(122-06-12) The Dragon and the Maester
The Dragon and the Maester
Summary: Jurian and Ronas have a lengthy talk about Tyrell women and clean houses.
Date: Date of play (12/06/2015)
Related: None

It's a place to find mixed company, that much is sure about the Quill and Tankard, but today the company is even a bit more mixed than it often is, for today a prince is present. It isn't the first time, of course, but being that Prince Dhraegon is known to have little tolerance for alcohol, it's the first time in a while. Jurian has got himself a stool near the middle of the bar, in the thick of things, so to speak, though no one as yet has made so bold as to sit beside him or strike up a conversation. he's just getting a flagon of honeywine delivered to him.

Maesters aren't commonly found in taverns, but historic sites have appeals above the common draw. Ronas, dressed in his robes and bearing his chain of office, keeps a steady grip on his belt and the other hand on his walking stick, clunking along carefully. Heads turn to watch him, as Maesters are good fun when out of their element, but the man possesses a solid reserve as he takes a seat at the bar, dropping a thin coin on the counter before locking eyes on the barkeep. "Your neighbors' dogs were not kept in good conditions," Ronas says with a crisp Riverland accent. "It seems someone had them taken away just before lunch. I suspect they won't be barking at the moon again." The barkeep, grinning like a fiend, gives a nod and pours a generous pint of wine above what the thin coin could purchase, by several factors. "Aye," he replies, "Tha's a pity, ain't it?" Both men smile, raising glasses in silent salute to each other. Ronas looks to Jurian, toasting, "To the continued dominion and wisdom of the Targaryen," before even attempting to drink a drop.

Jurian looks thoughtfully in the Maester's direction when he comes in, but the toast seems to earn the Targaryen's delight right away. A smile blooms across the blond's face. "How refreshing, to hear such a thing spoken. People seem to forget their allegiances so easily, these days…" His violet eyes scan the Maester's face.

"It's less a question of allegiance and more of honoring those who merit acknowledgment of achievements," Ronas says, drinking down some of his wine before tapping the rim of it. The barkeep, in good spirits, refreshes it but first makes a stop by Jurian's side, ensuring the nobleman is handled first. When the pouring is done, Ronas motions lightly to Jurian. "My allegiance is first to the Citadel, per custom and function. All other considerations are .. considered." Gently bowing his head, he introduces himself. "I am Ronas, humble Maester in service to the cause and cases of public health. By those violet eyes and fine hair, you could be nothing but a Targaryen. For whom do I purchase another round of drinks, hmm?" He drops a second coin, this one thicker and of substantial value, but it is missing the usual stamped-in face on its visible surface.

Jurian smiles at the barkeep, then looks back to Ronan, expression all polite attentiveness to what the Maester has to say. "My given name is Jurian," he says, when asked so politely. He drinks from his cup, glances at the faceless coin, then looks back to the Maester. "How kind. You know, I have a kinsman amongst your ranks. Well…" he acknowledges, "More than one. Although I have heard one was recently killed. But a living one, rather close to me."

Raising an eyebrow, Ronas nods to Jurian. "Maesters are from many places, yet all share the same root, regardless of branch," he says, his tone polite and friendly. "We are also notoriously weak against the frailties of all men. 'Valar morghulis'." The tonal shift indicates he speaks the High Valerian tongue with native ease or has studied it extensively. "To the health and well-being of your kinsman, Prince Jurian. May they live a thousand lifetimes in memories and one in contentment." Again, he raises his glass in salute, toasting the unnamed.

"How terribly kind of you," Jurian says, tilting his head a little as he lifts his own glass in answer. "Has the Citadel long been your home?"

"For the last four weeks," Ronas says, "I am returning to continue my duties, this time as a servant to public health. In the time before, I was a family's Maester until their eldest son became of age and joined the a Riverland campaign. He rides with his bannermen now and is my proudest pupil." He all but beams with delight. "I was born here, but stayed only long enough for my first nameday and then off we went, to live a life in service." Again, he bows, drinking down more of his wine. The man can definitely drink well.

"Public health, yes," Jurian repeats, smiling, though he sounds somewhat dreamy about the concept. "How noble. I suppose you have the correct knowledge, to determine whether something is good or bad for the public health. What, precisely, do you do?"

The tankard is drained and Ronas pushes it to one side. "If a building in public use does not match the codices' requirements," he says, all smiles, "I shut it down until that is no longer the concern. In the event of unruly livestock or pets, I also perform inspections to ensure they are living in adequate conditions." Removing a thin volume from his satchel, he lays it on the counter. "The book of laws, as written originally by the Maesters in service to Tristan Massey, who was in service to.." And here he smiles even more. "Aegon the Conqueror himself." He raises the other brow. "An ancestor of yours. One renowned for his wisdom and achievements, no less." The barkeep returns, bearing more wine for both, as needed. Ronas gladly partakes, when it is his turn to accept it.

Jurian eyes the volume up and down, but makes to move to touch or read it. He looks back to Ronas, drinking down some of his wine. "And…what about unruly peasants? Do you inspect them? Ensure that they are living in adequate conditions?" Given the Targaryen reputation, it is impossible to tell whether he is joking or not.

"They traditionally are inspected by their lords, Prince Jurian," Ronas says, still smiling. "As to how that is done, discretion is left to each lord, per custom. We, who are in service to the cause and cases of public health, must be invited to perform such inspections by the local lord." The barkeep, standing by Ronas' side, blinks a few times and coughs, drawing Ronas' eyes to his. "Bread if you have it," Ronas says, dropping a new coin, this one Dornish and weathered, onto the bar before he places his tankard over it. He looks back to Jurian. "We do other tasks, as well. If it moves goods or stores them for sale, so goes the authority to inspect it."

Jurian chuckles. "Something almost funny about it, isn't there?" he wonders. "Leaving dogs to one man and serfs to another." Funny to him, anyway. He drinks. "I hope you are as good at your work as you are polite," he says. "I heard something about a plague here some time back. At least, I /think/ it was here…"

With a look over his shoulder, Ronas nods cautiously. "There is always a plague, Prince Jurian, for they follow the steps of men and wallow in the filth found in their shadows," he says, watching the barkeep as he argues with a barmaid, his attention drawn to her for a moment, then returning to Jurian. "It would be the height of folly for me to exceed my authority provided, and dare to inspect goods owned by one house without the lord's permission. To the noble, all things are goods. Not all goods /are/ good, though." He raises his tankard, drinking down further wine, polite if pleasantly toned. "It would behoove men such as yourself to dirty your hands with the low works of codes and such, would it not? It's best left in the hands of those of us minus the title but gladly serving the nobility of justice, just the same." The bread arrives, the barmaid looking skittish if pleasant.

Jurian listens with apparent fascination to this claim that the shadow of a plague is always haunting every city. He doesn't look upset by the concept. In fact, one corner of his mouth curls just slightly. "Oh, quite so, quite so," he agrees cheerfully. "I would not desire to deprive you of your most vital work."

"Ah," Ronas says, "My most vital work is simply service, Prince Jurian. There is no more noble a calling for a Maester than to be of value." The barmaid is eyed again, then dismissed, the bread brought to the shared section of the bar. Ronas tears a chunk of it in half, the larger portion laid out gently by Jurian's side, the smaller retained for himself. "Soon, one hopes, I will be asked to join a household as a teacher of some sort, to impart my wisdom, such as it is, to a student in need." At this point, several urchins from the street filter in, darting from side to side until they're at Ronas', who leans down to accept their whispers. Each is paid with the same slim coins, dismissed without further ado. He remarks nothing on this, only smiles and drinks wine, swallowing down bread.

Jurian reaches out to tear himself a hunk of bread, perhaps not even noticing the relative sizes. "Mm, now that is interesting," he says. "You wish to go from the Citadel into a home, and not the other way round." He sits back a little as the children comes in, eyeing them not fondly at all as he chews on that bread. But when they are gone, he smiles at Ronas, not commenting on the urchins. "Alas, I am unmarried so I can offer you no position."

Nodding his head but also raising his shoulders to shrug, Ronas says, "A temporary home in service is a permanent memory of delights, I've found." The bread is turned into smaller pieces, quietly consumed as he finishes his tankard of wine. The next is paid for before the tankard is set down. "Being unmarried is no shame, Prince Jurian. If it were, The Citadel would be a palace of lamentations, while it is instead a tower of sighs in contentment. That is the joy of service: to rest easily, knowing the future, and simply playing one's part in it." The bread, unlike the wine, is gone, consumed entirely, save for Jurian's uneaten portion.

Jurian seems to consume everything rather more slowly than the Maester. "Mm, you have a way with words," he says. "Are there really that many ecstatic sighs going up from the Citadel?" he asks, mouth curling a bit again.

"It's less a question of ecstasy," Ronas says with a chuckle, "And more of being comfortable. For a sign of ecstasy, those are much different towers." He raises an eyebrow and says, "Here I am, boring you with my dull life. Please, tell me of your world. Mine is dusty and often dirty." He waves his hand, dimissive and polite. The next tankard of wine is presented, but he turns it away. "Ale and a cut of flank meat, please. Nothing spendy, of course." The barmaid, looking somewhat discouraged, turns to Jurian with an expectant look on her plain-if-appealing face, ready to take the next order.

"Are they much different?" Jurian asks, either innocently or not. But he doesn't really seem to need an answer. "My world? Well, the landscape has changed. I've just come from the Crownlands to here." Noticing the barmaid looking at him, he frowns and looks back. "What do you want, girl, why do you look at me like that?" he snaps. "Bring me… Well, bring me something good, I can't be bothered by deciding."

Tapping the servant-girl on the hip, Ronas says, "Bring us both flank meat, from the uppermost of the spit, please. And better bread than we had before," his tone less polite but still civil. The servant scutters off, vanishing into the backroom of the tavern before Ronas speaks again. "Do you, by chance, harken to King's Landing?" He raises an eyebrow. "I visited there, but briefly, during my travels. A lovely place, the Crownlands. Home to potent legends." And he smiles again. "Such as Aegon the Conqueror. The very place he tamed from the Storm Kings and lesser nobles, no less." The barkeep returns, watching the two converse, seeming to ignore them but remaining close at hand.

"Harken to it?" Jurian repeats, brows lofting. He drinks from his mug. "Lovely in theory, yes. Historical. But then you don't have family there."

"I met several Maesters there," Ronas says, "They are, some say, all part of the same family. Countless shining apples, many strong branches, but just one root." He watches the approaching barkeep with the platter of freshly-cut meat on one side, the other loaded with piping-hot bread, still dusted with flour and salt. "You are a student of few words, Prince Jurian. Was there a subject you believed best, above all others?" He raises his tankard in silent toast, paying the barkeep well for the services offered, then adding for the house minstrels to begin playing. They promptly begin to tune their instruments in preparation.

"Am I?" Jurian replies, as if surprised to hear it. "Well, I fear only a septon can talk as much as a maester." He smiles and pauses for a drink. "A subject? You mean for conversation? Or for study?"

The meat is carved by the Maester's own knife, the slimmer portion laid on a small platter for himself, the majority held in reserve, giving Jurian the platter for a plate. "All boys who become men loved one thing above all others," he says with distinction, "Those blessed with the ability to retain that focus, they train in it, later in life, becoming students of the mind about it. Do tell: where did your mind take you, as a young man?" That generous expression continues, even as he is bumped by a surly-looking man with the looks of a dockworker to him. Neither man says anything, but the Meister flags the barkeep, dropping a thinner coin than before, speaking firmly. "I wish to buy this man a drink," he says, then turns away, looking to Jurian expectantly, slowly carving the meat on his plate into smaller pieces.

Jurian completely ignores the working man and the exchange with him, but the question makes him smile as he attends to the meat on his platter, cutting it up. He has quite fine table manners. "Well, I've always loved beautiful things," Jurian says. "Arts of all kinds. I learned to dance as well as I was able, and to sing, besides all the usual things a young nobleman has to learn." He glances up from his plate and smiles again. "I love people, too."

"People are living art," Ranos says with a smile. "They can be crafted, valued, appraised, and fall into fashion and antiquity." He turns to the musicians, raising an eyebrow. "Barkeep," he says with a teeth-gritted smile. "Tell them the next man who tunes his lute to 'The Hammer and the Anvil' will become as acquainted with me as they are capable of surviving, and then I will introduce them to my superior." Turning back to Jurian, he holds his hands out in supplication, sighing. "I apologize for that. Had I known such tasteless tribute would be played for the Targaryens, I would have never asked for minstrel-song. Please, forgive me on their behalf." He bows his head, looking duly contrite.

Jurian leans forward, eyes wider. He looks terribly pleased. "I /quite/ agree," he says. "It is such a fascinating thing, the forging of a man…" He watches the Maester carefully as he deals with the offending tune, then waves away the entire matter as easily as he might a gnat. "I am hardly troubled by the missteps of such people," he says. "I know a man such as yourself would not seek to give offense." He tilts his head a little.

Looking relieved, Ranos raises his head, sighing contentedly. "Thank you, Prince Jurian," he says, "No offense was intended. Like all men born, I am frail and have offended before. That today is not amongst those moments, I am grateful." The bread is picked up, sampled, then replaced with the freshly-cut meat. The music being played is notably not based on Targeryan blood feuds nor civil wars, instead being about a drunk man, a milkmaid, and the joy of finding an empty barn. The lyrics are repetitive, slightly vulgar, but funny, per custom. The Maester simply smiles, sighing as he drinks wine. "You're a fan of the arts or a patron of artists? Both, mayhaps?"

"Oh, I try not to take offense," Jurian says, smiling around a bite of beef, "…Until I am certain it was intended. Then…" He trails off dreamily and has some more wine. "Ah, see, now they sing about topics they more nearly understand." The question makes him look a bit thoughtful. "You know, I am considering becoming a patron. Of the Whimsy theater that the Tyrell boy runs."

"The Whimsy, owned by Lord Loryn Tyrell?" Rans says with a soft smile. "I have seen it before, but never its like, in all of my travels. Rather an impressive creation and a glory to the arts." More meat vanishes behind his beard and mustache, swallowed up quickly and politely. The wine which washes it down is set aside, then he picks up the ale tankard, drinking from it more deeply. Again, he sighs, gesturing to himself. "That, Prince Jurian, is the sign of contentment." He laughs, wiping a few tears from his eyes.

Jurian takes his time over his food and drink, but smiles vaguely at the Maester's contentment. "You see, I have already learned much from you. The quality of sevveral types of sighs. You truly are a worthy maester."

Again, Ronas laughs. "You flatter me," he says, exhaling before he looks to the musicians, glancing from face to face. The man whose drink he purchased, he looks to the man's boots, then pauses. Scan complete, he looks back to Jurian, raising his glass. "As you have been most instructive, too. I had concerns of making mention of the Tyrells, but I see they're at least in modest favor for your house. If I should happen across a maiden fair, is there a house you'd rather she hailed from?" There's a pause, then he adds, "Maesters are excellent matchmakers. We have a gift for it, you see, as we do not wed and thus fall victim to no perils within the promise, but can study it as a science. History is filled with romance and we keep the best books."

Even though he's seated, once can see the slight twist in Jurian's leg when looking right at it. "Anyone can win my favor if they do something beautiful," Jurian claims, ostensibly of the Tyrells. "As for women…well. Here, one could hardly do better than the Hightowers, I suppose. But there's already one slated to marry my kinsman Dhraegon."

"That would be Adelais Hightower, would it not?" Ronas says, his meal concluded but for what looks like a candied strawberry, which he promptly chews into oblivion, smiling. "A Tyrell widow, nobled twice over, soon to be a third time." With a brief and thoughtful look, he adds, "Their motto is 'we light the way'. The Hightowers, that is. The Tyrell motto, of course, is well-known, almost as much as that of the Targeryans'." One of the urchins from before returns, handing him a scrap of parchment, which is promptly replied to with a touch to the girl's forehead and a kiss next to it, then she is dismissed. Before departing, she bows to Jurian, scurrying off into the traffic outside. Ronas looks to the parchment, motioning to Jurian. "As it so happens, I do know of a Hightower girl on her way back from Dorne. She's a widow but slightly younger than you, rather fetching, so says the common man." The parchment is then touched off on the brazier nearest him, soon turned to smoke.

Jurian looks away slightly while the Maester is dealing with the child. "So that is her history, is it?" he says. "A Tyrell widow? You mean she was married to a Tyrell before?" His brows pull down slightly. "All the Hightower girls are widowed, are they? That seems to bode ill for the next husbands."

Nodding his head, Ronas says, "Consider it the first hurdle to leap: not being the first man they marry." He touches his chain, giving a subtle shrug, still smiling. "Their second husbands tend to become fathers of strong children. Proud sons and beautiful daughters, each one more fertile than the previous. Admittedly, those first husbands tend to have less-fortunate lives, but for a time, they are able to sigh with more than just contentment." Another chuckle, then a dish of cherry candies is brought out, delivered by the barmaid and she does seem a little flushed, pink rising in her cheeks. "Milord, cherries of delight?" she asks, offering a bowl to Jurian, her back turned to Ronas.

"Mm," Jurian says. "I wonder, though. Is it really an honor, to be a second husband. People talk, don't they." He turns to look at the barmaid. "Oh, yes," he says, blinking at her as though she should've known that. "Of course." He selects one.

"It certainly exceeds being the husband before the first," Ronas says, looking to the serving girl before edging her to one side. She did leave the bowl of larger cherried candies for Jurian, the dusting of thin sugar glaze dried on them, each one tart and sweet. "I'll buy a pie for the kitchen window, girl. Apples for the birds." He then hands the girl a heavy coin, pressing it to her hand before he sees her scurry off. "All men live and all men die. It's the space between those covers that say whether we're to be a slim volume or a thick tome." He runs a few fingers through his beard, clearly demonstrating a longer life, always smiling.

"Well, I suppose that's true," Jurian says, lifting an eyebrow. "But I'm wondering about /quality/, not necessarily quantity."

Pointing to the cherries, Ronas says, "Yours were not the first hand to touch those candies," smiling amicably. "Yet, they're sweet and tart, both at once. Such, it seems, are Hightower women. The hands which held the cherries before yours, they did nothing to diminish the value and some could say, without the seasoning and handling, you'd be left with eating them raw on the vine, no?" He holds his hands open, demonstrating his own hands' being empty. "If you are he who consumes the cherry, all that happened before was preparation or shipping." A cherry candy is plucked from his own dish, chewed with a bigger smile.

"Hmmmm," Jurian murmurs. "Well. That is what /you/ say," he says. "But then…I don't suppose you've made that choice yourself." Which doesn't stop him from partaking of candies.

"Consider me a servant in a large tavern, presented with a vast menu," Ronas says, "I have knowledge of every dish available yet need not eat a single one to know which are the most popular ingredients." Another polite chuckle. "All I need to do is watch those who eat and monitor those who are simply starving. Sooner or later, the next course arrives, and the new diners join the table and the previous ones leave it. Those who wait for the Hightower table must be certain to avoid that first course, perhaps?" The minstrels begin to play a ribald tune of a nautical theme, soon joined in song by a few of the burly-looking gentlemen, including the one who bumped into the Maester.

Jurian chuckles softly. "Perhaps you're right," he says. "At any rate, what matters most is, as you say, the girl herself. Is /she/ a proper work of art?"

With a thoughtful look, Ronas goes silent, chewing his candies before pushing his bowl aside. "If I were a man prone to wagers," he says, "I would place a strong one in favor of her being most fetching. Tyrell women, especially Hightowers, tend towards beauty with ease. Not many can name a Tyrell nor bannerman house which did not boast of beautiful women within. Not as fine as Targeryans, of course." Smiling, he shrugs. "A further proof of the true weight of this chain: to never know such things as a certainty and only be able to watch a diner eat and guide the next course."

Jurian turns to look more curiously at Ronas, regarding him from the top of his head to his shoes and then meeting his gaze. "There must be those who falter."

"What's a tavern without a few drunks who need correction?" Ronas says, chuckling. A look is cast to the man who bumped into him, then he looks back to Jurian. "Or, sometimes, being escorted out of the affair entirely." Folding his hands, he doesn't turn when the man begins to slap his thigh, a strangled scream rising in his mouth as he spews a fountain of ale, looking ghastly and possibly wounded. Before long, the man turns around, a small pin stuck in his rear end, jabbed there by one of the urchins. To Jurian, he says nothing and does nothing, simply smiles.

Jurian looks over the Maester's shoulder at the man geysering ale. As long as his person is in no danger of being doused, he doesn't look terribly concerned, watching quietly as an impassive cat might. Then he looks back to Ronas. "You are a man who keeps his house in order."

The Maester shrugs. "When a house is dirty," he says, "Someone must clean it. I am not he who brings in the mess, just a man with a broom." The man, limping and moaning, is escorted out by two of his associates, their bill paid up before their departure. Another ground of people take their table, numbering five and looking much more monied than dockworkers. "I have become very good at using it since my arrival." The serving girl returns, holding up an empty pie plate, pointing to the kitchen. To this, Ronas nods and hands her a second coin, patting her warmly on the shoulder. "The birds ate well and the floor is so much cleaner now. Look: the minstrels are even playing a better song." The sea shanties of before are replaced by a Lannister drinking song.

"How pleasing," Jurian says, looking at the empty plate. "I do like a tidy house."

"Prince Jurian," Ronas says, "I can think of no cleaner house than the Targeryans." He grins, sliding his own unifinished bowl of cherried candies to Jurian's side of the bar. "Of course, not everyone has the name 'Targeryan' in their mouth with a smile on their lips. Those," he shrugs, "May very well be dirty houses, indeed. Rat-infested ships, ferrying spoiled goods, using unsafe docks, traveling without proper permissions noted. Tsk, tsk." He raises his eyebrows, smiling.

Jurian heaves a faint, pleased sigh. Satisfaction with his meal? Or with what Ronas is saying? "We do like things tidy," he agrees placidly. "Not everyone will enjoy that. But…if they only got to know me, I think they would appreciate me."

Extending his hand to Jurian, Ronas says, "Then allow me to be the first to thank you for a fine meal shared and a lovely conversation," looking sublimely pleased. "If you should happen to find a house too dirty to merit your grace, Your Grace, then please, listen for my name and await my arrival. As a servant to justice, consider me an ally." He remains seated but looks quite happy.

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