|Of Soup and Strangers|
|Summary:||A new face wanders into the Sept at Terrick's Roost and finds the resident Septon as well as a bite to eat.|
|Sept of the Seven — Terrick's Roost|
|The Sept of Terrick's Roost is not a grand spectacle but achieves its power through the feeling of community and peace within. Like any Sept, the mood is generally quiet so people might offer prayers or thoughts without interruption. Along the sides are the seven statues in life-size form of the seven Gods, each in its own particular pose familiar to anyone who knows of them. All but the statue of the Stranger have small offerings lain at their feet or candles lit. At the very head of the Sept is a large window that faces out across the water, the altar rising in front of it. Directly to its front are a few rows of pews and behind that is the standing room for the peasantry. In that area the floor is lain out with a bright seven-pointed star in representation of the Gods.|
|18 September 288|
The afternoon is creeping into evening, and most of those who would seek out the Septon or the gods themselves for aide and guidance have come and gone home again to begin dinner for their families. There is but a single, unfamiliar figure in the Sept, settled on his knees before one of the seven statues. He's in plain brown robes, and a long walking stick rests across his lap. It's before the Stranger that he kneels, and a small candle burns by the ominous figure's feet. The young man settled there looks to be less in prayer, and more peering up and studying the statue itself. As an art aficionado might a fine painting or as a friend might if solemnly considering the comments of his companion.
The door leading out to the gardens beyond opens, spilling a long sliver of the setting sun's light onto the stone floor. Josse makes little noise as he steps into the sept and shuts the door behind him with a soft click, a deep basket held in one hand at his side. As he starts for the other side of the main hall he nearly misses the robed figure in his cloud of distraction, literally looking once and then back again before he comes to a slow stop.
The young man offers the statue a smile and reaches a hand out to rest it lightly against the carved folds of the Stranger's robes. Then, with a slow breath, he lifts the walking stick from his lap and sets it upright so that he can lever himself to his feet with a faint wince. It's only once he turns around that blue eyes observe the other man in the room, and the tiny silver cup of the strange lad's neck becomes apparent. "Septon," he greets, "good afternoon to you."
Josse raises an eyebrow, but the look is hardly unfriendly. The other's eyes are the last things he seems to look at, after the stick and hanging cup. "And to you, traveller, but don't let me interrupt if you haven't finished." He glances at the statue Leoline had been kneeling by, and then back. "Have you eaten?"
"We're done for now," the stranger says, glancing back at the sculpture and smiling faintly, fondly perhaps, "but thank you. I had a bite of breakfast this morning, though nothing since. I would not say no to a bit of bread before I left, if you might spare it." He holds his arm out, hand open in invitation. "Leoline."
"Josse." Josse accepts the handshake with a firm but slightly awkward grip, as if he weren't used to doing so. "And we can do a little bit better than that, I think. Tomorrow we open door for the hungry and there's soup to be made. If you'll help then a bowl is yours, how about that." He doesn't seem that inclined to wait for an answer, starting back on his original path with a sweeping gesture for Leoline to follow.
"Seems a fair enough offer," Leoline afters, letting his walking stick tap lightly agains the ground as he follows the other Septon. "Thank you for your generosity."
"Say that again after I've made you cut the onions," Josse's voice trails over his shoulder as he walks down the narrow hall separating the altar area from the small maze of rooms tucked into the back. A hanging cloth separates one room off, which he brushes aside — a very small sort of kitchen with not much in it. A tiny square table, threatening to tilt on a short leg, stands with two spartan stools to the side. "Sit, rest your feet." He sets the basket of garden-combings down by the woodstove.
The Begging Brother follows, dropping down onto a seat in front of the table. Said table is given a nudge, which sets it to rocking on its short foot. "Mmm," he murmurs, taking his dagger from his hip. It's a blade better made for cutting wood than flesh, and it's wood he cuts now, sawing off a small bit of the top of his walking stick so he can wedge it under the short leg. "There, now. Should be ready for onions."
Josse is pulling greens and a small variety of other vegetables from the small basket, and he glances over his shoulder at the sound of the sawing and thumps. If he was going to protest the cane's mutilation he doesn't quite have the time, and so is left with his mouth half-open. At shuts as a brow simultaneously rises, as if there were a perfect pulley system between the upper and lower halves of his face. He fishes a round yellow onion from the foraged pile and plunks it down smartly in front of the other septon, a smile threatening in the way the right side of his mouth twitches. As he turns his back again to the vegetables he says: "So where have you come from, then?"
"Now there's a look," Leoline chuckles as up goes Josse's brow. "That's the look, isn't it. The 'you have done something interesting my child, tell me more about it', look. Every Septon seems to have one." He wipes his dagger on his robes, flicking the last bits of wood free before he begins cutting the top and bottom off the onion. He draws the tip of the blade down the thin layer of crackled outer skin before peeling it delicately away from the layers beneath. "Oh, here, there, all over. That's what this means," the knife pauses to point to the cup on his neck, "I don't belong anywhere. Or, more esoterically, I belong everywhere."
"If you don't wish to see that look again, you'll admit you know what I meant," Josse's voice is slightly amused, his back still to Leoline while he pulls down a large, battered pot from where it hangs over their heads. "From which direction have you come travelling on your way here, and by direction I — at the moment — just mean cardinal."
"I did not say that I disliked that look, only that I knew what it was. It quite suits you," Leoline chides as he begins cutting rings of onion. "I came from the south. Fairmarket, by way of Seagard."
Josse snorts quietly at that first, scooping up water into the pot from a short container shoved back by the wall. "Fairmarket. I don't believe I've been, though I've heard the name. Did you just arrive today, then?"
He nods as he cuts, layering his sliced rings so he can chop them into little cubes and blink back the sting that begins to burn his eyes. "Just today," he agrees, "but I try not to stay long in towns that have their own Septons. I've no wish to tread on anybody else's robes."
Josse settles the pot onto the top of the hot woodstove and brushes off his hands, pulling over a small pile of bones wrapped in tattered cloth. "Well. You're doing no such thing here." He dumps the bones into the cold water and balls up the cloth. "The parish is sizeable and it's has always had more than one here…just recently has the number abruptly fallen." Turning around, he leans back against the long preparing table and folds his arms, his hands supporting his elbows. "The size of our workforce doesn't leave room for such politics."
"Oh?" Leoline asks as he chops, pausing to shrug a shoulder so he can wipes his redding eyes against his arm. "Death or scandal?" The cubes of onion are gathered up and carried over so they can be dropped into the pot with the water and the bones. "What's next?"
"When are they ever mutually exclusive?" Josse's voice is briefly as dry as those bones before they were dropped in. He looks at Leoline's face as the poor man brings the onions over, and the intent to keep a straight face dissolves into a breath out of his nose. "I'm sorry…I think." Not. "Wash your face if you like. There's some carrots and things left."
"Pah, a little pain never did any great harm," Leoline says with a twitch of a smile, "besides, I like the way the scent of onion clings to your hands. Gives the illusion of seasoning where there's none to be had." He reaches into the basket to draw out a handful of carrots. Most to peel for the soup. One to munch on as he does so. "Scandal and death, then. The Roost has become more interesting since I last stopped by."
"When was that, when dragons roamed the earth?" Josse doesn't seem to mind the company eating dinner before it's properly dinner, bringing a handful of vegetables over to the table to work on, himself. And another knife.
"Mmhmm," Leoline agrees. "Rode on one's back for a time until food became too scarce and we had an argument over whether I was a companion or a snack. Luckily, I was too scrawny to really appeal, but it rather put a damning kink in the friendship." He pauses to crunch a bite of carrot, chewing with a blissful sigh as he sets to chopping up the others.
Josse sets about chopping, efficient if not very uniform. Left-handed, a small pile of orange starts to build up on that side as he works his way through it without rush. "And apparently distracted you enough to think the Roost may ever have been an uninteresting place." He smiles a little, though it's not entirely amusement. "Has it really been long? I can't really place if I've seen you before."
"Compared to riding a dragon, most everything is uninteresting," Leoline muses, tucking the remains of his munch carrot between his teeth to clench like a think, orange pipe. "I would think a year or two, I try to keep to the places that have use for someone like me. Wilder, more rural. I stop in the cities as I pass through, but I haven't come so far west in a while."
"Ahh." Josse seems satisfied with the time frame, something apparently explained well enough. "I can't say I blame you. For all the 'civilization' man builds up he seems to lose more of it every day. Speaking of utter loss of civility I should have asked, are you thirsty? There's water and wine."
Leoline crunches off another bite of carrot chewing as he collects the chopped arounds to add to the pot. "Either would suit me, though I haven't had wine in a while, if you can spare a little. You're going to spoil me. I'll never be able to enjoy wild hare again."
Josse makes an expressively apologetic grimace. "You might want to wait till you've tried the wine. I suspect the hare might be insulted." He lays down his knife and stands up, fetching two cups and one of the wineskins hanging on the wall — noble caliber it is not, that much is wretchedly clear even from looking at the container.
"It may just appreciate not being eaten," Leoline says as he fishes through the basket for another vegetable to chop and pulls out some potatoes. He glances over at the wine with a soft laugh. "You may be right, though. Still, it's step above stale water. I can't complain."
"Relative and all that, I guess." Josse reaches over his carrot pile and fills up both cups halfway for now, skin replaced on a hook that's closer than the one it was on before. "The soup will take a little while from when we get these all in." He smiles, picking his knife back up. "I trust you can entertain yourself for a bit."
"I'll find a way to manage," Leoline agrees, picking up his cup and taking a swallow of the wine within. He licks his lips and then nods, having another swallow before returning his attention to the potatoes. "And where will you be off to, while it simmers?"
"I have a few things I need to see to," Josse says, with a vague note of apology. "There are usually candle lighters that come in the night and the hall isn't ready, and…you know, things." Rather than laundry list everything that's fallen on fewer available shoulders. "Shouldn't take long."
"Of course. I'll keep watch here." Over the soup. The risky, dangerous soup that is likely to run off if unobserved. "Thank you for your hospitality, septon." And then, after a small pause, "Josse."
Josse taps the side of his blade by Leoline's potato stash. "Keep chopping." Which sounds, in tone, suspiciously like 'you're welcome'. Soup shall be on.