|Strong Jaws and Gentle Touches|
|Summary:||The Westerlings are trying to wind down and enjoy family after seeing their fair share of combat, only to meet a disastrous pair of Haigh cousins.|
|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.|
|30 March, 289 A.L.|
Desmond clutches the cup as Garett tops it off again. The knight is given a weak smile, "Yes. I like it! Of course I like it." But he falls silent as Garett addresses his apparent sister, and hastily moves to stand and greet with a small bow. "Sorry about that, my Lady."
"I shall consider your apology, so long as you as you do me the favor of relinquishing your nerves," teases his much younger — and smaller — sister, "and pour me a glass of that wine." Danae reaches out to take Garett's hansd to give them a light squeeze in greeting. Dipping her hand in a brief nod, she sinks into a delicate curtsey to greet Desmond. "It is no matter Ser, you mind your hands well enough most times."
It isn't a saunter, or glide, so much as a strut that has Briallyn putting one foot in front of the other at a leisurely pace. "Don't be so sour, Ilaria," she asserts, the silk clothed figures slinking down the hall. Bri cuts a dashing figure- if one considers a casual lack of propriety 'dashing'. Arms folded behind her head, her sedate pace more reminscent of swagger than anything prim or proper, a staggering contrast to the quiet, yet alarmed young woman beside her. "I'm not lying, I'm being deadly serious. Einian told me he once saw *purple* ones. Purple. I asked him if they were diseased, and-" The youth's words are cut dramatically short by the growing sound, shrill, within her younger companion. "What? What is it?" As they exit the hallway, Bri seems too distracted staring at Ilaria to notice anything, or anyone, else.
If Ilaria were a teakettle, she would be smoking right about now. Her cheeks are aflame with embarassment, and she reaches up to cover her face momentarily with her hands. "Stop, just stop, Bri," she whines pathetically, much like an abused puppy, pausing at the threshold into the common room. Taking a deep breath, the younger of the two pats down her dark hair to ensure it is held up into its bun tightly, although a few wisps at her temples have escaped confinement. Another moment is spent devoted to smoothing down her skirts and tugging at her sleeves.
Finally, when Ilaria feels she has put herself into order, she turns her hazel eyes on Briallyn with a neutral expression. "Tea?" she inquires, gesturing toward an empty table before leading the way without waiting for a response.
"I'll do my best to fall back into your good graces, then." the older sibling grunts, mirth only just barely visable. But his hands return the gesture of greeting. "On your feet, squire." Garett then says, throwing Desmond a look that suggest it isn't exactly a request. "Lady Danae, I would like to introduce you to my squire-in-training, Lord Desmond Westerling. He impressed me enough with his skills that I took him on shortly after my return after the rebellion. He has been with me ever since." Flicking his fingers at a nearby server, Danae is brought another cup, while the Knight pulls a chair out for her. "But I received your missive. I tell you it took me some time to decide wether or not dismiss myself fromt he field. But, it appears family won the day, as here I am."
Desmond manages a slightly more calm chuckle, "Right, yes. I try. Hum." As tempting as it is to pour the whine for Danae, he decides against it, for fear of Garett's growling or that hard stare. His attention is drawn to the pleading and whining near the entrance, and cocks a brow at the pair, naturally sympathetic towards the poor, flustered puppy-like woman. Garett makes him spring up and stiffen, and a more prideful smile crosses his lips at the praise. "Lady Danae."
"Look, I'm just trying to prepare you for life, Ilaria," Briallyn complains without an ounce of apology in her warm voice. "If you want to run off and be a Septa, that's fine." She stifles a laugh with a soft, well placed cough, and lowers her voice. "I imagine that Gods have enormous-" If looks could kill, Bri would've shriveled to nothingness, and the withering, heated stare stops her short. It doesn't stop the fox-like smile curving her lips pleasantly. "Tea sounds great, Ilaria, thank you," the young woman says more graciously, falling into step behind her. "I am feeling quite parched." Dark green eyes drink her surroundings readily as she falls unusually quiet, fixating upon unfamiliar faces with brazen curiosity. There is nothing demure or fluttering about the intensity in her gaze, but it's strangely unreadable.
"Well met, Lord Desmond," Danae greets softly, long blonde locks slipping over her shoulders as she tips her chin in a gentle nod of greeting. "You must have impressed him quite readily, to take you on" .The petite lady folds herself into the offered chair, collecting the furnishing glass of wine in her freckled hands. "I appreciate the consideration, Garett. Trully. How did we far with the insurgency, brother? It was to my understanding that Lannisport burnt so fiercely but fewer fires came our way. "
Once more the master of decorum, Ilaria glides over toward an empty table close to the gathering of Westerlings. At about this time, their borrowed chaperone - a stern-looking grey haired woman - appears from the hallway and hurries to catch them up. "Thank you, Brigid, could you fetch us some tea, please." The tone of her request is less question and more order, but she softens it with a faint smile as she perches on the edge of a chair and clasps her hands together in her lap.
While Briallyn is talking, the young girl is scanning the room and studying unfamiliar faces. "I think our cousin has something planned," she murmurs to Bri suddenly, gaze darting back to her companion's face. "You are more intuitive about these things than I am, though. What do you think?"
Once finishing pouring wine for Danae, Garett makes sure to top off his own cup. Looking at Desmond, as if purposefully wondering something, he ends up shaking his head. "It's probably better for you that I not give you details on Lannisport, Danae. My contingent left from the Crag to try and make an effort to push the Ironborne back but there was just…too many. When we knew the city was lost, we fell back to our respective posts. Thankfully, it appeared the our home and Crag wasn't nearly a pivital target as others, and our forces were able to reply any attempts made on it." His face is a bit ashen as he describes this, voice falling back into is usual cold impartial tone that he's always had, and one that Desmond is learning that's how he always talks. "Too many lost, but after that, we have regrouped and as far as I know, we pushing them back to the Iron Islands themselves. It was a cost, no doubt." Another deep is taken at that. "I think I needed a reason to get away, even if it is for a short time. Desmond is not ready yet, as much as he claims otherwise. Eagerness is all too often why we send letters to the mother's whose sons they have lost. I have seen war for what it seems like a very long time. I suppose I needed a break. Nevermind you and I have not spoken in so long. But rest assured, we will prevail. I would'nt of left otherwise if I knew I wasn't wholly needed."
Desmond has to pause at the phrasing of that commend regarding the Gods. Then he slowly turns back to watch the pair, Briallyn in particular. She… didn't just say that, did she? The mention of his name brings him back to the present conversation. Reluctantly, he settles back in his chair, adopting a sour look. "Yes, well. One day." Hard to tell what he's actually referring to.
"Ah, Lady Ceinlys?" She's stating the obvious, but Briallyn settles into her seat slowly, tucking her dress this way and that properly, only to lean backward against the chair with her hands placed lightly upon the table in front of her. "I should think the Lady means to learn who we are in a private manner, one in which we are more likely to show our true selves, or.." Bri's voice trails away, wetting her lips thoughtfully. "To at least give her the clarity of mind to discern what we hide of ourselves."
Briallyn falls quiet in the brief time it takes for their chaperone to return, but she toys with the edge of the table instead of her cup, fingers plucking and tapping. "She wants to know who we are, coz, and how best to use us. Isn't that obvious? I'm sure she's a lovely woman, truly. But, we're here for a reason. And I don't think it's to get a breath of fresh air." Despite directing her voice, low key, at Ilaria, Bri's eyes stray back towards the strangers.
It is terribly difficult to not hear shades of the conversation from the next table over, even as her brother parses the state of affairs back home. Blonde brows arch slightly on Danae's features as she takes a sip of her wine, ears pricked by a familiar name mentioned by the 'cousin' Haighs. "It is well enough then, that I did ask you to come. Your could use the break. I should hope you journey was not much maligned by any brigands or their ilk? I understand a fair few darken the roads with the men of the Riverlands at least on the Iron shores." The question is directed at both Desmond as well as Garett.
"Yes, I know—all of that," Ilaria replies, flipping a hand dismissively at Briallyn. Further replies are paused as Brigid brings forth the tea for them and sets out three cups. Once it is poured, Ilaria takes up hers and blows a soft, cooling breath across the surface. "I know that she means to get to know us," the girl continues, taking a sip and replacing the cup on the table. Using the tip of her right index finger, she wipes a dribble of liquid from the rim of the teacup. "Of course, I have nothing to hide. I am as much myself here as I am in the town square, at home…"
Squinting, Ilaria looks up to Briallyn and purses her lips in a thoughtful expression. "Of course we're here for a reason. Well, perhaps /you/ are here because your father is enlisting help in unloading you upon some poor, unsuspecting gentleman. I do not have to guess at it, at least; I know that is what my father is trying to do. He won't accept my interest in going into the Faith. Blow on the tea first, Bri - it's very hot."
"As a matter of fact, we did stumble upon a few brigands," Desmond perks up, hands gripping the edge of the table. He pauses a moment, waiting to see if Garett would elaborate. But Garett is given all of two seconds before Desmond launches into an animated recollection. "Ilk indeed. But the group we encountered was, let's say, ill-prepared. I admit, Garett did most of the work, but I certainly helped drive them off! One got me on the jaw, though, nearly bit my tongue in half. Couldn't speak for a good while."
First things first. "Good Gods, are you really? You really are a shrew, Ilaria, and you're pitying whatever gentleman is landed with me?" A soft snort accompanies the very careful, very diligent sip she takes from the cup. Briallyn replaces it upon its saucer, giving a small shake of her hand to diffuse some of the heat. "Anyway, if you don't want obvious answers, don't ask obvious questions." Another dry remark seems ready to spill from those flushed lips of hers, but it doesn't. Desmond's recollection of an encounter with brigands seems to have stolen Bri's attention from Ilaria, and those green eyes glitter with genuine interest. "Couldn't speak for a while, heh heh," she says under her breath to her dear cousin. "Maybe if he took the.." A laugh, a hard one. "..Out of his.." She can't finish the sentence with a straight face. Charming. At least her laugh is, anyway.
"Yes, Desmond finally got his first taste of using his blade against anything other than dulled blades and half-speed sparing." Garett notes, up until this point outright ignoring the pair of teens nobles not far off. "He didn't hesistate. Much. Which resulted in getting his helm dented in. He took one as far I as I can recall, but really, it was nothing of real importance. He's absorbed his lessons rather well." The raunchy commentary does give him pause finally, looking over, then scratching at the stubble on his cheeks before he drinks from his cup again. "Though to be perfectly honest, Danae, I'm not wholly sure what you expect of me here. And…" then there's the next joke. And his eye twitches a little. "Wonderful place, Stonebridge is."
At that more raunchily flavored humor, a light flush rises to Danae's cheeks as she looks towards the nearby table with a shadow of disapproval. "Indeed? I'm afraid the society is rather lacking to your tastes at the moment, dear brother," she opines pointedly — just loud enough that the ladies at the other table might hear her. A silence punctuates her thoughts, accompanied by a sip of wine. "It is a wonderful enough spot, I should look forward to introducing you both to the Lords when they return." A slight smile tips her mouth as she turns towards Desmond, "I am sorry to hear of your injury, Ser. Does it still pain you? It sounds like the both of you were in fine form that day."
Ilaria's mouth forms a perfect 'o' as Briallyn calls her a shrew, and she drops her teacup onto the table with a jarring clang. Hot liquid splashes everywhere, including over her fingers, causing the girl to yelp and shake out her hand. "I am hardly a /shrew/," she hisses beneath her breath at Bri, pausing long enough to suck on a finger as if to ease the sting. "And I wasn't asking an /obvious/ question at all. You misunderstood me entirely. I think you do it on purpose to provoke me."
The girl falls silent, blowing on her burning fingers while glancing between Briallyn and the group at the nearby table. Perhaps if she weren't so distracted, she would have paid better attention to Bri's tasteless joke. Truly, the laughter should have been a dead giveaway, but she's flustered and in pain, so she does not think before asking rather innocently, "Take the what out of his what, Bri? What are you on about now?"
Desmond tries not to let his head swell /too/ much as Garett outlines the scuffle. Just as he's reached the peak of his pride mountain, Briallyn proverbially shoves him off with her commentary. It's certainly quite clear what she's talking about. Well, apparently not to Ilaria. "Ah, please pardon me a moment, Lady Danae, I need to take care of something." Pushing away from the table, he moves to loom over the one beside them, hands on his hips as he leers at the teens. "Apologies, is something funny? We're trying to have an /adult/ conversation over here, if you don't mind!"
"You're as much a shrew as I am whatever you think I am. Which is something about me being an-" Desmond's abrupt departure from his table, the stride that brings him theirs, draws Briallyn's attention from the corner of her eye as she takes a few indelicate sips from her tea cup. The outrage is clear in the way he holds himself, and Bri reacts in a manner unbefitting a proper lady. She stares at him for a moment, scouring his frame with a blisteringly invasive look that takes in the entirety of him from the top of his head to his toes. "You know, I don't think apologies usually sound like 'I'm going to wring your neck', but I'm willing to give you another go at it, if you'd like. For it to really mean anything, you'll have to go back to your table and come back, of course." Those mirthful green eyes hide something sharper beneath, but her tone is playful, rather than snide as she addresses the considerably larger Lord. "You could even bring your friend. His face matches your tone."
'Shame' is not a strong enough word to describe how Ilaria is feeling at this particular moment. Everything moves in slow-motion, a bit like watching a flaming carriage carrying starving orphans teetering on two wheels as it threatens to roll down an embankment and into a corral full of kittens. Ilaria reaches out with both hands as if to shield everyone from Briallyn's words, but it is too late: they are spoken. She squeaks - a very unladylike shriek of fear - and claps her hands over her mouth. Hazel eyes are big as oranges as she glances rapidly between Bri and Desmond and back again, and then casts a plaintive look toward the lady and her male companion still seated at the nearby table.
What does one say in circumstances such as these? How do you fill that five-second moment of silence as everyone attempts to process the catastrophe? The truth is there is nothing that can be said or done to erase Briallyn's words. And so Ilaria slumps in her seat and drops her head onto the table with a rather loud *thump*, resigned.
The sigh that erupts from Garett carries the sound of Atlas load to bear even getting heavier. "I am really not in the mood for childish prattling." he rumbles he utters with tone of a man who sounds like he deals with these kind of matter everyday. Though usually, these problems are solved with a swing of a weapon. That said he stands up, the older noble who looks about double the age of any around them, coming up from behind Desmond, putting a hand on should. "Desmond, easy." his ever-frozen voice states crisply. The Knight doesn't wait for a reply. "If there is a problem here, I am ending it." At his squire, he frowns. "You know better than to just go off like that. And you," he turns on Bri with all the sharp-eyed look of a viper. "Shut up."
As fearless as she is, or feels that she, Briallyn does recoil from the intensity of that stare. Unfortunately, the sudden pang of nerves does little to still her tongue. In fact, one might say she is goaded to act. Her spine straightens, stiffens, and she meets Garett's gaze, however uneasily, stubbornly. "You should smile more. And really, I have to ask…" Her voice trails off, and Briallyn wets her lips while peering up at the man, still seated, and swallows quietly. "With a face like that, does that count as a weapon? Do you beat people to death with that rugged jaw line? That's amazing. I like it."
There are moments in life where a lady would be greatly, greatly yearning to faceplam. This is one such moment. With both her male companions having risen from the table, Danae takes a careful moment to rise and gather her skirts as each speak their piece to the chattering girls that make up the adjacent table. The one which the pair of men so pointedly loom over at this very moment. Green skirts glide on the floor — making now particular hurry to join the sudden hubub — before the petite blonde lady lays a hand on her brother's arm. "Now, Garett. Do not be so cross with the sp young ladies for their inexperience, no doubt they are so recently arrived to town and not yet learned to hold their tongues lest birds clip them off for attitude," she offers gently, an edge of a slight curled in the words as she regards Briallyn with a crisp smile. "You two ladies must be of House Haigh. It shows in your manner. I know of your cousins."
Desmond is totally disarmed by Ilaria's painfully adorable yet pathetic slumping and head-tabling. He just… stands there, feeling deeply at fault, all of the anger he'd mustered just for Briallyn gone in an instant. But Garett comes to growl at everyone. "Sorry, Ser," is his dejected response, but he does seem pleased with the knight's blunt comment. But then Garett himself gets chided, so Desmond doesn't rightly know what to do with himself. That is until Briallyn goes on about Garett's chin. And Desmond cannot help himself. He chokes on his laugh, smothering it with his hand. "Oh'kk… Hah! Ahem."
Weakened and nearing a dead faint, Ilaria glances up blearily from her awkward position of being faceplanted into the table. Danae's approach is watched suspiciously, and she slinks down lower in her seat as the rebuke is directed toward both of them. She clutches the table to keep her balance, suddenly dizzy, and her knuckles turn white with the force of her grip. The trio - two men and a woman - swim back and forth in her vision, dangerously tilted. She manages to cough, clear her throat a bit, and shake her head a little. "Oh, my lady? Which cousins would those be? We have several." Giggle-hiccup. "Oh dear." The girl covers her mouth with her fingertips and frowns.
The racket boiling within the common area of the Inn had made it's way to the quarters, particularly Cherise's where she resided for short ventures to the market. A market gone stale and yet it still provided a different setting rather than becoming sequestered to one room, within one tower in one Nayland city. By chirping word of a handmaiden in her service Cherise had gained knowledge of kin, near kin in this very inn. The very pregnant woman could sojourn the few steps in order to make a brief appearance. With her midwife and handmaiden into the Lady Charlton waddled her slippered feet into the dining areas. The scene was… peculiar while remaining at some distance, hands folded over the swell of her belly. If she disproves her features remain neutral, a touch amused by the crack of a smile in the corner of her mouth. "…my goodness."
"Are you alright, m'Lady?" Danae wonders softly, looking towards the rather delicate looking of the two girls who has gone rather — grey. The small, especially in comparison to her brother, Westerling woman ducks around the larger man to move closer to Ilaria as if worried she is going to faint. She waves a sharp hand at a serving girl, sternly demanding "Bring some mulled wine."
The first thing that Garett does is continue to stare at Bri, as if he didn't even hear what she said. Less like he's looking at a teenage and more like an Ironborne raider, or rebel soldier, hard to really say. But the look is cold and steady, and maybe hynotic for a moment. His lips part to move, in the process of saying but then Danae breaks his concentration, arm jerking suddenly at the touch. "Where I'm from, dear sister, the duties you pull for such insubordination are," he pauses to let that idea sink in, "unpleasent." Leaning back up, the Knight reaches over to smack Desmond upside the back of the head. Not hard, but enough to remind him who the teacher is.
She's riveted to that stare, meeting it unflinchingly, or because she's incapable of looking away. It shatters as Danae's hand brushes against the man, and suddenly his attention is elsewhere. Some of the tension paralyzing her lean frame lessens, and Briallyn draws a quiet breath as the electric moment passes. She almost chuckles, nervously, and wets her lips with a dart of her tongue. Her dark, moss green eyes manage to tear themselves away from Garett to slide across the table, barren but for their tea, towards her cousin with little sympathy. "Come now, Ilaria," she says coaxingly, gaze flicking between the unfamiliar women. "It's just a.. Uh. Gentleman. Nothing to be afraid of."
Desmond smirks a little, sobering up. "Heh, you have to admit, you've got quite a chin- ow!" Whapped, he just shuts the hell up, shoulders slumping. But he can't stay silent for very long. "Yes, Stonebridge is very pleasant! Oh, you've gone and startled… Ilaria, Ser. This is the gloom I'm talking about!"
"I'm fine," Ilaria murmurs quietly to Danae, cheeks flushing a deep red in embarassment. She draws the back of her hand and fingers over her lips, hazel eyes glittering as she slowly straightens in her seat to turn and stare at Briallyn. Her expression is startlingly cold and accusatory, and she does not even deign to respond to her cousin's attempt to lighten the mood. Instead, she looks up as the spiced wine arrives and accepts it with a grateful, nearly apologetic smile before taking a sip. The warmth settles in her belly quickly, and she exhales a deep breath.
"I beg pardon, my lady. It was just a bit of dizziness, but I am better now, thank you. I apologize for having disturbed your evening, my lords, my lady." Ilaria pauses to lick her dried lips, taking in every face in turn - Danae's, Garett's, and then Desmond's. The light banter exchanged between the latter two draws forth an amused smile. "Let House Haigh help settle your bill by way of apology?"
"Dear brother, I would remind you well enough that a lady's education is rather different from that of a solider's," Danae rebuffs softly, smiling delicately at Ilaria when the serving maid finally brings over the mulled wine. "Yes, I have met a few of your cousins. Some of the more immediate to the family if my memory serves rightly, the Lady Erenford and Ser Aron Haigh. I am Lady Danae Westerling, this is my brother, Ser Garett Westerling and his squire, Lord Desmond Westerling." The courtesies are lightly said and the mulled wine is set before the girl. Danae watches her sip it with a light smile. "There is the colour back in your cheeks, Lady Ilaria. It is no true matter, but we will accept your kind offer." It would not do to deny it.
Whether she feels guilty or not about the situation, Briallyn returns the look, mouthing 'what?' quizzically at her cousin. Shifting uneasily in her seat and surrounded by rather unamused strangers, she sinks a little lower on her chair and glances up at the rather towering Garett with as much subtlety as she can muster to gauge his mood. Nope, still solid, unapproving stone. Bri bites the inside of her lip and forces herself to sit straight backed in her chair.
"Well met, Ladies, Sers," Bri manages, without tremor and with just enough genuine truth to the words to pass muster. "Sorry.. Ser Garett, is it? Pretty name." Ice cold stone. She lifts a hand to rub gently at the back of her neck, more out of fidgeting reflex than necessity. "I was just trying to be humorous. Funny. You know, funny…" Nope, still nothing.
Cherise tucks her chin low, canting her sidelong as the small group of of her obvious cousins interact with … the Haighs. Bright blue eyes close briefly before propriety is regained and the Lady Charlton moves to greet her cousins. Unfortunately the Haighs as well. "The Haighs are indeed generous." She chirps through, a plastered pleasant smile for the small group. "Good evening ladies, cousins."
Perhaps Garett is still in 'war mode', where some things are just really easy to set him off. Though he was fine to let it be until -someone- who'll remain nameless just had to stand up. That big jerk. Collecting himself with a deep intake of air, he nods. "Of course, Danae, of course. Perhaps sometimes I forget myself." His tone doesn't change. It is always cold, never changing, never wavering. Deciding that old addage of 'pick your battles' right true even in situation where weapons are not needed, he steps away back to his table. "I think I require another drink." he mutters, rubbing his face. Another look is tossed to Desmond. Perhaps in an effort of civility, he nods to Bri. "I understand your intentions. It has been…a long day."
Ilaria looks to each face again as Danae performs the introductions, offering everyone a friendly smile and a nod of her head. "Lady Ilaria Haigh, as you've noted, and my cousin Lady Brialynn Haigh. Well met Sers, Lady Danae." Biting down on her lower lip, she covers an awkward pause by taking another sip from her goblet, and the flush in her cheeks begins to dim to a more suitable pink. "I—you are welcome to join us at our table," she offers, pitching her voice loud enough to hopefully carry to Garett. It is to her great credit that she does not follow this with a glance toward Bri, but instead tilts her head back to view the newest arrival. Cherise's cool tone and demeanor are met with a very warm and friendly smile, although she remains silent.
Desmond manages a small bow to Chemise, a bit unable to keep up with the exchanges. He shrinks under Garett's look, however. But at the offer of sitting amongst ladies, even those with sharp tongues, he pulls his chair over. "Now that we're all acquainted. Do you take delight in watching your cousin squirm?" he asks of Briallyn. "Because I sure take some delight in watch you fidget with Ser Garett here," he laughs.
Dark green eyes widen, then narrow in an accusatory fashion at Ilaria's sudden invitation, narrowing to near slits as Desmond helps himself to a chair at the table. She stiffens visibly beneath the snug silk dress, and a lightly booted foot snakes out to kick Ilaria square in the shin. However, the table is sizable enough that the best she can manage is to snub the toe of Ilaria's slipper, as she cannot outright refuse Ilaria's gracious and ladylike behavior. Briallyn manages to avoid sputtering, barely, at Desmond's smug assertion as her head turns sharply towards him. Instead, a wash of scarlet stains her cheeks against her will. "I.. What? No! What? I'm not doing.. I'm not fidgeting at.. Ser Garett. I'm not fidgeting over anybody." Her fingers cling to the edge of her chair, blessedly out of sight where she is tucked beneath the table, still trying to kick Ilaria.
"A Knight's blood runs in your veins, it makes for rather harsher thoughts," Danae demurs, looking up - and up- at her brother with a slip of a smile. She settles a light hand on Ilaria's arm, giving it a squeeze. "I cannot speak of the men of our party, but I must speak with my cousin. We should have tea soon, you," she pauses, glancing from Ilaria to Briallyn, "can tell me of news from Haigh and I might show you around Stonebridge further. Excuse me, ladies, cousin, brother. I must take my leave with your permission." Rising to her feet, she dips in a slight curtsey to the party and once given her leave collects Cherise and heads toward's the Charlton woman's room.
Ilaria laughs quietly at Briallyn's slight predicament, and feeling the boot hit her slipper just increases the volume. The young girl covers her mouth politely with her fingers, watching with sparlky-eyed glee. "Ser Desmond, you mustn't tease her so," she chides gently, reaching out to place a hand on the young man's forearm briefly even as Bri continues to kick at her beneath the table. "It isn't very often that she grows so quiet, but I see that /rugged jawlines/ do just the trick. Ser Garett, you must let me pay you for your services and ask to borrow them again some time!"
With that jest, she dissolves into a fizzle of giggles, shaking her head and reaching out to take up her wine. Perhaps there is a reason she is limited to half a cup /with dinner/ at home—but she isn't at home now. Before long, Ilaria is staring puzzledly into her goblet and trying to discern how it has suddenly grown empty. "Oh, Brigid. Brigid? BRIGID." A forceful shove beneath the table wakes the older woman who has long since nodded off in her cups. "Another mulled wine, please," she orders before offering a very cheerful smile to woman departing. "Seven keep you, Lady Danae; rest well. We will have tea soon, indeed."
Garett nods at the Danae. "Yes, sister. We can speak more of what you would have of me, now that I'll be staying in Stonebridge for the foreseeable future." The rather grumpy-looking Knight is still sitting at table he was at first, repouring mulled wine from bottle into cup. Because he seems like he can really put it away and apparently have a pretty hardy constitution. But he's a soldier, that's expected to not get tipsy so easily. "I'm unsure what my jawlines have to do your friend." he notes, standing up to at least come by the other table's general vicinity. He does have to keep a watchful eye on Desmond afterall. "There is no need for payment, Lady Ilaria. I help where I can."
Desmond is about to roll his shrouded eyes until Ilaria /touches his forearm/. Yes, much more chaste than the previous talk of Godly members, but that's certainly all he needs to zone out, adopting a dopey smile. "I shan't tease her so," he replies in an airy tone, then clears his throat, drawing away. "Right. I think I'd better turn in. Am I dismissed, Ser?" he asks Garett, abruptly standing.
A fleeting glance of alarm is shot Garett's way, but the young woman is whip quick, and that glare is directed at her dearest cousin. "I'm not quiet," she says hotly, still gently chewing the inside of her cheek. Prying her fingers free from the edge of her chair, Briallyn snatches her tea cup up from the table and purposefully avoids looking in Garett's general direction. Or that half of the room, really. Unfortunately, this allows her to miss Danae's discrete exit, so focused on Ilaria is she.
"His *jaw line*, Ilaria?" Her voice isn't shrill.. Is it? But, she lowers it, practically hissing across the table at Ilaria during Garett's arrival, but Desmond's sudden stand after Ilaria's hand rests briefly upon his forearm. "Hah! Touching boys, are we? Hmph!" Bri lowers her voice further, dangerously rough. "I don't like you very much, Ilaria." One hand is clamped about the tea cup, the other is rubbing furiously at flaming cheeks.
"As long as I don't have to find you later, hearing that you've been drawn into another 'incident'." Garett says succincently. "Yes, you are dismissed for the night, but I will expect back in your room. Just because we are away from the front doesn't mean your training is going decrease. If anything, just the opposite. So, keep that in mind with how much you decide to drink tonight." Funny how he says that, given how much he's had himself thus far. If he notices Bri's errant looks in his direction, he ignores them or maybe just doesn't really pay attention to it. He drains what was left in his cup, returning to his table for his bottle, which he promptly refills.
Ilaria tries to keep her smile somewhere down between polite and amused, avoiding glancing at Briallyn again lest she come across as smug—which she is. Instead, she draws her hand back quickly as if having touched a hot iron when Desmond rises. That same hand flutters up to touch the hollow of her throat before finally lowering to wrap around the goblet that Brigid places within her reach. It looks as if the older woman is quickly catching up on the story, and she places a heavy hand on the table in between the girls in warning. "'Tis much too late for young ladies to about, I think," she offers in a quiet voice, causing Ilaria to blush at the notion of being yet again unseemly.
"She is right, coz," the young girl admits, taking a few hurried gulps of her wine in a most unladylike manner before pushing the cup away. At a more sedate speed than Desmond, Ilaria rises up from her chair, pushing it back and automatically reaching out to smooth her skirt down with her palms. "Ruffians, soldiers and fallen women are the only ones out at this hour. We should away, Bri." Her attention turns briefly to Desmond and Garett, and she dips into a brief curtsey for them. "A pleasure to have made your acquaintance, Sers."
As though a fire was lit beneath her, the young woman is on her feet in record time. So much so that her chair precariously rocks and nearly tips over entirely before she steadies it quickly with a deft hand. "You say that like it's a bad th-" Some of her old spry humor seemingly returns, until her gaze falls upon Desmond, and then to Garett. Her jest dies in her throat. Briallyn follows Ilaria, standing frozen as the other youth curtsies, until a sharp nudge from Ilaria's elbow prompts her to manage one without her normal grace.
"Stop shoving me, Ilaria," she hisses softly as she straightens, hands nervously smoothing her dress, which requires no such attention. Bri licks her lips, glances towards the leisurely drinking Garett for a moment longer before reaching out to suddenly shove Ilaria towards the exit hastily with her in pursuit. "Go, go, go, Ilaria! The Inn's on fire!"
Desmond fails to avoid looking crestfallen. No drinking for him tonight. "Yes, Ser," he mutters, tugging at his cap. Still flustered, he bows sheepishly at Ilaria, but can't even properly see her off as her cousin practices some more teasing. "That girl is odd," he feels the need to point out to Garett.
Brigid merely stares at Bri, unamused by the girl's antics. This act of defiance, hwoever, is lost entirely on Ilaria considering she is looking in the opposite direction, and her farewells are interrupted as her cousin nearly shoves her right onto her backside. She stumbles and then straightens, disoriented by the push, and clings to the back of a chair to get her bearings. The smell of smoke is pervasive in the common room - of course, because of the great fireplace - but she has forgotten this entirely. It is quite possible she might even be the slightest bit drunk.
And so she does what all tipsy, gullible girls do: she listens to her cousin without hesitation. "Fire? Fire!" Ilaria shrieks, hikes up her skirts - to hell with propriety, she will not burn! - and dashes out the door as fast as she possibly can.