(122-09-20) The Vintage and the Young
The Vintage and the Young
Summary: Loryn and Hellan encounter one another at the winery.
Date: 20/11/15
Related: None

Winery — Lower Hightower Street

The way down into this winery cellar is via a broad stone tunnel. After emerging through the archway at the bottom one is welcomed by the heady fresh scent of damp earth, rock and mosses as well as the sweet undertones of the wines and oak casks they rest within. The whole of this winery is underground, with walls and floors of stone blocks. In wet weather, water sometime weeps from between the stones. Some centuries ago, these chambers were likely above ground, but more of the city has been built atop them.

Near the entry tunnel there is a sitting area for people to gather with chairs and benches sorted round. At the far end of the main chamber there's another entrance, this one a dock to the Honeywine river. Grapes are brought in by barges. Often enough the finished wines sent out the same way, sparing the cost of transporting enormous barrels by wagon. There is a large and stained desk for the master vintner to keep her records, positioned such that she can see all the comings and goings from both street and river.

Other areas of the large winery lead off like an underground hive, pocketing around, some set up at higher areas which are accessible via stairs, walls harboring racks and racks of casks containing wines in various stages of fermentation and processing, along with vats for crushing of the grapes. The whole of the area is softly lit by candles and torches, lending a ethereal quality to the damp walls.

Loryn Tyrell needs to restock the wine cellars of Garden Isle. Since he's a valued customer, two employees are fluttering around him, suggesting vintages and bringing samples. Right now he's still somewhat sober, though for how long is anyone's guess. Picking the right wines is hard work and takes extensive testing after all. Slurp.

With few Starks at residence in the manse on Old Street, Lady Hellan has taken it upon herself to oversee various aspects of running the house here and there. The stocking — and tasting — of wine is a responsibility she is familiar with. She roams the great stone winery, barrel to barrel, a tasting cup in hand. Unlike the Tyrell, however, there is no one fitting about the lady; perhaps she has wandered from them and out again into sight, now, from one of the hive-like tunnels she need not be in. There is a slow, lost quality to her steps, and her rigid, pale face and dark dress give her the look of a ghost.

The ghostly appearance makes Loryn jump for a moment, but then he recognizes her and smiles. "Ah, Lady Hellan, excellent!", he greets her cheerfully, "Would you do me a favour and put your taste buds at my disposal for a moment?" He points at the array of half-filled testing jugs lined up helpfully on a small wooden table. The two helpers back off a little to give them space - or perhaps because they feel guilty about having lost the lady in the cellars earlier.

Hellan pulls her head back as though the man's cheer offends her senses. When she narrows her eyes at him, her attention in her icy eyes seem frosted over, however, as if she's not entirely seeing him clearly. "Is that you, Ser Loryn," the woman's deep voice searches. Typically, she speaks as though she knows everything there is to know, yet she seems vaguely and illogically confused by Loryn's presence. Nevertheless, she strides forward to the table, staring down at the array of wines. "Yes, of course." She empties the meagre contents of her cup into her mouth and sets it down.

"Yes, yes, of course it's me, Mylady.", Loryn confirms cheerfully and seeing her squint, gestures impatiently to the staff "Get some more light in here, man, will you!" One of them bustles off eagerly while the second stands by the wall, ready to be of service is needed. But Loryn's got things in hand now apparently, picking three jars which he sets down in front of Hellan. "Before I reveal their origin, would you please try these for me and give me your valued opinion, Mylady?", he asks hopefully. All three are reds and look pretty similar.

"Are you putting me to the test, Ser Loryn," Hellan replies with a bite of sarcasm, although she seems to amenable to the tasting. She seems to eye the wine with more clarity than she greeted the young man with. "Pour me the first, then. Planning for one of your parties, I imagine."

"No no, I just don't want the wine's provenance to influence your judgement, Mylady.", Loryn explains and pours some wine from the first jug into her tasting cup. It's a rather heavy vintage, good to curl up with by the fire on a cold day. "My parties yes, but Garden Isle in general.", he explains, "We're running a bit short on supplies and… well, it now all hangs on me, doesn't it? Not many others here in Oldtown right now…"

Hellan scoffs, "Influenced." She reaches for the cup. "I don't care if it's meant to come from the fanciest vines of the Arbor, if it's poor it's poor, if it's good it's good." She swirls the cup slightly and holds it near her nose to take in the heady aroma before taking a sip, then another. She nods and sets it back down. "I know how that goes," she agrees with Loryn. May the day be marked. "But I expect Garden Isle will be flooded with Tyrells again soon enough."

"Do you think so?", Loryn wonders curiously, "Have you heard anything? I haven'T heard word from Highgarden in a while…" Which could of course mean that the family is planning to spring a surprise on him. When she's done tasting the first wine, he refills the cup from the second jug, this one a lighter vintage with a rather fruity taste.

"It only goes to figure. There are so many of you," Hellan replies flatly. "Surely Highgarden needs somewhere to send their overflow." As she lifts this cup, she looks beyond it for a moment in pause, distant, before tasting. She pulls a face, grimacing outright. She spills the remaining wine on the damp floor. Next.
Huh? (Type "help" for help.)

Loryn's brow quirks at the reaction. Ooookay. "I think the overspill is headed for King's Landing and not here.", he says dryly, "Tyrells are not the academic types really, so Oldtown isn't exactly high on their list…" He fills the cup once more, this one heavy again, with a slighty smokey taste of oak barrel.

"Then one might suppose you should fashion Garden Isle to be more appealing, if you are so lonely." Harsh words punctuated by a lift of her cup toward Loryn reminiscent of a toast. More wine, always a good start. Hellan takes longer to consider the quality of this vintage, swallowing slowly and tasting again. "If it were up to me, I would choose the first. The second might appeal to the likes of your guests… the third is not bad; it does at least have the most intricate taste."

"I think Garden Isle is rather lovely.", Loryn replies, a little hurt, "And you know as well as I do, Mylady, that eligible young ladies don't drop from the skies. Heaven knows what they're planning for me up in Highgarden." He sighs a little, then falls silent to let her come to her final judgement on the wines. "I was favoring the fruity one.", he admits with a look at her. No surprise there. "But if you prefer the first to the third, I shall choose this for the riper visitors at Garden Isle." Zing. He nods to the staffer, who begins clearing things away and fetch a scroll for the substantial order. Loryn adds with a grin: "It's a rare wine from the Summer Isles I've been told."

Hellan gives a sharp, exacting lift of her dark brows at Loryn over 'riper', but there is a smirk to the edge of her mouth, and she breathes an ambiguous "hm" over the origin of the wine. She waves at the staffer and barks an order to fetch several casks of her first choice, as well, before he scurries off. "Perhaps if you brought a bride to Garden Isle, you could fill it yourself," she comments— as if idly. Her voice lowers to a bitter mumble. "But far be it for me to wish for more Tyrells in Oldtown for Wylliam to lust after."

"Don't tell me that he was much upset about cousin Janei being recalled to Highgarden.", Loryn replies with a smile that's only very slightly smug. Who knows if he had a meddling hand in that. Then he heaves a sigh, all that wine-tasting having made him talky. "Lady Hellan… I have twice given my heart to young ladies here and twice had it returned to me in pieces. I fear I am not very good at choosing a decent woman. So perhaps I should leave it to my mother indeed and wait to see what she'll spring on me in due course."

Over the subject of Janei, Hellan responds with a roll of her eyes and a minor smile that hints at her own smugness. It fades quick, and she listens to Loryn rather somberly. She could not be said to express empathy, but she does listen with a certain knowing, and that is more than can often be counted on from the Stark lady. With the cup no longer in her hand, she folds her hands tight over her abdomen. "Sometimes mothers do know best," she states, low.

The surprisingly somber remark has Loryn looking a little surprised but since he doesn't know how to respond to that, he lets it slide. He's glad to see the staffer return with the scroll and quickly gives him order for a generous amount of fruity wine and heavy wine. While the man scribbles, Loryn notices Hellan's hands going to her abdomen and he frowns slightly. "Are you quite alright, Mylady?", he worries, "Surely the wine wasn't off?"

Hellan's gaze had fell, and when it glances up, it bears a slight haze again. It takes a moment to clear, upon which she appears slightly annoyed that Loryn has noticed anything amiss. "No. It was fine," she states in simple fact, absent reassurance. "There is nothing …" The hitch in her breath is ignored. "For you to concern yourself with." She eyes the winery staffer instead, looming while waiting her turn.

Loryn narrows his eyes at that statement, but gets distracted when the staffer hands him the scroll to sign. This done and his mission at the winery over, he rises to his feet and offers an arm to Hellan. "Come, Mylady, some fresh air will be beneficial for you, I'm sure.", he offers, "I can walk you to the manse if you like, it's not far from the Whimsy after all…"

Hellan's jaw tenses upon the offer. She does not dismiss it, but she lifts her hand and steps toward the staffer to speak to him a moment, seeing to business. When it's sorted, she'll depart— and if Loryn so happens to by her side, she does not dissuade him, but nor does she take his arm.

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