|The Game's Afoot|
|Summary:||Mistress Iulia and Tam encounter each other during laundry hour.|
|Related Logs:||Plethora of Fanfare & A Lady's Requests|
|Near the river, Stonebridge|
|Riverside, where the servants are doing laundry.|
|December 13, 288|
At one side of the river there was a bustle of activity. The female servants from the tower, with sleeves pushed up and arms deep in water, were scrubbing and rolling the garments against large rocks as it was the laundry hour. Iulia was among them, carting the wet clothing towards the washing dollies for drying after the women had filled their buckets. A few bits of laughter could be heard as they chatted on about days past or feature events, particularly the feast the Lady of Stonebridge was organizing.
Tam emerges from a stand of oaks, shirtless and speaking over his shoulder. His baritone voice carries over the bustle. "You better get back to the Wench, sweetling. And tell Torrence I said I'll be in later for the bare-knuckle match." Walking out behind him is a young redhead; she giggles and makes some tartish remark, to which Tam just grins. The grizzled hedge knight walks toward the water, tugging on his tunic and taking a knee a bit downstream from the women. Splashing water on his face, the man shakes his head vigorously, sending water spraying like a dog. Meanwhile, his feminine companion makes herself scarce.
It only took one pair of eyes from the small group to take notice of the man and his whore. A game of whispering had begun that called for some pointing and laughter, others may have shook their heads in disgust. Iulia had just tossed, then arranged a fine maroon garment most likely belonging to someone of wealth upon the dolly. So when the whisper had reached her ears, naturally she searched for this male was. Tam was spotted not too far away, she smirks, just wondering how the evening with Marg fared as the kitchen servant was absent for today. "Battleborn!" She calls just before plucking a wet blanket from the pile and moving towards the next dolly to hang it upon.
"Good morning, sweetling!" Tam is entirely unashamed of his whore - after all, if a man -his- age can still get action, he must be doing pretty well. The grizzled knight ambles closer, water dripping down out of his beard. He grins down at Iulia, reaching to tousle her hair and grinning at the other women around him. "You tell that Marg, when you see her, that I had a grand time. Woman can -dance-!" There is genuine admiration in the Knight's voice. He chuckles lowly.
Iulia ducks under the fuss made to her hair, already a bit astray from bending and turning in so many directions. She frowned a small bit, seeking to correct what was in need of a good brush and a mirror. "Morning." Is returned a bit sour until Tam makes a mention of his evening with Marg and the girl's mood shifted into a positive one. "So you /did/ make due on your word. And that you had a great time. Hopefully she isn't too worked over from dancing, I have not seen her at all this morning." Iulia comments while taking another blanket then hoisting it upon the next dolly with her back to him. "You seem to be high spirits."
"When I give my word, pet, I keep it." Tam grins crookedly, apparently richly amused by the young woman's sour approach to her hair. He winks at one of the other women, humming cheerfully as he uses his tunic to dry his face. "I'm in superb spirits, poppet. I like it here in Stonebridge." He lifts a tunic off the dolly - fine quality linen, dyed forest green. "You reckon this would suit me, lass? Something like this?" The hardened knight smirks, folding it and laying it back down on the dolly. "Marg is likely nursing a fine headache. We had a good bit of ale. You know, she was a fine-looking young woman back when she was younger."
"I am glad you do. Apparently it grew on you?" Some of the female servants attending the laundry couldn't help themselves. Their eyes drank in his topless form where age apparently wasn't a factor to these maidens. If noticed they would quickly avert their gaze back to their work, Iulia was doing her best not to react. Instead, she laid more focus into her task, drivin to not give him the satisfaction of witnessing her all flustered. Until he snatched one of the lord's tunics, holding it against his body in modeling. Her eyes swept towards him, a small inspection before relaying her judgement, "Not likely." She smirked, finding some inner humor of him dawning fine fabrics too expensive for his purse. "I bet, I've seen you drink. I've tasted what you drink, hopefully she is not suffering too much." Iulia walks to the other side of the dolly, now adjusting the various cloths and linens for the sunlight. "A lot of people were probably fine looking when they were younger, maybe even you." From around the blanket she peeked over to him, stuck out her tongue then returned to smoothing the linen.
Tam is well-aware of the effect his battle-scarred frame has on some of the younger maids; he's in no hurry to put on his own tunic, letting it dangle loosely in his hand. "Marg? Yeah, she surprised me. Had a real good time." He grins, winking at one of the more studious of his new fans, and says "You never minded how shiet it was, lass. Cheap, but it -works-." Suddenly, the grizzled hedge knight is serious, drawing closer to Iulia - uncomfortably close, from behind. He leans forward to speak in her ear. "Need you to get me a meeting with the Lady, poppet."
"I wasn't aware that I needed to." The girl laughs a touch. Thankfully the large spread from the blanket separated the pair's closeness from the others. Iulia then inclined her head just over the shoulder. "What is your reason?" She asks Tam while walking around the blanket and pulling the next cloth from the basket, again setting it upon the dolly to dry.
"Before much longer, I got to make a decision. Do I work for the Terricks or the Naylands? Hardwicke Blayne ain't the sort to let a man stay neutral for long, and I want to know what your Mistress'll offer me." Tam's tone is unusually grave; there is no hanky-panky in his manner. He slings his tunic over one shoulder, looking down at the young woman. "I got things I want, Iulia. Maybe that makes me an honorless dog, but I'm tired of hedges."
Iulia had looked about her, waiting until most of the interest had left the half clothed male before responding as it should carry further than Cooper's ears. "My lady would have you enlisted into her own guard, separate from the Naylands." She starts, laying a hand upon Tam's arm to encourage a breath of distance from the laundering group. Continuing her whisper, "She has placed me in a position to be her contact, to you. I believe my lady is estranged from the Naylands for what she says to me, even the tasks she has asked of you and Master Wycliffe have not been shared with her lord husband." Iulia would remove her hand, remembering that it was still damp from the wet linens. "What are these things you want? A home? A new sword or stable for Padraig?" She asks him. "My lady needs men she can trust, men who are not paid by her husband's coin."
Tam's eyes glint as the young woman talks; he lets himself be led away, not seeming to mind the damp hand on his arm. He isn't smiling anymore, however - the Knight seems to take this incredibly seriously, as well he might. "I got a sword. A stable for Padraig and some hot oats, they might nah be so bad. But a home? Yeah. I want a home. I want decent armor - a breastplate, a bascinet - and I want coin. Maybe some land. A squire, so I ain't gotta tend my own maile. I want everything a -knight- has. I been a knight five years, girl, and I live worse'n I ever did as a sellsword." The bitterness rolling out of Tam's mouth is overwhelming; he clamps down on it hard, eyeing the young woman, nostrils flaring as he exhales. "Just get me the meeting. She wants to play this game, girl, I'm her man - but I ain't going to start rolling the dice 'til she and I made ourselves a deal."
Iulia had no opinion of the requests made, they seemed simple enough however not to someone who lacked those items. After his list of wants were given she nodded, well aware she cannot broker this sort of agreement however a meeting of discretion would seem likely. It was almost sad for someone of his standing to lack so much. "I will." Iulia replies softly, intimidated by his urgency to see it done. "Do you still have intentions on traveling to the Roost? I was informed that whatever it is you learned from there that I would carry the information to my lady." Again she speaks quietly, only for Tam.
"Seven Hells, she ain't playing games any longer. She wants me to go to the Roost, huh?" Tam draws a breath, knuckling his beard. "We'll see whether I go. Depends on what -she- has to say about it. I got to be sure I don't end up hurting a few folk I owe." For such a hard-nosed brute, the man certainly seems to spend a lot of time worrying about hurting people. He smiles crookedly at the young woman, reaching out to chuck her chin. "So she means to use you and Wycliffe, eh? Like that poor lad ain't given enough for her family." His tone is wry. "And if they catch -you-, pretty little harlot, you won't just be teasing some broke-down old hedge knight. I'll introduce you to a girl I know, let her tell you the story of what happens when beauty crosses nobles."
"I can inquire with the lady about recompense, an incentive to encourage your departure." He'll undoubtedly need coin for the travel and stay. But all she can do is relay a suggestion to Isolde. Iulia touched her chin, free of powders as the discoloration from a few night's past was very minimal. "I'm sure you can manage a few evenings without punching someone Battleborn unless you intend on calling attention to yourself." She smirks, folding an arm beneath her bosom as the pair conversed. "The lady lacks support, sure there is support for Nayland but she places her faith upon so few. What is this business with Wycliffe?" Evidently not understanding the relationship between the two. "How will they catch me? For all those in the Roost know I may be some traveling whore." She shrugs then.
"No, you'll set a fucking meeting, girl, or I'll turn you over my knee and spank you 'til you bleed. Deserve it anyway." Despite the threat, Tam's tone is affable enough. He glances around, sighing and running a hand through his hair. "Or I'll just go and kick that pup Wayland Frey until he whines enough for his mistress to come save him. Poncy little bastard, probably has the pox from letting little boys stick their cocks in him." The venom in his words carries with it deep-seated frustration. He hawks and spits to one side, shaking his head. "You see how he always leaps at me, like I'm gonna drag his beloved little Lady out of her saddle and have her right there? Fuck. Nah, I'm gonna risk my life for someone, she gives me the task face-to-face. I deserve that, girl." So that's what it boils down to - the man desires respect.
"Fine fine." The girl rolls her eyes at the threat, wholly believable so the meeting must take place. "I'll arrange it Battleborn but you best not speak wrongly of Ser Wayland before my Lady. He is a good man and cares for her well being. You should not be so put off by his devotion." Iulia states before looking to the gathered servants, nearly finished with the day's laundry and waiting for it to dry. The flurry of ill speak warrants a swat from her hand upon his arm, "Mind your tongue!" She chides.
Tam grins at the young woman and seems to emerge from his bad mood as quickly as he had sunk into it, nodding agreeably now that he has his way. He looks down at Iulia consideringly, then over at one of the other chambermaids, who keeps shooting the pair looks. "Tell her we'll meet at the Dusty Wench," he murmurs thoughtfully. "Nobody there's gonna recognize the lady, especially if she borrows some of your clothes. Something..common." He flashes a toothy smile at Iulia. "You know the sort of dress I mean. Now she ain't going to be happy about that - so remind her what'll happen if anybody figures out what game she's playing. I don't think she wants that." Tam's lopsided smile is predatorial, his gaze distant as he begins to mentally run through the various obstacles in his path.
Iulia's brows deepen, "The Dusty Wench?" She questions and immediately shakes her head, "I would not have my lady entering an establishment of that nature. Hell Battleborn, we barely walked in and was already in a brawl. No. Not there, chose somewhere else." She urges and quite serious too as she had the power to propose this meeting to the lady. But she wouldn't take offense to her common attire, as most of the commoner's wore. "I have no doubt that the lady will not be recognized."
Tam shakes -his- head in response. "Where would you have me meet her? Here?" He gestures around loosely. "A romantic meeting by the water? Neh. Has to be the Wench. A place that chaotic, nobody cares who comes in and out. I got reasons for what I say, poppet." The knight scratches the beard beneath his cheek, hawking and spitting onto the ground beside his foot before - long past due - pulling on his tunic and shoving it down into his breeches. "When you try to avoid being noticed, lass, that's when you end up with somebody tickling your feet with something sharp."
Considering Iulia unfolds her arms then move towards the empty basket used to carry the wet laundry. "Alright, I'll relay your wishes to my lady." She says, picking up the basket and holding it against her hip. A finger points at him, "If this meeting causes injury to my lady.." She had very little to threaten him with, maybe a vicious bite on his nose or something. So the threat was left open to think of a cruel act later. Most of the other servants were begining to depart, some would remain to wait for the clothing to dry. "If she agrees, we shall see you there tonight. Our absence well.. it will give you one answer." Iulia would then start to pick up on the trail from the others who were returning to the tower.
"She gets hurt, girl, and all I get is a horse-whipping. If I'm lucky. I got every reason to make sure -our- Lady stays safe, sane.. and victorious." Tam smiles slowly, reaching to rub the back of his neck. He reaches over to pat Iulia's cheek. "Oi, alright. One more thing. Some -other- hedge knight starts getting you tipsy, taking off your clothing, and asking you questions? You tell him a sack of lies, then you come crawl into my bedroll and tell me all about it. Assuming I ain't at my room at the Wench. I'm there, you stay away." He smiles again, gray eyes sparkling before he looks away. "I'll see the two of you tonight. Common-dressed."