(121-02-21) Under the Surface
Under the Surface
Summary: The woman Trystan found in the woods proves just as mysterious when she finds him on the Docks. (And she thinks he's boring.)
Date: 21/02/2014
Related: http://gobmush.wikidot.com/log:121-02-16-simple-nature

The docks are lined with a vast array of wood-and-stone piers, cranes, and winches dedicated to the unloading and loading of cargo and passengers alike. Here, Oldtown's life-blood of food, medicine, and other necessary goods are brought into the city in large quantities, from every kind of ship imaginable.

Day and night, the docks are abuzz with activity, packed with throngs of stevedores, sailors, passengers, rivermen, fishermen, peddlers, and the veritable fleet of ships arriving and departing. There is a distinct smell of salt, rotting timbers, and fish here.

Oldtown's mighty fleet of warships sit at anchor here, some leaving, or arriving, from patrol duties. They announce their presence with the clamor of sailors' voices aboard, and the deep throb of the drum beating time for the oarsmen aboard.

The docks are bustling with the new ships coming in. Two of the ships even hail from the Free Cities, one of them with purple hull and sails. Easily distinguished as a Braavosi vessel, it holds Trystan Banefort's attention. As the cargo is being taken off of the ship, he speaks with the merchant who chartered the vessel, speaking in the merchant's native tongue. Likely, he's trying to strike some sort of deal.

A foreign accent lurks in the corners between boxes, the cracks between the busy stevedores and sailors, merchants and buyers. Here, accents from all over the realm convene and converge, as varied as the spices being sold from the bellies of well-traveled ships. This one happens to be Lorathi, female, and belonging to the mysterious Evallash. It's a man, however — grimy, wiry, and looking quite as though he's crawled from the most under fo the Undercity — who emerges from behind a stack of cargo, striding just past Trystan and the merchant to wait with eyes straight ahead on the Braavosi ship as if sent to wait at a post.

Eva emerges a moment later, holding a peach and swathed in dark red and brown fabrics fashioned into a gown by knots at her shoulders, a jumble of rich and poor. She's at home here, drifting along the dock like a colourful wraith. More at home than lurking about the forest where she was last glimpsed by Lord Banefort. More than one figure on the Docks looks the woman's way with recognition that goes unnanoucned.

Trystan shakes his head at something the merchant says, then retorts, still speaking in Braavosi. The merchant he is arguing with looks past him and notices Eva, his eyes widening a tad. he then looks back to the lord, saying something quickly, then nodding, taking a small coint pouch from Trystan, then leaving. Trystan blinks, then just shrugs and gives some coin to a few of the people carrying the cargo to take it elsewhere, away from the rest of the cargo. He then looks about, his eyes falling on the woman he met in the forest. He smiles to her and waves.

When her attention lands on Trystan, the woman stops abruptly, freezing in her step. Neither fight nor flight engages. She walks to him fluidly, something animal in her step; natural. Perhaps predatory is the better word even though they're no longer surrounded by the forest. "Lord Bane-fort," she over-pronounces his name, "was it?"

Trystan smiles to the woman, nodding. "That it was, Miss… Salla, yeah?" He looks about at the men who look to her. "You're quite popular about here, it seems. I don't think it to be due to your looks, though you are quite a sight." The Low Valyrian rolls off of his tongue as though it was his native tongue.

"I am, after all, a merchant," Eva replies in her own Lorathi. The words are true and confident, yet a hint of slyness winds its way through her meaning — and to her lips, to the narrow corners of her eyes. "This is where merchants belong, is it not?" She looks up to the recently docked vessel. "I used to live and work upon a Braavosi ship just like her."

Trystan smiles to her, looking back to the ship. "I've seen many like her, back in Banefort. Each one of them beautiful, strong and swift." He turns back to the woman. "I had not known you were a merchant, miss. What is it you trade, if I may ask?"

"That depends who and when you ask and what you are looking for," Eva responds with a luxurious dose of mischief. Caution disguised as playfulness. One in a business such as hers must be smart around nobles she doesn't count as clients. She takes a bite of her peach; so full and ripe, she's just a pair of dark eyes watching Trystan above the fruit.

Trystan smiles and nods. "I see." That's all he says. Does he know something? Or is he just a fool? One would think the lord of a trade port would know about dancing around certain subject.

More calculating than casual, Eva wanders around the man in a half-circle, keeping her eyes on him, "Do you come to Oldtown to trade?"

Trystan looks to her, watching her as she circles. "I live here, with my wife. I met her here, while I was planning to just meet and get to know other lords and ladies, and to establish more trade between Oldtown and Banefort. We decided to stay until our child is born."

She circles as far as an overturned wooden box, half-caved in from some unloading accident, and sits right down in a swirl of fabrics. As good as any stool. "What a perfect little story," Eva retorts, singsong and cynical. She wears a grin as she peers up at Trystan. "How boring." She bites her peach.

Trystan smirks. "Life can't be exciting at all times. We'd lose what makes the exciting moments so special if it was."

"So poetic, Lord Banefort." Even her accolade bears cynicism, but she i amused by it — barely, seemiing easily on the verge of boredom as she sits on her perch. Twisting her head so that she peers up at Trystan from an odd angle, her mass of dark hair falling onto her half-bare shoulder in many twirls and tangles, she entertains herself by asking brazenly, "What lies under the surface, then, to reach up and surprise you, Lord Banefort? Do you bed whores, buy black-market toys from the bellies of Braavosi ships, hunt your enemies?"

Trystan can't help but grin. "I prefer not having to pay those I bed, I buy what I wish from wherever I can get it easiest, and if a slight is made against my house, then those who made the slight face severe consequences." He moves around her a bit. "Take the wildlings who murdered my parents, during our trip to the North. At the age of twelve, I led those loyal to my house, as well as a number of sellswords, to the encampment and burned it to the ground, slaughtering all the men who took up arms. The smart ones who did not were given a choice. To leave even deeper into the Land of Always Winter, or to fall under the headsman's axe."

Eva lets her neck loll further toward her shoulder, her expression unchanging. "Why did you give them the choice?"

"Because my father always taught me to give those who I defeat a choice. Neither choice has to be pleasant, but it should be given to them." He chuckles a tad. "I haven't had to really give many I fight a choice since then. Those I do go against die, or are captured and taken away by the guard, not by me."

"So far," Eva slips in, "So far they have died." She stands up, a smooth unraveling of her short height. She points one finger at the man around her half-eaten fruit and falls into the common tongue. "Confident nobles." She nears 'til her finger, sticky with peach juice and cinched by more than one elaborate silver ring, nearly touches Trystan. "You don't know excitement."

Trystan blinks, raising an eyebrow to the woman. He smirks, amused. "I suppose I do not. Not, perhaps, like you do."

"Maybe one day, Lord Banefort," Eva begins, her full-lipped smile growing to wily lengths as she steps around Trystan — to, presumably, go on her way — just short of brushing the noble lord, "you will get bored enough, that you seek my kind of excitement."

Trystan keeps his smirk, turning to her. "And what kind of excitement is that, Miss?" He's intrigued by this woman. He's seen many a woman from the Free Cities. One of them is his best friend. But none are like this woman, treating him as more of another person than a lord. She says the title, but not the conviction behind it.

Trystan's only answered with a too-knowing smile and a glimmer in the woman's powerful brown eyes, speaking of things dark and unknowable until one needs them known. She walks backwards away from the noble, thin sandals not making a scuff.

Trystan can't help but keep his smirk, and his eyes, trained on the woman until she's a good distance away. He's not quite sure how to proceed, but he knows the next time he sees her, he will inquire more.

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