|The More They Drink|
|Summary:||Nothing says summer, like a brawl at the Rockcliffe.|
|Related Logs:||Walking in the Rain: Liliana meets Stragen.|
|Rockcliff Inn — Terrick's Roost|
|The Rockcliff Inn is one of the better inns within the town and it shows with the well-lit interior and the relative cleanliness to the other locations in Terrick's Roost. The tables are polished with oils and the floor regularly swept. A set of booths towards a darker rear of the Inn's bottom floor, just beneath the staircase, are where whores generally socialize and eye prospects from when not waiting tables. Signs over the undersized bar area advertise prices for ales and wines as well as several different choices of food to be served at the small eating area by the bar or in the main open area in its comfortable seating. A door behind the bar leads to the kitchen and cellar while another near the staircase leads to a private room that would appear to be off-limits to the 'wait staff' except for food and drink service.|
|Sun 7 Aug, 288 AL|
Carrying on with a small, mixed group of Terrick's Roost common folk is Stragen, a litter of flagons and half-empty wine bottles filling the table alongside slabs of half-stale bread topped with the local 'hot brown' - a true commoner's feast. And it seems that while his drinking companions are mostly three sheets to the wind, he himself seems quite in the thick of inebriation that teeters on the line between functional and plastered.
And into the fray comes a woman neither inebriated, nor much educated in the choruses of the local drinking ditties. But skilled in finding whatever shelter she can from the heat of the summer sun outside, that she can do, with the door opening under a light hand, and a slender, well dressed figure stepping inside, trailing only a single companion dressed in the colours of the Roost. And a pause, just inside the door, to allow eyes to adjust to the loss of light, that seems, for a moment, to plunge all the world into darkness, and the sting of cooking smoke and spirits, leaves Liliana momentarily blinking and still.
"Less good than they say, for the sone of men
is the drinking oft of ale:
for the more they drink, the less they can think,
and keep a watch over their wits!"
Less a local drinking song and something that comes from the coast, apparently, as a few of the locals not involved in the barbarian's carousing cast baleful glances in the direction of his table. "No one should sing Ironer songs but Ironers," comes the disgruntled utterance from one of the patrons. But, for the time being, none are willing to tell Stragen and his companions that they can't sing their songs.
As the carousing continues, it's very clear to anyone who is paying attention that Stragen isn't so much companions with these men, but they're local folk that he has conned, coerced, or otherwise charmed into sharing a bountiful repast with him. And it's now clear why: the barbarian's hands are subtle enough to palm the purse of one of the men, too drunk to notice.
<FS3> Opposed Roll — Stragen=stealth Vs Liliana=alertness
< Stragen: Good Success Liliana: Good Success
< Net Result: Stragen wins - Marginal Victory
Liliana's eyes, adjusting to the dimness, after the searing brightness of the sun outside, naturally gravitate towards the direction of the greatest sound, and, as is also natural, just about the largest man in the common room. Curiosity, in the man who looks like kin to the Iron Isles, and the seeming carousing going on. And slightly narrowed eyes, as she sees the man dip down, moving not quite as unwittingly as one might who is so deep into his cups. But of what she might see of anything else, she bides her time, needing, of necessity, to walk past him to gain a table.
"A bird of unmindfulness, flutters over ale-feasts,
willing away men's wits;
with the feathers of that fowl, I was fettered once,
in the garths of the Storm God below!"
The singing and drinking continues, the language of the Iron Isles' song translated into the local tongue, losing some of its meter and rhyme, but the carousers seem not to notice. The patrons, however, do, and a few of the patrons depart hastily, shaking their head and muttering swears and curses as they go.
"That's it, I've 'ad enough," says the one vocally opposed local from across the room, who drains his own drink in preparation for a confrontation. One of his friends rests a steadying hand on his shoulder, imploring with his friend to not take any rash action. The man settles to glaring across the room at Stragen, but it's clear he's quickly losing his patience.
Like a willow, buffeted in the wind, Liliana braces herself, in the light of the foot traffic making their way, hastily and angrily out of the bar, still weaving her way. If nothing else, as she moves still closer to the big man's table, the clearing out does afford her a better choice of table. Isn't that a comfort. A set to her jaw, to her expression. A brave attempt not to allow the the effects of the obvious animosity in the room to show on her face.
"Drunk was I then, I was over-drunk,
in the fold of wise Father;
But best is an ale feast when a man is able
to call back his wits at once!"
There is a chorus of resounding, drunken laughter at the end of the seaside shanty, with a lot of hearty back-slapping and the draining of cups. This causes Stragen to see the opportunity to, once again, lift the purse of one of his other fellows, but the approach of the unknown causes him to stay his hand. With a broad grin, he announces, "Pick yourselves up, lads, there's a lady amongst us! Watch your tongues and mind your stains!" This causes yet another uproar of laughter.
It isn't as if she's honestly dressed in such a way as to invite people to take her for one of the smallfolk, even if her attire is a bit more modest than some of the noblewomen might gravitate towards, but the call of the man to the room for their attention on her is received with a wince, and a slight tightening of the skin between her brows. All she can do is make her best attempt to get to the other end of the room as quickly and neatly as possible. Not an easy choice, with drunkards on one side and women for sale on the other.
After a few unbecoming, inebriated calls in Liliana's direction from his "companions", Stragen extracts himself from their midst. Somehow, despite his fellows being stained by food and booze alike, Stragen remains remarkably unsoiled. Straightening his jerkin, he head over to where Liliana's found a table. "Anything I can do for My Lady, or does she happen to be 'slumming it' with the common folk this eve?" He asks, no longer the drunken louse that he seemed to be a moment's earlier. Well, certainly liquored up, but not sounding nor behaving nearly as soused as his former table companions. "Master Stragen Stone, at your service," he says, introducing himself. "You're with the Baneforts, aren't you?"
There's no flush of embarrassment at the catcalls, the suggestions that she might be offered better than any woman loitering around the Inn at this particular moment, but only a sharp tilt of her chin, and a look better given to the sight of something well below her station, which likely does not endear her in the least, before she settles into a table, the man with her settling not far from where she's now seated. Nor does the approach of the man giving all appearances of being from the lady of the greyjoys. But at the question, "I am not with the Baneforts. But I am Lady Liliana Camden, of Tall Oaks."
"I was never good with heraldry," Stragen laments. "But I remember you, from the other night. When it began raining. I was entertaining the Lady Anais Banefort, and you had come to 'rescue' her. Which is just as well, as her men were beginning to boil over and I predicted an armed conflict at any moment. Wouldn't want to embarrass the Baneforts by dispatching their sworn in front of the lady, louts one and all," he muses, affecting a playful smirk. "Tall Oaks, then, my apologies. Closely tied with the Baneforts, then?"
"Not in the least. So far as I know, my House has no direct dealing with the Baneforts at all." A hand indicates an empty seat across from her, though she, for the moment, waves away the waitress that seems intent on coming over and seeing to her order, "My Uncle decided that I should be fostered out when I came of marriageable age, and had little prospect, though, he never came directly out and said such a thing, and he decided on House Terrick. I have been a lady-in-waiting for the past few years. When the Lady of Banefort came to visit at the Roost, it was requested of me that I should accompany her when I could and assist her in becoming familiar with the House's lands."
"Ah, nobles and politics," Stragen comments, crouching down so he can rest on one knee and lean against the lady's table. Naturally, this causes all sorts of gasps and chuckles around the room at such brazen behavior. "So, Lady Camden," he says, perhaps improperly. "You still haven't told me why you're here this eve. I'm only guessing that you are in search of engaging conversation. Well, you've certainly found it. How may I engage My Lady?"
"Aye, that's it!" Roars the previously vocal opposition to Stragen's carousing and Ironer shanty. He kicks his chair out from behind him and stalks over to the man; his friends reluctantly back him up and join him. Most folk grow quiet at this activity, and some draw back, anticipating a fight. Stragen casts a half-glance over his shoulder, smirking confidently. "My Lady, I'm afraid these men are disappointed with the presence of a barbarian. Do you agree? Am I offending to your senses?"
There's a decided arch of her brows, as Stragen settles himself in at her table, Liliana's eyes rising to the rest of the room a moment, as if gauging their temperament, before she returns her attention to the rough-clad and rough-visaged man, "It isn't the way of the Tall Oaks to distance themselves from their people. I came for a meal and some time away from the Tower. What little time my duties afford me for my own, I try to use as I please. But I have certainly found an interesting companion and all."
At the approach of the less than friendly man and his companions, rather than shrink away, Liliana rises, pushing back her chair, as though she were preparing to meet them head on, paying little to no attention to her companion, who's now approaching, hand on sword, "I have met worse that has offended my senses than yourself, Master Stone. Are you truly from the Iron Isles as they say?"
Stragen's eyes trail upward as the lady stands, resting her hand on the hilt of a blade. "I'm from many places, My Lady Camden. Most recently, I'm of the between places, finding my mercenary's way in a land that requires none." With that, he slowly rises, thumbs hooking in his sword belt. "But if it suits My Lady, I can be a pure-blooded ravening bastard sired from the loins of an Iron Isles raider. I can be whatever My Lady requires of me. That is the lot of a liar. He has no truth of his own."
"Enough talk, Ironer!" Comes the belligerent roar from the man behind him. "I'm going to show you exactly what your kind are worth!" The sound of several blades are drawn, and more folk withdraw, the sound of benches being pushed back and tables being turned to provide protection. Naturally, no one retreats - barfights are entertaining, after all.
"After My Lady," Stragen offers to Liliana, giving an inclination of his head in deferrence.
"There are more liars in this world than you could possibly imagine, Master Stone. And there is always a place, unhappily do I say that or no, for someone skilled in weapons, as well as words." That said, Liliana steps between the big man and the men approaching, looking at each of them in turn, every inch the daughter of Tall Oaks' Master of the Hunt, showing neither fear, nor weakness. "Until such time as I should decide otherwise, this man is mine. Put your weapons away." The guard she gives barely a glance. If she can't manage a group of drunk miscreants, she can't be much of a lady.
<FS3> Stragen rolls Blades: Great Success.
One of the group backing up the lead, drunk, loud-mouth rests a hand on his shoulder. "Kyan, les' not trouble a noble lady, aye?" The voice of reason in this trio, perhaps. But Kyan, the drunken loud-mouth, will have nothing of his friend's wisdom. "If she trucks wit' an Ironer, she's jus' as bad as an Ironer!" And he gives the woman a swift shouldering out of the way, causing her to sprawl backwards into the alert arms of her sworn.
And Stragen springs into action, his broadsword leaping from its sheath, whirling to face the assailant. "With the authority of Lady Blackmane, I leap to the defense of House Camden!" And with that, the barbarian lunges at his three foes, cutting across Kyan's sword arm and impaling the third man behind him, who, until this point, has not uttered a sound. But he gurgles quite painfully at the broadsword sticking in his chest.
And that's when the room erupts.
A sound half cry, half very unladylike strangled curse escapes Liliana, as she's tosses aside like a sack of potatoes, tangling herself up with the sworn set to watch over her, which makes the man actually springing to her defense a bit difficult. A few moments, perhaps a few moments too long, for the two to free themselves of each other, before he too is shoving her back in an attempt to enter the fray and clear a path for her retreat. Not that she does, of course. Retreat that is. Rather, she spins around, gathering her wits and getting her bearings, as she reaches for the first and heaviest bit of crockery she can find. Damn these Terrick nobles that don't let a woman go about armed. But she still has skill in her arm, as she launches the heavy mug towards the second man, that hasn't either been maimed or skewered by the 'Ironer'.
<FS3> Liliana rolls Marksmanship: Good Success.
Crash goes the crockery on the man's skull, and down he goes like a sack of potatoes. "Well thrown, My Lady!" Cries out Stragen, busy parrying Kyan's attempt to strike down the 'barbarian' with his short blade. The entire room is ablaze, with Stragen's former carousing friends, including the man he stole from, leaping onto those who are shouting obscenities and racial slurs against those from the Iron Isles - clearly meant for Stragen.
Learning the man's unrefined technique in blades, Stone is quick to find the holes in Kyan's attacks, and disarms the man with a well-placed cut across his sword arm. Arm rendered useless, Kyan, too drunk to truly recognize how injured and outmatched he is, roars and throws himself onto Stragen in an attempt to tear the larger man down.
The sworn wades in, attempting to break up the ensuing chaos, his body, coupled with Stragen's at least putting Liliana not directly in the line of fire. But that's hardly likely to last, as she reaches for the next closest thing she can find, another mug and sends that into the fray too. And if she notices that whatever was meant to be in the mugs are now on her dress, she clearly couldn't care a wit. "Clear a path to the door," comes the shouted command, likely to both mercenary and House sworn.
<FS3> Stragen rolls Unarmed: Good Success.
Wrestling with the bloody, drunk Kyan, Stragen gets the upper hand and literally throws the man into a pair of brawling folk uninvolved in the conflict between the Iron Folk-prejudiced and the Camden Lady, sworn, and mercenary. With the original assailants more or less dealt with, the barbarian makes a snap decision and turns his blade in his hands. "Make a path!" Stragen bellows, charging ahead, using the flat of his blade to shove folk out of the way without injuring any innocents. It's not without its price, however, as the blonde warrior takes a gash to his temple from a hurled, broken plate. The wound wells up and pours blood, although being a head wound, probably looks worse than it is.
Liliana is not slow in following the blond barbarian, the sworn following up the rear the pair of men bracketing her to keep her away from most of the fray, as the distance between her former table and the door grows ever smaller, under the determined strides of all three. Well, more like a bit of a run for Liliana, but nevermind that. Onward and upward they go, the young woman doing her best to escape unscathed if she can, at least until they can make it out onto the open air. Not as successful as she might be, of course, the coarser of the men reaching out to grab for the woman, the tearing sound of fine silk a rather incongruous sound in the din, but not quite so much as the sound of pain that escapes her lips at the blow, badly timed, meant for the man ahead, strikes the side of Liliana's head, sending the woman sprawling, but this time with no sworn to fall into, but to the floor, cheek hitting hard, the roughness of the sand and wood of the floor scraping her face badly enough to start dots of blood welling from broken skin. At least her sworn has presence of mind enough to finally just scoop the woman up, cradling her as he leaves it to Stragen to get them to the door.
And get them to the door he dues, smashing the pommel of his blade into the solar plexus of one of the bar patrons looking to bar his exit. No doubt offending a dozen Houses with this drunken brawl and the personal affronts he's given to equally as many men, Stragen clears a path to the street outside. Waiting only for the sworn and his charge to break free of the inn does Stone collapse besides the steps, a hand pressed to the side of his head, both gasping for breath and roaring in laughter.
As soon as they make it out of the door, Liliana begins to fight her sworn to get the man to put her down, scrambling back onto her feet, paying no more attention to the town guards, hearing the commotion of the brawl, than she does to any of the shouts and curses coming from inside. At least she has the presence of mind to make use of the damage done to her dress, as she tears a strip of silk from it, and wetting it in the water trough, before she approaches the man now collapsed beside the Inn door, "Let me see that." Wait, she does offer one other thing, to the sworn, "Get them to break that up. This man is not to be harmed. He is still mine, until I release him."
Still chuckling and catching his breath, Stragen doesn't wave away Liliana's ministrations, but he does hoist his sword up to rest it lengthwise on his chest, as if he were being fit to be buried or burned. "I haven't had that much fun in ages. Thank you, My Lady. I am, indeed, yours! Ha!" His eyes register that the poor woman's face is all rashed up, and the mirth drains from his face. "Oh, balls, they're going to skin me alive. Your face!"
"I am glad that I have been able to entertain you, Master Stone." There's no severity in the woman's tone. Indeed, she sounds decidedly amused, now that the adrenaline of the encounter and the fear for her own safety, and for those who were with her has subsided. Liliana seems less concerned with her own face, however, than Stragen's, "They will not skin you alive, if I have anything to say about it. Now do stop moving so that I can attempt to stop this bleeding." More strips are torn from her dress, some kept dry, others wetted with water, as she reaches into the folds of her dress to remove the small items of herbcraft she carries always with her. As often as she spends time out of doors, it's a necessity. With the guards arriving, some of whom look decidedly unfavourably at the man, and shocked at the condition of the Lady, "There has been a bit of an uprising inside, put it to rest and calm everyone down please." Oh, she doesn't stamp her foot, but she certainly looks like she wants to. "Now." In they go. Her sworn stays close to her.