|Summary:||Public and private health providers, in the former of a midwife and a Maester, create friction. A new singer in Stonebridge tries to allay it over wine.|
|Stonebridge - Town Square, then Crane & Crossing|
|Evening in the warzone|
|3rd Septmber, 289|
It's not such an unusual looking middle of town; but if you only look at the way Maester Taleryth goggles at it, you might be forgiven for assuming the place is a charnel house. His robes pale and very clean, his features near as bloodless, the young Maester loiters, careful to avoid ordure from the street, not far from the direction of Stone Walk, cupping his stare with a hand that looks like it's resisting the urge to quiver.
A tall woman about six feet in height makes her way down the street. She does not blend with the regular rabble as she holds herself differently. Her hair is primly bound up underneath a wide brimmed straw hat. Despite the light kiss of sun upon her skin is very neat and clean. Her pale blue apron dress is clean and free of stains. Her long brown gown that she wears beneath it is also clean, though both of them hang off her in such a way that it speaks of recent weight loss that the woman could not afford. Unlike many who roam the streets she does not smell of body order instead it is the sharp clean scent of soap, roses and mint clings to her like a burr. She moves by the man and offers him a slight bow of her head in respect after all his appearance is as clean as hers. Over her shoulder she carries large saddle bags and underneath one arm is ornately carved wooden box. She even offers the man a greeting. "Good day to you." There is a boldness in her gaze as she meets his eye if she is able to.
The young man's pristine state may seem fractionally less surprising once the glitter dangling betixt pale robe and pallid throat is spotted, a modest eight-linked Maester's chain. He bolts upright on being greeted and his upraised hand goes down to his side, as he peers ahead with a dubious, changeable hazel aspect. "Good day, mistress. Are you, ah, quite sure you should be here at present?" he enquires distractedly, while obviously noting her unusually civilised aura. "You seem…assembled for gentler climes."
"I am a healer and midwife where else would I go. There are those who are lower than you and I good Maester who are not able to travel. Would you see to them?" The woman ask him. "And would you rather have another set of correctly trained hands to help you when the wounded start to pour in?" Her blue eyes seem to dissect his appearance. "I think I am more able to handle a blow than you are, you are soft and willowy. But, as my old Maester used to say to me, human body is resilient and one should never judge, until the trouble has come to pass for it is then that the person shows just exactly what they can and cannot do." She offers him a charming smile that shows off her dimples and there is keen mind hidden behind those blue eyes, despite a slight impish glint in them.
It's true that this strangely forthcoming, and forthright, woman is of a physical stature that verges on the heroic; Taleryth himself is tallish for a Maester, but finds himself just about looking up at her. Somehow, though, her perfume, her femininity, her, well, bossiness had occluded the equally extraordinary fact that she is practically a giantess.
It is probably in keeping with this muddled impression that the maester replies to none of the unknown midwife's challenging questions, or implied criticisms, but only half-stammers, "Your old Maester…?"
"My old Maester, I had lived with him since I was eight summers old his wife was a midwife and just as well trained. I call him mine, as I did monopolize his time and her time. She was my second mother and he my second father." That impish glint remains in her eyes and her voice has a tone of kindness to it. "Come now, let me buy you a drink and put it all to right. Promise I do not bite hard and I am sure you could use some cheer before the blood bath starts." She chuckles. "I am Dania Dorsey by the way and you are?" she asks him as she shifts the weight of her saddle bags. She has apparently has no trouble talking where he is stammering.
That pretty much finishes poor young Taleryth off. But suddenly he finds spirit enough to go red not white, and to splutter out…
He tosses his neat and rather fine head, "My dear mistress, you are evidently touched by the strokes of the summer evening. Perhaps I can be of service. I would certainly not advise that you take liquor of any sort for a time. For your…and your…patient's sake, ma'am. Perhaps…ah…if you would sit down…I could…take a, brisk, moment to examine the disposition of your hot and cold humours…er…"
Obviously he is stumbling against first principles again. There is no way in realm or hells he is going to be able to subdue this maniac, except, just possibly, persuasion. And, well, she doesn't seem drunk exactly, but surely that's the most rational explanation…?
Many feet have walked over the grey stones of this square near the streams any Garion's feet have walked over many others, though they seem to enjoy each others company well enough. a handsome man in his twenties skims the people, who stray by, ending their day-business, when his own business is just about to start.
His attire is oddly rich, since certainly not a drop of noble blood is running through his veins, though the seems are a bit worn out and the boots have seen better times too. He carries his chin held up and a mischievous grin on his face, as his eyes wander absently around. On his back, he carries a lute and an empty skin of wine hangs from his hip.
The bold grin on his face widens, as he catches the sight of a tall, but comely woman. It takes no longer than a single heartbeat, the sight of the maester nearby and the curious words of a maester with unusual… occupations catch his attention and if nothing else, the sweet sound of the word 'liquor' it is, which causes him to come closer.
Titling her head Dania raises an eyebrow and looks at him and starts to laugh. Her laughter is boisterous unrestrained and full of life. "Well not exactly a wife but it is hard to explain some things now is it. A man still has needs. Mind you that not all are celibate. You do understand how children are begotten correct? I just wanted to make sure. It is the easiest way to explain some things, without having to go into detail, but I did get you to quit stammering. He was not really married to her, were working partners. Midwives understand the struggle of life and death when it comes to birth, better than most Maesters. She worked with him. I would not worry about their situation or stripping him if you would, he has long since passed." She just shakes her head. "You are too easy to get your goad up." She laughs again.
A flash of color catches her eye and she turns her head to look in Garion's direction.
Whatever else she may have averred, Dania was not unperceptive in calling Taleryth willowy, and already he looks half blown over. The sight of that boisterous and almost translucent wastrel approaching over the now declared midwife's shoulder doesn't really assist matters either. "Most noble Houses do employ my order to deliver their children," he observes with a mildness struggling not to become chilly, "but perhaps we presume too far in that, mistress; perhaps we should all resign our office to local village goodwives. It would leave us plenty of time for marrying them afterwards." No, the struggle to avoid chilliness has apparently been…still-born!
Garion's bold smile becomes an amused little smirk, as the subject wanders over to a man's needs. The maesters last words make him even chuckle quietly. Clearing his throat, he one of his hands strokes slowly trough his carefully ungroomed, brown hair, before he begins with a voice of honey "My apologies, but though one hates to interrupt your pleasant talk of marrying, delivering children and all the things in between, but could you help a man to find an inn at this comfortable evening? Far away from the shatters of swords, of course, since I'm one of the rather peaceable kind.", he asks while curiously observing the uneven pair.
"Perhaps you should give that up. I also have know Maesters to play politics and in the end they have gotten burned. I have nothing to gain and nothing to lose by that statement." Dania points out. She does not seem to mind or take his chilliness to heart. Instead she breathes life and warmth. It is as if she could be the mother and the crone. "Or we could make it very easy on each other and just agree to work with each other! You do not know what I know, just as I do not know what you know. The day we stop learning is the day we stop living. Are you ready to stop learning or are you willing to try and see if you can learn more?" The woman asks him. "I know that I am always ready and willing to learn."
The interruption could not have come at a better time as battle lines are starting to be darwn on the cobbled road. "Aww good Goodman there is the common house, but the food is not as good. I would suggest if you have coin to spend that you look at the Cranes Crossing. Many a noble has stayed there and the food is good." The giantess turns her blue eyes on to Garion as she says this and she returns his offering of a bold smile with one of her own. "Are you just arriving into Stonebridge?" She asks him.
"You leave me small purpose for my existence, Mistress Dorsey," Taleryth remarks, his curtness far from passed. "Having just stripped me of any claim to medical understanding, you warn me against my own counsel, also. Perhaps you'd be good enough to let me go on looking after ravens, at least?"
He seems to have had enough of this topic; perhaps he can be forgiven for some asperity and impatience, as this is quite possibly the most inconvenient juncture to be Maester at Tordane Tower for some centuries. At any rate, he turns to the foppish layabout with a relief that would in any other situation be astonishing.
"The midwife does not err, at least, in her assessments of the town's amenities," he seconds drily, "and, whoever you may be, or say you are, the Crane will take you if you can pay well. Or perchance, perform well? You have that look about you, stranger. I am Taleryth, Maester to House Nayland, so perhaps I can be of service, at the very least, for all the good woman's scepticism as to my other uses, in smoothing the way in for both of you."
A twinkle lights up Garion's eyes, as he meets those of the tall woman. "Ah, the Crane and the matter of coins… sweet songs are often unpaid, when swords of steel sing louder than tonues of silver Let's say I invite both of you, if you'd be so kind to borrow a man the copper stars to keep our mouths filled. I promise you, you won't regret it. ", he suggest with yet another smirk. "And indeed, I just arrived at this place, though I think I could have chosen a better time to. But both of you seem to be quite busy… ravens keep flying, women keep birthing children, there is enough for all of us… and surely you need the rest in the sweet pillows of wine, am I right?"
"You see the Maester has a tongue though it is not silvered like yours." Dania teases as she looks from the Measter to the Bard. "The good Measter may even be willing to guide you there but you may need to buy him strong drink sooth his nerves. For I have been told that I am heady drink and my tongue can be barbed. The poor man has just found this out the hard way. Yet since you are lacking in coin, I could buy him and you the drink. I was actually paid coin a few days back or since he is so illustrious perhaps he would be kind as to purchase you that drink."
She looks at Garion and grins. "Considering I have not had a drop of that sweet virtuous drink since Tourney in Seagard either way I will be buying myself a drink." She adds. "The two of you can either take offer or figure it out amongst yourselves."
"I will not be purchasing, nor partaking," Maester Taleryth clarifies simply and severely. "This is a time of war, and for my ilk service in war needs perfect clarity in mind. But I would vouch for both of your characters, I suppose, which might be necessary…the Crane is not just anywhere. And I will stay to converse a short while; I should be interested to hear any accounts you have accrued around this land, singer. Rumours, of trouble, treachery, or unexpected friendship. Or just whatever can teach my tired eyeteeth to grin again, though I'll confess my hopes are hardly high. Come, this way."
And he leads off this unlikely little triad towards the Crane & Crossing Inn, all the while maintaining an almost painful looking measure of dignity.
"Vouch for me. I go there to eat a lot." Dania laughs as she moves to follow him into the Crane. "If I can stop long enough to get food into me." She shakes her head and does not seemed too bothered by Taleryth high and mighty ways. She moves into the room.
A server offers Dania a warm smile as she passes.
"Some tongues are made of silver, some hearts are made of gold —- and one of those is certainly yours, fair goodwoman. A heart of gold and eyes like the tears of cerulean sky itself. My deepest thanks, pretty one.", Garion nods as he strokes a second time through his hair. Following the lead of the maester he soon catches up to him. "Oh I often found the perfect clarity lies on the bottom of three cups of wine. One for your heart, one for your head and one for the Seven maybe Seven for the Seven if the day is blessed. You can't deny truth is healing our hearts and truth comes out of a clear mind. Join us, maester only for a cup, tell us tales of truth, your ears won't drown in a bit of that sweet liquid, this comely woman is going to provide. " , he says quietly to the maester, though loud enough for the woman to hear.
Sighing comfortably, he enters the inn and takes a deep breath of the warm smell of food and his beloved liquids. Expectantly looking at both of them, the minstrel hesitates yet another heartbeat. "And again my apologies, I'm still not used to introduce myself, since many listened to the dance of my tongue back at Fairmarket and my name often came to places I haven't been at- but now I seem to be far enough that the winds haven't been quicker than my own feet. Garion of Fairmarket I am, sometimes known as Garion Goldenbreath and it is a pleasure and an honour to join you this evening." Adding a bow, he surely mimicks from those of nobler blood, he ends his speach. "And I hope to get your names before the night catches them away from me."
It's the kind of charismatic onslaught that is guaranteed to muster some effect, whether a faint unbending of inhibitions, or a smack across the mouth hard enough to split those gilded lips. The Maester is, of course, no lipsplitter, and he does seem to succumb slightly to the irrepressible singer's burbling…if more in principle than in fact. With jaded amusement, he nods as he admits, "A pretty conceit, well maintained. Some of the greatest knights of the mind have discoursed far and wide, travelling like tourney fighters to uphold wild thoughts and high fancies with sheer argument. Your, ah, pious sermon on the fruit of the vine and the bounty of the barley would not shame them. Nevertheless, I really must decline, whoever you intend should pay. Perhaps another, more auspicious time. After…"
After he serves the Charltons? Taleryth bites his lip, "After the conflict has passed…"
And so, thirst stubbornly unslaked, Taleryth settles opposite the others and nearer to the threshold and escape, to listen with a tolerant countenance to the singer's introduction. Something about it seems to startle and interest him, on a sudden. "You're from Fairmarket? Good gracious. I was born there, as it happens, not that that fact seems to matter very much any more. I, er, haven't heard tell of you, but I suppose you're about my age, and would have been about twelve when I left for Oldtown," so much yearning in those last two syllables, "so perhaps you weren't quite so famous at the time."
As so it comes to pass no sooner does the Dania enter does she get called away. So she bows out, quietly. Hopefully she will meet the two men again.
"Fairmarket? Young ears often don't hear the things older ones might find interesting, I guess. This place has been a maiden, that has often sighed my name, my dear maester. And I'm sure it has whispered yours one time or the other. Sweet streets of home where have they brought us to? Oh, you have to share a skin of wine with me, a barrel, a river.", Garion says with yet another one of his smiles, though it seems to get a bit tired, as the woman leaves so apruptely, before he could even throw a little "Farewell, comely one.", in.
"Farewell, comely one." When the maester takes his leave not long afterwards after a little polite reminiscence on their mutual natal settlement - but absolutely no wine, as yet! - Garion's trademark farewell could stand as the motto of the evening overall…