Page 369: Trading Up
Trading Up
Summary: Gerry Taken sets up shop in Stonebridge, and gets some customers.
Date: 25/07/12
Related Logs: None
Gerry Jocelyn Hugh Catryn Karel 
Town Square, Stonebridge
The surrounding terrain has several small gullies and streams that feed into the waterfront area just adjacent to the town square, the sails of the boats visible over the tops of the buildings. The square is floored in the same heavy stone that the east docks and castle are constructed of while the buildings are a mix of the stone, wood, and mortar. There are quite a few fish vendors with their fragrant catches for sale among groups of tables which tend to be busy most of the time.
Wed Jul 25, 289

Still in the later morning or early afternoon, depending on how one wanted to look at the day. The day was just begining to warm and fog that settled in the early morning has been washed away by the beams of sunlight. All in all, a very beautiful day.
As it was such a beautiful day, Jocelyn had set out just after she had breakfasted and was already in the square. She and her maid are just now stepping out of what couldnt only look like a seamstress shop or a tailor. Something with fabrics and the making of something. In her hand are dark brown heavy looking gloves. Her new purchase. When looking at them, you'd see that they'd come almost to the elbow of the Lady. In fact, she's trying them on now.
Stepping out of the way of entry of the shop, she stands pulling a single glove on and turning her hand this way and that, to see how it fits and looks. "These will do very nicely." she tells her maid, running her uncovered fingers over her covered forarm.

It was a simple set up. Just a bit of rough wooden plankings atop a few boxes, covered with some cloth on which the finer goods were laid out, and that was Gerry's 'store' as it were. Most of it was fair cheap, though there were a couple of quality items as well, combs that wouldn't have looked -too- far out in a noblewoman's chest, and bits of ribbons and the universally required needles of different shapes and sizes. At the side there were pots and pans, too. Gerry was entertaining a couple of goodwomen of the township who'd come to look at his wares just then, offering them his more winnsome of smiles as they bartered back and forth, a game of chicken to see who'd yield on the bargain.

The man didn't look all too much like a merchant, truth be told. There was a hungry leanness to him, his bearded face handsome but in a definitivly hard way, and his eyes were as dead as the wastelands beyond the North. Cold and icy blue. He wore a sword, too, well worn at his side, and a leather jerkin that had been repaired enough times to prove it wasnt just for show.

Being satisfied with how the gloves both felt and looked, Jocelyn removed the one glove from her arm. Taking both gloves in hand to carry them with her. Lifting her gaze up to the rest of the square she scanned the area. A new merchant? Maybe one she just hadnt really paid much attention to. The merchant had her attention now and she was walking in the way.
With her arms and hands folded together, Jocelyn bowed her head to Gerry "Good Good.", since he was assisting others she left the greeting to be simple. Lowering her gaze to his merchandise, she slowly scanned the items, lingering on the combs and ribbons that were there for the purchasing. lifting a finger to run smoothly over a a deep rose colored ribbon.

"M'Lady," came the merchant's greeting, his head dipped low in abject obedience to the woman of high station. Yet even as he performed the courtesy, there was a certain sharpness to his eyes, a level of directness that was borderline insolent as it struck against the young Nayland's lithe form, taking her in with cool consideration. The townswomen were quick to give the Lady her space, too, making their own courtesies as they paid the man then left to like chat about how they'd bought something on the same stall as the Lady Jocelyn had frequented. "Fer a beaut such as yerself, perhaps ye'd wanna have a smell of me perfumes, too? Sweet fragrance fer a sweet girl."

He pulled out a few clay jars with sealed stoppers on them, carefully labeled by scratchings symbolizing the flower of their scent, rather than letters. One had its wax seal broken; and he set it out on the table infront of the Lady. It put his hand close by hers, one with long artisan's fingers, that had seen itself scarred more than once. "Iffen m'Lady pleases, she aughta have herself a sniff an' see."

If the murmur from the townswomen bothered Jocelyn, she didnt show it. And when they offered her their curtseys, she would respond in kind with an inclining of her head and small dip of her own curtsey. A smile spread over her lips for warmth and not coldness.
The frequent sweet talking of male merchants did little to frazzle her, inwardly she found it entertaining. Knowing full well this was how they got some to buy items they had offered. So when Gerry had called her a sweet girl, she'd just smiled and raises her eyebrows at the perfumes he was setting out for her to look at. While he arranged this, it gave her time to looking the hard man over.
The clay jar always issued a bit of caution, and so a delicate hand reached out and slowly picked one up, removing the cork, and with a safe distance, sniffed the scent. "What scents do you have?" she asks, though the flowers were marked on the bottles and she tilted her head to read them better. Finding one of her favorite white flower, and setting down the jar that was already in her hand to pick up the white flowered one, repeating the process. "Do you make these yourself?" she asks.

"Naw, them's me daughter's work," Gerry said as he leaned back to give the Lady some space to enjoy the fragrances. They weren't quite Oldtown quality, but still made with the skill of someone professional with handling of herbs. "Roses, lemonsweet, camamel, daisies.." he trickled off, then gave a slightly dismissive roll of his sinewy hard shoulder. "'Fraid I don't right know what all 'o em be, m'Lady. Me girl's the one with a nose fer the scents an' a head filled with flowers." He kept watching her, too. It wasn't a lewd look, mind, but non the less the kind that could be felt pealing through her layers as the man tried to gauge his customer.

His arms folded over the width of his chest, while his back struck against the wall behind him. He'd a look of a hunting cat languishing between kill. "The comb there's Tyroshi made. Can see it in the way thems worked tha' grain, an' made lil runnin' horses there. Te sell te the Dothraki savages oringinally, I figure." He added, nodding at the item she'd looked at earlier. "Come a long way te find itself beneath ye lovely eyes. Iffen it's anythin' like me, it's like te fall te pieces iffen it must leave ye company."

"Daughter?" Jocelyn asks without masking some of her surprise in the question. Looking the man over again, and opening doing so. "She must be very young, indeed." The Daisy jar is the one she has in hand and she takes another sniff of the odor. "She does well." the words are her form of a compliment. "The scent is very lovely and fresh." if there was any peeling of layers, it wasnt happening quickly.
Still thinking on it, she sets the jar back down on the make-shift table, dusting her hands off together lightly. Careully not dirting her new gloves with any of the oils that might have been on the jar.
Her attention transfered to the combs when they are mentioned. Taking a step, maybe too to regard them better. Her lips kept their smile, but suddenly she started to laugh. Looking up and transfering her gaze to Gerry. "I'll be to blame for leaving a young girl with no Father then?" she asks, since he'll be falling to pieceing. Grey eyes with twinkling with the light of her jest.

"Turnin' sixteen," Gerry said casually. "Tho' ye'd think her younger, scrawny lil thing an' sweet an' innocent in temper despite her foul mouth. Last be me fault." Another shrug, one that said that he really didn't much care that his daughter had a potty mouth. "I got her young'n." Of her mother he said nothing at all. He scratched at his beard, which had recently been trimmed, just like his skin had recently had a harsh course of soap and scrubbing, leaving him rather remarkably clean for a commoner. His clothes were likewise tended to, even if they showed the wear and tear of the road, patched and ripped, sewn back together and then torn once more.

"Oh, if ye were plannin' on takin' me with ye, she'd make sure te hide in me belongings. She's sneaky like that." Gerry had taken a very different interpretation of Jocelyn's words than the one she'd obviously intended. There was a smile forming on his lips, darkly charismatic and with a gleam of pearly white teeth. The kind of devil may care smile of a consumate rogue, and he offered it to her in full. He met that shimmer of amusement in her eyes with a bit of wry with of his own.

Jocelyn did some simple math as to how old she thought the man was and then subtracting the age of his daughter. Ah. She said nothing of it, only nodded at the age. It was none of her concern. "Girls of that age often have a mind of their own no matter what one says about it." she offers in regards to his daughter having a potty mouth. "Hopefully it wont find her in the way of trouble." she murmurs a bit lower.
Laughing and shakes her head, "I think you misunderstand. You'd not being coming with me." If that sounded rude, it wasnt her intention, she meant to be just very pointed. She wasnt going to have man follow her home. She didnt even want to think about what would take place if something like that happen. "Its a good thing though, I do not think I could leave with a daughter being Fatherless or having the girl feel the need to sneak and hide to come along with her Father. No girl should have to do that."
Glancing back toward the perfumed oils, "Do you think your daughter could make me a unique perfumed oil? I've some flowers in the garden I like. They would do well to scent my skin."

"Ah, me fair Lady has all but crushed me poor heart with that callous dismissal of a poor man's dreams," Gerry murmured with enough sly amusement to say he'd never thougth or a moment that she'd want him along with her. After all he was not anything of a company for a young lady, looking more a bandit than he did a knight. "I hope ye ain't plannin' on doin' the same kind of pain te the poor comb, either? Me word on it, I'll give ye a fair deal, jus' fer bein' such a lovely - if cruel - girl."

He'd a quiet chuckle to him, rich and melodious, the kind that was all too easy on the ears. It couldn't quite reach his reptile cold eyes, though. "Aye, iffen ye like I'll send me girl up te ye. Where an' who aught she be askin'?"

Another laugh spills out at the good natured heartbreak from the merchant. Jocelyn does not give another look at the comb that they had been discussing, obviously having dismissed it already from her mind. "You can have her search out Lady Jocelyn Nayland. Or." she says after a pause, "You can tell me her name, yours as well, and when or where I might find her and I'll have someone seek her out for me."
The new gloves in her hand gets tossed from one to the other as she stands there. She no longer was looking at the merchandise, she'd seen what she needed to for all of it. "I'd like the ruby rose ribbon as well." she tells him, pointing slightly in that general direction that she'd seen it in.

"Gerry Taken, short fer Geremy, of Fairmarket. That be who I am, yer Ladyship. Me daughter bein' Catryn 'the Cat' Taken," Gerry introduced himself, and the way he said 'the Cat' was with a hint of exasperation and the roll of his eyes. "An' it be a right pleasure to make yer sweet meetin', fair Lady Jocelyn. Ye can find us at the Common House, or here in the square sellin' our wares. Fer now, anyhow. Might be movin' on a little te the nearby villages an' such, too, but we'll naught be far away."

His eyes swept down to the table once the Lady made her decision, and with quick fingers the man set about wrapping up the ribbon in a bit of simple cloth, the comb as well, then tying them up with a bit of coarse and simple string. Nice and well protected. He named a price, too, that was probably around twice the value of the items in question. After all she looked like she could afford it, and what commoner didnt try to stiff the nobles when they could?

The name is taken in and Jocelyn bows her head again at the introduction, "Master Taken." When the items are wrapped up, she has her lady's maid take them from him, not taking the items herself. At the amount however, Jocelyn raises an eyebrow and places a hand on her maid's arm before she can count out the coins for him. "Is that not bit steep for a ribbon and a comb?" she asks, espcially since she would be returning customer, she likes to see how he might handle his business affairs.

Gerry gave a sigh, scratchng his cheek with a pristine clean nail, digging through his beard. He caught the exchange between Jocelyn and her maid, then cocked his head as the woman called him out on his little price hike. "These be tough times, m'Lady," he told her in apology, before chewing on it for a moment. "I've got meself a girl te feed, an' her dowry to save up fer, so she can get herself a proper marriage someday soon. Some honest man who'll do her good, craftsman or a merchant, an' not be stuck with some ferrier or farmer, an' tha' backbreakin' work." His voice trailed off, features a mask of regretful conflict that never quite touched his eyes. With another sigh, he nodded. "Usually I'd not cut down on a fair price, but seein' how ye've offered me the priceless value o' yer bewitchin' company, I'll offer ye a discount." Which meant just a fifty percent mark up. Though the look he gave her suggested she was being a cruel, cruel woman, to rip off a poor honest working man like him.

Lifting her eyebrows, Jocelyn listens to the tale that is given to her. Meeting his stare, the one that seemed to make up that fact that he saw her such a cruel woman, and matched with an icy look with a pleasant enough smile. "I think you would do best to be honest and see what comes from that." she tells him. Taking the coin purse from the maid and count out the coins herself. "And not to think that all nobility is cruel enough not to know what is going on in the world around them." Ah, he'd hit a mark with her and caused her to stiffen. She gave him his coin, all that was in the original price that he had asked for. Even with its large mark up. She had planned to do it anyway, but wanted to see how he would respond to her and what type of business dealings he considered fair. "Good day, Maester Taken." Offering a stiff bow of her head before, turning to her maid, "Come along now." and turning away from the merchant table and striding toward another.

It was a simple set up. Just a bit of rough wooden plankings atop a few boxes, covered with some cloth on which the finer goods were laid out, and that was Gerry's 'store' as it were. Most of it was fair cheap, though there were a couple of quality items as well, combs that wouldn't have looked -too- far out in a noblewoman's chest, and bits of ribbons and the universally required needles of different shapes and sizes. At the side there were pots and pans, too. Gerry was entertaining a some of goodwomen of the township who'd come to look at his wares just then, offering them his more winnsome of smiles as they bartered back and forth, a game of chicken to see who'd yield on the bargain.

The man didn't look all too much like a merchant, truth be told. There was a hungry leanness to him, his bearded face handsome but in a definitivly hard way, and his eyes were as dead as the wastelands beyond the North. Cold and icy blue. He wore a sword, too, well worn at his side, and a leather jerkin that had been repaired enough times to prove it wasnt just for show.

Something like this might attract the squire's eye on a usual day. After all, Stonebridge is small, and Hugh is young. An equation for interest. This day, when there is an assignment waiting for from his tutor in the tower, there are stalls to muck out, and there is a pile of equipment to clean, this set up is absolutely unmissable. It is the most intesting stall Hugh has ever seen. Even the combs and ladies' things are utterly fascinating. The lanky boy stands and looks, casting a slight glance at the merchant.

Gerry drove a hard bargain, it seemed, but not quite so hard as it drovea way his customers. They tut-tutted, and one of them - a great whale of a house matron - giggled almost girlishly when he flashed that evil-but-attractive grin of his in her direction, and then they paid, casting occasional backwards glances at the man as his attentions settled on Hugh. "Got yerself a girl ye wanna impress with somethin' fancy, boy? Gots necklaces, broches, here, a comb from Tyrosh. Can tell with the way the grain's worked, an' how they carved them horses. Sold one nawt long ago te a proper lady. Give a girl somethin' precious, an' she'll know yer not jus' lustin' after her, but man enough to keep her in pretty things. A girl likes te know she's gonna be taken care o'."

Hugh listens to Gerry as he tries to make sure the fat woman doesn't tread on his foot. Then he grins as Gerry asks about a girl. It's the sort of grin that gives away the fact that he/is/ thinking about someone. "Good man, it all looks like very fine wares, but I don't really have any money to spare. And besides, I'd be seen to be much to forward to give a lady something like that." He picks up a broach. "It's pretty, though."

"A boy who intends on makin' somethin' outta himself," Gerry said with a crooked smile, cruelly charismatic as he leaned forward a little towards the boy. "Gotta show initiative. That's wha' seperates the leaders of men, from the chaff. Ye find a way te get a hold o' some coin, or a good trade, an' come find me again. Because there's one thing you'll learn as ye grow older, an' tha' is the kid who didn't dare being forward, him's the one tha' had to watch his best mate marry his sweetheart. Heh. An' like as not, they were tumblin' in the hay while he thought real hard on how's he was gonna be a decent an' honorable fellow. Showin' interest, it's wha' gets ye somewhere. Keepin' it te yerself an' hopein' fer the best, that's how a man's balls turn blue fer fuckin' misuse."

It was a simple set up. Just a bit of rough wooden plankings atop a few boxes, covered with some cloth on which the finer goods were laid out, and that was Gerry's 'store' as it were. Most of it was fair cheap, though there were a couple of quality items as well, combs that wouldn't have looked -too- far out in a noblewoman's chest, and bits of ribbons and the universally required needles of different shapes and sizes. At the side there were pots and pans, too. Hugh was there looking things over.

Lark weaves her way, deft and sure-footed, through the market tables that spill out into the square, occasionally ducking beneath arms and cheerfully shoving past those she knows better, if the shoved's lack of offense and the girl's cheeky, over-the-shoulder smile is aught to go by. She pauses a moment, a large basket balanced against her hip, seeming to recognize the squire, if not the man he's conversing with. There's a bright laugh as she catches the bit about forwardness with ladies, and she demurely covers her dimpled grin with her hand. "Oh, Squire Hugh's got lots of girls, I'm sure. Just probably too humble to recognize how they swoon at his passing." She dips a quick curtsy to the squire in question. "Milord." All warmth and mirth, she tells the lean and dark 'storekeeper', "Squire Hugh won the melee at Seagard, you know."

Hugh listens to Gerry's pitch with a furrowed brow and a hand on the back of his neck. "You know I relly don't think she'd be doing that sort of thing. She's really proper, you know…and…" The man has him thinking, however, until Lark steals his attention. Hugh grins and tries a humble shrug, but actually hoping Lark's voice carries. "I saw you at Seagard, did'nt I ? And I dont know about lots of girls? " He pauses looking hopeful. "wahat have you heard?" He puts the broach back down. "What sort of thing would you take in trade? Just asking."

"A victorious squire, eh?" Gerry asked with an arched brow. If he was impressed he didn't look it, though he did give Hugh a second and more thorough look over, the kind that said Gerry was eying the boy in a different light. Then he spat to the side and muttered: "Fuckin' tournaments. Always a good way te spend an evenin', drinkin' an' watchin', makin' a few gambles. Even if they be men rich 'nuff te pick a safer lifestyle, hackin' at each other like'n war's some kinda fuckin' glorious game." The way he shook his head said he had little other than contempt for the whole idea. "Still, they offer nice prizes, don't they? If so, it's a pity ye spent all the coin already. An' nothin' like a bit o' fame te get a girl squealin', too." The armed 'merchant' had given Lark a proper look over, too. It wasn't lewd so much as direct and chillingly calculating.

"Depends on whatchu want, Squire Hugh. A decent knife. A squire might've found himself with one two many, somehow. Or jus' a good word te the people up in the tower, sayin' how mine wares are high quality, an' how my prices be a damn bargain."

The girl grins all the wider at Hugh's hopeful look. "Aye, milord, I was there visitin' my cousin. Lonny and me made sure to get spots right on the rail." As for what she's heard, "Why, only that you'd been just made a squire then, and you beat not only boys fair older who're supposed to be on the verge of knighting, but Lord Patrek Mallister himself." ONLY that. "You and the Half-Eagle's all the girls talk about, these days."

Lark lifts and eyebrow at the keeper of the ersatz shop. "None of our boys are pampered poofters makin' play at battle," she says, as proud a Riverlands girl as ever there's been. "They're all proper knights and squires that fought at the Trident and 'gainst the Reavers, too. If they keep sharp between times testing their mettle on one another, I'm sure th'Warrior smiles on it."

Hugh gives Gerry a baffled look as though he cannot believe that anyone in his right mind could ever not think that tournaments were just the most awesome thing ever! "I didnt get money. I got a nice helm that Lord Patrek gave me," says Hugh. "And no way I would trade that. Or a knife. " And Whether she means to do it or not, Lark has just made Hugh's ego swell. He grins…he's certainly buying what she is selling. Yes, Lord Patrek kept me busy while the older boys took care of each other really," he admits. "I haven't fought in battle yet, but I will."

"Iffen ye say so," the merchant responded with a dimissive shrug when it came to Riverland knights being all proper warriors, though one that suggested he wasn't so much sold on the idea as not having a mind to argue it. He leaned against the makeshift stall, eyes shifting from one to the other, listening to the back and forth between them. The look of a lazy hunting cat content to wile away the hours between kills was on him, while he occasionally pawed at one of the items on display to give it a better angle. "So, me sweet beaut, ye lookin' fer anythin' on yer own, or jus' here te flirt with our famous Squire? Gots all kinds a needles, ribbons, broches, neclases o' differin' value. Pots an' pans, an' some simple knives. Combs like such a pretty set o' hair ye have gots te need."

"I hope y'never have to, milord," says Lark, smile turning sad. "War's a terrible thing. Lonny, my cousin, lost both her older brothers. And there are so many grievin' widows and childred here in Stonebridge alone. There's more than enough work for a warrior like yourself here at home. Even without attack from the outside, the peace never keeps."

Lark shakes her head, quick to disclaim, "I don't cast my eyes at lords." She smiles at Hugh, just after, all the same. "Just givin' propers where propers're due." She looks over the wares, fingertips carefully tracing the length of a pale green ribbon. "I'm afraid I haven't the coin to spend on frivolity, goodman, and we have the necessary things at home." She looks up at Gerry. "I can give you two loaves of fresh bread, though, and a basket of sweet berries for a copper. That's much less than the innkeepers buy them for."

Hugh picks up a ribbon too. Perhaps this is more in his price range. It's a pretty blue. "How much for a ribbon." He stalls, his incentive for shopping being a strong desire not to get back and do the copying of the history tome, his tutor wants him to do. He looks over at Lark and then at Gerry to see how this deal will progress. As to his future, he gives one of thos annoying adolescent shrugs, "I will do well. I have Ser Riordon teaching to ride and handle the lance well, and Ser Jarod's working with me on the sword." He grins. It's good to be a squire sometimes….despite all the shit work.

"Done," he told Lark, and fished out of his purse the price she'd asked. "Got me a blooy fiend o' a daughter who eats like never tasted no food afore. Not tha' ye'd think she had such a fuckin' appetite, bein' small an' slender like a nymph as she is. Damn unnatural." A roll of his eyes before he offered Lark the coin in his open palm. He'd long fingered, like an artisan's, strong and callous and with quite a few pale scars around the hand and his solid wrist.

To Hugh he said: "Ye get me an invitation te the Tower, te sell me wares te all yer cooks' an' maids an' suchlike, with a blood earnest recommendation, an' ye can have te green one fer free." It wasn't as beautiful as the blue one, but then the green dye was a whole lot cheaper, too. But he also offered a price for the blue, at about fifty percent mark up for Hugh being noble born.

Lark smiles at a bargain well-struck, plucking the coin from the merchant's callous palm and pocketing it away. From her basket come two, still-warm loaves of yeast bread, fragrant and sweet, and a small grass basket of blackberries. "Here you are then, goodman. I hope you and yours enjoy."

Hugh thinks about this a little longer than most might. He looks at Gerry, "I can try, but I want the blue one. I will give half that, and still give a recommendation…" He looks over at Lark again, "Are you always in stonebridge? I haven't see you here before." A look at Gerry. "Or you."

"Take the blue, then," Gerry said somewhat grudgingly. "Iffen ye get me the recommendation -an'- the invitation, I'll yield it to ye fer half price, an' consider it a fair if tough struck bargain, m'Lord. Otherwise I'll be expectin' full payment outta ye." With brisk motions the merchant produced a rough bit of simple cloth, and wrapped the blue ribbon up into it to protect the delicate material and color from the enviroment that a young squire might put it through before giving it up. A bit of coarse string, tied in a neat littl ebow, and it was all but ready-made-and-giftwrapped. It was offered at Hugh with one hand, while the other gave his hand - a bit of spit splashing on the palm of it in ritual deal sealing - and waited for the youth's response. "An' make ye some pretty girl real happy. Ain't nothin' so sweet as a squeal o' delight from a sweet lass."

The merchant had also taken Lark's goods, and tucked them into his own lunchen basket. Which had cointained.. a bit of moldy cheese and a dry heel of bread.

"Always since I was born, milord," Lark tells Hugh, pleasantly. "We don't get a lot of noble-blooded visitors in the common house or the scullery. Might be why." There's a sunny smile for all that, though. The world is what is it, and she's content. Then, to Gerry, "If you like the bread, friend, or want cookies for your little girl, ours is the house with the crooked chimney at the end of Lackpurse Lane. I'm not often at home, but anyone about can say where to find me." And a final curtsy to Squire Hugh. "I hope your lady likes the ribbon, Milord. Seven keep you."

Hugh nods and digs in a small coin pouch that looks like it has never held more than a couple coins, "I can get the recommendation, but an invitation…there's no guarantee there…" He reaches out to shake the man's hand. "But I will try." And he grins. He nods to Lark. Her hope to him sort of depends on whether he would get up the nerve to give it to her or not. "No…sometimes I slip into the kitchen," and get chased out again. He looks back at Gerry. "I cannot recommend a man without a name."

"I'll consider that," he told Lark, before yielding the trade to Hugh after a brisk shake. The merchant had a solid grip, and it was rough as sandpaper against the squire's palm, even with the lubricatino of saliva, but he made no effort to turn it into something domineering as some men might've. "That's fine. Half price fer now, an' if ye can't make good on all o' it, then ye' can jus' make the deal in another one o' these instead." He gestured to the coin for a moment, then slipped it into his purse. "An' no harm done. The name's Gerry Taken, short fer Geremy, of Fairmarket ways. Tradesman, as it were."

"The scullery's further into the kitchens than I wager Cook'd let you get, milord, noble or no," laughs Lark, hefting her basket back onto her hip. "She's quick as a snake with spoons and pans and anything else at hand. She made one of the pages squeal like a stuck pig just by grabbing his ear, otherday." She flashes a smile at Gerry. "Lark Chanson. Gods be good to you and the little one, Master Taken." She lifts a hand in farewell, and begins to make her way… wherever she was bound, before.

Hugh tilts his head and grins at Lark. "I'm just a little faster and I have long arms. Good day, Miss Chanson." He gives a nod to Gerry. "Master Taken. But why do you say, as it were'? Are you not a merchant?" He slips the ribbon into his pocket where he will hopefully remember it is before too much time has passed.

"Oh I once had a bonny lass, she had such a shapely ass," a soft voice carried, as the tall blond scrubbed clean an fresh, flounced along in boots that didna match the neat spin of the dress she wore. Beige almost, tapered to fit, just like the leathers she wore under it. "An when I supposed between 'er thighs, I found out she'd told me lies…," where that floating voice took on a tragic note, "Promised cherries, offered tarts…so I split 'er cheeks apart." An wouldn't you know, the singer was makin' her way unerringly towards Gerry's lil set up.

"Jus' a figure o' speech, boy," Gerry said with a snort. His head had turned with Lark's departure, his pale blue eyes following whatever rythm there might be to the girl's hips. She wasn't no lady, after all, and it was no crime to appreciate a scullery girl's behind. Finally with a grunt the lean merchant returned his attentions to Hugh. "Tho' I don't think it passes a whole many people by tha' I'm not a natural merchant. Heh. Used te hire out me blade, 'fore the whole Greyjob Rebellion. M'lord who'd taken me on promised a bloody place in his great hall, but all's I gots was a fuckin' pittence o' a handout, an' me arse stranded on Pyke. Hadn't no coin fer extra mouths now's peace had taken us. Fuckin' cunt he was. But it got me thinkin' I might as well try me hand at a peaceful trade, ye know, in peaceful times. Since I gots me a kid te watch over an' all."

The sound of the singer's voice drew his attention, eyes narrowing slightly as he took in the view of Catryn making her way over. "Speakin' o' the devil."

Hugh watches Gerry as he speaks, looking at the man in a new light, eye lingering on the visible weapon. But before he can comment…if he were going to, he hears the words of the song as they hit his ears with a clang. It is not so much that he is offended by them, but that he is surprised by the source. And as it is surely no crime for Hugh to look. He looks…and looks a little more at Catryn. "This is your little girl?" A slow grin grows. "I thought it was a little girl you had."

Well, since the boy doesn't look like a lord on a glance, Cat's mouth finds no moderation, but she does offer him a grin, one that's cheeky an says she knows he's lookin', because she looked, too. "Oh hell, don't mind 'im. 'e still thanks I'm eight an mute. But I'll thank ye no ta call me little, either." After all, she's only five inches shorter! "'ey Pa, how's bin'ness?"

Hugh staring got Gerry to frowning, and he made no subtle show of putting his hand against the hilt of his well worn sword. One thing was staring at the rump of some scullery girl, another completely was eying up the man's own daughter. "I be trustin' yer keepin' yer fuckin' eyes on me girl's face, an' nothin' else, an' that's how ye'll always do it. She might've got a mouth on her that's as foul as any sellsword, her pa bein' what he is, but dontchu think fer a second she's nothin' but a sweet girl beneath it all, desirin' an' -deservin'- proper fuckin' respect. We better be understandin' each other here." In that moment he looked exactly like what he had been for most of his life, a dead eyed and cold hearted killer, whatever attempts he might've been trying for something different.

"Business.. is good." He muttered, frowning at Catryn's cheekiness which, well, could only encourage a teenage boy.

Hugh turns back to Gerry with a frown, "I didn't do anything! Just listening to her foul song. You're accusing me a little soon aren't you? You dont know me, and you are expecting to get a recommendation from me, Master Taken." His eyes fall to the man's sword. "I don't appreciate unfounded threats."
You sense: Hugh is showing some subtle signs of being nervous, though he is trying to stand his ground.

"Weren't foul!" Cat defends with a faint frown of her own, bottom lip tuckin' between her teeth. An she stands like that for a moment, with a bit of a sulk before she says in a rather small voice. "He don't mean nothin' by it. He don't. He's juss tryin' s'hard t'do better an there was a boy last week when we were travelin', pretended t'be nice too, an then 'e started pickin' on me an callin' me a bastard, an I said I wasn't but his sisters had already picked up on the song." For a moment, the girls voice warbled with the memory an tears threatened to swim in her eyes, "They ran me off peltin' rotten fruit. So he's just…," the girl cast soulful eyes from her Pa, to Hugh, "Just protective." But now she looks self concious, wrappin' her arms in against her chest an lookin' pitiful.

Gerry took his hand off his sword, though the tendons of his neck stood out, as did the veins on his sinewy hard forearms, tough and solid like old leather wrapped around oaken staffs. With a grimace he lifted up his palm in a sign of peace, even if it hadn't quite put a his smile back on. No. Still frowning. "An' I jus' makin' sure ye realize ye ain't gonna do anythin', boys bein' boys, an' iffen ye a fuckin' more honorable an' righteous thinkin' than most yer age, ye know full well wha' kinds hounds most yer kind are. So, if yer expectin' an apology, ye ain't gettin' non. If that means ye'll rather pay full price on tha' ribbon, fair 'nuff."

He grunted, giving a bit of a scowl that traded in both their directions. Though the threat on tears on Catryn's face finally seemed capable of softening him. "Ah, fer fuck's sake. It's all good. Here. I got ye some berries earlier." He reached down into his lunchen basket and lifted up the small pack of blackberries. He'd bought some fresh loafs of sweet crisp bread, too.

Hugh listens to Catryn, and purses his lips, she softens him up some, too, but Gerry doesnt help matters. No, Hugh's mind is exactly where every other 15 year old boy's is. But "Asterholm's have some self control, Master Taken. And I represent my cousin and Ser, Lord Riordan, so I resent you thinking I would tarnish his name." Big words for the young man. "You can take the ribbon back if you like." He'd never have to nerve to gift it anyway.

With those tears hitting her cheeks now, a hand rises up to angrily wipe them away, before she takes the wee pack of blackberries an folds the cloth back to reveal the fruit. Her smile for Hugh is one of quiet thanks and shy appreciation, "See Pa, he's a good man. Aint gonna tarnish no one, or me." Promises, before she holds her prize out to the boy, offering to share and blinks. "You should keep it," his ribbon, she's talking about, "As a token, fer bein' such a gentlemen."

Gerry didn't look particularly convinced by Hugh's expression of righteousness, staring at him with more than a little suspicion, especially as his daughter had the gall to act sweet and defensive for the damn squire. He blew a bit of a snort. "A deal's a deal. Ain't breakin' it." With a frown he turned away from the pair of them, staring in the direction of the Common House, and the ale it was promising him. "Bah. I've got a thirst. Ye watch over the damn store fer a while, girl. No givin' nothin' away fer free, either. Te gentlemen or anythin' else. Oh, an' some Lady Jocelyn taken' a sniff o' ye perfumes, an' wanted ye te come up there yerownself, an' make her a 'personal' fragrance o' some kind. She's got a garden o' somethin', an' flowers she likes." So said, he gave Hugh another long look, then started to depart with brisk strides. A drink, a drink, just a drink.

Catryn had already paid those women not to serve him more two tankards, so he'd best be on good behavior.

Hugh is not quite sure what to do now. He frowns and shakes his head. "You best treat my Lady Cousin well, and not with the lack of courtey I got, he says to the man." His feathers still seem to be a little ruffled, but he looks at the ribbon and sticks it back in his pocket.

Catryn bites her bottom lip, shifting from one foot to the other, feeling a little…off now that the boy'd not accepted her offer. With her Pa's words though, she slips round on the side of the set up an cozies up on a crate fer comfort, nibblin' on a berry. "Gerry's a fair man," she defends, looking like his insinuation has hurt her feelings. "An ye /were/ lookin'."

Making his way along in the crowd, Karel looks between the people present, looking a bit lost in thought. Every now and then, he's talking with a kind, about twelve years old or something, that's walking near him.

It was a simple set up. Just a bit of rough wooden plankings atop a few boxes, covered with some cloth on which the finer goods were laid out, and that was Gerry's 'store' as it were. Most of it was fair cheap, though there were a couple of quality items as well, combs that wouldn't have looked -too- far out in a noblewoman's chest, and bits of ribbons and the universally required needles of different shapes and sizes. At the side there were pots and pans, too. Hugh was there looking things over. Cat was sitting behind the set-up. Gerry'd gone off fer a few. (Set for Karel)

Hugh walks over to the girl as though only seeing the berries now. He reaches out to take a couple. He's never been known to turn down food. "Why do you call him Gerry? I thought he was your father? And I was looking at you, because you were singing a rude song. It was the sort of thing that makes a person stare." He shrugs and glances over at Karel. Now that Gerry is gone, Hugh relaxes a little.

Karel nods a little to something the young kid said, before the two of them moves in different directions, and the knight looks around. Pausing for a few moments as he notices Hugh, he offers a bit of a nod, both to him and the girl, but remains where he is for now.

"He is, but yous talkin' all formal an I felt like I oughta do tha same," her nose wrinkles, "Sayin' daddy's a good man, makes me sound like I'm eight." Cat stuck out her tongue, it was purple, thanks to the berries. "Betcho dont like people thinkin' yer a lil kid, either" She challlenged, "And I bet ye keen more rude songs than I do."

The cat noted the man's nod, too, afore she offered a smile in return an hopped up off her crate to her feet, "Canna interest ye in a ribbon, milord? Er a pretty comb, fer a lady-friend?"

Hugh shrugs, "I don't many rude /songs/," he lies. "I know a few rude jokes." He straightens, "And people don't think I'm a little kid. I won the squire's melee in Seagard. That wasn't for little kids." He takes another couple of berries and looks at the girl…in the face! "What's your name?"

Pausing for a few moments as he hears that, Karel blinks a few times. "Err… Not really. No lady-friend to give anything to. And I'm no lord, just a normal man," he adds. Offering Huhh a bit of a grin, "No disrespect intended, Lord Hugh," he offers, quickly.

"Do you?" She perks, "Tell me." Comes the challenge in an 'I dare you' tone, before she too takes another little handfull of berries, munching on them one by one. "An it's Catryn, er Cat, which I prefer." A firm nod, "Aint been no tourney, been to Tyrosh thou….Lord?" A wild glance to Karel, then another, this one more accusing back to Hugh an the cat all but chokes. "Ya say nothin' bout bein' no fuckin' lord, beggin' ye pardon' fer the language, milord. An I'm right sorry abou' tha' song, milord." Formal now, almost stiffly so has become her manner.

Hugh furrows his brow, "Your father knew, and he still behaved rudely, and I'm not going to tell you any dirty jokes, because if he finds out, he will theaten me or worse, and then he will be in a lot of trouble." He tilts his head, "Otherwise, I'd tell you since I wouldn't be soiling a Lady's ears…" He shrugs, "I have heard that language plenty of times. I'm not a prude."

Karel offers a bit of a smile to the two now, as he remains where he is, not far from them. He keeps quiet for the moment, listening a little bit quietly to what's being said now. Smiling a bit to himself every now and then.

Catryn bites her bottom lip between her teeth, torn between defending her Pa an trying to make a new friend. "I won't tell," cat promises, "Promise. Even tell ya a few in turn, except you know, just cuz a female aint a lady, dont mean they cant be soiled. Aint that right, ….Ser?" She ventures, with a look in Karel's direction, offering him an easy smile.

Hugh looks baffled, as he often does when talking with girls, at the mixed signals. "So you do or you don't want me to tell you a dirty joke?" He looks over to the tavern. "Your father's going to be drinking?"

Pausing a bit as he hears Catryn's words, Karel studies the girl rather carefully for a few moments, before he nods a little. "That makes sense," he offers, after a few moments, before he offers a grin to the young nobleman. "See, that's always been the tricky part, finding out the answer to questions like that." It's offered with a bit of a chuckle, though.

"Aye," the girl nods, "I do an he is. Like as not well into tha night, but it'll take him a bit o'persuadin' afore he can get past the second tankard, as I give tha one a'bit o'coin ta stop 'im. Then he'll be under fer the night." With a bit of a look towards the spread, Cat sighs, "An ah'll be left t'pack up this lot an set it hauled back t'tha room fer tha night."

Hugh looks around to see if there is a place he can sit nearby, "Why should I tell you a joke? What will you give me in return?" He looks over at Karel. Karel might know that Hugh is procrastinating on his squirely duties. Hugh gives a look as though wondering whether he will say anything.

"So, your father is going drinking, and leaving you to do the packing up of things?" Karel asks the girl, before he looks over at Hugh, offering a grin at the squire's words. He doesn't comment on anything at the moment, but offers another grin to the boy, as if indicating that he's not going to say anything about the procrastinating for now.

"He's been out 'ere all day werkin'," cat replies to Karel, "while I've no done a damn thing. If 'e wants a drink, then he's more'n earned it an a little work aint gonna kill me none." As for the boy, she ignored him, save but a single look in his direction, one that seemed to ask if he were serious in takin' that attitude with her. "An speakin' of, unless yer gonna buy somethin', I'ma do juss that."

Hugh shrugs and gives up on finding a seat. He sighs and looks at Karel. "I guess I ought to get going and muck out that stall." Girls are too hard.

Karel nods a little as he hears that. "Just what is it that you sell?" he asks, after a few moments, moving a bit closer. He also offers Hugh a grin, "Well, they don't muck themselves out, unfortunately, my lord." It's offered rather lightly, though.

"Was nice meetin' you," Cat offered, when the lord said he had to go muck a stall. But then Karel'd come closer, an so she stepped up proper to the opposite side, givin' him a smile. "Got needles fer sewin' an pots, an tha like. Women's mess, mostly," her bottom lip rolled between her teeth and she looked him over again, from head to toe this time, as if she were tryin' to gauge what he might best need, "S'a nice new belt, Ser?" She offers, an it aint nothing fancy as what a noble might carry, but it's sturdy an dependable.

Hugh nods to the girl and Karel and takes his leave.

Karel pauses for a few moments, looking over at Hugh as the young nobleman leave. "Ah, being young…" he remarks, a bit lightly, before he nods a little. "I might actually need a new belt at some point, that's true," he says, after a few moments of pause.

"He's a lord though, aint'e," Cat remarks with a shake of her head, "Aint like normal folks. I've walked on those blood soaked fields 'e dreams of an it aint never gonna be no fun fancy fare like his tourneys," she gives a little shake of her head, "Nice though, till he forgets ta be 'imself an starts actin' different. Bah! More important thangs," she smiles, "I never did catch yer name." Though she extends the belt out for him to look over if he'd like.

"That he is," Karel replies with a bit of a nod. "But even they have trouble in that age, when they're trying to figure out people of the opposite gender, I believe." He offers a bit of a smile, before he nods again. "And blood soaked fields are never what the young dreams them to be." A brief pause, before he shrugs a little. "But that's something a person have to experience before they know, I guess." A brief pause again, and a quiet smile. "Karel," he replies. "Ser Karel Stenhammar. And what is yours?" Taking the belt as it's handed in his direction, he studies it rather carefully for the moment.

"No," says Cat, "They're not. An in truth, neither is coming home. Years put a spin on things. Aint always so pretty on tha other side," she sighed, but the sight of his smile helped keep her spirits from sinking too far. "An it's a pleasure t'meetche, Ser Karel Stenhammer," a polite curtsy is offered, "Ah'm Cat. Catryn Taken, atche service, as it were." She smiled, "An that belt yer lookin' at comes from Lannisport, iffin such things matter t'ye."

Karel nods a little bit as he hears that, "Well, that's why some of us non-noble knights tend to be wandering. Sometimes coming home holds too many memories for people, so it's better not to." He shrugs a little bit at the mention of the belt being from Lannisport. "They know how to make such things of a fine quality over there," he offers, with a bit of a smile again. "And it's a pleasure to meet you, Catryn." Another brief pause, before he adds, "You and your father tend to be on the road, then?" he asks, sounding a bit curious.

"We's out at the Pyke last, he fought there. Hired on fer his sword, one of those lords fightin' against the rebellion. Turns out, didnt work out so well. Spent eight years afore abroad," like it was somethin' fancy an special. "We go where there's werk, same's you I suspect."

"Abroad? Where did you go?" Karel sounds a bit curious, before he nods a little bit. "I used to be like that, going where there were work. Been serving the Naylands for a few years now, though."

Cat starts packin' up as they talk; mindful of each piece and not in a way that makes it seem she's tryin' to run off, just in a way that suggests she's probably gonna ask if he wants to go talk over drinks, instead. "What's that like, just bein' with one?" She asked, though in regards to his question she paused a moment before considerin', "Tyrosh, mostly, about Essos a good bit. Pa followed work an we traveled him hired out t'a healer fer protection that hired out t'mercanary companies." She gave a little shrug, "You help me carry this to the inn over there, I'll buy ye an ale."

Karel pauses for a few moments, "Just being with one? One employer?" He shrugs a little bit. "Quite different, but if it's what's needed to get my son the training he needs and deserves, that's worth it." Nodding a little bit about the places abroad. "How are those places? Very different from here?" He nods a little bit at the part about helping to carry things to the inn, offering a bit of a smile. "Of course. Wouldn't want you to be going to and from here all night long, right?" Spoken a bit lightly.

"Ye've a son?" Cat looked him over again, following the question with a quiet chuckle, "What am ah sayin', course ye do, an a wife hid away somewhurs too, I suspect. Still," she smiled, "I'd be obliged fer ye help Karel. Unless'n yer prefer Ser." Though she began to fill her arms, "as fer different, aye, much different t'look at. But ye can still git hung fer steppin' outta line, same's anywhur."

"Well, my wife is very well hidden, I fear," Karel replies after a few moments of pause. "She passed away, about eleven years or so ago." He sighs for a few moments. "But yes, I have a son." He pauses to study the girl a bit carefully for a few moments. "I think he's a little younger than you, but not that much, I believe." He then looks at the various things that needs to be carried, waiting to see what he can carry for her. "Karel's fine," he replies. "Never been much for formality, unless I have to. And I guess it's the same everywhere, the possibility of getting hung, or otherwise killed." A brief half-smile. "It's sad that the world is like that, but then again, if it wasn't, I wouldn't have a job, would I?"

"Well shit," the cat muttered, a faint wince of apology, "Ah didna mean to touch on no sad memories, Ser, jus tha ye seem t'have the way o'things an a personality as what…," still babbling, Catryn gave up. "Ah'm sorry fer ye loss." That was genuine, "Me ma's gone too. May the Gods keep them." She smiled, gesturing towards one of the heavier crates that held the pots an pans. She'd take the more fragile bottles as continaed the perfumes. "Juss stick tha belt where ever if'n ye dun want it. But ah'll cutche a fair price if ya do. With a discount," cat grinned up over the top of box that was almost level with her nose, "If ye find us a topic tha's less depressin' tham them we've dun stepped on."

Karel smiles, "It's okay. Had lots of time to come to terms with it," he offers. "And it seems to be a good belt, so I think I'll buy it," he offers, with a bit of a smile.

"A fair price, fer a fair man," and so she names one, that is exactly as fair as she'd promised an offers him the same smile with it, as she leads them on towards the Common House. "Can just sit that down right inside the door, if ye like an ah'll get me Pa t'help carry it up. An we'll go have ourselves a drink, ye?" Much as she'll take his payment too, just as soon as 'er hands are free.

Nodding a little as he hears that, Karel carries the things over to the indicated place, and also pays for the belt. "That is truly a fair price," he offers, with a bit of a smile, before he adds, "And it's just about a good time for a drink, that's true."