|Who's the Favorite?|
|Summary:||Kell meets Jiselle for the first time and they both share words over drink and food.|
|The Rockcliff Inn is one of the better inns within the town and it shows with the well-lit interior and the relative cleanliness to the other locations in Terrick's Roost. The tables are polished with oils and the floor regularly swept. A set of booths towards a darker rear of the Inn's bottom floor, just beneath the staircase, are where whores generally socialize and eye prospects from when not waiting tables. Signs over the undersized bar area advertise prices for ales and wines as well as several different choices of food to be served at the small eating area by the bar or in the main open area in its comfortable seating. A door behind the bar leads to the kitchen and cellar while another near the staircase leads to a private room that would appear to be off-limits to the 'wait staff' except for food and drink service.|
|27 August, 289|
The early evening hours have seen a reduction in foot traffic as stalls and shops begin to close and owners head home to their suppers. Jiselle steps out of the tailor's shop with a basket hanging from the crook of her elbow covered over with a plain brown cloth. She pauses outside to glance up at the sky as the sun sets, reaching up to flick a stray curl away from her face. The gesture is futile; the lock of hair merely bounces back and settles against her cheek. With a cursory glance to her surroundings, she heads toward the inn.
Another day coming to an end, another day of duties finished without trouble or event, which is the way that Kell generally prefers it. An eventful day for him on patrol would usually mean possible dangers and troubles. Having stabled his steed with the other Terrick armsmen, changed out of his armor, and cleaned up a bit, the knight is now heading into the town proper to relax. His sword is still belted at his hip, as proper for someone of his station, probably the most notable feature that the man wears. Kell's destination, after venturing in from Roost Lane, is apparently the same as Jiselle's tonight, the Rockcliff Inn.
Jiselle glances up in time to spot Kell at the door to the inn, and with a wide smile she kicks open the door and precedes him - as is a female's due - but pauses past the threshold to hold the door open for him. "Nothing quite as welcoming as a swig of ale after a hard day's work, hmm?" she greets conversationally, lugging her basket back up her arm.
Converging on the door to the inn, Kell sees the Jiselle with her basket and was about to reach for the door to open it for her, as proper courtesy but was beaten to the punch. When it is her holding the door open for him though, the Terrick knight steps inside without delay with an appreciative smile along with a bow of his head in greeting and thanks, "Thank you, Mistress. And I will have to agree with your words, ale is certainly welcoming company right now. I trust your day was a pleasant one, Miss?"
"Quite. Join me," Jiselle replies without hesitation, letting the door slip free of her grasp and turning to make her way toward an empty table. Her attitude is one of confidence, assuming that the man will follow. "A day spent spending someone else's money is one of the best. For a moment, I can indulge and pretend that it is I who shall be clad in silk and fripperies. And yours?" She plops her basket down into an empty chair and takes another for herself, promptly leaning forward to rest her elbows on the table and her chin in her hands in a most unladylike manner.
The invitation has Kell hesitant for only a moment, most likely because most women he has met haven't been as forward as Jiselle. Well, women like Jiselle that he has met that is, as most tavern wenches or whores are generally as friendly if not more, and the lady he is with right now does not fit in either class at first glance. "I would be honored to, Miss." He is also trying to recall if he has met this woman before, or if he has heard of someone of her features visiting the Roost. Slipping into an empty seat opposite of the one Jiselle has occupied, the knight studies the woman across from him, requiring quite a bit of willpower to keep his eyes on hers instead of further down, especially in her current unladylike posture, "No trouble on the roads or bandits, so all in all, a nice and uneventful day. But a long one nonetheless."
"Does the lack of trouble make your days seem longer? I find the uneventful ones for me are the most boring and insist on being the most excruciating." Jiselle raises a hand to signal one of the aforementioned tavern wenches and places an order for ale and supper before gesturing toward Kell. "Of course, one cannot complain for a lack of bandits. A lack of mending, perhaps, but never bandits." Her gaze flickers down to the table as if to spy the weapon at Kell's waist through the well-worn wood. "Your colors are familiar. You are a Banefort knight?"
Kell's shoulders to rise slightly as if not to commit to a solid answer before he speaks, "Sometimes… also depends if the men who are accompanying me that day have good stories or jokes to share. If not, then yes, it can be rather excruciating at times. But usually the empty boredom is broken up by passing travelers or merchants." When the waitress arrives to take orders, the knight waits for Jiselle to finish before asking the waitress to bring a whole pitcher instead of just a cup for Jiselle and himself, easier to share that way instead of waiting for refills, atleast for him. With the tavern wench departing, Kell turns his attention back to the woman across from him, eyes glancing down to his sword for a second before back up, "Er… no, though I do apologize for not introducing myself earlier." Perhaps distracted by something else, "I am Ser Kell Drakmoor, Sworn Knight to House Terrick." He says with a respectful nod of his head, also apparently side-stepping the issue of his Banefort colored ribbons wrapped around the hilt of his sword.
Jiselle's eyerows arch upward, but she doesn't push the subject. Instead, she offers a warm smile while tracing her lower lip with her right index finger. "Oh, no apologies necessary. It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Ser Drakmoor. I am Mistress Jiselle Hill, lady-in-waiting to Lady Saffron Banefort." She is silent after the introduction, allowing the weight of her surname and her connections to settle before breezing right past the possibility of awkward conversation. "I must apologize for my casual remark earlier. You are probably quite relieved that things are quiet around here as of late."
When introductions are matched, Kell's eyes do widen ever so slightly when he finds out that Jiselle is one of the lady-in-waiting to Lady Saffron. "Pleased to make your acquaintance, Mistress Hill. I would say welcome to the Roost but if I recall, your arrival was not that recent. I just did not have the opportunity to meet you since then." As for the Hill name, he makes no remarks nor asks any questions in that regard. The knight does shake his head at the apology offered, "And likewise, Mistress, apologies are not needed, though you are right about being relieved. However, not as relieved as I would be if there were no storm clouds forming past our borders." The tavern wench makes her return as on a tray in one hand is Jiselle's dinner along with two empty cups, the other is the full pitcher of ale. The pitcher is set down first, freeing that hand to place the cups and food with care. With a word of thanks by Kell, the waitress would inquire if anything else is needed before departing to see to the extra requests or see to other patrons. Reaching for the pitcher of ale, the Terrick Sworn fills one cup first and places it across from him, for Jiselle, before filling the second for himself.
Jiselle bobs her head in silent thanks and takes up the cup, pulling a hearty swig before turning her attention to her food. First one bit and then a second, but at least she is polite enough to chew and swallow thoroughly before speaking. The mention of storms, however, causes her to frown deeply down at her food. "Ah that, yes," she murmurs, nudging the stew around in her bowl. "Our party shall be on the road to Seagard before the winds begin to blow, I hope. Perhaps Lady Saffron's blanket invitation will free others from their plotting to attend the festivities. Beddings follow weddings, and men rarely say no to such offers." Oh, perhaps that was too crass. The girl's cheeks turn red in embarassment and she mumbles another apology before hiding her expression behind the rim of her cup.
Kell picks up his own cups and takes slow but long sips from it, letting the liquid flow down his throat though he keeps the loud satisified sigh to himself for the time being. "From what news that is leaving Stonebridge, it appears that a two week reprieve was given by Lord Charlton of Highfield, and the wedding has been moved up a week so traveling down to Seagard should not be an issue. Nevertheless, protection will be seen to and we will keep those traveling from the Roost safe from harm." As for the bedding after the wedding, Kell can't help but smile in amusement at the rather forwardness of this lady-in-waiting, but makes not comments while trying to hide the smile behind his cups, using it as an excuse to drink again. "Mistress Hill, I must admit, I am surprised you are not currently in Stonebridge." Since that is apparently where Lady Saffron is now, following her betrothed.
"Oh, yes, I will be there soon enough with the stragglers," Jiselle replies in between bites of food, finishing up her stew in record time. The remainder is pushed away to signal clean-up, and she curls her long fingers around her cup to nurse the ale slowly. "Last-minute business to finish up for the Lady. I do not trust the shopkeeps in Stonebridge. They overcharge for the same quality goods, and I would much rather see Lady Saffron's money go to the Roost in any case. I am seeing to her wardrobe. It pays to be handy with a needle. Will you be attending the wedding?"
A nod of his head shows that Kell understands the reasoning for Jiselle to remain behind, atleast temporarily. "The people of the Roost are certainly thankful for your kindness, Mistress Hill. Having trade done here will only assist in the people's rebuilding of what they have lost. When you travel to Stonebridge, do you have the proper escorts? Even though the patrols these days have come up empty, it is still advisable to take extra care." Especially during these tumultuous times. Upon hearing her question, the knight nods his head again, "Unless something comes up and duties call me elsewhere, I will be in attendance."
Jiselle's smile widens at his assurance, and she sips at her ale while letting her gaze wander over the crowd that has gathered. She bobs a nod at a girl who stops by to scoop up the remnants of her supper, and then she turns her attention back to Kell. "A proper escort? Oh, I will have an armed man with me. I don't expect a trip to Stonebridge will be of any matter, and few people seem inclined to pester a woman without means. What will they steal? My wool gown? Good on them. Gives me an excuse to commission something prettier."
After listening to Jiselle's words, Kell apparently has other concerns than just simple bandits, which he shares, "Perhaps… if it were simple bandits, your escort would most likely be more than enough. But there are concerns that there may be wolves with sharper teeth that may lurk in the woods these days." Instead of going into sharper detail that would perhaps not be appropriate for a woman's ears, the knight leaves his concerns at that. "If you would like, Mistress Hill, let me know when you wish to travel to Stonebridge and I can also lead a patrol at the same time, so we can see you safely to the border." And perhaps further if needed. While he watches Jiselle to see what her response is, Kell brings his cup of ale to his lips again and drains it.
At most, Kell's ominous words serve only to puzzle Jiselle. She gazes unblinking at the man over the rim of her cup while taking another pull. Placing the empty cup on the table, she nudges it forward in silent entreaty for a refill. "I cannot even pretend to understand your meaning, ser, but I will take the warning to heart. If such an escort would not detract from your duties in any way at all, then I will be grateful to take up your offer. I—do not want to be a bother, though."
The pitcher of ale is lifted and Kell slowly refills Jiselle's cup before moving the pitcher to his own and fills it as well. He decides not to go into explaining the meaning of the words he had chosen, since it appears that she isn't protesting the suggestion of extra guards. "It wouldn't be, Mistress. Protection of our people and our guests is of utmost importance. Plus, we would not wish to add another worried concern to the list that Lady Saffron is already anxious of, with the upcoming wedding." With that, a smile is offered to Jiselle before Kell lifts his cup to his lips and takes a long sip.
"Then we shall shake on it," Jiselle announces, holding out her free hand over the table toward Kell, waiting. "That is how bargains are sealed, is it not? Men shake on things to signify the giving of their words. I will be sure to inform you the moment I have set a date for travel, although I daresay it shall be in two or three days. Will that be enough time to plan?"
The amused expression from Kell returns when the lady requests to shake on promise and he extends his own hand, gently taking hers and shaking it before releasing Jiselle's hand. "That is true, when we conclude a business deal, sometimes we shake on it. But as a knight, I would uphold my word as long as it is in my capabilities, Mistress Hill." When the potential date of depature is shared, Kell nods his head, "It should be no problem, I run atleast one patrol a day, to the borders of our lands and then back."
Jiselle's handshake is firm, and she allows Kell to break the contact before returning her hand to her cup. She sips it quietly, nodding as Kell speaks, but the last of his words cause her eyes to widen dramatically. "It is a wonder you are not exhausted after such a ride! Of course, I am not as accustomed to riding as you must be now. And I take your word as a knight very seriously, good ser - do not mistake my jocular nature for disregard. I value hard work and the true nobility of nature." With this, she offers a wide smile. "Lady Saffron will be very pleased to know that her favorite lady-in-waiting will be in the company of such a fine escort."
"Well… it can be tiring but luckily, our horses do most of the work." Kell says with a grin as if to show that it isn't that big of the deal, the biggest effort exerted is wearing the chainmail armor as protection. "And it is only recently that we have increased patrols to daily ones." The knight brings his own cup to his lips again and drains the rest of the liquid inside before reaching for the pitcher once more. Before lifting it to fill his own, Kell inclines his head as if to offer to fill Jiselle's again if she wishes more though her comment about her rank amongst Saffron's ladies does bring a chuckle from the man, "Oh? So you are Lady Saffron's favorite?"
"I hope I am," the girl answers quietly, downing the last few swallows of her ale before holding out her cup to Kell. "I think that my sister and I hold her favor, if only because we have served her family since we were born. We were in Lannisport for some time with her older sister, but after she was wed and settled, we returned to wait on Lady Saffron. There I think we shall stay - at least, I am hoping that we will. I do not think Ser Kamron has any close female relatives to serve Lady Saffron. If he does, then I am not at all sure what we will do." Her pouty lips turn down into a worried frown, and she glances away for a moment to collect her thoughts.
Jiselle's cup is filled with ale again and Kell then fills his own before taking a slow sip from his cup. When she shares that she is from Lannisport, the knight's eyes widen slightly yet again, knowing that the Lannisters are a very powerful House. "I am sure Lady Saffron will not dismiss her two best ladies-in-waiting, Mistress Hill." He doesn't know much about Ser Kamron except for what he has seen during the attack on the Ironborn Isles and on the tourneys.
What little is said seems to perk her up enough. Jiselle sips from her cup while idly curling a stray tendril of hair around a finger. She studies Kell in silence for a moment before setting her drink down carefully. If the ale has gone to her head, she does not let on to this fact; it is quite possible she has a hearty enough constitution. "How long have you been in service to the Terricks, Ser Drakmoor? Was your father also a knight?"
Allowing the silence to continue, Kell doesn't wish to speak more on the subject of the ladies-in-waiting since it appears to be a delicate subject, perhaps too delicate for a knight to handle. When the subject is changed and a question is directed his way, he appears to take a moment before answering, "I have been fighting at the sides with the Terrick men since the Ironborn siege. I happened to be escorting a merchant from Stonebridge to the Roost when the reavers were making a push towards the Four Eagles Keep. I was officially sworn into service after we returned from the Iron Isles." The second question has Kell shaking his head for a moment, "No, Mistress, my father is a smith, grew up in a small town off of the Kingsroad, further to the north."
"A smith! That is a noble trade, and I am certain you never went hungry as a child, then," Jiselle replies by way of making conversation, smiling warmly at Kell. "You seem to have quite a rich history with battle, too. My cousin had brothers fighting at the Isles, but we were extremely lucky to see them all return relatively unscathed, thank the Warrior. Still, you seem so young to have been through so much already." Of course, the words are meant to be complimentary.
Kell can only incline his head when Jiselle speaks of hunger, as she is right in her assumption that his family was lucky enough to always be provided with food from his father's craftsman skills. The knight can only manage a sheepish grin at her compliment, "Some say that when you go through war, it makes you old, fast. Instead of it being like in the stories and songs, you learn the grim realities." Kell then shrugs his shoulders as he takes a drink from his cup before continuing, "But it's the only way of life I know, to live as a knight."
Jiselle's eyes widen, and she draws a fingertip around the rim of her cup, studying it thoughtfully before offering Kell a nod. "I have heard such things, although most of the knights I have met have been rather youthful and quite pleasant. Perhaps they are not nearly as experienced, but I never thought to ask before. Men are not fond of speaking of such things with women due to our delicate constitutions, you understand." And cue the cheeky grin. "Surely there is some glory to it, though? I would be sad to think the songs are based entirely on fantasy with no measurable influence from reality."
There are different kind of knights and Kell knows that, but he isn't one to speak ill of others. When the truth is asked though, there is a hesitation from the man as he looks down at his cup of ale. Choosing to take a drink first, he puts the cup down before speaking, "Well, songs tend to perhaps exaggerate, to make it more gallant and enjoyable, but there is some truth to it. If you only focus on the deeds that are sung, then war and battle can be seen as glorious and heroic." But for one who fights in a war, they are witness to a much broader spectrum of it.
"I was thinking of the more romantic songs," Jiselle replies with a sigh, leaning back in her seat and gazing up at the ceiling as if contemplating just those silly songs. "The love stories, you know - the daring deeds of men smitten who kill all and sunder in a rush to be home with their women. I would not for one moment glorify actual slaughter, at least not in my own head." She shivers, glancing down to her cup and taking a deep drink. Perhaps women really aren't strong enough to consider such bloody business.
Ah, the girly songs, Kell was perhaps thinking more of songs like the Rain of Castamere and the like, "I beg your pardon, Mistress Hill, I misunderstood. I have met men while fighting who indeed longed to return home, to their loved ones. It is true that men fight harder when driven, which is why some choose to ask to wear favors of ladies when riding off to battle. A memory that is close by is better than one from afar, especially during the darkest hours when things look grim. Heroic, true knights do exist."
Now Jiselle laughs quietly, although the sound is one of true merriment. "You do much to ease my heart, Ser Drakmoor. For a moment I was truly convinced that no woman shall ever be swept off of her feet by a gallant hero, which would mean there is no hope for any of us. I am free from the dreary demands of nobility, and thus will never suffer a marriage of arrangement, thus I idle away hours entertaining stray and useless thoughts such as these." Sitting up once more, she finishes her mug and glances about the tavern. Already many have departed and others still are on the move. The girl stifles a yawn with the back of her hand before offering Kell an apologetic smile. "I am sorry to have taken up your evening, Ser Drakmoor, but I hope I was not boring company." To cover the awkwardness of a departure, she busies herself with loosening her purse strings to depost a few coins on the table.
When the lady is back in good spirits, Kell can only give a warm smile in return as he brings his cup to his lips once more to drain the contents. Picking up the pitcher once more, he would offer another refill before filling his own though he can feel that the large container is growing light, a good sign. "I am sure even Ladies of nobility entertain these thoughts." Not to mention that Ladies probably have more spare time than those who aren't of a noble's name. As to her concerns about her company, Kell shakes his head, "Of course not, Mistress Hill, you have been of most pleasant company, one I was glad to have been able to enjoy." Perhaps to the envy of other men who were also in the tavern as Jiselle had no doubt drawn more than one pair of eyes throughout the evening. "Is your room here at the Rockcliff or back at the keep?" Kell inquires, perhaps worried that the lady may have to walk all the way to the Four Eagles Tower.
"At the tower," Jiselle replies nonchalantly, closing her purse carefully and slipping it into an unseen pocket in her skirts. If she notices the glances from other men, she pays it no mind. "My chambers are just off of Lady Saffron's - or, rather, off of the guest quarters she inhabited while at Four Eagles. It's a short walk, and one I have done plenty of times on my own." She reaches out to rest her hand on the basket in the closest chair, raising an eyebrow while watching Kell openly. "Is that enough to cover my half? Or, rather, my two thirds? I ate, and you did not. Speaking of which, I shan't acquiesce to a guard who does not eat, so I hope you have a supper waiting for you at home or I will be quite cross." The smile that plays about her plump lips, however, does not look cross at all.
Nodding, Kell glances towards the exit of the Rockcliff Inn before turning back to Jiselle, flashing her a grin, "It is more than enough, Mistress Hill, perhaps too much." As the lady puts away her own purse, the knight produces some coins himself from his coin pouch to add to the number. "I also have a room back at the Tower as well, and I can have a meal in the kitchens there, so there will no need for you to be cross. However, despite it being a short walk, it wouldn't be right for a lady to be walking back without an escort." Not exactly a matter of safety but just the properness of it, atleast in Kell's mind.
Smiling, Jiselle rises up from her seat and leans over to fetch her basket, granting men in the immediate vicinity a nice glimpse of her somewhat low-cut decolletage. She straightens, reaches up to push her hair back from her fast, and then adjusts the weight of the basket on her arm. "You are too kind by far, Ser Drakmoor," she murmurs, brushing past him to make her way toward the door where she waits for him to catch up and open it for her. "Thank you, by the way, for the good conversation."
Kell doesn't exactly stare since that would be most improper but he doesn't exactly avoid looking either, just trying to not make it obvious as he brings his cup of ale to his lips, finishing the rest of it. Rising to his feet, the knight waits for Jiselle to proceed towards the entrance first before following until the door. Then the door is opened and held open until she can proceed through at her chosen pace, "I am glad to be of service, Mistress Hill." He says, inclining his head towards the lady before following her out to act the proper escort back to the keep.