(121-01-15) The Detainment of Ronio Malti
The Detainment of Ronio Malti
Summary: Maera wants to speak to a certain Braavosi banker. Wulfred finds the man and brings him to her, after a fashion.
Date: 15/01/2014
Related: Black Sick
Players:
Wulfred..Thane..Maera..Kai..Gromm..Isador..Amadys..

Wulfred has been offered a silver moon to bring a certain Braavosi banker to Maera. Using his contacts within the undercity and with other tax-collectors, he made note of the arrival of one such banker, or at the least, agent of the Iron Bank, one Ronio Malti. On arrival to Oldtown, Malti and some bravos serving as guards took a river-boat up to Honeyholt. Wulfred bribed a few Novices of the Citadel to watch the river from the Citadel’s spires, and report to him when the boat was seen approaching, so he could follow it. Taking a water-taxi from one of the canals, Wulfred observed the boat docking at one of the smaller guildhalls on Guildhall Row — the Iron Bank’s own little fortress in Oldtown. Wulfred stakes it out, and an hour or so later, the man emerges and makes his way to the Quill and Tankard. Wulfred follows.


Quill and Tankard (#301Rn) Hightower And Citadel
Wed Jan 15, 121 ((Wed Jan 15 16:39:37 2014))
It is a summer day. The weather is hot and drizzling.

The common room of the Quill and Tankard. Rivermen and seamen, smiths and singers, priests and princes, and the novices and acolytes of the Citadel - all come for a taste of the fearsomely strong apple cider that makes this inn so beloved by Oldtown's people There is a pleasant buzz of chatter, cups and tankards being filled and refilled, and general laughter.

A roaring fire in the hearth allows for a merry glow and a comfortable warmth from Oldtown's breezy, misty cobblestone streets. Benches and tables offer places to sit, and there is a deliciously toothsome smell in the air of food from the back.


The delightful isle upon which the Quill and Tankard rests is not yet, in this early juncture in the afternoon, particularly thronged, especially by the maesters of the Citadel who ought, on the whole, to be hard at their investigative toils for some time longer into the day. But Amadys Baratheon is no maester, and no toiler, as yet. As he drapes his decorative and distended length - accoutred not in the robes of his mediocre station, but the fine satin doublet of his far higher birth - a generous vessel of golden cider gradually embarking on the merry voyage from his elegant hand to his unslakeable gullet, no one would have guessed that scarce too days ago had found him mired in a poisonous swamp, half-drowned and retching.

It is, indeed, a polished version of the story, in which great emphasis is laid on ladies' quests and saved lives and none at all on spoilt robes, with which he regales his companions, a couple of novices who look impressed and, indeed, more than a little envious.

A big, roundbellied Braavosi comes in. Fat man. All dressed in a hundred or so shades of blue and green and purple. His short-cropped curly hair is receding at his brow, but oiled bright and shiny.

Thane holds the door open for his companion, Lady Maera Mormont, commenting at the tail end of a conversation. "Perhaps, m'lady, but would you think it wise to risk it? I've samples of the recipes of the Free Folk. They are…distinctive." Once she is in the door, Thane shuts it behind them, and walks with her to one of their usual tables. As they near Amadys, he gives the acolyte a smirk, looking to his audience. "Aye, and then they all vomited and limped home."

Not far behind a rotund Braavosi man is the sight of one Wulfred. His gait is almost comical in that he bounces off of the entrance with his shoulder, taking three stutter steps forward before recovering. He runs his fingers through his hair, looking at the door behind him with an air of indignance before he falls into step beside the banker. "Master Malti, of Braavos" he declares with a laugh. "I could have sworn I was just looking at your transactional disbursements this morning! Welcome to my home!" He waits for the man to be startled, and then recover before he says, "Might I buy you your first drink?"

"The wildlings are masters at making due. We might take a page from their book, Maester." Maera says in response to whatever she and Thane were just discussing. She steps out of the way to let the rotund Braavosi walk past her, and follows Thane towards the table where Amadys is regaling all with a tale of their adventure. "Ah, but he did vomit most gallantly."

The round Braavosi man turns around at the sound of his name. He straightens up, with a certain amount of bluster. He's sort of magnificent, like a galleon or something. "Ahh, yes, yes," he says to Wulfred, appearing to be trying to hide confusion. "Thank you, thank you. Of course!" He seems to be working rather too-hard to hide his Braavosi accent, and the result makes his foreignness more obvious. Not that his clothes don't do that job for him perfectly already.

If Amadys is irked to have his narrative's fluent drift so interrupted, he does his best not to show it, nodding his head to the fledged, chained and famed northern Maester with an easy grin. "Why, such detail…one might have thought you were there yourself, Thricewise, disguised as a raven, perchance, rather than letting a poor acolyte shoulder a task so beyond him," he needles, though his good humour seems to remain unimpaired. "Why not join us, maest…"

The entrance of the lady, an echo of Thane's jibe on her lips too, briefly discombobulates Amadys, but soon he is on his feet bowing smoothly, "Lady Mormont." The fact of her address matters to him more than its content. "Please, my lady, and you, Maester, too, do my friends the honour of joining us."

The lissom lad's curious dark blue gaze alights on Wulfred next. "Aren't we acquainted, too? The dunner of the docks?"

"Aye that's the spirit, innit?" says Wulfred with a wide and beaming smile. "Come come, you must try the cider. It is the stuff that our pale-fleshed dreams are made of! Though there is Arbor Gold if you fancy a more robust and expensive flavor, I find that a sweet drink is the perfect start to an eve of pleasantry." His own sales pitch seems to drown out the address of Amadys, though a man renowned for his imbibement may not be the most aware of their surroundings. "Come sit with me my friend, and tell me how the Iron Bank is treating its travelers. I should hope an expense allowance is still the stuff of legend."

Thane leans on his weirwood staff, his thumb idly stroking over the tiny face carved into its twisted surface. He arches an eyebrow to Maera. "What say you, m'lady? Care to join the company of this acolyte?" Thane searches his memory for the young man's name, but there are so many acolytes to remember.

The raven perched on Thane's shoulder tilts its head, watching the Braavosi man curiously. Perhaps it's all the bright colours drawing the bird's attention.

From afar, Wulfred is going to tug a woman aside and tell her to inform Maera that 'A moon sits at the bar'

The Braavosi man smiles, bows slightly, and bumbles out, "Ahh, certainly, yes, yes, the famous cider. I have had it before, I like to take a cup a few times when I come here!" He laughs, probably fakely, "No, no, no great expense allowance for these trips, young master, and more is the pity, indeed."

Wulfred's gallantry, if one could call it that, includes a brief spin of a woman that hands out tankards with a fairly generous decolletage. He says something audible to her in close confines before releasing her, causing him to stumble slightly and land in a stool adjacent to his astounded (and potentially new) Braavosi friend.

"Maester Thane may not have been there, but it was he who discovered what ailed us." Maera points out to Amadys, "Of which I am rather grateful. You all would be wise to recognize this man's talents." That said, the Mistress of Bear Island pulls out a chair and settles down primly on the edge. "Now." She smiles that meager smile of hers, "Do introduce us to your friends, Baratheon."

Isador comes in from the street.
Isador has arrived.

Gromm comes in from the street.
Gromm has arrived.

For his part, the big brightly dressed Braavosi settles his corpulent bulk onto a stool at the bar with delicacy and a certain amount of grace. He looks at Wulfred with a cheerfully pompous sort of expression.

"Do call me Amadys, dear lady, if you would. As it's possible I may forswear my House's name, I'd be most saddened if you forgot my first," Amadys protests mildly. "And…did he? I confess I am myslf still rather baffled by the whole affair. Giant reptiles and foetid swamps in the Reach where none were to be found before…all I know is, my lady, you bade me join your side, and some Glover with a nose like a turnip is most glad of the fact! As to my friends," and he smiles at the young men to either side of him with quick affection but definite condescnsion, "these are fine novices, Aldern and Starrick."

Thane merely grunts quietly at Maera's praise, neither agreeing nor contradicting her statement. He takes a seat beside her, propping his staff against the table and unslinging the leather satchel from his shoulder to set on the ground beside him. At a beak-nuzzle from the raven, his eyes drift to the Braavosi man at the bar, squinting curiously.

"Jyl, love of the hour," Wulfred says over his shoulder before twisting around on his stool. "Jyl, my contemporary and I would like to have two full cups of your cider. The sweet drink that brings only the brightest and most well-endowed of men to the Quill and Tankard. I should know, I was told that I am endowed… with knowledge." He gives the Braavosi man a playful nudge with his elbow. "Let me give you a tip, my friend. If someone asks you to order a hard Cockens cider… don't do it. It's a play on words in our language." As Jyl fills the cups, Wulfred says, "I should explain how I know you. I am the exciseman and dunner of Reginald Laniger, forsworn former castellan of Pency Primtonthorp, courier to somesuch. I shan't bore you with details."

"Yes, it is all very strange. I should like to know what the consensus from the Citadel is on the lion-lizard's head that was brought back." Maera says before his next words give him some pause "…A Glover with a nose like a turnip?" She stares at Amadys for several heartbeats before saying, "I don't understand. You describe Cressen Glover, and yet I was told he was found dead in the wheelhouse." She gives a small, sad smile, "But you say he lives? It would lighten my heart to hear it, Amadys. Cressen was childhood friends with my brother Randyll. It would lighten my heart to know he lives." She offers a nod to the other two novices as they are introduced.

"And I," says the Braavosi, elbowing Wulfred right back, "Am well endowed in /every/ direction!" He's not a bad looking fellow at all, if size is not an issue to the onlooker. "Come, what terrible Westerosi food have they serving here? Turnips are why you are so dour in this country!"

The serving girl so recently spun by Wulfred comes over to Maera. "M'lady?"

Isador enters the Quill gracefully pausing for a moment to survey the crowd - something she did not have to do when she first arrived in Oldtown - but served to avoid unpleasant encounters. If she had arrived earlier she would have noted that she was one of the people who 'rescued' Cressen Glover - even tended to him. But not added that fact. She notes the Braavos with a smattering of interest for some reason but retreats to a table near the entrance to avoid too much attention. A difficult task for one as recognisable as the witch her shawl granting her only the smallest modicum of anonimity. This was likely to be an unfriendly crowd judging by one or two members that comprised it. Best to sit still and listen.

Thane's attention is pulled back to that table conversation. "The lizard-lion…ah. Apparently I was wrong, m'lady. There was nothing unnatural about it at all. Maester Coric is an expert in zoological matters, and assures me that lizard-lions can continue to thrash for some time after death. Even hours, in some cases."

"I resemble that remark," says Wulfred with a laugh as he elevates his mug from the bar counter. "I shall have you know that turnips are not why we are so dour. Why, if all of the rumors that make it across the ocean were true, you'd think we drank nothing but buttermilk and cow's blood. Surely you know we are capable of a stew with onions and entrails, Master Malti. Yes indeed, the finest feasts of pig snouts and goat eyelids. But I jest, good sir, I jest!" He takes a hard swig of his drink before exhaling a sigh. "We are dour because it rains almost every day and we die before we sire sons. But you wouldn't describe me as dour, would you? As a well-endowed man you should be able to recognize ebullience when you see it."

"Ah…we got one of those heads, did we? Old Luckin'll stain his robes with glee," Amadys declares, before gulping mildly as he glances back to the severe looking Thricewise, with his latest pedantic addendum, "…that is to say, my lady, that all the Citadel will surely rejoice at so rare a specimen…"

But Lady Mormont's next words seem to take him altogether by surprise. "I…the man was roundly formed, shorter than I am, and, ah," he pauses as the Braavosi voice weirdly coincides with the matter at hand before persisting, "indeed, his nose was…noticeable. I saw him safe to Archmaester Luckin's care, but heard no tidings of his name. A taller, slighter companion perished beside him…"

Gromm enters the quill, his left hand holding a somewhat bent cage containing a eagle inside, glaring around at his surroundings. Taking in the scenery. The massive man simply frowns as he looks around before shifting his gaze over to the bar and walking over. Every step seems as if its a stomp but his manner of walking suggests he does not intend to make the amount of noise he is. When he comes to the counter he sets the cage down upon it before drawing over a stool and sitting down, leaning forward upon his forearms with a sigh.

"Indeed, my lad, Indeed!" declares Malti, cheerily. He drinks deeply from his tankard. "The cider is, at least, good. Have they got other parts of the pig here?" He looks around for another serving girl. "Roasted, for preference! With plums!"

"A beast thrashing for hours after being separated from it's head?" Maera's own head shakes, "That is unnatural." Her attention turns from Thane to Amadys, "That sounds like Cressen Glover alright. I'm glad he lived." When the serving girl addresses her she turns her head to give the girl a bit of a quirked brow, "Two tankards for the Maester and I. Unless it is something else?"

"Two tankards, M'lady," says the serving girl, bobbing. "And, M'lady, there's a moon at the bar!" She turns to head for the casks.

"So, Cressen Glover lives," Thane murmurs, scratching at his ginger beard. "I'll inquire with Archmaester Luckin about his condition. The sooner we can speak with him, the better."

"Roasted pig with plums!" says Wulfred as he slaps the bar counter with the palm of his hand. If there so happens to be birds in cages, it may irk them only slightly. "Jyl, my friend the banker of Braavos would like some of your finest eats. And then afterward he shall have supper!" He laughs raucously before giving the Braavosi another jesting elbow. "If we have anything made of meat and roasted, surely the man will offer his gratitude in the form of suitable coin. He makes thrice in a day what I would in an hour. Or is it the other way's about. In either case—" He seizes his tankard with both hands, "Did I tell you about the Arbor Gold? If you have a palate for it, I recommend a cup. Again, I recommend out of the kindness of my heart."

Now that it transpires his good deed was of some real consequence, Amadys seems almost too startled to return to boasting about it, but takes solace in the kiss of the cider and the newly respectful stares of the novices, while watching the diversions of the dunner and his friend. Easily puzzled this afternoon, however, it seems he cannot quite help enquiring, "…a moon?"

"After the cider!" declares the Braavosi man, "After the cider, the Arbour Gold! With the supper!" He lifts his tankard to toast Wulfred's idea. "And all, right, my lad, my fine fellow, eat and drink with me on my coin!"

Gromm growls as he sits at the bar, clutching his right hand into a fist, he'd turn his head to look over to the eagle, "Loud." he states, the eagle looking up to the man and before proceeding to again gaze around, occasionally flapping its wings within the cage, the large man would turn his head back down to the counter before calling out in a commanding tone, "Cider!"

Isador quietly slips across the floor - to the braavosi and his men, "Valar morghulis," she says quietly to the Braavosi whom she does not know. To Amadys she offers a shoulder slap on the way. "The hero of the hour - dragged Cressen Glover from the swamp. And a corpse for dissection. So a scholar as well," she declares the Baratheon thusly. "Seriously though sorry for talking you into doing that…"

Isador quietly slips across the floor, "Valar morghulis," she says quietly to the Braavosi whom she does not know. To Amadys she offers a shoulder slap on the way. "The hero of the hour - dragged Cressen Glover from the swamp. And a corpse for dissection. So a scholar as well," she declares the Baratheon thusly. "Seriously though sorry for talking you into doing that…"

Thane's attention is drawn once again to the bar, his brow creasing rather more deeply than usual. He leans over toward Maera, murmuring quietly in her ear.

"All but one, for a promise is a promise amongst men of coin and collection," says Wulfred as he lifts up his tankard to touch the Braavosi's drink. "You are a generous man to share drink with the likes of me. I shall be certain not to expel it into my chamberpot tomorrow morning." He takes a swig, then looks askance to Isador as she comments in High Valyrian the words that he does not understand, watching the banker to see if it is some form of offensive Braavosi.

The big Braavosi stiffens a bit at Isador's words, turning to look at her. "Valar Dohaeris," he replies. Then, having looked at her a little longer, he smiles. "Perhaps you will to join us for roast pig, and cider, and wine, and other entertainments?"

Maera's lips curve upwards into a rare smile. She leans over to murmur something softly into Thane's ear in return before rising, "Indeed. A trivial trinket I had hoped master Wulfred could find for me, and he did." She offers Amadys and his friends a nod, "Please excuse me." Isador is ignored as the Mormont woman moves from their table towards where Wulfred and the banker sit. "Master Wulfred who is this…majestic specimen of a man?"

The acolyte slips now from bafflement to definite embarrassment; perchance he doesn't exactly leap to acknowledge his plan for a Northerner's corpse in front of a northern Maester and a Stark vassal. "I was but one among many, good woman," he mutters inadequately, "yourself and Master Kai included." His triumphant tune has assuredly shifted.

"Modesty as well," Isador winks. She is relieved that Lady Mormont has settled on ignoring her for the moment. "My good man," she says to the banker, "I would love to join you," Isador smiles falling back upon her charm. "I am Isador."

"Ah-hah-hah," Wulfred says, casually leaning his elbow into the Braavosi man's side as he spies the approaching Mormont woman. "Master Malti," he says to the man in an attempt to divert his attention. "Master Malti, the Lady Mormont of Bear Island approaches and wishes to make your acquaintance. Please, we must provide but genuflection. Or at least acknowledgment." Wulfred sets down his tankard and moves off of his stool. It is a surprisingly well-balanced landing as he bends his knee, then says, "Lady Mormont, this is Master Ronio Malti, from the Iron Bank of Braavos. A trencherman after my own heart."

Malti offers his big plump hand to Isador. He wears a lot of rings, but none of the jewels are other than inexpensive crystal. Even as he does this, he glances to Wulfred, then follows the man's gaze to Maera. He doesn't stand up, but executes a sort of half bow from where he's sitting. It's graceful in its way. He is huge and he may only /look/ worth robbing, but his elegance is real.

Gromm grunts again, looking back turning, the sound of weight against tension upon wood coming from his stool, he glares around for a barmaid, once one strays by he nudge her by the arm, a bit rough although his motion doesnt appear for it to be intentional, he'd state in a stern tone, glaring at her, "Cider.", repeating himself from earlier before turning on his seat, leaning forward back onto the counter, the barmaid herself would look somewhat surprised for a second or two before carrying on.

Thane remains at the table, leaving Maera to speak with the banker alone. But the proximity of Isador doesn't escape him, earning a slight frown. Those at the table are impolitely ignored, his steely eyes firmly set upon the gathered people at the bar.

"Mistress Isador is a blood witch." Maera says smoothly to Malti as she pulls out the stool next to him so he is sandwiched between her and Wulfred. "I hear she has quite a talent for telling the fortune of men from the blood from their…well, I suppose that's indelicate." She offers Isador a slow forming smile, "I do believe Master Thane had a question for you." Her words are casual, but the gaze she fixes on the woman is harsh.

There's a certain hour of the day when even the Quill and Tankard falls victim to its own popularity, and as the premises fill up, Amadys and his sharp young friends the novices finish off their ciders, lay down an inadequate quantity in coinage and a note in credit sealed with a stag, and slip off to find a less obvious resort for relaxation…

Wulfred picks up his tankard, taking a thirsty draught of it as he watches the interactions between Malti, Maera, and Isador. He'll lick his lips before setting the tankard back down, and then goes so far as to wipe his mouth with the back of one wrist. "The Lady Mormont has chosen to provide us with her company. Why, she is the one who let me my most recent taste of Arbor Gold. Master Malti, I promise that you shan't regret a cup. It is the finest of all in Westeros, or so the men of Arbor care to boast."

The grand Braavosi fellow drops his hand. He's evidently not interested in having his fortune told from drops of blood obtained from anywhere. He actually shrinks back a little, thouhg he's of a size that the bar prevents this from being effectively done. "My lady Mormont!" he recovers, "A pleasure, a great pleasure!"

"Lady Mormont is a client." Isador says. "One I offered services to for free - to my eternal regret. In fact I have come to curse the day. I would be surprised if my skills are something that causes this gentleman to shun me the way you have so ujustly immediately. Attitudes are different in Essos to these matters. I have no council for nor do I traffic with that maester catspaw of your's Thane," Isador says dryly. "Oh but you want some privacy to effect a scheme that you would rather I am not privy too? Well I am not beyond a modicum of decency - unlike some people. Don't let me detain you. Just don't try to misdirect me with your bigotted maester…" Isador offers a bow to the banker, "a raincheck on that drink and meal then good man - watch that you do not offend her." Isador leaves from the room - taking her time as she is finishing her drink - so that she is not out of the bar fully but certainly out of earshot.

Gromm glares over in the direction of Isador Maera and the others, sighing as he turns his head back down to the counter. The barmaid walks over and places down his tankard of cider in front of him. As she does so Gromm looks over, "Thanks." he says in his natural loud manner before looking back to his tankard, he'd look to his bird before looking back to the tankard, muttering to himself, "Alright, Caos." he'd shut his eyes, his gaze projected downwards towards is tankard. The hawk would abruptly, and noticeably, cease to look around and flapping its wings, rather it'd train its gaze over towards Isador, Maera, Wulfred and the Bravoosi. Staring, watching.

Maera shakes her head softly at Isador, and lets out a little sigh before saying, "The woman is obsessed with me. It's really quite disgusting." She looks back to the Braavosi banker and offers him a pretty little smile, "i apologize for that. It was unseemly. Undoubtably, you've had your fill of Arbor Gold since arriving in the city. Perhaps a Dornish strongwine would be to your liking?" She motions for the barmaid, and slips over enough coin for three cups of the rather intoxicating wine. She takes a little sip of hers before saying softly to Malti, "You were meant to deliver something, were you not?"

Malti ignores Isador. Not in the pointed, 'I'm ignoring you!' sort of way, but with grace, as if she's disappeared from his consciousness. When she turns her back he does give her ass a regretful few moments of eye-time, though. Then Maera has his attention and he starts to reply, "I would be delighted to sample it all, My…" He stops. His good humour is suddenly gone, he's deadly serious. Now he doesn't seem such a jolly fat man. Now one might wonder if all that weight hasn't made him ox-strong, too. He says, "I was not. Do you have it?"

Wulfred picks up the Dornish wine that is poured for Malti, giving it a sniff before he offers it to the man beside him. "Master Malti, your Dornish wine. Perhaps a palate cleanser between this, Arbor Gold, and cider?" He offers such a cup with a smile, injecting just a tasteful bit of levity to mesh with the gravity of the situation that has developed between him and Maera.

Thane's tense posture had relaxed when Isador parted from Maera. But seeing Malti's pointed reaction to her, the tension returns. For the time being, he remains seated where he is, watching them intently over the rim of his tankard.

"Me?" Maera smiles. She's all smiles now when generally her smiles are rare. She'll swirl her wine in the cup before taking another sip, "No. I don't have it. Do you know of the sucession laws in Westeros? You see, ruling ladies are somewhat rare, as sons come first. I had two brother's once." Her smile widens, and she says softly, "I am under the impression that it was meant to pay a debt?"

The hawk within the cage continues to stare, watching, sometimes shifting in place as it resides within the bird cage before flapping its wings. Gromm would soon after open his eyes again with a grunt, reaching over with his left hand and picking up the cage, bringing it around, closer to the group, but still near. He'd reach over and take hold of his cider with his right hand, taking a sip. After setting the tankard down again he shuts his eyes again, the hawk proceeding again, to stare at the group.

Isador finishes her drink and accepts defacto expulsion from the bar. Rethinking her public movements sullenly into more discrete patterns for the future. She puts down her empty pewter mug and vanishes into the night.

Isador leaves the Quill and Tankard and crosses the little bridge from the door to the street.
Isador has left.

"My Lady," says Malti, gravely and graciously, "I am not the person you have business with." He takes the cup Wulfred offers him, and drinks from it.

Wulfred twists his body around momentarily, only to see a fairly large eagle in a cage that has come oddly closer to him. He looks over at the man who is resting his face in his hands, then at the bird that is intently facing him. A spare glance is made to the rather large gentleman again before he looks back at the bird. He sniffs the air before reaching for the cage, discreetly attempting to push it away from him and closer to the beast that brought it in the first place.

"Oh?" Maera says in her flat tone. She swirls the wine again, "And do you know who I have business with, then?"

"My lady," says the Braavosi, "When I am tasked with deliveries in the course of my employment, Yes, indeed, many of them, I do not ask questions. And for certain types of deliveries, I Do Not Ask Questions." He sips daintily at the wine. "I advise you not to do so either."

The large eagle would shriek as Wulfred draws his hand near before abruptly reverting back to its more passive state, staring at the man in a more… Natural, manner. As the bored reverts to normal the man would raise his head and stare to Wulfred, "Don't touch the bird." he states in a loud manner, sitting up from originally being hunched forwards.

Wulfred withdraws his gloved hand, looking at the bird with consternation. When the man behind it elevates his face and gives him the direction, Wulfred looks at him plainly. There is a series of thoughts that flash behind the man's eyes before he finally decides on the one that pours out of his mouth. "I touched the cage," he says simply, "It's practically touching my elbow, would you mind moving it?"

"The item has been lost." Maera tells the Braavosi. "I am certain it will never be recovered. I do hope you won't be in trouble for the loss." She smiles again, and this time her expression is filled with an unkind mirth. "I do feel sorry for whoever was supposed to offer it up. I imagine it won't go well for them, will it?"

"Not I," says Malti, smiling easily again. "And it is far too pleasant an evening to go imagining what will happen to those unfortunates. Come, take a meal with me, and the wine. It's not bad. Not bad at all." He looks Wulfred, and the hawk. "What is this creature doing in here? Some new custom?"

Thane's eyes shift to the massive man with the hawk. A new threat to Lady Maera? Perhaps not, but worth taking note of, all the same. The raven on his shoulder seems to take the same level of interest in the caged hawk. Finishing off his tankard, Maester Thane waves to the nearest wench for a refill and a hunk of bread.

Gromm glares over towards the Wulfred, growling as he reachs over and drags the hawk over, he then shifts his gaze over to Malti, "None of your buisness." He declares coldly before looking back over to his tankard and grasping it with his right hand, taking a sip from it. The hawk itself would proceed to simply looking around before noticing the raven, staring at it for a moment before looking around again.

Wulfred's brows loft, offering no further word to the gruff and terribly angry individual to the side of him. He then twists his body back around to the man to whom he is seated next. "The creature you're referring to didn't introduce himself. However, the bird's presence is rather peculiar, wouldn't you say?" He reaches for his tankard, then says, "Would there be a vast reward for such an item, Master Molti? For those who were to find such an item? I couldn't help but overhear."

"Southern people are odd." Maera decides, "And dinner would be lovely, but I do not want to leave my companion by himself." She turns her head to say to Thane, "Maester? You ought to join us. Or-" She looks to the two men, "We could go to the table. It will be more comfortable, and more able to accomodate conversation."

Malti looks at Gromm, and snorts. Then he returns his attention to Wulfred. "My lad, my lad," he says cheerfully, sipping more wine, "You had best ask the people who lost it. It is they who have, mmm, indeed, something to lose, and something to gain from its recovery. If somebody robs one of /your/ debtors, do you expect to pay for the return of what is owed you?"

That said, Malti nods to Maera, "Of course, if you do not object to my young companion." He indicates Wulfred with a nod.

Thane simply nods to Maera, gesturing invitingly to the table. He sits more upright in his chair, making some effort to look more presentable for civilized company.

Wulfred looks over to Maera, his lips twisted into something of an expectant smile. He leans his body in his seat in an attempt to show more of his face from behind the Braavosi banker. "Master Molti, first you honor me with your company and now you wish to share it with the Lady Mormont? I don't know how I might ever repay such kindness. I shall endeavor to not be so droll."

A grunt is emitted from the massive man before leaning his head back and bringing the tankard up to his mouth, proceeding to down the rest of his cider, grunting afterwards as he sets the tankard down onto the bar counter. He looks over to Thane, looking at him considerably more passive than he had the others before looking back to his eagle, silently.

"Of course not. Master Wulfred and I have met before." Maera stands up from the bar, and motions towards the bar with a wide sweep of her arm, "You must meet Maester Thane. He can be a bit, ah, standoffish, but he's a very interesting man." She waits by the bar for Malti to stand and take a few steps towards the table before she takes something from a pocket in her gown, and takes a step towards Wulfred before she presses something into the man's hand with a smirk.

Kai comes the heavy wooden staircase from above.
Kai has arrived.

Malti gets to his feet, moving delicately. It's not ponderous, but he doesn't hurry. "Of course, my lad, my lad," he tells Wulfred. "It would be a dreadful discourtesy to offer you dinner and drinks and then renege on the arrangement! I could never!"

Kai strolls down the staircase, squinting as he spots Maera, and then frowning slightly as he spots Gromm. He walks calmly up to the bartender, whom he seems familiar with, after he clears the stairs, ordering himself a drink and then walking over to an empty table, relaxing.

Thane has enough manners to rise at the arrival of his new tablemates, nodding his greeting to them. "So you wish to show me off, Lady Mormont?" He smirks in wry amusement. "I'll endeavor to be suitably entertaining."

Wulfred tightens the hand that conveniently makes contact with Maera's before he tucks it into a pocket. "As I could never insult you by avoiding such generosity. Are all men from Braavos as courteous as you? You've been a delight compared to the tax layman that I come into contact each and every day." He pushes in his stool before retrieving his tankard as well as the tankard of Ronio Malti. He'll let the big man carry his Dornish wine.

"Alas, my lad," says Malti, "Not all men of any nation are as courteous as all others! However, I dare say my city is more mannerly than your own, at least, in those circles I move in! It is difficult here to find a man who can be both light-hearted and pleasant at the same time." He smiles brilliantly at Thane. He's got perfect teeth. "Ahh, a scholar!"

Maera gives Kai a brief, befuddled look. As if she remembers him from somewhere, but can't place where. She puts that in the back of her mind, and settles down at the table next to Thane, "Maester, allow me to introduce you to Master Malti. The Master is, I believe, a banker." The woman seems to be in rare good cheer, and takes a healthy swallow of the strongwine. Then follows it with another.

Thane dips his head politely to Malti as he reseats himself. "A scholar of many things, Master Malti, as I'm sure you are as well. Economics is a highly valued field of study at the Citadel, and I'm sure you could teach our acolytes a thing or two they would otherwise not learn."

Gromm reaches around, grabbing onto the bird cage and bringing it around to the other side, he brushes aside the empty tankard and leans forwards. The bird would again, abruptly, noticeably, stop looking around and go back to unnaturally staring the the group. The massive mans head would lower, his eyes rolling into the back of his head as he looks as if he loses consciousness, his arms upon the counter holding himself up.

Wulfred sets the tankards down at the table where Maera, Ronio, and Thane are seated. He pulls out a chair for himself and then takes a seat. "A discussion of economics? Allow me to begin." He lifts up his tankard before he says, "This is not my first drink. I rather enjoyed my first drink, as well as my second. This is a latter drink, and my enjoyment of it is somewhat lower than a previous drink that I have had. I am a victim of diminishing returns, and I am afraid that subsequent drinks will only worsen such a state." He licks his lips before taking a draught from his cup.

Ronio Malti grins radiantly. He says, "I am sure I could, indeed, indeed," to Thane. "And I hope very much that you will excuse me that I will not! Come, have a glass of this fine wine, and the roast pork if they ever get around to making it." Then he turns his merry smile to Wulfred and claps him on the back. "Ah, my dear fellow, we are all victims. /But/, you may find if you drink just a little more, the effect seems to matter less!"

Maera doesn't pay attention to Wulfred's lesson on diminishing returns. Her gaze has turned, instead, to the odd fellow with the bird. "Does that man keep walking to a different table and…falling asleep" She blinks, perplexed, before having another swallow of the wine.

Maera's eyes glaze over a bit at the mention of economics. She takes a few more healthy swallows of the wine. Her fair cheeks begin to redden slightly from the powerful liquid.

Thane cracks a smirk at Wulfred's drinkonomics, and Malti's words actually elicit a bark of laughter. The man can actually laugh! "No, I wouldn't expect that you would, Master Malti. Trade secrets, I imagine? Not that you would have the time. You must be a busy man. I assume you are with the Iron Bank?"

"Indeed, indeed," says Malti cheerfully. "But I am not at work now! The day is done, it is time for — " he pauses, seeing the serving girl on her way with plates. "Excellent! It is time," he says, "For pleasures."

"Indeed, indeed, the pleasures," comments Wulfred. "Be they devoid of clothes or coin, the sorts of things that make life worth living." He then tips his cup to take another sip, looking thoughtfully in Thane's direction. "I'm afraid, Master Maester, that you may have to sit out a few of them in accordance with your personal agreements with the chain. But I assure you that it is a most lovely chain, and it earns you more respect than men lose in a night at the Bawdy Bard."

Kai watches Gromm from his table by the staircase, having quite a good view of the ongoings from where he is, drinking from his mug of wine as it is served to him.

Maera's eyes roll slightly, and she lets out a little scoff, "Must we talk of that place? Whores are so droll." She sits the empty cup of wine down, and picks up her forgotten tankard of cider. Taking that up, she begins to nurse it quietly.

"What is this?!" asks Malti. "The man is sworn to celibacy as well as service? Oh, this /is/ a cruel country."

Thane smirks, lifting his tankard to his lips. "Like the Black Brothers at the wall, or the septons of the Faith, we Maesters are meant for a life of service to all of Westeros. Our calling is above all else, and cannot afford split loyalties. Love has a way of doing that splitting."

"I mentioned that to your student, I believe it was the young Master Baratheon," Wulfred points out as he sets his tankard back down. "Perhaps the maesters have discovered that if men were not relentlessly pursuing women, they might be afforded a chance to learn so much about the world around them." He looks over to Maera apologetically, "It isn't that women are in the way of progress, it's that they are very capable of diverting our attentions."

"Dreadful, dreadful!" says the Braavosi. "Even the most dedicated of fanatics of Braavos are known to take /somebody/ to bed from time to time!" His roast pork and plums has arrived and he slices off a big peice, saying to Maera, "Do forgive me, but I feel the poor man deserves some recompense!" when he hands the plate to Thane.

Thane chuckles in amusement, taking the plate with a grateful nod. "I would be lying if I said I believed that no maester had ever broken that vow. But so long as it results in no marriage, no children, and no lasting ties, I suppose it's relatively harmless. We are still men, after all."

"This is truly the revelation," says Wulfred as he leans an elbow on the tabletop. "I was led to believe that the chain restricted you permanently to a life without the warming touch of a woman's bosom." He rests his chin in his hands, "Surely I have missed my chance at a life of study by forsaking the chain so I might meet and bed ladies of the night and during the daytime." His lips pull into a smile, showing a slight wine stain to his teeth. "So you may read your books and pore over sums all day, then fuck women. Or men, if they allow those in the Citadel."

Ronio Malti proceeds to cut slices and serve the table — Maera, then Wulfred, then himself.

The eagle continues to stare for a while before again reverting back to normal, the massive Gromm grunts as he lifts his head and brings himself to stand from his seat upon the stool at the bar, he'd reach into his trousers before laying down around five silver stags upon the counter before reaching over, picking up the cage containing the large bird of prey before turning and beginning to walk out.

Thane snorts, smirking. "We may do nothing of the sort. Our vows are clear on the matter. All I am saying is that maesters are human, as is any man that takes an oath. Some maesters have broken their vows. It isn't so shocking, surely."

"Not at all, not at all," says Malti, cheerily. "I am sure if they didn't, there'd be no maesters at all!" He eats, savouring the first bite.

Wulfred takes the offered slice of pork from Malti, nodding his head in appreciation before tearing at it with his teeth. His jaw works quickly to masticate the bite, before he swallows it down. Perhaps a man afforded to drink most of his sustenance has a special place in his heart and stomach for solid food. Especially roasted pork meats. "All they ask of a tax collector is to not pocket the coin that they collect. It's as simple as that, and we occasionally find those who do so willingly. It's not even an oath, it's more like a rule. Not unlike the rules that force us to wear our pants before leaving our homes."

Kai stands after he finishes his mug of wine, heading for the door, he pauses as he passes a serving girl whom he had previously..spoken to, he smiles slightly at her, saying a few words.

Kai continues on his way after idly flirting with the girl, managing to convince her to forgive him for abandoning her in his bed the other day, and then strolls out.

Kai leaves the Quill and Tankard and crosses the little bridge from the door to the street.
Kai has left.

Gromm stops as he nears the exit, looking into the cage to look at the eagle, quickly running his gaze over the bird for a second or two before carrying on out the door, grumbling quietly as he does so.

Gromm leaves the Quill and Tankard and crosses the little bridge from the door to the street.
Gromm has left.

Thane chuckles into his cup, shaking his head. "Master Malti, you almost make it sound as if we must breed new maesters." He smirks, obviously joking. "There are reasons enough to take up the chain. There is a certain allure in the respect we gain, not to mention the value of education itself. Most of us are already those that crave knowledge."

The Braavosi man wiggles his eyebrows. "Usually," he says, "One craving does not do away with another." He smiles prettily. "Quite the opposite, indeed, indeed." Then he gestures to the serving girl, now ordering a goose pie for the table, and buttered vegetable.

Maera has thus far ate in silence, but she breaks that silence to note, "Perhaps if maesters did breed we'd have more clever men. It must pass from father to son, afterall. A strong man is more likely to have strapping sons than a weak one."

"True enough," Thane concedes to Maera. "But maesters are hardly the only clever men in the Seven Kingdoms. Also, there are those that study with us, but never forge a chain. So we are able to pass on our knowledge to those that may then marry and sire a child. Of course, there is also the rare case of a maester that breaks his chain, giving up the life of service."

Malti eats. And drinks. He manages to put away a lot in a short time, while still being perfectly neat about it.

Wulfred eats some of the pork product that Malti has to offer, and finishes his cup of cider. He won't press for a refill, but instead lean back in his chair with a stretch of his arms. "Tell me, Master Maester, how many different links are on the chain? It almost seems like there are countless links, you simply cannot possess them all."

Maera picks at her food. Perhaps her poisoning just a few days ago has left her without much interest in filling her belly. At Wulfred's question she looks up at him curiously.

Ronio Malti doesn't slow down in his devouring of meat. When the pie arrives, he does stop long enough to slice it, listening to Thane with interest as he does.

Thane grunts, nodding. "'Countless' is a good number. No, I don't know any maester that possesses them all. But plenty of us possess mutiple links of the same metal, for areas in which we have gone beyond mere expertise, and into true mastery."

"And what, my dear fellow," asks Malti, "Is your area of expertise?"

"Have you a link for libationaries?" asks Wulfred as he leans his face into his elbow. "I heard once that the oldest and wisest of the maesters get to propose new links based on studies that they invent or discover. I could make that link, or at least foster your education into at least one and ten links."

Maera shakes her head at Wulfred and lets out an incredulous little laugh. Her cheeks are as red as an apple.

"My expertise? Magic," Thane says plainly. "Theology. Medicine. I think of myself as a student of the health and function of the body, mind, and soul."

"Magic?" says Ronio Malti. "Whatever can that mean? They tell me that the Westerosi know nothing of /magic./"

"Magic," says Wulfred as he takes a silver stag out of his pocket. He holds it up for everyone at the table to see, then slaps it down on the table with both hands covering it. He looks conspiratorially to the maester, banker, and Lady Mormont before removing his gloved hands from the coin. The silver stag is now a halfpenny.

"Mummer's trick." Maera says with an unimpressed little shake of her head. She picks up her tankard, and seems rather annoyed to find it empty.

Thane snorts, shaking his head and giving Maera a knowing smirk. "I speak of true magic. Most Westerosi do not know much of it," Thane concurs with Malti, gesturing indicatively to Wulfred. "But is it not a maester's role to know that which most do not?"

Malti laughs at Wulfred's trick, with easy pleasure. He notices Maera's dissapointment, too, and when he's done handing out slices of goose pie, he waves down the barmaid for a refill.

"Ah!" Malti responds to Thane. "So, you are a sorcerer?"

"My thanks." Maera says to the banker as another drink is brought out for her. She puts it down on the table, or at least tries to. Instead, she almost sits it down on the edge where it will tip before she looks down to stare at it dully before scooting it to the center.

"No," Thane replies, breaking off a chunk of the pie slice with his fingers. "Not a sorcerer. Nothing so dedicated. I am, as you said, a scholar. I have knowledge of the arts, but not so much practice in them. The benefit to this is that I can tell most sorcerers things about their magic that they, themselves, do not know. Take that blood witch Lady Mormont pointed out to you earlier. She sees me as a…what was her term, m'lady? A dusty old academic?" He chuckles. "But she has demonstrated repeatedly a frightening lack of respect for the forces she wields. One day, I fear they will consume her, and likely anyone near her." He shoves the bite of gooseberry pie into his mouth, rubbing his fingers together to shake loose stray crumbs into his plate.

The big man laughs. "Ahh! An understander, rather than a practitioner!" He beams. "Just as well. It is not respectable, magic. Well. Mostly, not respectable, and that which is respectable is not precisely magic." He swallows more wine, and finishes off the roast pork and plums.

"She called you a hypocrite." Maera says to Thane rather bluntly. "Or perhaps she meant me? As if it matters." More wine is drank, and this time the cup put in a reasonable place without risk of spill. "Master, I may have need of you to walk me home…"

Thane snorts. "She's called me many things. 'Hypocrite' may have been the kindest." He looks to Maera curiously, then nods, a notion forming. "Home. In fact, I must return to the Citadel. I've dallied here too long, and I am in the middle of several research projects." He rises to his feet, giving his tablemates an apologetic bow. "It was a pleasure to meet you, Master Malti. Lady Mormont, I hope you'll excuse me."

Maera rises herself. She offers Malti a smile, "Thank you for the meal and the company. It was lovely." She takes a languid, somewhat wobbly step towards the door, frowns a bit, and pauses to throw some coin on the table. "Goodnight Master Malti. Maester Thane."

The Braavosi beams at Maera. "You are very welcome, My Lady, and very welcome indeed! Thank /you/ for such a pleasant evening!" He looks at the drunken Wulfred and laughs. "I do not think my lad will mind, will he?"

His goodbyes said, Maester Thane slips out, and with hurried steps, returns to the Citadel. There is work to be done tonight that is best done in secret.

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