(121-11-04) The Prisoner Speaks
The Prisoner Speaks
Summary: Maester Garth Questions the Weirwood Prisoner and Finds a Riddle.
Date: Date of play (04/11/121)
Related: http://gobmush.wikidot.com/log:121-07-29-cloth-and-cakes http://gobmush.wikidot.com/log:121-07-30-disturbance-at-a-party http://gobmush.wikidot.com/log:121-07-30-discovery-in-starry-street

NPC Prisoner

This is the oldest Manse in Oldtown and shows it. It is well cared for and beautiful, but built for defense and not pleasure. The Stark guards are rather hostile at the sight of a Maester, but word was left that a Maester Garth might see the prisoner. They are keeping him in the storage cellar, but he is well supplied with food, wine, bedding, and light. They seem to clean him, his cot, and his chamber pot regularly. They have locked him in a smaller pantry as no way are they letting him unfettered access to the wine stores. The result is, that he is sober and sullen, but actually in better health than we first rescued and/or captured. The guards warn you not to take anything he could use as a weapon in there, but otherwise seem unconcerned. t is not clear they know why he is being held.

The guards needn't worry about Garth taking in things, he comes without much in the way of possessions other than the brown woollen robe that is his habit and his chain around his neck… could the prisoner use that? Maybe, if he can get it from around its wearer's neck. Garth enters the pantry in a mildly cautious fashion, hearing about the man's state and experiencing it are another matter.

The man looks up excitedly and seeing a stranger rushes over with a gate suggestive of the sea. He looks half to a quarter Dornish, but his accent is pure undercity. He grabs at Garth. "Have you a tot of rum? I'd gouge out you eye or mine for some rum!"

Garth is barrelled into by the rum-craving man and flinches but grabs onto the doorframe to prevent from stumbling. "No gougin', I haven't got any rum, or anythin' else for that matter. Besides, looks like your hosts have been decent enough to you, they coulda kept you far worse than this…" He pushes back against the prisoner, trying to get his own space back. "I've come to ask some questions, maybe if you answer nicely there'll be some rum in the store that can 'ave your name on it."

The man clings to the front of his robe and starts snivelling, "I didn't do nothing! I didn't hurt no one! There're going to kill me! All I want's a chance to take a fast ship out of here. That… that man said to come with him if I wanted to live, but they locked me in here and won't talk to me!

The Maester shrugs. "The guard, well… I dunno if he knows why they got you in here or not, could easily be that he's just doin' as he's told. Now, sit down and stop pullin' on my robe will you." Garth clears his throat, though his voice still has a scratchy sound on certain syllables. "What do you know about this business wi' the silks?"

The man seems reluctant to let him go, "You'll stay and talk? I can leave after? Or at least get rum?" He finally lets go and gives Garth a little space, but not much. He hesitates at the questionin, then sighs, "I'll tell you everything for a proper rum ration."

Garth's good eye narrows at that last. "You swear that on somethin' that's some importance to you an' I'll see what I can do…" He rests one hand on the door behind him, ready to knock for the guards' attention.

The man thinks it over, then hangs his head, "I swear on my Mother's life to tell what I know for a daily rum ration. I…it's bad enough in here alone, but to be sober too is more than a man can bear."

Garth listens to the prisoner swear, when that is done Garth bangs on the door. For a scant moment a little fresh air and daylight trickle into the pantry, tantalising the senses of those inside. "Rum, for the prisoner… to loosen 'is tongue, fetch me a measure of somethin' too." No doubt that guards will have some complaint about this but hopefully they'll comply. Garth settles back against the door and looks the other man up and down. "I'll stay an' talk for a while, I'm not a cruel man."

The man presses up behind Garth, desperate for all of those things. It's not an escape attempt, but a desperate desire for something besides the same four walls and cot. A guard snaps too and is back with a bottle of rum in less than a minute. It's boring down here guarding that guy, and you can only play dice and I Spy so long in a shift. Also, the liquor is stored down here and a man might grab a sip for himself while fetching. The Prisoner weeps openly in gratitude for rum and conversation.

"Right," Garth says as the door is closed behind him once more, returning the pantry to its isolation from the world beyond. "You 'ave a swallow of that an' then start at the beginning." He settles himself on the stone floor, his back firmly to the door and his robe providing some insulation from the chill of the flags below him. "Tell me what you know about the silks." He takes a sip from his own rum.

The man drinks like he's dying of thirst. A moderate glass of watered wine or week ale with meals being nothing to a man used to a bottle of rum a day. He settles on his pallet and cradles the bottle like he's terrified it will be snatched away. He sighs, "We was at liberty from our last ship, Jim and me and was looking for a way to earn coin for our rum ration, see? So this tall blond bloke asks us did we want work and we says yes, how much, right? And the money was really good, right? Enough so's I can slip my old Mum something and still get good drink and a tumble at the bard the end of the day, and sure it's on land, but mostly we just has to stand there looking foreign and not opening our gobs so as no to ruin it. We helps move some skiffs through the tunnels now and then and we loads the cart, but me and Jim mostly take turns being foreign while the blond bloke and his darker friend do the talking, right? And they pays us each night when the carts tucked away in the tenement." He takes a very long pull. The silk dyers was all a little creepy, but they didn't do us no harm.

Garth drinks his rum at a more moderate and sensible pace for a man who doesn't routinely go through a full bottle of hard liquor by himself every day. The spirit warms his throat on its way down. "So, I get that you an' Jim were there for show mostly, to look the part of foreigners. I get that, did you know what the dyers were doin' - by which I mean, did you know that their wares were harmful to any who'd wear 'em?"

The man is weeping with joy at being finally reunited with the bottle, "You're so… so normal. You've no idea how I missed that!" another long pull, "He comes down here time to time an owl on one shoulder and his dog at his knee, and stares at me. Sometimes for an hour or more. These Starks is uncanny…." he looks down, clearly ashamed, "Not at first. I was happy to be getting a bit of a tug now and them from pretty birds looking for fancier feathers and it looked harmless, it did, only those dyers were weirder by the day and we started hearing rumors. Only, the money was so good it were better to drink the rum up of an evening and not think to hard or ask questions that might mean we'd… you understand, don't you? My the end though, it were hard to look the other way and 'twas rough on the girls at the Bard. It got hard to look them in the eye."

Garth listens carefully to what the prisoner says. "Did you ever know much about your employers, these dyers….or why they were doin' what they were doin'?" He sips his rum again and then asks "I never asked your name, an' I can't jus' keep thinkin' of you as 'the prisoner'. Garth," he says by way of offering his own name.

He perks up, "Bill… Well, it was clear the blond fellow the other one called Hawke was the one organizing stuff. He had a lot of coin and seemed to know what was going on. I wouldn't be at all surprised he was the one slipped the poison in the drink…. he tried to sound like one of us, but he sounded more liker them guards the fancy Lords bring with when they come to the city, you know, not toff, but not like turnip sellers either, if you follow, and not weird like them Starks with their do you like food and the staring. Not like the guards here but for them fancy Lords."

"Bill," Garth says, raising his cup of rum as in a toast. "Wait, slipped what poison in the drink… back then or more recently? You hear about the epidemic out there… folks're droppin' like flies, up at the Citadel too, wi' so many healers down there's precious few to tend to them who's sickening. Silent Sisters are overwhelmed, bodies're pilin' up waitin' for preparin' for the graves."

Malcolm lifts his drink in toast, tips a wee libation, then drinks, "Nah. These Starks may be uncanny, but I think they'd look me in the eye to kill me. This was back at the Tooth and Nail. we was playing dice and I got up to drain my dragon as it were and when I got back, they'd started a new bottle without me. They was already dying, so I figured time to take ship to somewhere less deadly, only that Tellur catches me first and we nearly get gutted on our way here. Would've died if that Maester hadn't showed up." he sighs, "I don't here much of anything except who's up in the dice game and something about a breech birth foal." he's been making steady progress on that bottle, clearly trying to make up for so many months dry. he peers confusedly at Garth, "Hawk poisoned all those people? How'd he get the silent sisters?"

Garth shakes his head. "Don't know what the cause of the epidemic out there is at the moment, one o' the Archmaesters came down with a case of … well, somethin' nasty, spewin' black vomit all o'er the place, next thing is the city's awash wi' it and bodies waitin' for burrial since so many o' them who digs the graves're waitin' for a spot themselves. It's a bad business, I reckon that religious folks'll be sayin' this is some kinda punishment." He pauses "Maybe the Stranger didn't like the recent festivities, so now he's takin' off so many folk… or…" the Maester chuckles grimly "Maybe he did like the festivities and this is the reward." Another shake of his head and then back to the business of the cloth.

"So, this Hawk an' his associate, they're the ones behind all o' the silk stuff. Why, any idea? What's happened to 'em now you think?"

The man stares at him, clearly not taking in the talk. He likely has no idea of the Festival and the scale of the disaster is beyond him. enough does get through his head he asks with real alarm, "Is me Mum all right? Does she know where they are holding me? Is she worried?" He shakes his head, "I don't think that hawk was the one come up with it. He's more.. sales and enforcement, if you follow. How'd he know how to hide poison in clothes or what poisons to hide in there? Odds are, someone too clever by half's whispering, whispering in his ear, like, and slipping him coin… his friend took a swim in the Honey wine two days before the drink run bad."

"A fatal swim?" Garth wonders aloud before putting his cup to his lips again. "Where's your mother live? I dunno how far this plague, or whatever it is, has spread, or if it came from somewhere else in the first place. An' I follow. This Hawk's kinda like you, he's takin' someone else's coin to do a bad job… only he's worse. Need to figure out who's employin' Hawk, though."

The man nods sadly, "Killed his own friend, or had him killed." He eyes Garth. Judgiung him honest, he gives directions to her tenement in the Undercity. "She had nothing to do with this. She didn't know what I did for the coin. She's old and she don't see too good. She never hurt anyone." he sighs, "That Hawke is worse as he must have known what he was hiring us to do and maybe I looked away a little, but he killed people and did all this aporpose."

"Can't have been much of a friend if he'd so willingly kill 'em," Garth mutters, his distaste for the man called Hawke is plainly evident in his tone of voice. "I'll go an' see if I can find your mother for you, a mother's a precious thing to a man. "If I find her, what'll you 'ave me tell her?"

He spits, "Some men aren't noone's friend." He begins to weep and lurches forward to grip the hem of his robe in suplication, "Don't tell her what I done. Just tell her I got a really good berth sudden like and had to sail without saying goodbye. And if… if you have any heart, give her a bit of coin, won't you?"

"If you're sure that's what you want me to tell her, then I will but… " Garth trails off and then sighs. "She's your mother, whatever you think best I suppose. An' I'll help her however best I can. I'm not a rich man, Bill. I don't have a wealthy lord to fill my purse wi' silver. I spend my time at the Citadel, watchin' o'er lads who don't have their chains just yet." He tips his cup into his mouth again, letting more of the drink find its way down his throat as Bill catches hold of his robe once again. "I don't believe you're a bad man, just another ordinary one tryin' to earn some coin… honestly. Is there /anythin'/ else that you can tell me that might help find Hawke?"

The man whispers, "I don't want her to know I done wrong. She thought I had a proper job, that I was cutting back on the drink and making something of meself. Better she die thinking I'm all right and not waiting for someone to murder me in the word's most boring cellar…." He gets a sty look, "You'll swear by your chain there'll be rum tomorrow too?"

Garth meets the other man's gaze as best he can "I swear by my chain and by the memory of my own mother, I'll see to it that there'll be rum for you tomorrow as well." As he said, he's not a cruel man who thinks himself better than the smallfolk.

He takes another pull on the bottle. His tongue is slow and careful now, though he holds his drink well enough that it's likely unhealthy. He listens carefully and gives a slow nod, "He made a jest once when he thought I couldn't hear to his friend what couldn't swim. He said, 'You know why our Lord and Master wears such heavy boots? It's cause he's so flighty a butterfly could carry him off!'" he snorts, "Not so funny, but maybe a clue for you. That's all I know and I'm sorry I ever laid eyes on him. I'm a dead man, I am, just waiting for my grave to take me."

"Heavy boots, 'cause he's so flighty that a butterfly could carry him off… huh. There's somethin' to think about, sounds like a riddle to me." Garth comments and then smiles very faintly as he looks over his shoulder towards the stout door that stands between the cell and the rest of the world. "Might be as you'll be able to walk outta here yet but… this Hawke… you'd 'ave to stay outta his way… " He moves to clap Bill on the back in manly fashion. "I'll do what I can for you an' yer mum." He bangs on the door then and adds "an I'll see you get that rum."

The says with grim realism. "If they let me out of here I'd be on the first ship anywhere, but odds are, I'd not make it to the pier. You're a good man, Maester!"

The door opens and Garth lingers in it for a moment. "Thank you, Bill." He then steps outside and the guards lock up again after him.

His Mum worked the Bard back in the day, until she got too shabby and then it was the streets. It's a hard life and ages you fast. She's alcoholic too, but hasn't much income from what bits of work she can get and if she has five teeth in her head it would be surprised. She's become addled with drink related dementia and tends to wander. She won't survive the next real Winter if that.

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