Page 451: While My Fiddle Gently Weeps
While My Fiddle Gently Weeps
Summary: Jac, Darek and Robben meet Aralima in the inn.
Date: 17 October 2012
Related Logs: Tainted Love
Darek Jac Robben Aralima 
Ash and Oak Inn, Highfield
From the courtyard before the L shaped inn, the Ash and Oak opens into a sprawling taproom designed to house both commoner and noble alike; dimly light, the atmosphere within is one of intimate privacy, with tables arrayed in such a fashion that they each seem to linger within their own shadow, while the bar itself stands out under the illumination of several brightly burning candles opposite the main door. To the right of the bar, one finds a hallway leading back into a section marked strictly for employes and to the right? The kitchens. A large hearth sits on the wall to left, lending its warmth and glow before an assortment of benches and its heat is pushed to the rooms for the smallfolk that sit above the stables; small spaces not meant for the clostrophobic. Curling up to the very rooms themselves weaves a staircase, where only two at a time can walk if they don't mind their shoulders touching. On the right, coming off the wall itself rests a wide staircase, leading up to the more lavish rooms designed with a noble's comfort in mind.
October 17, 289

Music fills the Ash and Oak, but it is not any sort of peaceful, idyllic music. It's hard, aggressive, and in another time and place, it would be called 'Black Dog,' and it is being played by one Darek Boldt, sawing at his fiddle while standing atop a pair of chairs. A mostly empty tankard sits on the table alongside him, and it is not his first. Several of the idle young women of the burgeoning township sit at nearby tables, with their attention focused on the young squire. Sweat glistens on his torso beneath his open vest, and his righteous curls of dark brown hair bounce about his face as he plays. This is not his first song, not nearly so. In fact, he's been down here most of the evening after finishing his training.

Captain Jac has become acutely aware of his squire's change of daily habits, though it is not exactly the Songbird's style to have what could be extra-emotional conversations with the seventeen-year-old boy. While he has been taking his meals in the manor, tonight, along others from the manor, he enters the Ash and Oak. He knows where that aggressive music is coming, though he does not immediately approach the squire. Instead, he claims a table just behind the one filled with doe-eyed girls. He pulls one of the bar girl's aside, ordering a dinner plate and a flagon of ale.

Amongst those swooning girls is a rather pretty fair-haired maidservant whose storm-colored eyes cannot seem to loosen their hold on the performing squire. If the other girls look like their about to swoon, she looks like she's about to pounce. Trouble, my friends, trouble.

Making his way in from the outside not long after Jac, Robben looks around the room a bit carefully, eyes going to the source of the music now. He briefly, before heading over in that direction, looking for a place to seat himself. Approaching the table Jac's claimed, he offers the man a bit of a quiet nod. "Room for one more, Ser?" It's asked a bit softly, as he looks to the musician for a few moments, then back to the Captain.

Darek pulls the bow from his fiddle, almost snarling in his usually-light tenor, "Need a woman gonna hold my hand, won't tell me no lies, make me a happy man." Bow meets strings again for one final sawing session, and then lifts free, the squire giving a perfunctory bow and stepping down from the chairs. Slinging his fiddle on its red sash, he brushes back his sweat-darkened hair, looking over to the table where his knight sits among august company, then looking away to the gaggle of giggling girls. "You ladies going to tell me any lies?" Unusually for him, there's a bit of a sneer behind the words.

"Certainly, Milord," Jac offers to Robben, gesturing for him to take a seat as Darek continues to saw out his angry tune. "Margie," he calls to the departing bar girl, holding up two fingers toward her so she knows to double the Captain's order. Dark, heavy eyes move from the Ashwood lord toward the sweaty squire as the girls, indeed, burst into giggles at his question. He turns his gaze away just as the determined blond steps straight out of the gaggle to grab the squire by the edges of his leather vest. She presses a firm kiss to the squire's sneering lips, and then murmurs something to him that sends one of the closer girls as red as a rose. She flashes him a wink as she starts to move off, encouraging the other girls to follow this particular queen bee. Jac is speaking to Robben as the Lord sits. "I'm guessing the cook's attempt at lamprey pie is also the reason you decided to eat at the Ash and Oak." He grins.

Robben nods a little bit as he seats himself. "Something like that, yes," he offers at the part about the lamprey pie, offering a grin in return. He pauses for a few moments as he sees the girls around the squire, that blond one in particular, before he just shakes his head, gaze moving around the room for a few moments, then back to Jac. "Besides, it's always good with a change of scenery, right?"

From the Noble hallway, comes two women, a dark haired woman, and a younger pale blonde. They are speaking in low words, the girl giving a smile to the dark haired woman and then shaking her head, "No no… I'm telling you, he just.. stared, when I smiled at him he just looked at me.. Was the oddest thing. Kind of reminded me of uncle Wayland." The other woman shakes her head, and looks around to the gaggle of women swooning, Lima blinks and says, "Oh my.. did we… miss something?"

When the young woman grabs Darek's vest and swoops in for a kiss, the young squire brings his free hand up, clutching at the back of her head to deepen the connection, although he releases her easily enough. The whisper draws a sharp laugh from Darek, "You've got a mouth on you, Miss Simone." And then he's turning away, sucking idly at his teeth as he collects his ale — oh and his shirt is around here somewhere, a sleeveless black thing that is tossed over one shoulder. Bow in one hand and tankard in the other, he ambles in the direction of his knight. There's a sullen set to his lips, despite the fact that a pretty girl just tried to kiss them off his face. He nods his head in greeting, and nods again to Robben, but doesn't speak up yet.

"I tend to think so, Milord," Jac says, following Robben's glance toward the squire. He missed the kiss, though he does note that the maid girl looks the cat who ate the canary. He's young, Jac reminds himself. How many girls did the Captain kiss before he married his wife? How many did he kiss after his wife was dead and in the ground? He never expected Darek to go off and marry the little scullery maid. He shakes his head a bit as he looks away from the boy, gaze falling on the Frey woman briefly. "Tell me, Milord, how are you liking Highfield? It was good to see so many of Ser Aleister's family come down from Hollyholt." Though this former guard for Lady Alys is certainly missing the sweet redhead girl. He looks up as Darek approaches, nodding to the boy. "Have a seat, lad."

To Aralima, as Simone passes by, she announces to the Lady in a rather content voice that, "You just missed Darek Boldt play, Milady." And she points her to the sweaty, handsome squire with major hair power. "I bet he would play you a song if you asked." And off Simone goes with her pack, knowing she's going to be seeing Darek again. Tonight.

Robben smiles a little bit, offering Darek a bit of a nod. "Well played," he offers to the young man, before he offers a grin to Jac. "Quite well. I really like the place so far. I'm very glad I came here, especially with what's happened since my arrival." He looks around for a few moments, noticing Aralima now, and offering her a smile and a nod. "Lady Aralima. Still here, I see. How are you today?"

Aralima looks to Simone and says, "Oh well I'm sorry I missed it of course, sounds like a wonderful time." She does't say anything about the woman's.. kiss. She says softly, "Mistress would you get me a glass of wine please? That would be lovely." She Hears her name and her smiles brightens, "Ahh Lord Robben, a pleasure to see you again." Her eyes sparkle with a bit of michief as she glides her way over to the table, "Of course I am, one can hardly explore if you are only in one place for a few days, right?" She looks to the two other men with Robben, and folds her hands in front of her, a gentle smile on her lips.

Darek sets down his ale at Jak's invitation, hanging his bow on a small metal hook on his fiddle's string. "Yesser." He starts to draw out a chair for himself, then stops as Aralima approaches. Bowing his head, and knuckling his forehead, the squire murmurs, "Milady." He then looks over to Robben, brushing his brow with his knuckles again, "Milord. Thanks." Scrubbing his long locks of hair from his face and holding it there, he seems to realize that he's shirtless, wearing only a vest, in front of an apparent noblewoman, but he just shrugs to himself, "Could use some livening up most nights, Milord. That's why I come down here." And certainly not for the ale. Or the girls.

Jac casts Darek a glance as he starts to settle down, though when the Frey Lady approaches, he stands to greet her with a bow. "Milady," he greets before he returns to his seat. This is just in time for Margie to return with the plates and flagons, beaming to Darek with a shy smile as she sets them down before Jac and Robben. "You want the same, Darek?" She asks coyly, bobbing her head to Aralima. "And is there anything I fetch you, Milady?" Jac picks up his flagon first, taking a drink before he announces to the server girl. "Get my squire a dinner plate, with an extra roll." Perhaps to help soak up some of the ale he knows Darek has been trying to drown himself in.

"Even the good places needs livening up," Robben offers with a smile to Darek, before he adds, "Well, at least the people does." He then offers a bit of a smile at Aralima's words, "That is an excellent point, my lady. It's good to see you have found Highfield interesting enough to further explore," he offers, before he takes a sip from his own flagon now. "Excellent," he mutters to himself.

Aralima gives a chuckle and since Robben didn't introduce her to his tablemates she does it herself, "A pleasure to meet you both, I am Aralima Frey." She offers her hand to first one then the other. She looks to Darek and says, "You were the one Mistress Simone was speaking of?" If she notices the shirtlessness she ignores it, though perhaps there is a slight pinkening of her cheeks. To Jac she inclines her head, "Master Darek is your squire? That would make you a Knight yes?" Captain Obvious to thee rescue! When Margie addresses her she smiles and says, "I am just going to have a glass of wine thank you."

Darek drains off the last of his ale, swallowing, then grinning up at Margie broadly enough to send dimples into his cheeks, even if his eyes remain more than a little distant, "I'd like something a little sweeter if you've got it, Miss Margie." He lets that hang a bit, then reaches out to pat the young woman on the forearm, "A hard cider, Miss Margie. And whatever they're havin' to eat." He leans back in his chair, balancing on the rear two legs, and nods to Jac, "And the extra roll, yeah." Aralima's introduction causes him to bow his head again, "Milady Aralima. Darek Boldt. Bold by name, bold by fame." He's got a showman's gift to his tenor voice, "Ser Jac and I, we led the charge that broke one of Stonebridge's levies."

"Of course, Milady," Margie says with a bob of her head. Darek's words causes the serving girl to blush a wonderful pink, and she offers him a timid smile. "Of course, Darek. We popped open a barrel, it's rather… hard." And before she turns any further colors, she scurries off. Jac nods his head to the woman at her introduction. "He is, Milady, and I am. Captain of the Guard Ser Jac Caddock, Milady. Captain Jac to most." He looks toward Robben now, nodding his head. "Good to hear, Milord. I will always miss Hollyholt now and then, but Highfield has a certain charm to it." He nods his head at his squire's assessment. "Though, young Darek here is also known for his fiddling," the Songbird offers.

Robben pauses for a few moments as he realizes he forgot the introductions. Nodding a bit at Jac's words about Hollyholt, he offers the man a bit of a smile. "To be honest, I will miss Hollyholt too, but this is a nice place, and after all, it's got the most important parts of my family here." Taking a few moments to sip his drink, before he looks up at someone entering. Frowning a bit as he sees the man that steps in, and heads over to offer him a note. Said note is read through before he sighs, starting to get to his feet. "I'm sorry to leave like this, but there's something I need to take care of…" Waiting for a few moments now, before heading towards the door.

Aralima looks to Robben and gives a small smile, "Duty is heavier then a Mountain my Lord." Now that the Nobility is gone Ara gives a smile to the Knight and his squire, "It was truly lovely to meet you." She wasn't invited to stay with them so she turns to try to find a place to sit, trying to find a place without swooning fangrrls.

Darek gestures to Jac at the further introduction, "And Ser's known for his singing and his sword, Milady." As Robben rises to depart, Darek rocks forward and bounces to his feet again, bobbing his head and knuckling his brow, "Milord." Not like he can have any say in whether or not a Lord leaves. He glances ot Jac a moment, then moves around to draw out a chair for Aralima, "Milady. But yeah… I'm the best fiddler you're likely to hear west of The Twins. As I can show you later if you'd like, Milady."

"Please, Milady… you can join us if you don't mind the company," Jac offers with a quirk of a smile. The older knight glances toward the younger squire. "Though I know that Master Darek has a very tight fiddling schedule, but I'm sure he can wait for his next song if it means keeping a lovely Lady company." The Songbird Knight smiles, and it appears that his charms never rest. He takes another solid drink of ale, swallowing it in two gulps. Margie is returning with a mug of very hard cider for Darek and a wine for the Lady.

Aralima looks to Darek and smiles to him, "I think that would be quite lovely master Boldt.." She looks to Jac and flushes gently, "Oh that is very kind of you Ser Jac." She waits for Niamh, her dark haired maid to pull out her seat for her, before she settles down, "Thank you both for the invitation, I'm not sure there was an open seat." She gives a bit of a giggle to Darek, "Seems you have more then a few fanatics that enjoy your.. fiddling." Her big blue topaz eyes study the man over the rim of her glass as she takes a drink. Niamh quietly takes a seat across from her Lady.

Darek pushes in the seat for the Frey lady, then moves back over to take his own seat, shifting his slung fiddle and bow neatly out of the way without thought, despite however much he's drunk already that night. Pushing back his chair again to rock back on the rear-most legs, he puts his right boot up on his left knee, offering the Lady another dimpling grin, "It's not like anything else most've heard, Lady. Seems some folks've been missing something like that in their lives." There might even be a bit of a hard age there in the last note. Margie's arrival draws a nod and a grin, "Thanks Miss Margie. I appreciate it."

Jac should probably not encourage this sort of thing, as she's a noble girl, but perhaps some attention will do his squire some good. He nods, settling into a comfortable grin. "Besides his fiddlin', young Darek here is turning into quite a good Knight, Milady. He will serve Ashwood proud, and by association, Lord Frey." He takes another full gulp of ale, perhaps trying to catch up with his squire — though who knows how much Darek has had to drink by now.

Aralima looks Jac as he speaks and raises an eyebrow and says, "Oh well, I'm sure that my Lord Grandfather would appreciate the service of dutiful knights in his realm Ser." She looks back to Darek and says, "Do you know Traveller Master Darek? It is a slow song but it is one of my favorites, my Septa used to sing it to me so I would go to sleep when I was a child."

Darek straightens up a little at Jac's compliment, taking another big swig of his cider, "You're gonna make me blush, Ser." Of course, he doesn't look like he's going to do that right now. Aralima's question causes him to frown in thought, "Uh… I don't think so, Milady." There's a pause, and then he flashes his dimpled smile again, "But if you hum me a few bars, I'm sure I can make somethin' up that sounds at least as good as the original."

Coming through the front door is one of the younger men-at-arms under Jac's charge. He looks about through his mop of straw-colored shag, having to rub his hand back through his hair to keep it out of his eyes. Once he finds Darek and Jac, the guard approaches with dedication toward the knight and squire — oh, and there's a lady there too. His steps hitch briefly before he continues onward. Jac spies him, looking up from his meal. "Master Cordon, I take it you are here to fetch me," the Captain says, only with a hint of weary. He casts a smile toward his squire before he stands, moving to speak with Cordon. The boy is already explaining that two of their guards were missing from their watch, and that is enough to make him frown.

Aralima looks to the new comer and frowns a little and says softly, "It seems Ser that your me are being naughty, how sad." She looks to Darek and hmms softly, "Oh I suppose I could…" She lifts her glass and takes a drink of her liquid courage and chews on her bottom lip she, she begins to hum but her nerves get the best off her and she only gets a few bars out.

Darek slams back a swallow of his cider, bobbing his head to the man-at-arms, probably a bit less formal than he should be. He pushes back his own luxurious locks, noting, "Growin' out well, Cordon." The news draws a frown from the squire, and he inquires, "You want that I come help, Ser?" And then the Lady is humming, and he clears his throat, "Oh… um… guess not…" Because to a common boy, a Lady's word trumps a knights… at least when she's a pretty blonde and he's four or five drinks in. He frowns a little in thought, then nods, picking up his bow and unslinging his fiddle, "Lessee, Milady." Bouncing his bow on the strings a moment to settle the hum into his head, and then he's playing. It's not perfect, it's not the same, but it has a similar sound for certain.

Jac talks in a hush with Cordon who casts Darek a sharp grin, giving his blond hair a toss that is almost a perfect mimic to Darek's. The Captain rolls his eyes a bit before he snaps Cordon back to him, and the young guardsmen continues his report. He breathes out a sigh, nodding. "We will look into it, Cordon." He looks to Darek. "Squire, once you are done with that song, we are needed." He bows to Aralima, expressing his regret.

Aralima watches the man go then turns her attention back to Darek and then once more takes a drink of her wine, then another and then finishes off the drink and sets it to the side, "Ok here we go..' She ohs and looks to the two and says, "If you must go… please.. do not let me keep you. Perhaps I can Sing it for you next time Squire."

Darek looks up from his strings a moment at Jac's words, nodding his whole fiddle, head, and shoulders in response, then he lets his eyes close, his body swaying a bit with the music he creates. The song goes on for another minute or two, ending up somewhere entirely different than the few bars the Frey hummed, but still somewhat related. Lifting bow from strings, the squire dips his head, then looks to Jac, his half-full cup of cider, and back to his knight. The youth sighs heavily, and steps back away, snagging up his extra roll instead before he bows to Aralima, "Think I'd like that, Milady. Maybe I can get a little closer. Or play one'a my own songs f'r ya." His eyes cross a little as he thinks about that, and he enunciates, "For you." Straightening up, he knuckles his forehead, adding, "Have a good night, Milady." And then he's off after Jac to do his tipsy duty.

Jac claps his hand on Darek's shoulder as the boy joins him and the guardsman. They exit together as a trio, and the Songbird is giving the boy's back a stern pat — the kind that conveys some unspoken comfort. "When we're done," he's saying as they step out the door. "I want you to go see Mistress Charlott." Because Caddock's mother is going to be a whole lot better at this than he is. And then they are out the door.

Darek groans at Jac's advice, "Awww… fuck a duck, Ser… she's gonna make me talk about shit." And by the youth's tone, that's about the worst possible punishment. "Can we at least see if someone's gonna try to stab us first, Ser?"