|Those Damned Peasant Tyrants|
|Summary:||After a night in captivity, the kidnapped noble ladies and the unfortunates who attend them speak amongst themselves, and interact with one of their keepers.|
|Date:||02 June 289|
|Related Logs:||The kidnapping, and its immediate aftermath.|
|It is less of a cave than a hovel of earth that has collapsed into the ground, large enough for the group of women to cower together and stretch their legs a little. The taller women will have to stoop to move around beneath the packed earthen ceiling. In the back a trickle of water drips from a bed of rock, turning the earth around it into gloppy mud, but providing something to drink. The bandits are ever on patrol at the mouth of the cave, quick to strike if the ladies get too lippy, loud, or simply because they feel like it.|
|02 June 289|
Nestled against her Septa's side, the right side of Muirenn's face and nose is a painful display of swollen bluish black that fans out into green at the outer edges. The elderly woman looks pained down at her charge but lets the girl sleep as long as she can, though Waldsteinia shifts to stretch her limbs. The young Mallister's breathing is harsh, the soft ebb and flow of air rasping in the damp of this hole.
Ilaria's dozing is fitful at best as she sits hunched over against a wall with her knees up to her chest. As her head lolls forward she gasps and jerks upright, smacking her head into the uneven surface behind her. Groaning, she reaches up to rub it quickly to chase away the pain, and she finally cracks her eyes open to take in the terribly rag-tag sight of all of the ladies.
Tia is all next to Corrie, wherever she is. But since Tia wakes up earlier than the pregnant one, she too stretches, taking a moment while most of the women are sleeping to stretch out her limbs and think about bathroom conditions. Ugh. Just … ugh. Stupid bandits. It's enough really to make her bloodthirsty. At least with the Ironborn, they had comfy tents. She looks around at the gasp from Ilaria and carefully makes her way over that way, giving a worried look to where the harsh breathing can be heard. It's so not a healthy place to be for any length of time … "Ilaria," she says softly, once she gets over by the other lady. "Are you okay?"
Waking with a lough coughing, Muirenn rubs her face against her Septa's arm seeking comfort from the old lady who has been with the family since her Mother was a child. Straightening she murmers "I am sssorry Septa. I didn't mean to cough so loud." Worriedly she glances towards the mouth of the cave, murmering "Dania tolb me dey would…hurt…her and yourselb to keep me complient." Wincing, tears well up in her eyes as she moves her head. The words are spoken oddly as she still has the cotton lace still stuck in her nose to help stop the bleeding. Gingerly, fingers tug at the cotton and pull it out..black with dried blood.
"Yes, yes, quite alright," Ilaria murmurs to Tiaryn, pitching her voice low to keep quiet - perhaps so as not to be overheard by their 'guards'. She reaches out to touch Tiaryn's arm, her face a mask of concern. "Are you alright, Tiaryn? Is Muirenn…?" She turns to follow Tia's gaze and frowns. Hearing the swollen nose is enough to make Ilaria wince. Pushing off from the wall, she half-crawls, half-hops over to where Muirenn is sitting with her Septa. "They hit you in the face? In the /face/?" she asks, gasping in astonishment.
Tia is okay. "More or less," she says, though she then moves with Ilaria over to near Muir. "They also hit Cherise in the face," she says. "those two have signed their death warrants, and they don't even know it." Her voice is low, but there's an implacable anger in there, as the steel that is in her spine at core shows oh so slightly. "They did get us to cooperate, as obviously they will stoop to any lowness." And she's not even going to start in on the accomodations. "Is there anything that will help, Muir? Not that we have much, I admit … " Caught between a rock and a hard place for sure.
Glancing at Ilaria, the Mallister girl manages a rather cheeky grin though the effort pains her. "I felt it only fair to warn them that they would not live to regret what they had done…then they hit me. Then I felt it only fair to tell them that they would pay for that insult and the oaf hit me again." It is a known fact that Muirenn Jillain Rose Mallister is perhaps the most purely feminine girl in all her family…that magpie-like she adores all things feathered, frilled, jeweled, laced, and beribboned…but those fripperies only cover the iron in her that refuses to let her crumple. Lifting her chin she adds, "Though Mistress Dania is right." Fingers move to her mouth and she gives another raspy cough, clearing her throat to continue, "Please excuse me. The damp and I do not get on well…but Mistress Dania is correct. They will harm our handmaidens and chaperones in order to get us to comply."
Ilaria bites down on her lower lip, reaching out to touch only as much as Muirenn's hand; she cannot bring herself to touch the girl's face. "II honestly don't know, Tiaryn," she answers quietly, before withdrawing and rocking back on her heels. "I never did learn much of anything about heali" she winces when Muirenn coughs, and the sound sends a shudder down her spine. "Water, come on, my lady, there is water back there. You should drink something."
The Septa glances at the water and then back at her charge and says tartly in her worry, "Perhaps in a bit."
Muirenn continues at Ilaria and Tiaryn, always the lady she finds the bedraggled fan that had slipped off of her lap and spreads it out almost as a comfort. "Thank you both, water in a bit. Unfortunately there is not a lot we can do, I will just try to…rest and not cough so loud." Giving a sideways glance to the cave entrance she adds, "and stay dry."
Tia gives both Ilaria and Muirenn a sympathetic glance. "I know a bit," she says, softly. "But I think Muirenn knows more. It seems to me that water is perhaps our best bet, as I very much doubt they're going to give us anything else. I think we should all prepare ourselves for a bit of a hungry time." It'll keep them from staying uppity for one thing, and won't harm them too much. She shakes her head and then she says, "Anders is going to be beside himself. Gods!" Especially since Corrie is pregnant. Yeesh, talk about timing.
As if on cue when Tiaryn mentions 'hunger', Ilaria's stomach growls. The girl winces, placing a hand upon her shift over her stomach. "I would not mind some food - stale bread would suffice at this point. I hadn't eaten anything at the picnic. Damn the fool notions of starving yourself to be 'ladylike'." She hits her fist on the rock, lightly, but still "ows" quietly and shakes out her fingers.
Tiaryn and Ilaria are crouching in front of Muirenn who is sporting a bit of a mangled face while leaning up against her Septa.
Saffron Banefort does not look pleased. She is squat as close as she can to the cave's entrance without encouraging the wrath of their captors. In naught but her shift, she seems to move with more silence and precision than when skirts are involved. She is squinting toward the outside, her ears half tilted to the conversation, though she's yet to pipe in with her own opinions. In fact, she has been most quiet once she knew no amount of noise would save them.
Gently Muirenn's fingers stroke the mangled feathers of her fan, an absent soothing gesture. Her nose and lip have stopped bleeding but she can feel the blood crusted on her skin only adding to the utter charm of the ugly bruises. Giving another cough she rips off another tiny piece of lace from her shift and spit dampens it so that she can make some sort of attempt at cleaning her face. As she swallows another fit of coughing overtakes her and she gives up to just lean against her Septa, murmering "My head hurts."
Arching a brow the elderly woman replies drily "Well my dearest lady, I rather imagine that is what comes from not remaining ladylike, polite, and quiet." Though her words seem harsh, she gives the 18-year old a tender pat.
Dania had spoken a little last night and had dozed off in at stiff careful position. She is waking up from her doze. She is stiff and she quickly repositions herself when she realizes some part of her bare skin is touching the dirt. She is careful to be where it is dry and away from the trench and the mud. She wraps her arms around herself.
Ilaria ripes off a bit from the hem of her own shift, having yet to rend the fabric. No fancy lace linings or embroidered frippery on the plain white garment rendered it useless for the bandits. "Embroidery," she snorts in a most unladylike fashion, following aloud her own train of thoughts. Working her way to the back of the cave, she lets the water trickle onto the cloth until it is wet - disregarding entirely the mud that creeps up around and between her toes. She returns to Muirenn's side and uses it to carefully - ever so very carefully - to help clean away the blood should the lady let her. "I'm sorry, sorry, I'm sorry, so sorry," she whispers with every dab, before she bites down on her lower lip to shut herself up.
"You need to drink water, Muirenn. And eat what you can," Saffron says as she continues to glare at the front of the cave. Finally, she slips up to her feet. Entirely mindful of the ceiling, she slips back over toward the rest of the ladies to settle down around Muirenn. Her voice drops low. "I promise you that your cousin and brother at the very least are not going to bow to these kidnappers easily." Saffron has put up a fight, earning rope-shaped marks around her wrists where she had tried to struggle against the bindings and a darkening bruise across her freckled face where punishment had been delivered. She has also cared not for the mud nor dirt. For once, being the wild child has been a good thing.
A hand reaches out to pat Ilaria's arm gently. "You are so sweet" Muirenn smiles up at the Haigh girl and straightens. "Thank you." Submitting to the face washing she feels better and glances over at Saffron in the entrance, her eyes regaining some of their normal michevious sparkle "I console myself that the horrible Frey dress did indeed finally go away, it was quite offensive…though I was beginning to feel it was supernaturally protected."
The elderly Septa begins to rise, but Muirenn stops her "No, let me get the water." While it would be lovely to straighten, the cave is just too small for the tall teenager and so she remains somewhat stooped as she rises, adding, "I am afraid there is no food Saffron." Her jaw tightens as she bites back another cough, though her breath comes in a series of rapid gasps that are unmistakable. sigh.
"You need to cough, and we need to get you out of this mess. As soon as we are out I want to steam those lungs of yours." Dania says softly. "For now there is little we can do. Just drink water. Coughing will help clear the lungs a little bit. Drink water. I am sorry Lady Muirenn." Her tone is quiet.
Ilaria blushes at the compliment but murmurs a quiet "'tis nothing". When finished, she folds up the stained scrap of linen andwelldrops it on the ground. She glances toward the Septa with a quirk of her eyebrows, rising as Muirenn does to indicate she will escort the girl to the back of the cave. "Watch the mud there, right there along that line it starts. You're tall enough to lean and reach without getting dirty." Hanging back within arm's reach, Ilaria lets her gaze rove over the bedraggled collection of girls scattered about the cave - some sitting, some laying down, some sleeping, some weeping quietly, some staring. All of them probably hungry. Her stomach rumbles again, but Ilaria tries to rouse a conversation in order to better ignore it. "I am a bit irritated with those men for interrupting our picnic. I had a bet with my cousin that at some point some ladies would be slapping each other. Can never keep a large group of women together for long, my mother said; at least not without things like men, children, and dogs to keep them distracted from their boredom. Now I'm out some stags."
Tia stirs slightly, from where she's watching quietly. Her gaze goes back to Corrie very often, making sure that her good sister is okay, and not having nightmares or anything. She stays quiet, as she just watches, though her blue eyes have an expression that hasn't been seen in them for a while.
"I suddenly wish I had brothers, so I could say 'wait until my brothers hear about this'," Saffron says as she settles down near Muirenn and Ilaria. "Wait until my father hears about this, however." She smiles to the Haigh Lady, though it lacks the warmth and dimples of her normal expression. "Are faring alright, Lady Ilaria?" She asks as she draws her knees into her chest as she looks back out toward the cave's entrance. "I wonder what Walden Frey will do now that I've been captured? Obviously, he must come and rescue his dress…" There is a hint of deeprooted sarcasm there. Hanging around Kamron hasn't done her any good, it seems. Then her expression turns thoughtful. "Have any an idea how many of them there are?"
"I /have/ a brother, and I still say 'wait until my cousin hears about this'. She's more frightening than the lot of them put together," Ilaria answers, walking back away from the water-trickle right on Muirenn's heels. While the latter returns to her Septa, Ilaria remains behind to crouch down beside Saffron. She offers the girl a smile that carries quite a great deal of warmth. Perhaps she's been hit on the head. "You can bet your shift that Walden Frey will want to be sure his dress is in-tact, and if not he'll extract the price out of someone somewhere." After a moment, her smile droops and she shakes her head. "I don't know. I don't think we've seen them all."
Saffron laughs, though it sobers fast as she continues to watch the entrance of the cave. "We need to count them," she says as she watches a guard move past the cave mouth. "The better we know about our captors, the more use we will be when our cousins, brothers, husbands, and fathers come to save us." She sounds very certain about a rescue. She squishes her feet into the mud, wriggling her toes about it in with idly thought.
With a smile for Ilaria's help, Muirenn gathers some of the water into her hands and sips at it. Carefully she scoops up more and takes it to her elderly care giver. "Yes Dania, a steam with the mix of herbs and a brazier burning another mix of herbs." The young body tenses, repressing a cough until the Septa is done drinking the water. Buring her face in her upper arm she looses another rasping cough that shakes her body, easing down back down into her spot. Her voice is barely a whisper as she leans over and comments to Dania, "Patrek will have a horrible time finding me a match. No one will wish me now, at least none of the families in the Riverlands. Before it was more or less rumor…now my propensity for illness is visible to all here." This thought is depressing, but Saffron's sarcasm regarding the Freys and the horrid dress cheers her somewhat.
Dania has grown quiet as she is now listening to the ebb and flow of conversation around her. She has a thoughtful expression on her face. She sits there thinking her eyes drifting to the other woman as she takes everything in. "Do not think that is the case Milday." She finally rises from where she was seated and she moves so that she can hopefully get the attention of one of the guards.
"There's Bow-Slapper and Hooknose," Ilaria murmurs to Saffron, crouching down in the mud equally oblivious. Her toes wiggle idly as she considers the rest. "And Idiot," she adds, squinting through the dimness of the cave to gaze at the bandit 'guards' near the fore. She is looking just in time to spot Dania rising, and she tenses, jumping up quickly to follow. "Stop, wait," she hisses as quietly as possible, "what are you doing? I'll come with you. We need a /count/."
"And Rolf or some such," Tia calls softly to the others. "The one who apparently can't shoot." And the one who collected all the clothing and boots to sell. Which leads her to, "Where are they going to sell our clothing? It is a good question, really. You'd think that the townsfolk would perhaps recognize it as noble ladies' wear? Never mind, perhaps that will help in a rescue." She was paying attention, as much as she could. And she's still thinking.
In addition to Bow-Slapper and Hooknose and Rolf the Boot Collecter, there's also NonDescript Peasant Guy, the average-looking fellow currently posted on guard duty outside the cave. At the moment he is sitting, watching the entrance and sharpening a long hunting knife. At the signs of movement within, he looks up, and calls over in a coarse Cape accent, "Oi, what're you lot up to in there? Siddown!"
The Banefort nods her head as Ilaria begins to take stock of their captors, and she does not seem to disagree with the assigned names. When Tiaryn notes an actual name-name, the woman nods her head thoughtfully. Then she looks over toward Dania, and then to the Haigh, and she is on her feet just as quickly though hopefully to bring both ladies back. "No… no, we need to keep quiet," she says sternly. Then she looks up toward the guard as he speaks, and she tugs on Ilaria's shift sleeve. "Come on," she whispers.
Grey eyes close, though it is dim in the cave everything seems to hurt less with her eyes closed. Muirenn comments quietly "Dania, please come away. I don't want you hurt." Eyes open and she looks about to give a shake of her head but doesn't. "How is Cordelya?" She glances over at the pregnant woman with tender expression.
Tia stirs at the question about her goodcousin. "She's - well, she's a little upset, but she's hanging in there," she says softly. Her gaze goes back over to Corrie at the question, but the other woman is still asleep or at least still enough to pass for it. "Still asleep," she murmurs, relief in her voice.
"I am not going to get lippy I have an idea. I am out of your hand Milady." Dania says softly. She just waits her eyes glued to the entrance she is waiting as she weighs options and plays out different scenarios in her head. She gets closer to one of the guards she says to them. "I would like to speak to you for a moment." Her tone is gentle and she is tanned and sturdy in her figure.
To be fair, Ilaria doesn't -really- want to approach the guards. When Saffron tugs on her sleeve, she pauses, lost. She glances between Dania and Saffron, biting on her lower lip and weighing her options just as equally. She settles for remaining in the middle, patting Saffron's hand quickly to hide her own trembling while Dania moves ahead to speak to the guards. "Shh, hold on, I will, just one moment," she whispers quickly in reply.
"Don't you come out of there!" Nondescript Guy orders Dania, gesturing with that knife and glowering at her, "I'll put you right back in, see if I don't."
Hissing, "Dania get back here! Martyn would kill me!" Muirenn gives another rasping cough. Looking nothing like herself, the right side of her face and her nose swollen and bruised harshly, she crawls back towards the water and scoops up another tiny handful of water.
Saffron tenses as Dania begins to converse with the guard, and she looks toward Ilaria. Its easy to see how her jaw tenses and she continues to hold gently to her shift. Her gaze is locked on Dania and the guard, and something about her stance changes to resemble a defensive posture. For now, she waits to see if Dania will heed the requests, gentle and not, to go back.
"This is as far as I will come." Dania says gently like she is talking to frighten animal. "I have no desire to be hurt or to get you or others hurt. Please hear me out. Two in here will get sicker if we do not have the proper drugs to treat them. They will not be worth anything to you dead. You need the money but if they are dead or so sick that they cannot function then they will be no use to you. Please in the saddle bags that have no marks on them and were with the draft cross bay gelding you will find medcines. We also need some food for just one of the woman." She says to him. "I can offer you my skills." She casts a glance back at the woman.
This conversation is enough to encourage Ilaria back another step or two, drawing herself up even with Saffron. She exchanges a glance with the redhead before watching warily as Dania requests medicine and food. Food! Ugh. Her stomach growls again and settles for the last time, perhaps forced into submission by the press of her fist against her belly. "O—kay, I think she'll be okay," she whispers to nobody in particular.
Settled with her knees against her chest and crossed at the ankle, Sofya is less concerned for modesty with the bandits remaining outside the mud hole for the moment. Dark brows pinch in a frown as Dania engages the bandits, she tugs her dark hair over her shoulder and begins twist the tangled braid. "Stupid," she murmurs under her breath.
The Nondescript Guard, who we're going to call Jensen, watches Dania closely beneath lowered brows, eyes narrowed skeptically at her claims. That knife glints in the sunlight that peeks between leaves to dapple the small clearing in a very pretty way that probably no one is in the mood to appreciate. Jensen glares at Dania, furrowed brow animating to look at her skeptically before he barks a laugh. "You been in there one night and already sick like to die? I don't think so. Get on with you," he brushes her off with a dismissive flick of his blade, turning back to the whetstone.
"I came with her as a healer and not a maid." Dania explains to the man. "I do not jest and I am serious. If you want it on your head then so be it. But I only speak the truth in two days time the one I am speaking of will have a wracking cough. Her pallor will be much to be desired. The damp and dusty condition will make it worse. She will be coughing up blood. But it is preventable. Or if you at least want to make her comfortable there are round balls in red clay jar that is wrapped in a cloth, that is blue. This jar contains drops that I use to help ease a cough. They are made of honey and rosehips and mint and a few other things. Please, I know you have no love for them or me. But, you need the money and I am trying to make it so you can get it. What I am asking for we technically brought with us and will not strain your rations." Her voice remains gentle quiet and calm. Her hands are trembling and her eyes are wide.
From her little corner, Rosanna snorts a quiet breath against her knees, curled up against her chest. "Why do they care if we're dying in two days as long as they get their ransom," she mumbles.
"Cause they don't get a ransom for folks who are dead or dying?" Tia suggests softly, with a glance over to Rosanna. "So letting us die would seem to be against their best interests, especially if it doesn't cost them anything." her words are soft, but thoughtful. And she can hope that the bandits can at least follow that logic.
"You are not going to die in two days, my Lady," Sofya answers, looking towards Rosanna with a soft smile. Her fingers twist the dark logs of her hair together, quickly forming a thick rope of braid. She looks towards Tiaryn and nods shortly. "We have water and your Lords will not let this stand."
With each new word, Ilaria backs up another step, this time tugging on Saffron's sleeve to pull the girl back with her. No use in sacrificing one's self needlessly. She withdraws and crouches back down in her spot near Tiaryn, smiling at her. "Did you get some sleep?"
Saffron has retreated back a bit as it seems as though Dania won't be making too abrupt a decision. She drops down into a squat as she returns to the others. She looks sidelong toward Rosanna and Sofya, and she nods her head in agreement. She does not speak much now, trying to keep a watchful eye on the cave's entrance.
"I won't be that bad" Muirenn protests softly. Her brow furrows in a scowl because she realizes it quite possibly could. Another cough shakes her body and she draws her legs to her chest. Her forehead rests gently on cotton-covered knees and mumbles, "My lady mother is going to explode, poor Patrek…he has not the experience in dealing with his Aunt the way Uncle Jason did." Looking up she glances at her Septa with a wry smile.
Jensen frowns at Dania as she speaks, though it doesn't stop the continues, rhythmic whisking of his knife across the stone. "Healer, huh," he says, and then calls, "ROLF! Get me the bag with the healing stuffs in it." From across the clearing, Rolf, apparently demoted to fetch-and-carry duty, tracks down the pack in question, and brings it back. "Hold it," he says, flipping it open, and gesturing at Dania with his knife, "C'mere," he says, "Just you. Nobody else moves." He gives the doorway and the ladies behind a stern look. "Tell me what each o'these does," he instructs Dania, pointing at the contents of her pack but not at present allowing her to touch it.
"No one is going to not be ransomed because they have a cough," Rosanna says with a hint of thin-edged temper and disgust, but she watches Dania and the bandit from the corner of her eye.
Ilaria looks away from Tiaryn and instead focuses on Rosanna. She squints in the dimly-lit interior until the woman's outline and hazy visage are more pronounced. "Well, it appears the point is moot. Sounds as if she's getting the necessary medicine; white lies have their uses." She fiddles with the raggedy hem of her shift before reaching over to pat Muirenn on the arm.
Dania has no issues getting into teaching mode it keeps her skin from crawling and her from screaming. She moves as she is bidden. She stands there now trembling and blinking. She looks at the collection of items. "In the wood box and is carved is my traveling Chiurgeonry kit. Meaning it contains surgical instruments. Those that use them need to make sure they clean. After each use they must be boiled and then dried properly. In that kit you find suturing material made of horse tail. The horse tail was boiled beforehand there are also extremely sharp needles. That small bottle contains elderflower wine. She points one of the bottles. That box if you open it will have small jars that are separated. In there you will find sealed bottles Do not ingest them one is juice of the poppy and too much of it will harm you the other is cowl oil (monkshood), It is use to be placed on aching joints that are inflamed from Gout and arthritis. If ingested you will die. That other sealed ones are extract of foxglove, belladonna, and that is the jar with the cough drops. The other clay jar contains honey mixed with herbs. That is to be placed on wounds. That is jar has my leaches, they are named Keelin, Carter and Fox. That other small wood box you see has maggots in there. Those are used on wounds that are rotten and septic. The maggots eat away the dead flesh and leave the healthy tissue. Would you like for me to continue?" She asks the man in that same gentle manner.
Giving Ilaria a faint smile, Muirenn says quietly to Rosanna with a warm smile and a half-shrug "That our families will pay and fight to have us returned no matter our conditions is correct, but for my part I would prefer to be returned to my brother only mildly ill as opposed to fighting for my life." Glancing to Ilaria, her smile brightens "When all is restored to normal, perhaps you will come visit the Roost." There is more the girl would say but then begins to laugh..and then cough..as she hears one of the leeches is named after one of her favorite knights, Dania's brother.
"They don't care," Rosanna says flatly to Muirenn.
Anais has somehow managed to doze on and off in her damp little corner of the cave, but trying to sleep is no longer sufficient to keeping the world at bay. She stirs carefully, reaching out a hand to the water trickling not too far away to splash a little of it over her face and the back of her neck as she looks around the bandit hole.
"I cannot promise to visit," Ilaria replies to Muirenn, but her smile only widens into one of mischievous amusement. "I am not sure if my father will ever let me out of my room again, you see." She pauses, and rather than giving in to the sulking she continues to talk on blithely. "I am sure my cousin would find a way to sneak me out - perhaps even my sister. I could just imagine our little trio tiptoeing around, trying to 'steal' some horses and running off to the Roost." The thought makes her giggle a bit.
"'s 'at all of it?" Jensen asks Dania, looking at the bag's contents and then back up at her again, "Which stuff you said you wanted for cough and bloody lungs?"
"They who Rosanna?" She glances out the cave door as she manages to get her coughing under control and continues whispering "Those socially depraved oafs out there? Of course they don't, but if Dania can get something to keep the fever away I will not complain." Muirenn shrugs. Giggling at Ilaria, the teen nods "Oh, that is why I suggested visiting us because I am assured I will never be able to leave the keep again after this." Contemplating the 'escape' as a distraction from the pain in her head and the tightnessthat is starting in her chest she hmmms, "I could perhaps convince some of the squires and one of the knights to assist me in…" thinking again of the knights with them she grumbles, "No…no I have no one that would help me sneak off." A sideways glance to her Septa and she ducks her head with a giggle at the old lady's silent, brow-arched glare of skepticism.
"No there is more, that is only half the stuff, I also have satchels of various herbs. I also have lye soap, soap, oils and differnt types of bandages and aprons along with sleeve guards, there is a reason I ride a draft cross. To treat it properly I will need a pot of boiling water and a cloth, those drops in that are in that jar." Dania points ot the jar. "I will also need the herbs in those those satchels." She points to them. "For the other woman I need food, for her. Just little bit of bread. She will need it or she could start having fainting spells. I am sorry for bothering you but we really need these things for them to stay healhty. I thank you for your kindness and your help. It will keep them healthy I promise."
"Gods," Rosanna snaps, emotions all raw and on the surface. "Forget it." She glares at the wall, because that is a better outlet than having a breakdown.
Jensen flips the satchel shut and gestures at Rolf, pointing where Dania has pointed, "Get those." The younger man gets them, and Jensen again demands of Dania, "What's this stuff for, then? Which ones is for coughs?"
Anais glances to Rosanna, taking note of that raw edge, then looks back to where some of their captors are speaking. Staying quiet, she sets her chin on her knees to watch and listen.
"That is for the coughs. She points, to a number of the packets. Do you have someone suffering from summer cough? I will show you how to mix the herbs and I will give you the herbs out of the same packets so you know I am not trying to do harm. For the hot water you place the herbs into it then you have the person lean over it and you drape a cloth over them. For younger children or those that are unable to you create a tent around them with the cloth and you need to make sure that the pot of water with the herbs is inside of the tent. There are also poultices of onion and mustard that can be applied hot to the chest. I am not sure able to do that one as I did not bring enough dried onion with me and mustard. This jar." She points to it again, " That jar has the drops in them. May I please take it? If there is fever you use these herbs in a tea." She points to another satchel. I can show you how to mix them if you need them." She looks over to Muirenn who is the one coughing then she looks over at the man. "I will answer any question you ask and I will treat anyone you need me to, I am at your disposal. I just want to keep them healthy and alive."
Glancing towards Rosanna, the Mallister gives a slight nod and a compassionate smile. Torn between guilt that she involved Dania in this mess and relief that the healer is with them, Muirenn crawls back towards the water to scoop up another handful. She glances over at Rosanna. Ripping a bit more of the lace off of her shift, she dampens it and crawls back to the girl. "Here dearest lady, would you like to wash your face? It is not much I know, but it helps."
Jensen glares narrow-eyedly at Dania as she goes on, and when he speaks, his tone's skeptical once again, almost taunting. "You'll treat anyone, huh? Go on, then," he says, gesturing with his chin, "You really mean that pretty little speech ye keep making, then go on with this lout here," he points at Rolf, "And that one there," he points Rolf at another man across the clearing, "And ye take all yer fancy medicines and herbs and shite and go heal the people what really need it, aye? Else you get back in there with the rest," he points at the weird little cave-cell-hovel, "And ye shut yer trap."
Ilaria is silent for the time being. She turns her head toward the entrance, listening intently, but when the plain-faced Jensen snaps at Dania, the girl winces and looks away. "So much for assuming they have any shred of decency," she mutters to herself.
"I mean what I say as long as you allow me to also treat them as well. We all bleed and we all get sick." Dania tells him in that same tone. She is still trembling. "I will treat them. But please first let me give her a few of the drops and a crust of bread or gruel for the other? I will start immediately. Those herbs and instruments in your hand will do you no good, unless you know how to use them. I mean no disrespect, I will treat them all and you can watch me if you like. I know many farmers get the lung from the dust caused by the plow."
"They're right about one thing, though," Anais says quietly to Ilaria. "If we'd defended the coasts the way we're supposed to, none of us would be in this position." She reaches her hand out for another palm full of water, taking a small sip at it before splashing the rest of it over her face. "This may be a bit beyond salvaging with a sincere apology, though."
Jensen laughs at that. "Oh, we do all, do we? You lot been in there one night, and with walls and a roof, too, you think a little sore throat means you know what sick's like? In two days time your menfolk'll pay up to get you home and then they'll buy you all the medicines you need to be right in a flash. I ain't wasting one drop of this stuff on a bunch of spoiled bints what can't last half a day without whining their heads off. Ye can go with the men here and do some good for a change, or you can get back in there and cough all you like with the rest of 'em. Music to my ears, that is."
Saffron has been watching quietly from her spot now against the wall. Instead of watching Dania, however, she's watching their keepers. The wild child of the Banefort is mud-bedraggled with rope marks about her wrists where she struggled and a solid slap-turning-bruise on her cheek where one of the guards had reminded her to stop. She glances over toward Anais, giving her cousin the smallest of smiles before she sets her focus forward again. Saffron has been counting since they shuffled them all into the cave, and trying her best to keep track of their captors.
"No," Rosanna snaps irritably at Muirenn, hugging her knees tighter to her chest. She shoots a look at Anais, but mostly she doesn't look at anyone.
"Nothing excuses kidnapping a bunch of women," Ilaria answers Anais curtly, and she pitches her voice loud enough in hopes of being overheard. "Ruthless brutes sacrifice rights and righteousness by accosting innocents and exercising tyranny! It is known." Her voice dies to a mutter and she hugs her knees tightly to her chest now. "I hope the men kill every single last one of them," she adds in a strangely cheerful tone.
Wearily, Muirenn glances over her shoulder at Anais and says "Let us not stoop to their level and play the blame game. Such as they would have done this whether or not a rebellion took place." Unfortunately at that moment her chest seizes and she does begin to cough, though struggles to muffle it by ducking her head down towards her shoulder. With a nod to Rosanna, she lays the wet lace down in case the Groves girl changes her mind. Turning she crawls back to sit between her Septa and Ilaria, nodding in agreement "It is known"
"I'm not interested in excusing them," Anais drawls, dry. "But understanding them may give us a chance at escape if all else fails. And it may actually /prevent/ killing you to pretend to have a little sympathy." She doesn't seem to have a whole lot of faith in the menfolk back home, does she? "Besides, these are the ones acting. For every one you see acting here, there will be ten thinking the same thing. Personally, I plan on going home and not having to deal with something like this again, so I'd like to know where I can dig this out at the roots."
"The bargain good sir. Let me help them two. I will still treat your men, but let me help them as well. They know what sickness is, especially those in there from certain households. I treat everyone that includes the ladies in there. I was brought with them because two in there. One was getting sick and is getting sicker by the moment, you heard that cough. This is more than just a sore throat. I am not lying to you. She will be coughing up blood soon." She says in the same patient tone. "If you want I will treat one of your men first then other woman can help her, but she needs a little of what I have in these bags and what she has in her bags. She too is decent healer. Also the hot water and the cloth, I promise I will give your men all of my attention for healing." She holds hand out to him as if to make a bargain. Her hand is calloused, little dirty and is trembling.
"I. Don't. Give. A. FUCK if she coughs up blood!" Jensen growls at Dania, "Get that in yer thick skull! If she's that damned weak she can't last one night in a nice solid little cave like that, then she ain't worth the medicines anyway! This stuff of yers is gonna cure a hundred folks what been sleeping in leaky tents or under trees and living on roots and squirrels for the last six months, it ain't going to no fancy little bitches who faint when dirt comes near, ye hear me? So get yer arse back in there, then, if that's yer choice," he says, giving Dania a hard shove, to send her tumbling back towards the cave, "Get!"
"This isn't the time nor the place to debate what should have been done before it came to this," Saffron says in a soft voice even as she as she continues to watch the cave mouth. She tilts her head a bit as Dania continues to bargain to help the ill ladies, though she frowns after a moment of thought. She inhales sharply through her nose, and the exhale causes her nostrils to flare. She shakes her head a bit now. "Dania!" Saffron's voice suddenly snaps with a fierce, firey note. "Cease." Her fingers curl harshly into the fabric of her shift, and it is all she can do not to react physically to the shove. "Lady Muirenn will be fine, as will the others. You do us no service by angering them further."
Well, she's been told. Ilaria purses her lips and stares at Anais, wracking her brain for a proper retort. She comes up with none, but flicks her fingers with a "pah!" of disgust. "They should have thought a little harder," she finally manages to reply, although her tone is much milder now, subdued. When the hollering commences, she shivers, looking up toward the entrance with wide eyes.
"I did offer to help and the offer remains." Dania says to him again her tone is now breathless as she tumbles back towards the cave. "I hope you know what you are doing with those herbs because if they are not used properly they kill. I said I would help your men." She is now moving back towards the entrace.
"Dania" Muirenn says softly "Forget trying to help me. I am not such a weakling that I shall die before aid comes. Just means I will be stuck in bed a few days longer is all I am sure." She glances around the cave and then asks abruptly, unexpectedly, and out of the blue in an attempt to distract and calm, "Not quite the manner I wished to get to know my peers, but while we are here…what is everyone's favorite satchet scent?" Her grey-green eyes twinkle as she tilts her head and regards each in turn.
Anais flicks a glance toward Saffron when her cousin snaps, then back toward the bandit at the door. "Muirenn," she says, voice low, but just enough to be heard by those inside and out. "Do you think /you/ could help the gentlemen with a simple remedy for cough?"
Saffron catches Anais's look, and she offers a simple shrug of her shoulders. She scoots a bit along the wall so she can be nearer to her Banefort cos. She drops her voice to a hushed whisper. "Do you remember playing that game with your brothers? Where half them would capture us girls and the other half would try to save them. The game was going just fine until /you/ gave Joseth a bloody nose…" She nudges her cousin's shoulder gently before she returns her focus beyond the cave. "I prefer cinnamon," she says then to Muirenn.
"Absolute.." Coughing deeper "Absolutely." Muirenn replies "Remedies for coughs and the lungs are some of the first herbal formulations that I learned when I was young." The iridescent shells threaded into all of the thin braids framing the teen's face are dulled by the dust, mud, and blood. Her bruised and swollen face looks, she is sure, quite hideous. Crawling on her hands and knees, while less ladylike is more comfortable than stepping around stooped in a half-crouch, she makes her way to Anais' side. "You think they will be more likely to consider us kindly if I offer assistance?" Pausing she adds, "Dania has traveled around a lot helping heal most of the injured and sick in the area. I find it difficult to imagine that there are giant camps full of refugees that she has not encountered though." Brightening she glances at Saffron and nods, "I am torn between rose and lilac myself."
"Aye, and I'm sure you remember what Papa said after," Anais murmurs to Saffron. "If you don't want to get hit, then don't start the hitting." She nods to Muirenn, then raises her voice to be heard near the entrance. "Perhaps the lady herself might help your men, Ser," she offers cautiously. "It would be a bit of poetic justice, don't you think? A chance to make up for some of the ills done to you. I'm sure she'd behave herself," she adds, lowering her voice to murmur to Muirenn in a manner that looks threatening or chiding. What she says, though, below what they can hear: "And you will. But you'll also get a few breaths of the herbs yourself, and note their numbers and positions for when they bring you back."
Back into the cave Dania moves to stoop and then to sit herself down. She is once again careful to keep her shift under her and is careful not touch anything. She wraps her arms around herself and is now silent as it is best sometimes not to talk especially after that. She is just silent. She is listening though.
Saffron mutters to Anais. "That's what /your/ Papa said. Mine said that punching a man in the nose is just for shame, but a punch in the temples will leave him reeling… then of course, Mother almost hit /him/ in the nose." The Banefort quiets now as she listens to the exchange between Anais and the guard. She still maintains a tight grip on her shift, worrying the fabric with her fingers.
Jensen outside sits back down on a fallen log to begin sharpening his knife once more. "Thought the lady herself was sick like to dying," he scoffs back at Anais in the cave, "Can't have her out breathing her sick on others, can I?"
"Of course I will" Muirenn murmers and looks highly offended. "When I get back we can compare with Saffron's notes and what Dania saw" she continues. Glancing over her shoulder at the sleeping Cordelya, she adds in an even lower tone, "And see if I can grab at least a crust of something for Cordy."
"Not sick, ser," Anais assures Jensen. "It's a weakness in the lungs. I've seen her, with the coughing fits and the taking to bed every other week. It comes from too much soft living, I've heard." Beneath the skirts of their chemises, she reaches out to give Muirenn's hand a squeeze, tacit apology for her words.
"You, what's doing all the talking," Jensen gestures once more towards the cave with his knife, "Get out here'n let me see you. Bring the one with the 'weak lungs', too," he says, chuckling disdainfully and adding audible air quotes around the words.
Rosanna looks back over from the wall she's been staring at, watching Anais and Jensen. Her gaze flits over to Muirenn as the bandit calls for her.
Silent until now, Roslyn hisses in a quick breath at that, glancing towards Muirenn and Anais. "Don't go," she mumbles lowly, attempting not to be heard by the man.
Oh, hells. Anais draws a breath, reaching for Muirenn's hand. "What, and have him come in here blind looking for anyone?" she murmurs to Roslyn. "We'll be fine. In the meantime, Saffron, if anything happens, keep everyone calm, all right?" She splashes one more handful of water over her face, bracing herself, before she starts to work her way carefully toward the front of the cave. "We're coming, ser," she calls ahead, lest the guard get impatient.
The Mallister maiden ducks her head, the braids falling to disguise the tight smile that Muirenn gives to Anais in reply before looking back towards the opening of the cave. At the bandit's words, she looks towards Anais and says quietly "Stay here Anais. I will deal with it. No sense in both of us looking as if we came from a butcher shop." Her bruised face gives a faint grin as she looks towards Rosanna and murmers, "Lift your chin lady, all will be well."
"Annie," Saffron says in a breathless voice, though what else could she possibly object with. She has started to stand however, her toes clenching into the mud as she does. She glances over toward Roslyn and Rosanna with a tightness in her expression beneath the faint smears of mud and darkening bruise. She has released her shift, fingers loose.
Tia must have dozed off for a bit, as she starts awake, first checking on Corrie, and then glancing around, trying to find out what is going on now. "What is it?" she asks softly, not saying anything more at the moment.
"Stop being stupid," Rosanna says to Muirenn in a low voice as she offers herself up to deal with the bandit.
"Don't," Roslyn insists to Anais and Muirenn again, shaking her head fiercly. Don'tgodon'tgodon'tgo. "Let him come in here, if he must. Don't—." Go, presumably.
From the shadows near Rosanna, Day watches Anais and Muirenn, drawing a breath — but she says nothing. She reaches for Rosanna's hand, stretching out an arm to offer the young lady a place to rest against her side. "Shh," she murmurs. She glances at Roslyn, frowning.
The elderly Septa gives a hoarse cry as Muirenn is called for, but the teenager waves her back as she crawls towards the tunnel entrance. Just outside the opening she is able to stand to her full height. The change from dark to light leaves the russet haired girl blinking. She looked horrible enough in the dimness of the cave, but standing in the light she barely resembles herself. Her shift, once white and pristine, is tattered and irrepairably stained by dirt and blood. Though Ilaria tried to wash her face there are still random bits of dried blood crusted here and there to her jaw. The bruising though is a testimony to the damage a gauntleted hand can do. Looking around she is silent, though quickly lowers her lashes as another fit of deep coughing overtakes her.
Anais steps out next to Muirenn, though she keeps her lashes low from the start, guarding against the sunlight. Dirt is hard to avoid in the hole, but she /has/ been washing her face when she can. Oddly enough, being barefoot in a shift doesn't seem to have upset her overmuch. Maybe it's true that she's Terribly Improper (?). Whatever she case, she seems determined to be a compliant hostage, waiting for the guard's word before taking a step beyond the entrance to the hovel.
Rosanna swallows, allowing Day her hand, but not yet drawing up against he side. She's been alternatively needy and solitary, her emotions raw and prone to — swings. She watches the cave entrance.
If Anais is going to be labeled Terribly Improper, its hard to say what they're going to call the mud-bedraggled Saffron. She has not returned to her seat, still ready perhaps to run at the entrance should something foul begin to befall Muirenn or Anais. She sidesteps slightly toward a emptier bit of cave flooring, keeping her eyes locked on the silhouettes of the two ladies.
Roslyn shakes her head further at that frown, perhaps at the women exiting the protection (??) of the cave. Who knows, but she is shaking her head as she wraps her arms tighter around her legs to hug them to her chest.
"Sit," Day says to Saffron. "You can't help them." Only two martyrs at a time, please. She needs them to last.
Jensen sits on the log, and finally stops sharpening his knife. Instead he twirls it between his fingers so the blade flashes, and looks up at Anais and Muirenn, straightening from the elbows-on-knees posture he's kept since shoving Dania back into the cell. "So, which of you's the mouthy one and which is the sickly one?" he asks, gesturing between them.
Though she expected ignorance because of poverty, Muirenn did not anticipate outright stupidity. Lifting her lashes a bit, she wipes her mouth as her coughing fit eases. Hoarsely she replies, "I am the sickly one ser. I would be willing to heal those of your camp who are ill." Red lashes lower again.
Anais glances to the blade, then back to the man that holds it. "I've been speaking, Ser," she answers him with careful politeness, keeping her answer short.
Septa Day's words startle her a bit, and Saffron looks down at the woman with wide pale eyes. She hesitates, looking desperately after her cousin and then back to the Septa. Finally, she begins to lower down to sit beside the Septa, drawing her dirty shift about her.
Tia watches quietly, there, but not quite sure what is going on. Or what can be done to help at all. Nothing it seems, though it galls to be helpless. It really does set ill in her stomach, and her thoughts are dark.
Jensen snerks at Muirenn and gestures at her face, replying, "Looks like ye've been the mouthy one, too, eh." He chuckles briefly and without particular humor to himself, picking at a loose thread at the seam of his breeches. He looks between the two ladies for a long minute or two, and then points at Anais, "What's yer name?"
The Mallister maiden merely inclines her head in acknowledgement of the bandit's words. Silently Muirenn looks around as much as she is able through lowered lashes, trying to remain focused but the light makes her already aching head pound visciously.
"Anais, Ser," Anais answers the guard steadily. For all she tries to remain calm, though, her body has other ideas about how one should react to immediate threats, speeding her breath and sending a fine tremor to her hands.
"Anais what?" Jensen the bandit asks, "Don't play coy with me, girl."
Tia's gaze is towards the front of the cave as she realizes that there's a couple folks who've stepped out. Her expression sets, and her one hand silently rubs at her abdomen absently. She looks to the other women, and then stirs a bit, stretching slightly but otherwise staying mostly put.
"I am Muirenn Jillain Rose Mallister, ser. Neice of the late Lord Jason Mallister of Seagard." Trying to deflect the man's attention since likely the name Terrick will not inspire warm and fuzzy feelings, the Malliser maiden takes the smallest, trembling step forward. Lifting her chin she asks hoarsely, her throat raw and chest tight. "I am a good healer and cared for my people in Seagard. Would you like my assistance?"
"Apologies, Ser," Anais dips her chin to the guard. "It's Anais Terrick. By way of the Banefort, Ser." And then she can't help but brace herself a bit, as her brain races through the balance of her deeds here in the Riverlands since her arrival. Hiding behind the gates of the Roost…sharing the slaughtered remnants of the herds with the village after the reavers left and spending most days helping with rebuilding.
The uneasiness in Saffron's expression has not faltered as she looks out the cave at the women. She glances once toward Tiaryn as she stirs, but it is a brief glance. Her fingers twist together nervously, touching the marks on her wrist a couple times as if to remind herself that this isn't a child's game anymore.
Tia nods to Saffron, but she's staying where she is, near to Corrie and just watching. It's better that way, at least for the moment. Seems the bandits are maybe not so stupid as one might hope, alas. She leans back against the cold hard cave wall and makes a face at it all. Though it might be noticed that she too doesn't seem to mind the dirt at the least.
Still quiet Dania listens from where she is seated on the ground with her arms crossed. Her eyes are open and she is also watching. For right now she is learning.
"Did I ask ye to speak?" Jensen asks Muirenn, rolling his eyes to her with a glare, "Shut yer trap, then. I'd've thought ye'd've learned that lesson by now but I can make the other half of yer face match if ye haven't." He turns back to Anais then, and snorts, "Terrick, is it? Oh, aye," he nods, as recognition dawns, "Yer the Young Lord Cripple's bride, ain't ye? The one what got passed from the Fairy to the Cripple. I hear he's not doing so well, our Young Lord of the Crooked Dick. Off to the Virgin next for you, then?"
Anais didn't get hit! But now she has to choose another adventure. Perhaps the rueful twist of her lips at Jensen's description of her situation will earn her a point or two, at least, along with a moment to think. "I'm afraid that will be out of my hands, Ser," she answers after the briefest pause. "Lord Jerold and my father will have the choice of it."
Septa Waldsteinia watches the two ladies outside the cave entrance, back stiff and her eyes snapping in anger at the situation, but she realizes there is little she can do.
The Mallister maiden lowers her eyes and honestly there isn't much to see out here and closes them…much better, though the light continues to pound her lids. It is another minute and she is bent over coughing, a hand pressed to her mouth.
Jensen snorts at Anais's reply. "Ought to sell ye to some fancy brothel," he suggests, "Sounds like ye're right familiar with old men telling ye whose cock to sit on." He snickers briefly, and then looks between the pair of ladies again. He seems prone to long, tense (for his prisoners, at least) moments, and this one is no different. Eventually, he makes a dismissive gesture with his knife. "Right, then, back in with ye both. Send another two out."
Tia continues to just watch, not that she can see much. She strains her ears to hear, and waits for the guard to let them come back in, hoping that things are just going to stay somewhat calm. Her hands are clenched at her sides, the biggest sign of her tension.
Roslyn is still awake, though she is trying to remain as small as possible. She is certainly not volunteering to go out and talk to a bandit.
Day gives Rosanna's hand a squeeze. "Rosebud," she murmurs. "It seems like they're determining who they have of worth. We should go — get it over with."
At those last four words, Saffron raises her head from where she has rested it against her arms. She glances toward Tiaryn, and she drops her voice to a whisper. "You stay with Cordelya, Tiaryn." She appears to be under the same mindset as Septa Day as she is slowly rising to her feet.
The irony of Jensen's suggestion is not lost on Anais. Besides, she's seen brothels. Not a whole lot of security there. But she doesn't argue. Instead, she dips her chin once more, then turns to head back into the cave. Once inside, she manages a small smile for the others, even if it's tense.
Day glances at Saffron. "They're only taking two at a time. Rosanna and I go together." If Saffron's determined to go first, she'll need to choose an interrogation buddy.
Dania watches them all she is still quiet for the moment. She will speak later. For right now, nothing she says will help and could possibly add more tension. She chews on her lower lip as they start to parade them out like prized broodmares. It also keeps her from calling out a something in the defense of Anais.
Straightening, Muirenn glances around and carefully wipes her mouth. Feeling suddenly vulnerable, she refuses to turn her back to the bandits and no matter what shows through shift she backs barefoot towards the hovel. Her foot steps on something and she gives a soft yelp. Lifting her leg she takes a chance to look at the bottom of her foot where it felt to be jabbed. Nothing bleeding, she looks at the ground. A tiny rolled bundle of prickles catches her attention…but she hurries into the cave, ducking and trying not to bump her head as she moves towards her Septa.
Tia glances over at Saffron, and inclines her head, staying in the cave for now. She can hope whoever is out there gets sick of it before getting to her, but who knows what'll happen next? She gives Anais a smile in return, glad to see that at least for now, she and Muirenn are back safely. She breathes just a little easier, though not for long as others are heading out there.
Day continues to look at Saffron expressionlessly. "If you're going, choose someone to go with you and go." There's a touch of impatience, there.
"It's all right," Anais says quietly as she moves back to her spot near the water. "Just stay calm, be polite, and don't give them any excuses. Roslyn…" Her voice is gentle, reassuring. "Do you think it might be easier to go now than to worry about what might happen while everyone else goes? While they're still mostly in an all right good?"
Looking up, Muirenn sighs "Everyone should go with their Septa or maid. Saffron, why do you not take Septa Waldsteinia" Looking at the elderly woman she nods as the Septa lifts her chin and says tartly, "Two girls should not be going out on their own with no chaperone. This situation is atrocious enough without layering on more inappropriateness."
"I told ye to send out two more!" Jensen shouts from outside, "Well, pick two! I don't hear any girl-fightin' in there so ye can't be deciding yet. Get on with it!"
"I wouldn't take your charge from you, Septa," Saffron says politely to the Septa before she looks over toward Roslyn. "Come with me, Roslyn… please." She adds quietly, offering a hand to the Nayland girl.
"I would suggest you change your priorites before they come in and drag someone out." Dania says softly. "That way you will not cause them more harm. There is little we can do at the moment."
The offer had been made, two people needed to go out and Septa Waldsteinia was willing; however, it seems as if her aid will not be needed so with a huff the elderly woman stretches a bit and then resumes her seat.
Muirenn crawls towards the pool and takes another tiny sip of the water before settling beside her Septa. "There was something curious out there, it looked like a hedgehog", she murmers for she feels the need to speak though perhaps it is not best as she begins to cough again.
Where Saffron calls her name, Roslyn balks for a moment, but then she is steeling herself and whispering something to her cousin before she straightens. Her fingers smooth against curls that have come loose before she accepts Saffron's hand with a squeeze of her fingers. "Alright," she says, more for her own need to reassure herself than to the other lady.
Tia curls up a little closer to the sleeping Corrie for the moment. She'll let Day and Rosanna go next, no need to worry. And if by then whoever is out there is done, that's all to the good. If not, Tia will go out there and face the light. So to speak.
Anais quirks a brow at Septa Waldensteinia. "I think we're a little bit past the point where having a chaperone makes any of this appropriate, septa," she notes, unable to keep a certain dryness from her tone. "Saffron knows what to do," she murmurs as the next pair heads out.
Saffron offers Roslyn the smallest of smiles and a squeeze to her hand. "Simple answers," she whispers to her partner now. "The less flourish the better. They'll get angry if it sounds like we're talking over their heads." And she walks to the cave's mouth with Roslyn.
"I know," Roslyn murmurs, for all that she trembles slightly. She does not let go of the lady's hand, despite rules of ettiquette and not knowing her properly. As Anais says, they're a bit past that. She does a quick sweep of the camp, as she adjusts to the light outside the cave.
The camp isn't much, just a clearing with a small heap of their saddlebags and some men milling about on the other side of it, out of earshot. Jensen the guard is a man of middling height, middle years, and unremarkable features, holding a giant hunting knife. He just looks at Roslyn and Saffron, and says nothing.
Ignoring Anais' comment, Septa Waldsteinia gently smooths her bony hand across Muirenn's back and murmers into the girl's ear, presumably words of comfort.
At this point, not only her head aches but her whole body feels sore and stiff. Laying her head into her Septa's lap, Muire closes her eyes and tries to make herself small.
Saffron maintains a sure grip on the Nayland's hand, though if she is honest with herself, its also to mask the slight tremble in her fingers. She blinks several times in the radiance of the sun, and she also takes a glance around with a nervous quality. She then looks at Jensen and her expression sets. She casts a glance toward his knife, and then back up at his face. If he isn't going to speak, she sure isn't about to spur on conversation.
Roslyn's apparently come to the same decision, though her fingers might start to bite into Saffron's hand where tension builds in the silence. Sorry about that, Saffron.
Jensen the guard (not that they know that's his name at the moment) continues to just watch the ladies stand there. He gives them another minute, or two, or three to squirm, and then makes a circling gesture with his knife and orders, "Spin 'round'."
Oh, the guard is so definitely picking on them, lovely. Tia just closes her eyes in the cave, not sure at all how this'll all work out. "Gods help us, our relatives better not take months to rescue us." Her words are very low, not really meant to be heard, but they're there. Desperate as they are.
Cherise draws her eyes away from the display of women, eying the ground and the filth caked on her feet. She does look to Tia, sharing the same look of depression and desperation.
Damn the Seven, Saffron thinks as she has to gently let go of Roslyn's hand to spin around. She does so slowly, purposeful, with very little flair; she hardly lifts onto the balls of her feet. Her eyes sweep the camp now, utilizing the instance to get a good feel for their surroundings, sensitive to where everything is. When she comes back around, she sets her muddy heels down firmly.
Roslyn's gaze flicks to the guard, widening in surprise and disbelief. He is not seriously going to make them parade like that, is he? It takes her a moment, but finally she tips her chin in a proper if tight gesture of agreement. Her fingers smooth over her shift for a moment before she moves to circle briefly.
Jensen watches the spinning and then turns his head aside, makes a hocking sound in the back of his throat, and spits. Whether this is intended as a commentary is unclear. He turns back, picking his teeth with his tongue and asks, "Either of ye dance?"
"Some," Saffron says simply, trying her hardest not to glance to Roslyn as she keeps close beside the other girl. "Courtly dances, though." Again, she does not let her attention leave the man's face.
Ilaria is quiet again. Her teeth have long since ceased chattering, but she heaves a heavy sigh every few minutes. With her knees drawn up to her chest, the hem of her shift is within reach, and she fiddles with it idly. She tilts her head, chin still propped atop her knees, to glance sideways at Tiaryn. "They will," she whispers in return, snaking out a hand in search of one of Tia's to grasp tightly.
"Yes," Roslyn answers succinctly, though she nods agreement to Saffron's addition. Not in a shift in the middle of nowhere.
Tia catches Ilaria's movement and she reaches her hand to meet the younger girl's, squeezing her fingers gently. "It'll be okay," she murmurs gently. It'll all be okay, she's sure. Eventually. It just has to be. She closes her eyes, forcing herself to stay calm. "Just - remember to breathe."
"Courtly dances, huh?" Jensen picks at his teeth some more, considering this. "Not ones a lout like me'd know, ye mean?" He snorts, and then, after a moment, gestures with that knife again, "Go on, then, show us one."
"Not at all," Saffron says in an even-tempered voice. "I more mean they are quite dull in comparison." She then inhales deeply through her nose, holding it up in her lungs for a moment before she lets it out. She vaguely smiles, though there is no warmth nor dimples in this sort of situation. She turns toward Roslyn a bit, though when she looks back to the guard she is already raising her arms as if to dance with an invisible partner. She starts to hum some waltzy tune as if to help guide their steps. Once Roslyn is ready, she begins with the simple right-left-right steps. Oh yes, she's going to make this as dull as possible.
Coiled into herself with both arms hugging her torso, Cherise is forcing back the threat of tears. Dark thoughts and the cruddy environment is beginning to become too much for the woman to maintain some decent composure.
Roslyn seems to be frozen in place at this request, her lips pressing even tighter together as if she expects the bandit at any moment to just say he is kidding. "Do you not want to know who we are?" she questions, her voice shaking the entire time despite how firm she tries to make it sound. She drags her gaze back to Saffron, and only then remembers herself to step forward to dance. If the other woman will make no attempt at entertainment, neither will she.
"I will breathe. I hope /they/ breathe." Ilaria looks up toward the cave entrance, squinting. "I hope they're okay, too." Another sigh. She returns her chin to her knees, squeezing Tiaryn's fingers tightly in agreement. Her attention wanders to Cherise, and she clears her throat delicately. "Lady Cherise, you are well-acquainted with my cousin, Lady Briallyn, aren't you?" she inquires suddenly, picking the most volatile topic she can think of.
Fitfully, Muirenn dozes using her Septa's lap as a pillow. Her chest rattles as she breathes, occasionally she coughs…opens her eyes…and then closes them again.
Jensen watches this display for a bit, using the tip of that knife to pry a particularly stubborn bit of… something out of his teeth, which he then spits off to the side. "That is fucking dull," he announces after a few minutes of dancing, "That's the fucking dullest dancing I've ever seen. Don't ye know any better?"
Tia just stays where she is, for a moment. "I hope so, I really do," she says simply. "And I'm sure they will be. We just have to hang in, that's all. Help is coming." She can't help but hear Jensen complaining about the dull dancing, and even in this situation it brings a half smile to her face. Good job, Saffron and Roslyn.
Day combs her fingers through Rosanna's hair, grooming until it's nearly as well kept as it would be with a proper comb and brush. She keeps an ear on what's happening just outside, expressionless as stone.
"Septa have her sleep in more upright it will help with her breathing." Dania says gently as she hears Muirenn wheeze. "I know it is hard here. I am sorry there is little I can do to help." She looks at the others still in the cave.
With eyes reddened and puffy, the lady Charlton does wipe away the salted streams from her cheeks. "Yes." She tells Ilaria, "To a measure I suppose." Answering the lady's inquiry about her cousin who was not here.
The humming and dance then comes to a stop, Saffron half-turned so she has to glance over to the man with a tilt of her chin. "I did warn you they were courtly dances, Ser." She drops onto her dirty heels once more as she gives Roslyn a quick glance. She's back to looking at the man with a tilt of her head. "Unfortunately, there is little else to offer… we could do some needlework for you, or perhaps sing a bit, though I've been told that cats sing better. Perhaps you would care for a poem. I know one about a lark that is quite lovely."
"No," Roslyn answers, only the single word as she swallows hard on what else she may say and stares at the ground. She allows Saffron to speak for them.
Gently the Septa lifts the Mallister girl until Muirenn is propped more upright against the dirt wall. Her cheeks are somewhat flushed and she whispers muzzily, "Are the other girls ok? Did they come back yet?" A hand is rubbed against her eyes and she blinks.
"Not yet lady but they will. They are worth more as they are now and in the condition they have been threatening to put them in." Dania says softly to Muirenn. "Just rest."
Jensen frowns at these answers. He listens to Saffron's alternative offers, and frowns harder, giving them both a sour, dissatisfied look. "Names," he says, pointing with his knife, "You," Saffron, "Then you," Roslyn.
Saffron releases the small breath she had been holding, and she inclines her head gently. "Saffron Banefort," she provides in the simplest of introductions imaginable.
If there is one thing that Roslyn can say, it is her name, and it still holds a touch of pride to overcome for a moment her tension as she says properly, "Lady Roslyn Nayland." Her chin inches up a touch higher.
Keeping her gaze fixed on Cherise, Ilaria continues her line of inquiry. "She iswasbetrothed to Ser Garett Westerling, who was knight to Ser Desmond who is your brother, yes?" She considers this a moment and forces a wan smile without waiting for a response. "I never thought to ask before, but how old is Ser Desmond now anyway? He's a handsome young man, of course, and rather nice. Few people can take so well to prickly Bri as he does." She is careful to keep her voice lighthearted, although perhaps not so gay as usual.
Tia stirs a bit, as her recent experiences suddenly come to mind. "I would imagine it would be /is/, not was," she says simply. "And Lord Desmond is a very nice young man." That's all she says on that matter for the moment, waiting to see if anyone picks up on what she just hinted at.
"Banefort, huh," Jensen says, "Related to the Young Lady Terrick then, are ye? Don't look much alike," he says, peering at her for a second in search of familial resemblence. She gets a moment to answer, and then he's looking to Roslyn, and lifting his brows, "Nayland, huh? Which of them y'wife to, then?"
Nodding, Muirenn keeps her eyes open and heaves a sigh that rattles around in her chest. Finally she glances towards Cherise and Ilaria, "Didn't Ser Westerling die at sea? And wasn't your cousin a bit scandalous with him and…I mean…she actually…?" Exhaustion and illness blunt her words but it is a good chance to get rumor clarified with truth.
"Cousins," Saffron explains. "My father is Lord Bernard Banefort, Lord Banefort's younger brother. Our mothers are to blame for the differences." Well, she's trying to keep her answers short.
"I am unmarried," Roslyn replies flatly, glancing towards Saffron for a moment for her own answers.
Talking staved off her tears, for now. "She was." Past tense. "He is handsome and kind." Cherise agreed about her brother as the two spoke. "He is aged twenty years, the same as I. Too kind hearted others have said but that was the root of his beauty."
As for taking to Bri so well, the huffs of breath of laughter. "My brother has some deep, deep well of patience." Seeing the world so differently than herself. Cherise does look to Muirenn now, "He was rumored to yes, but has found his way to Stonebridge with aid. His memory is gone though." The frown she wears may be for some other reason instead of the topic. "She was a young girl infatuated with a fine noble Ser. Anything beyond that is not worth feeding the rumors my lady Mallister."
Jensen looks between Saffron and Roslyn and replies, "Huh. Bit old t'be unmarried, ain't ye?" He squints at Roslyn, and then shrugs, seeming abruptly to tire of them, "Right, back in with ye both."
"Is?" Ilaria picks up on this, looking to Tiaryn with a startled expression. "Iyes, I thought he had died at sea." She pauses long enough to take in Muirenn's inquiry and her cheeks flush with the thought. "I cannot presume to know what my cousin does in secret, but she never once mentioned any such encounter to me. I know only that she genuinely enjoyed his company and was thrilled with their betrothal. He wasah, is—a good man." How confusing. But to Cherise she answers quickly: "His kind heart has won him many true friends, and I daresay will continue to do so in the future. I count myself among the honored to know him." She offers a warm smile to Cherise, particularly pleased to hear rumors being squashed.
Saffron grasps Roslyn's hand again as if to make sure she doesn't leave the fellow captive behind as she turns to start back to the cave without another word spoken to the man. She doesn't even glance back as if she might be caught taking stock of their holding grounds.
Day gives Rosanna's shoulders a brisk squeeze. "Come on. Up you get," she murmurs, a gentle cajoling, as though she's shooing her lady from bed late in the morning. She rises and takes a deep breath, unable to stand entirely straight in the ersatz cell, but she takes Rosanna's hand and draws the young lady to the exit as Saffron and Roslyn return. "Have they asked for another two?"
Throat working at a knot at Jensen's question, Roslyn only nods sharply. Yes, she is a bit old, thank you for noticing, random bandit. Luckily for her, she has Saffron's fingers to cling to in a moment, and she follows her almost blindly back. Though, once inside, she separates to find her place near her cousin again.
Roslyn also shakes her head to Day's question, since he did not.
Saffron shakes her head as Roslyn does, and she is equally moving back to familiar grounds. She sinks against the wall, releasing a heavy exhale.
A nod and silence as Muirenn closes her eyes. "Blessed is your family that Lord Garrett was returned. It is good that the betrothal was not made so rapidly due to regretable circumstances." She gives her Septa a bit of a break and leans on Dania's shoulder instead. "I suppose since he is returned to his family that the betrothal will continue apace?"
"I ran into Ser Garett in the inn in Stonebridge. I can confirm that he is alive, but seems to be missing memory," Tia says. She glances as Day takes her turn, with Rosanna, giving a "good luck" to those two women on their turn. Then back to the conversation. "And I agree. Lord Desmond is a very kind hearted fellow. He is like the little brother I never had."
Day sighs, caught distinctly in the middle between relief at the reprieve and impatience to have it all done with. She nods at Saffron, then turns to settle down again. And wait.