draws in a long, slow breath, then settles his bow into his left hand again, scrubbing back his hair and inquiring, "So. Fair trade? One kiss on the cheek for one short song?"
Sela is beaming — and she almost hates herself for it. "That was beautiful," she says in a soft voice before she tilts her head, a small flush still filling her pale face. She bites softly at her lower lip, nodding her head a bit. "It was a fair trade. "What do I have to give for a long song or two short songs?" She says, folding her arms across the table now as she leans on them. This also perhaps provides Darek with another flash of pale, freckled chest.
Darek leans forward again at the question, his eyes ducking down to collect a glance down that v of freckled flesh even as his right hand comes up to tap his lips with his index finger. "I liked that last payment. Like I said, though. It's all about location, now isn't it?" His lean has sent his hair falling across his features, shading one dark eye.
<FS3> Sela rolls Item Appraisal: Good Success.
<FS3> Sela rolls Sleight Of Hand: Good Success.
Sela looks thoughtful, her hand cupping and supporting her cheek with a coy tilt of her head. She is smiling at him, though she has smoothed her expression a bit into something more relaxed and coy. "Is that what its all about?" She asks, a touch of shyness crawling into her voice. She chews a bit on the inside of her cheek before she scoots forward a bit on her seat, coming to its edge once more. She reaches up with one hand, a finger touching at one of those lazy curls of the squire. She is leaning in as if to press a kiss to his lips, her other sweeping up toward his waist. Just within a breath from his lips, her own curves in a smile. "Hmm, I'll have to think about that," she murmurs as she starts to retreat from him.
<FS3> Darek rolls Alertness: Success.
Darek is smirking right up until she starts to retreat, and then he straightens up himself, sneering just a little bit, "Tease." His right hand rises up to scuff back his hair from his face, shaking his head as he does. "First the kiss on the cheek, then trying to make me think you're going to grab my ass." There's another scoff of laughter, and he adds, "Nice play. But y'won't be getting another song without a bit more."
There is quite a bit of shyness from the little bastard. She smiles up at him, still a touch flushed. "You could have kissed me," she points out. "Or am I suppose to do all the work?" She bites softly at the inside of her cheek again before she gives a little toss of her dark rye hair. "But, if I don't get another song until I give you something…" She considers him for a few moments before she leans back in to give his cheek another kiss.
Darek arches his eyebrows, "But you were the one doing the paying…" he stops as she leans in to give his cheek another kiss, and this time he does twist his head to meet her lips with his own. He doesn't press anything then, instead just giving a short, sharp kiss and then letting his lips melt into a smirk. Between them, he reaches across his body, plucking a quick little sting of notes from the fiddle.
The kiss catches the girl off-guard, and she is a rather lame kisser in that regard. The quick, sharp kiss leaves her blinking owlishly as she searches over his dark features. When he plucks those little notes on his fiddle, she releases a sudden and gentle smile that subsides as she leans forward to press another kiss to the squire's lips. This time, she is given a bit more opportunity to prove she is not innocent to the idea of the kiss. Her fingertips curl into the oatmeal-colored linen of her skirts as if to not attempt to search the boy's pockets once more.
Darek begins to laugh as they begin to pull back from the kiss, although it's cut off again as she comes swooping back in like she has something to prove. His hand comes back across his body of its own accord, settling lightly at her waist. He returns that second kiss in the manner in which it is given, then pulls back away, tossing his head to send a lock of hair dancing from his eyes, "Much better. That's definitely worth just about whatever sort of song you'd like, Miss Sela." Oh that smirk is heavy on his lips, and thick in his words.
The little thief is still a little blushed, but when he smirks her way again, it roars up all red and blazing against her freckled skin. She clears her throat gently before she slowly begins to slip to her feet. "But, I'm afraid its getting late… no more time for songs. But… come by again tomorrow, Squire… you can play me what I'm owed then." She bites softly at her lower lip before she starts to step away, her brilliant eyes glancing around toward him as she does.
Darek holds his arms out to his sides as if to make himself a better target, "I'm here most any time I'm not working with my knight, running laps, or playing through the town." He takes up his bow once more, and wrings an overwrought strain of love song from his fiddle, "If you find you can't live without my smile and music." He's laughing however, as much playing a part as he is teasing her. Almost.
"I will find you," Sela reassures him as she continues her way toward the stairs of the common room. She almost bumbs into one of the nobles coming down, but she gracefully dodges him with an apology on her lips. One last glance is cast toward the squire as she starts up the stairs with a little bounce. It is only once she is several steps up does she removes the bit of fiddle wire that she swiped from his pocket, running it between her fingertips with a rather girlish smile on her lips.
Darek reaches out with his bow as Sela turns to set away, trying to swat her lightly on the backside with it, a devilish grin spreading across his lips as he does. If she troubles herself to look back, he'll cast her a merry wink, and then raise bow to fiddle once more to start drawing forth a reel, a song of the Riverlands that is likely familiar to most of those within earshot.