|Of Mice and Men|
|Summary:||Blaire encounters a few of the inhabitants at the Roost|
|Date:||29th September 2012|
|Town Square - Terrick's Roost|
|The town square of Terrick's Roost was once considered well-kept. The stone streets run right up to the building fronts around the edge and the locals have kept the spaces between free of grass and weeds that might otherwise sprung up between them, although dark streaks of stubborn soot have crawled in between the stones. There are several homes and shops located here which show the scars and cinders of the sacking of the town at Ironborn hands. The ruin of the town's Sept can also be seen from here with its ornate stone front rising above the surrounding structures just down the cobblestone road.|
|September 29th 289 A.L.|
Sunlight has yet to touch the square fully, but some of the businesses around the edge of the broad expanse are already active. The inn is alive with the aromas and sounds of breakfast. Horses are whinneying in the stables. People are passing though the square on foot, on horseback, and on wagons that are heavy with supplies. A young man wearing dark clothes and with auburn hair tied behind his neck with a leather cord steps out of the inn and pauses for a moment on its long wooden porch before he steps into the square itself and heads for the hitching post to pat the neck of a chocolate mare before he begins the ritual of checking over her saddle and tack.
A short distance from the square that serves as the center of activity in the town, there's a rather odd sight. Well, depending on your perspective. For, seated quite contentedly on the cobblestone street is a girl; cross-legged and head-bowed. One might be forgiven for thinking her either meditative or drunk, at a glance. Certainly her choice of seating is strange enough to keep most from approaching - passers by at most cast the fey creature a look askance before continuing on their way.
Oddly pristine, in comparison to the soot-riddled buildings looming over and around, the girl is attired in a simple dress of creamy white.. or it was, before she presumably took to plonking herself down upon random patches of earth and stone. It'll be grubby, most likely, when she rises. A swathe of straight chestnut hair veils her features, for the most part, particularly with the downward angle of her attention. A venture closer, though, would reveal a far less outrageous reason for that. She's drawing, in a rather haphazardly constructed tome, with mismatched, rough-cut parchment pages that look to be offcuts of.. well, grander ones. What's the subject? The ruined Sept, maybe? No.. she's not looking up, not even stealing glances. Point of fact, the artist seems utterly oblivious to her surroundings, so focused is she upon her work. Fortunately, the foot traffic swerves naturally around her; this unusual little pebble to their busy stream of activity.
The young man completes his inspection and unties the horse. She is at one end of the rail, and so he needs only to turn her aside rather than back her away from the rail. The man swings into the saddle with ease, and then she starts to walk across the square. They are heading toward Roost Lane, with the rider scanning the area alertly, until he glimpses the figure hunching on the cobblestones. He turns his mare toward that direction and guides her toward the spot. Although traffic often hides the stranger from him, he continues to direct his mount steadiily toward the spot. He stops the horse several yards away, along the side of the road, and then he dismounts. Walking slowly, he approaches the artist, studying her with keen eyes and noting her intense concentration. Finally, he clears his throat with a well-practiced cough. Then, in a quiet, kind tone, he advises, "Be mindful, mistress. Some farmers here pay no more attention to stray persons than they do to stray pebbles."
When the youngster glances up, dimly aware that soneone is speaking and it may very well be to her, wide, doe-eyes settle upon the stranger through wayward strands of her loose hair. A slow blink, and his words seem to filter in. "Oh.." Casting an unperturbed gaze about herself, Blaire seems only mildly surprised to find herself sitting in the middle of the road. Does she remember placing herself there? Whether she does or not, such things don't appear to concern her. Timely, a passing merchant in horse and cart trundles by, the heavy hooves and wheels a worryingly short distance from her booted toes.
More to reassure the kindly young man, the dark-haired girl pushes herself up to a stand, closing her thick book and hugging it comfortably to her chest within slender, folded arms. "It's getting busier." she observes, quite conversationally. Apparently the passing of time isn't a matter for pondering, either. What a strange thing. Is she quite right in the head? The shy smile she offers says yes. The distance in her brown eyes says.. wait and see. "Thank you." is added, as an afterthought. But she hasn't moved from where she was. She's just standing, now.
Nathaniel bows to the girl and offers a warm smile. "You're welcome," he answers politely. He nods to the square beyond them, and agrees, "It is the flow of the day and of business," he answers simply. "I did not wish to intrude on you," he apologizes with a nod to the thick book, "but you wee in harm's way. If I can prevent harm, I will." His eyes pass over her again now that she is standing, and he offers, "I am Nathaniel Corbitt."
"If nobody ever intruded, there'd be scarce few conversations." smiles the brunette. Standing in the middle of the road that leads for the Roost, she speaks with Nathaniel quite pleasantly, ignoring the passers by forced to move around her. Moreso now that she is joined by a man. With a horse, even better! Hugging a weighty book of some sort to her midsection, Blaire seems all at once quite contented where she is, amidst the growing early-morn bustle - and somehow entirely set apart from it, as if it were all part of someone else's dream.
Sticking a hand out in a polite, if rather unladylike, gesture of greeting toward the auburn-haired rescuer, she replies, "Blaire. A pleasure to meet you, I'm sure." An idle glance wanders over her shoulder, toward the towering structure on the outskirts. "..you are heading to the Roost? Or did you change direction to ensure I wouldn't be trampled underfoot?" Her enquiry is gently, but cheerfully voiced, and seems really quite earnest. Not a trace of sarcasm.
Nathaniel reaches to take Blaire's outstretched hand with no hint of surprise at the girl's having chosen a handshake rather than the usual curtsey for her greeting. "I am pleased to meet you as well, Mistress Blaire. It is both, in truth," he admits. "I am heading for the tower, but I thoguht that I should spare a moment to prevent you from coming to harm." He glances toward the tall structure, and then back to Blaire. "If you have business there, and would accept a ride from a stranger, I will be glad to take you there on horseback."
"Oh.." The dark-eyed youngster takes in more fully the sight of Nathaniel's mare, as if really just noticing her. Given the distracted air she seems to possess, it's entirely possible that that's the case. "..no. Thank you." That sunny smile doesn't budge as she looks back up at the man. "I'll be staying out a little longer. I need to find some mice you see." A slow blink. This is apparently a perfectly normal thing to be doing. "Do you happen to know where there might be.. hmm, stables, maybe?" Blaire looks thoughtfully along the street. "They tend to loiter around feed sacks and hay." she explains, just in case Nathaniel doesn't know these things. "And I didn't think to bring any with me, for the journey."
With a soft sigh, bemoaning her own lack of planning, she looks hopefully to the horseman again, awaiting his answer.
Master Nathaniel would see a familiar sight walking up the road towards them - manacles around her ankles - the indentured bandit Freya is grateful for another day alive. She's been cut loose early today from the Leatherworkers. Pretty thing that she is she can work her charms to get a break where she really wants one. With hair of spun gold and a dainty physique she doesn't look like a bandit which is probably why she is still alive. Lacking credibility as a threat is always an advantage when sentencing time came around. She waves to Nathaniel and appraoches him and the young apothecary, "Good eve Master Nathaniel," looking to Blaire, "Milady," she says mistaking her for one of the aristocracy.
As usual Ciaran just sort of is there. As he usually is. Wandering around the square and being quite his usual self. Walking around and just watching all the people around. Wandering along with the crowds. Spotting the courier and his friend along with a new face. Moving towards them and offering them all a bow. "Hello all. Master. Miss. Lady." Perhaps overhearing Freya's words and trusting her to know if the woman is a lady or not.
Studying the new face after a glance have been given to those he knows. "If I may, I'm Ciaran." He offers with a smile. Then his eyes flit over to the others. "How are everyone?"
The question about mice causes his eyebrows to twitch once, very slightly, but Nathaniel remains generally unruffled by this odd question. He looks back toward the inn from which he came recently, and explains, "Like any decent inn, that one has stables adjoining. We also have stables at the tower, and recently received a fresh supply of oats that should whet the appetite of any self-respecting mouse. The choice of hunting ground is yours." He pauses while looking at the rest of the square, and his eyebrows arch again, more than when Blaire asked about the rodents. He watches the blonde girl moving slowly through the square in her manacles, but says nothing for now. In his line of work, he has learned that there are tines better left to silent watching than to questions.
Following Nathaniel's glance toward the inn, leaning a little to one side in order to see past him without shifting her feet, the dark-haired girl studies the building consideringly, as if gauging the standard of mice she might find there. "Well, it's worth a try. Thank you, again." There's no forthcoming explanation, then? Fair enough.
Blaire seems about to say something further, standing straight again.. but oh, more people! Her wide brown eyes take in first Freya, then her manacles, then Freya again. Wait.. milady? "I'm not a milady." she replies, though it's said warmly and with a lacing of amusement at the very idea. "Good morn, misstress." She can't help it, her attention flits downward again to the blonde's ankles. "..aren't those terribly difficult, over stones?" A nudge of her own booted toe to the uneven cobbles further explains that question. Probably. To Ciaran, next, she begins, "I'm not.." But rather than repeat herself - since he probably overheard - she just lapses into a slightly sheepish expression. The young lords and ladies she grew up with would be scandalised, to hear anyone think of Blaire as noble!
Freya looks down at the indignity that is her ankles, "Sorry Mistress," being the very lowest of the low - the spawn of thieves and presently the closest one could come to being a slave in the Roost even a mistress was above her so she inclines her goldsun mop again as she is corrected. Returning to the subject of the manacles, "They make it difficult for me to follow one of the two battle plans my family executed - the running away one - I can still grovel quite fine so they arent that debilitating. I'm Freya - Freya Caul," the girl speaks in a thieves cant popular amonst smugglers mummers and other scum. She smiles at Ciaran in greeting.
Ciaran grins as he listens and watches them all. Blaire getting a wide grin as she tries to explain herself. A bit surprised that she would call Freya for mistress. Though not commenting on it. Just nodding about hern ot being a lady. "Well, you could have fooled me. Looking rather cute." He offers in his usual charming tone and with that smile of his. Then glancing to Nathaniel as well, "Master. Keeping busy?" He asks in kind greeting. Smiling to Freya as well as his eyes move over to her.
Nathaniel shifts his stance so that the can keep an eye on Freya when the girl makes her way across the square and eventually arrives at the head of the cobblestone road. He inclines his head to her, and smiles. "Good morning!" he greets cheerfully. "Did the leatherworker send you on some errand?" he questions. "He seems to have gained a good increase in his business now that he can produce more goods." His gaze wanders past Freya when Ciaran hails him, and he nods to the blacksmith's apprentice as well. "I am well, and already quite busy, considering that I now have more masters to serve at the tower." The news of the new Terricks is, by now, beyond rumor to common knowledge, and their presence has keep the staff at the keep busier than they had expected.
If Blaire even has any opinions about thieves or other such ruffians, it's impossible to discern them from her expression - the girl doesn't so much as bat an eyelash, speaking to Freya as pleasantly as if she were any other young woman, out for an early stroll. "I find it rather difficult to run, even /without// such contraptions.." she muses aloud. But yet again, as is apparently her way, there's no elaboration.
The brunette is similarly unfazed by the outright flattery from this newcomer, turning a serene smile toward Ciaran rather than fluster and deny. If he thinks she's 'cute'.. well, that's a nice thing to say. "Blaire." Her name is offered, not very elegantly but friendly enough, between Freya and Ciaran both. But she doesn't interrupt as Nathaniel picks up the threads of discussion, instead letting her eyes wander to a few sparrows that whir overhead and through to the rafters of one of the more delapidated buildings flanking the road.
Freya hears the cry "Fre Fre!" one of the leatherworkers children has found something fascinating that requires her immediate attention. "I am summoned - nice meeting you mistress Blair see you all later!"
Ciaran grins and nods to Nathaniel first, "I can understand being busy. I suppose it is good work though." He offers and smiles a bit. Then it is to Blaire as his own stance shifts. Nodding to her name. "Nice meeting you, Blaire. So whatcha do 'round here?" He asks and studies her for another moment. Though before getting to ask he is distracted by the call to Freya. Chuckling and nodding as she excuses herself. "See you later, Freya." He offers and looks as she disappears towards the leatherworker's. Eyes going back to those still in his company. "Now, where were we?" He asks with a tiny grin as his eyes flick from one of them to the other.
"An apothecary, of sorts." replies Blaire, her eyes still wandering the sky, studying the clouds now it would seem. "For Lord Bolland and his Lady wife." The way she says it, she may as well be discussing the color of grass, so little does it seem to trouble her. Eventually, though, she seems to remember herself and looks between the two men, with a bright smile. There's no apology for her distraction - she really can't seem to help it. With the departure of the blonde woman, though, Blaire does at least seem spurred into - at last - moving out of the middle of the road. "I ought to go and see about those mice. It'll be breakfast soon." The lack of irony in her tone is the strangest thing. She's completely sincere. "It was lovely meeting you both." That, too, seems entirely genuine, even if her booted feet are already carrying her in wandering steps away from the pair. A hurrying apprentice narrowly avoids colliding with her, as he runs in the opposite direction with an armful of logs. Oops. His glare is met only with an absent-minded, "Oh, beg your pardon.." from the girl, as she drifts away along the street, still hugging her thick tome.
Nathaniel smiles and nod to Ciaran. "I find that there are more errands than hours to fit them," he answers. "New staff arrive at the tower almost daily, and I often am first called for such things." He glances to Blaire, and adds, "Apparnetly, my duty now extend to watching for new staff in the square," he jokes with a chuckle. "If you need a guide to the Tower, I will return in an hour and meet you here, Mistress Blaire." Then he glances toward that tall tower again, and concludes. "I should go, and deliver the first round of messages. Good day to you both!" With that, he springs into his saddle and nudges his mare to a walk, then a trot, and finally gallop in rapid succession.
Ciaran nods to Nathaniel. "Somehow I do not doubt that." He tells him and chuckles a bit. Looking between the retainers. Falling silent. Though nodding to Blaire's words about her work. "So you got skill with herbs? If you ever need help, do ask. I'm sure we both could do with something nice to glance at from time to time." He says playfully before nodding as everyone seems to be departing. "Stay well, both of you. Master Nathaniel, I do hope mistress Copperfells is well? And also, be well you as well." He offers and smiles. Waiting for them all to leave before he vanishes into the crowd.