|Summary:||Tia discovers there's some sort of trouble between Desmond and Briallyn, due to a book. So she confiscates it, protecting both of them.|
|Crane's Crossing Inn|
|While Crane's Crossing is technically an Inn, it caters to the traveling nobility almost exclusively. The floors around the hearth are finely crafted stonework, as are the slate blocks that the firepit is constructed of. The rest of the floor is done in stained oak that matches the few long tables and the chairs. The rest of the main room is furnished with plush couches and seating to entice visitors to delay their leave. A full service kitchen provides food of all kinds as well as high quality ales and wines. Also available are several women to provide hospitality to the lonely or those in need, the quality of them to be beaten by but a few in the Riverlands. A hallway near the kitchen leads off to the rear of the building and several up-scale rooms.|
|April 17, 289|
"There isn't anything inherently sinful in cards, or dicing, Septa," a voice is heard, tersely polite, but verging on irritation. The small retinue emerges from the dimly lit hallway in good order, the young Lady Haigh at its head with slender fingers clutching white-knuckled at the smooth dark green silk of her skirts. Though behind her, on either side is the taller, younger presence of her Lady's maid, and on the other the elder, squat, and sour-faced Septa who appears to be staring darkly between the young woman's shoulders.
"It is unseemly for a young Lady to gamble," the unattractive crone grumbles stiffly beneath her breath as she dogs every graceful step taken into the common room of the establishment. "Who said anything about gambling?" There is a hint of humor, and too much feigned innocence, in that tone as the words escape Briallyn's lips. The Septa's response is a scornful, disbelieving snort. For her part, the Lady Briallyn maintains a carefully constructed facade of serenity despite blazing green eyes that indicate an otherwise volatile mood.
Tia is seated on one of the comfortable seats, with her harp in hand. She's playing as she sits, at the moment just idle, though even that has enough oompht to it to have folks listening. The conversations are muted, so that when Briallyn and company enter, the words actually are heard by some of those who are near to them. Tia glances up, watching for a moment, and she lets the music come to an end. "Lady Briallyn, good day to you," she calls out, her voice melodious and gentle, even in the midst of the inn. She looks at Briallyn's face, and then over at the septa. "Is all well with you?"
The Septa cannot see Briallyn's expression, and the young woman is aware of this. She affects her best 'please, save me' expression, before replying in a congenial, pleasant voice as she shifts her route through the common room to fall more in line closer to the Lady Tiaryn. The young Lady Haigh effortlessly weaves around and through the small, scattered crowd within the room that remains between them. "Why, of course, Lady Tiaryn. I cannot imagine why it would not be." Pausing but a few steps away from the other woman, Briallyn purposefully clears her throat and casts a look over her shoulder.
"Dearest Septa, I don't suppose you could give me a vestige of privacy? Please?" The Septa's dark eyes, a shade of mud brown, rake over the two women with an unforgiving stare. It's quite clear the hunched, unattractive woman trusts her ward even less further than she might be able to throw her, but she grudgingly steps away. Close enough to keep a hawk's eye on Briallyn, even so. "Gods mercy," the young breathes quietly, reaching up to rub her brow.
Tia's maid and guard are nearby, as she never is seen in public without them. She arches a brow, watching Briallyn's antics for a moment. Her head tilts, and she can't help but smile. "Oh my," she says softly. "Do have a seat, Lady Briallyn. Would you like to play harp for a bit?" Hey, it's a good little distraction at least for a moment. "Or is there a song I can play for you?" She lowers her voice very judiciously. "If your Septa knows my family at all, she will likely consider me a bad influence."
Speaking of badly influenced, Desmond descends the staircase with his nose in a book. Briallyn may recognize it if she's quick enough, though he snaps it shut and tucks it under his arm as he makes a beeline for Tiaryn's little concert. The sight of the Septa gives him a start, and he walks /around/ her to join the two noblewomen. "Evening! Going to play a melody, Lady Tiaryn?"
"If that woman knows a single thing past the pages of a bloody prayer book, I will eat my Gods-be-damned boots. Both of them." The Septa is not far away, and she seems to capture glimmers of Briallyn's tone, if not the words. Her dark eyes, ever vigilant on the bestial men within the common room, dart towards the young women with smoldering distaste. The young Lady Haigh smiles pleasantly in return, perhaps offering too much in the way of teeth.
Her attention shifts abruptly at the familiar sight of her favorite Knight's squire, and the smile upon her lips grows more genuine. Briefly. And then it dies, utterly. And then her expression dies utterly. "No, Lady Tiaryn, you may play whatever you desire. You're quite the hand with your harp, and I've no skill at such things." Her voice isn't exactly hollow, and.. is her eye twitching? "Lord Desmond," Briallyn greets the young man formally, pleasantly, and with a grin that is pure teeth. The Septa regards him with immense suspicion, boring holes into his back as he smoothly steps around her.
Tia chuckles at the comments on the septa, none too certain about her, really. "Well," she says softly, still in that gentle tone, "so that you are aware, my family follows the old gods." At least Briallyn won't be taken by surprise should anyone try to use that against her. As Des arrives, Tia offers a gentle smile and a nod. "It seems I am indeed about to play. Do join us, if it will not interrupt your reading, Lord Desmond. And good evening to you as well."
Desmond stares at that broad grin of Briallyn's, leaning away. And, just barely, he feels the back of his head grow… hot. Then he shivers. What the hell? "Hello Lady Briallyn!" he greets cheerfully, then finds a seat, gesturing with his free hand. "Not at all, Lady Tiaryn, please go right ahead."
A flicker of surprise, and intense curiosity, flashes across Briallyn's face, dark green eyes widening just a hair, lips parting. She tilts her head curiously, brushing back a few stray mahogany waves before they can fall across her brow. "Do you, now?" Despite schooling her features back to some semblance of calm, the Lady's gaze has never been the most adept at obscuring how she feels, and Lady Tiaryn won't mistake the lingering interest there. "It's very good to see you, Lord Desmond. Pray tell, what are you reading?" That smile is too vulpine, too unsettling. "And if you've any news on how Ser Garett is faring?"
Tia raises her hand at Bri's obvious curiosity, even if it's schooled quickly enough. "We do. If you are interested, I'm sure that Lady Cordelya would be really good at telling you all about it. I'm certainly willing to try, but it's not one of my strengths." She pauses for a moment, glancing to Des, back to Bri, to Des. "Perhaps it's a book you might share with us? Read aloud for a time or some such?" she offers lightly.
Desmond is… starting to grow a bit unnerved by Briallyn's grinning. "Oh just some… tripe," he trails off, looking between the two of them. "He's faring well enough, I think." Then Tiaryn helpfully chimes in, and he starts to tense, tucking the book further away. "Oh my dear Lady Tiaryn, it wouldn't interest you, I promise. It's about… swords and… sheaths… You know. So. Harp?"
"Well enough?" There is a hint of true concern then, in those two words, moreso than anything else she has flippantly said since leaving her room. The anxiety is promptly covered up, even as Briallyn takes to nibbling lightly on her full lower lip. "Swords and sheaths, you say? It's rather unfair of you to judge what interests us, Lord Desmond," she suggests softly in some effort to dispel the last remnants of ill-placed nerves for the well-being of the conspicuously missing Knight. "Seeing as how I do not know much of them, I could likely do to learn more. And no doubt, it would sound quite nice when put to music, surely? Most things are, I find."
Tia gives Desmond a blink, as he says he's reading tripe. That's not something she's used to hearing, all things considered. Before she can speak up, Briallyn does, suggesting the words be put to music, and that brings a charming smile to her face. "Oh, that sounds like it would be quite entertaining. Perhaps we'll find a new way to write song?" she teases, her blue eyes flitting over Desmond's face briefly. She does bring the harp to a playing position, selecting a gentle ballad to play, if there's to be talking at the same time. "Something like this, maybe?"
Desmond's unseen eyes dart back and forth. Then he looks down to the book which has reluctantly found its way into his lap. Then back up again. He /winces/ when Tiaryn offers up music. /Music/. "I… Uh…" Finally, he opens the book, and flips through few pages, keeping them shielded from the ladies' view. "W-well let's see here… W-what a beautiful flower she had, a succulent rose with pink petals, glazed with the honey of her arous-" He coughs. "I think we ought to just let Lady Tiaryn play."
The Lady Briallyn's expression is a torn one, as if she cannot decide whether to blush or laugh, and she manages to do both simultaneous. The laughter is strangled as she struggles to keep her mouth shut, chuckling throatily. That alone is enough to draw the Septa's stern, disapproving gaze, squinting icily at the cause of all of this nonsense: Lord Desmond Westerling. Fortunately, it appears unlikely the Septa caught every word, for she looks formiddable enough to give the young man a good drubbing. And all the while, the young woman is desperately trying to control herself, one fisted hand lightly striking her thigh beneath the obscuring view of the table. "Oh, oh, Desmond," Briallyn manages, breathless, flushed, and eyes glittering with excessive mirth. "Swords and sheaths? So it seems."
Tia's fingers play almost by rote, without even realizing she's doing so. And she smiles encouragingly at Desmond, thinking he's just too shy to read aloud. At least until he starts. It takes a bit to sink in, as she listens, since that is not what she was expecting to hear at all. And as the cut off words sink in, Tia's fingers stop and she gives Desmond an incredulous look. "Oh. It's /that/ sort of book," she says, as she stares at the man. Her blue eyes have widened a bit and there is, even at her advanced age of six and twenty, a slight blush on her cheeks now as well, half caught up in Briallyn's infectious laughter. "I'm sorry. I didn't realize."
Desmond looks a bit disgruntled at Briallyn's barely contained laughter. He avoids the Septa's gaze and quickly closes the book. Then makes a big show of trying to hand it back to Briallyn. "Realize? This is Briallyn's book! I… did not know what I had picked up until just now, I swear! /Really/, Lady Briallyn, you'd think you grew up in a brothel for having such material on you. Gods."
What in all of Westeros is she to say to that accusation? Nevermind that it's factually true. That matters very little in this particular moment, and Briallyn simply stares at Desmond as if completely thunderstruck that he would say that out loud. Moreover, that he would say that in front of the Lady Tiaryn. And so, for a long moment that seems to last forever, the young Lady is frozen, her mouth fallen open, her moss green eyes impossibly large and completely unreadable. "I… What? What is /wrong/ with you, Desmond?" She doesn't sound shrill. Does she? No, her voice is rough and low pitched as she tries to desperately conceal the look of stunned surprise that lingers even now upon her sculpted, elegant features. "How could you say that?"
Tia wrinkles her nose, not buying Desmond's act. "I'm not quite sure what's going on, but it does seem there's a conversation that maybe you two need to have? Do you need me to stay and fend off your Septa?" she asks, keeping her voice low. And then an idea occurs to her, and she gives a fake yawn. She reaches out to snatch up the book with one hand, harp held in her other. "Actually, I'm certain we can talk about this later," she says, mischief shining in those baby blues. She tucks the book under one arm, a big smile crossing her face, and she gets to her feet. "But I do think later will work, as I'm suddenly very fatigued. It's been a long day. If you will both excuse me?"
Desmond is trying and failing to save face in front of Tiaryn. And now Briallyn makes him feel direly guilty. Well, the least he can do now is try and- "Wh'…" Tiaryn takes the book away. Desmond grips the arms of his chair and stares. "Later?" Then he dons the biggest frown ever frowned when Tiaryn decides she's tired. "All right," he murmurs. "Perhaps more harp another time…"
At the Lady Tiaryn's unimaginably decent behavior, Briallyn nearly slumps in her seat with relief. She doesn't even have it in her to throw a glare towards Desmond, staring briefly at the woman in a near daze. The young woman swallows a few times before a meager smile curls her full lips weakly. "Of course, Lady Tiaryn. It would please me tremendously to speak with you later," she says half-heartedly, but sincerely, as the older noblewoman discreetly and politely excuses herself. Through the debacle, the Septa is still staring at the trio, soon to be a duo, with a suspicious gleam in her unkind eyes.
Of course Jacob and Bethy are on their feet in an instant, as Tia does. Bethy comes up all abustle to take the harp and carry it for Tia. It might be noticeable that Tia does not let go of the book, rather keeping it safe. "I will bid you two good night, and speak with you both tomorrow." With a slight curtsey, and completely ignoring the Septa, Tia then turns to head further into the inn, to the rooms that are hers for a while longer.