(123-02-06) The Pink and the Green
The Pink and the Green
Summary: A Dornish minstrel with a party to give searches the city for the ideal libations; he comes across a shopkeeper in Oldtown Square who might just be able to help…
Date: 07/02/2016

A great confluence of delivery boys with empty baskets, overexcited by the hint of an oncoming storm in the air and keen to finish their rounds before it breaks, are milling about the counter of the red and yellow grocery shop in Oldtown Square being issued with light rain cloaks and injunctions to mind the puddles. Well, three anyway. It just seems like more to Esme, especially when they're all talking at once in high-pitched and overlapping voices.

Madrighal ties his horse up outside and steps into the shop. He is small, but still a bit taller than the proprietress. He looks about with some interest, but there is a touch of disapointment there too.

"… And that's for number twenty-two, mind you get at least a silver moon from her first, and— Kip, will you keep still for a single instant in all your days!" Esme concludes with an unexpected sharpness which notably fails to shatter her grandmotherly facade, given the words are uttered whilst endeavouring to encloak a small boy against the oncoming rain.

The ensuing, "Sorry, Mistress Esme," comes in the barely bashful tones of the repeat offender. She glances beneath the oilcloth cover of one of the baskets lined up on the counter, entrusts it to him with a warning glance which does sober him to a degree, and sends him off after the others who are already scattering with a quick smack to the back of his pointy-hooded head. "And don't come back in here with muddy feet!" she calls. Then she turns to the last customer who came in, smoothing her white apron over her green and orange dress as she inquires, "Are you looking for something in particular, goodman?"

Madrighal wipes his feet just in case anything has stuck to them since dismounting and comes further in, "I fear the things I need may be more…expensive than what you have here, though indeed you have many fine things. I have been up and down the town for hours looking and am not having much luck." His accent marks him as a Dornishman, and he does look rather worn out by his search.

"Oh," and the little shopkeeper's wrinkles shift into a sympathetic arrangement, "that's too bad. But what is it you're looking for? What I don't have in myself I often know where to find…" she suggests encouragingly.

Madrighal steps close to her, a subtle touch of a soicy citrus scet in evidence about his person and he drops his voice, "Last year, the Princess Visenya threw a rather… notorious party. There was some sort of pink liquor from Essos that people were drinking. I have been trying to find a barrel of it for a party a certain nobleman will be throwing, but no one is sure where she bought it."

Whilst the shop girl behind the counter tallies up neeps and beans Esme folds her arms over her chest and inclines her head toward the young Dornishman's, in a confidential posture mirroring his own. She smells of the most ordinary soap in Oldtown, and nothing more. She nods slowly. "I think I may have heard something or another about a liquor like that…" Her gaze lifts from the impeccably clean floor to meet his. "It would've been quite an unusual party, I should think," she muses, "if what you mean is what I mean."

Madrighal nods, "I think we speak of the same tdrink. This party got rather out of control, according to a friend of mine who went. They did not understand quite how strong the effect would be."

Godsfearing woman that Esme is, her expression becomes slightly pained at the confirmation. "Yes, that'll be it," she agrees. There's a pause. "Are you sure that's the stuff you want for this party of yours?" she asks, because she must. "If it's only something exotic and out of the way you're looking for, the Volantenes distill all manner of things less— memorable."

Madrighal smiles a dazzling smile at her, "I would also be interested in these less memorable drinks, but the party the pink liquor is wanted for is small and private."

"I see." But that brings a different sort of doubt into the little shopkeeper's ancient visage. "I don't know that it's worth my while for a small quantity," she murmurs, "considering how tricky it can be to get hold of in this part of the world… or over there, for that matter." She pauses. "Though if you're interested in foreign drinks I do still have a couple of bottles of something you might find suitable. Distilled from wormwood." She unfolds her arms and points discreetly to a high shelf he may not have noticed, being scarcely taller than she is. "Don't let the green put you off."

Madrighal shakes his head, "I will want a barrel. If they like it, we expect to serve it on more than one occation…. Wormwood? I have no parasites, but I will keep you in mind if I get any. What I am interested in is things they might like to sample at small intimate parties."

… Parasites? Esme draws away at that, shaking her own green-scarfed head and letting out a low chuckle. "That's just what that is," she insists of the green bottles on the high shelf, unlikely though it may seem to him, "but if you don't trust me, and only that pink swill will do—" She draws in a breath and inclines her head again toward his. "When d'you need it?"

Madrighal says, "I am interested in hatever you might have in the way of interesting Essoi intoxicants, but the pink stuff would be appreciated. I know it is hard to get short notice and I am willing to wait."

"I understand just what you mean, goodman, and that's why I keep telling you I've four bottles up there," Esme nods, lifting her eyes again to the shelf, "of a peculiarly potent green liquor popular in Volantis and beyond. Anyone who buys it, I warn 'em not to try to drink it as it is — it's usually taken diluted, with sugar. I don't know how long it'll take off the top of my head to find the pink stuff you're after, but that's the best I have now and I'd be doing a man of your tastes a disservice if I didn't mention it," she explains patiently. Really, these Westerosi and their limited palates…

Madrighal looks as if suddenly enlightened, "Oh! I thought you were offering a remedy for worms. People… get odd ideas about my appearance. I shall take them then. you could send to me at the Acacia club when you find the barrel of the other…. I don't suppose you carry any hair oil from the Summer Isles?"

"About your…" The shopkeeper glances up and down him and shakes her head. He's on the small side, but not really any skinnier than she is, now is he? But she can't pretend not to have gathered what he meant; she adds, "That's not very good of them, is it? I'm sorry I gave you cause to think I was making such a personal remark, goodman. Now, I can find you Dornish hair oils as easily as you can get them yourself, I daresay, but anything from the Summer Isles — I'd have to ask a favour of a swan ship captain I know and that too might take a little while. It might end up a little expensive, too."

Madrighal gives her one of his warm smiles, "It is nothing. No harm intended nor offence taken. I myself usually buy my oils from a swan ship captain, but the one I deal with must have changed his route or is slow in arriving. It is no emergancy, but it seemed tiome to find a second source. I have coin. What do I owe you for today and what would you be wanting as an earnest for the rest? I am Madrighal Sand, achknoledged of Toland, by the way, if you have word for me. I have rooms at the acacia and they know me well there."

Now, that's Esme's next two questions answered at once: she gives him again that encouraging grandmotherly smile, which suggests in a manner at once humble and fond that he's been a good boy and she's proud of him. "It's a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Master Sand. For the green," again she avoids having to pronounce the foreign word for it, "since you're taking all four…" She names roughly the sort of sum a fellow must expect to part with for rare plonk from over the seas. "If you don't like to carry so much I'll send one of my boys round with it directly, to the Acacia and Leopard." She nods. "And if you could put down the same again towards the pink, I'd take it very kindly, thank you. I'll send you word as soon as I've an idea how long it'll be, and I'll see what I can do about your hair oil too. It's not out of my way at all," she assures him; "I often find little things of this nature for my regular customers, to save them the bother of hunting for themselves."

Madrighal produces the silver without demur, "It would be most helpful to have it delivered, thank you, Goodwife. It is truly a pleasure doing business with you." He gives a polite bob of his head.

That handsome quantity of silver is received with a courteous word and counted at a glance before the shopkeeper's work-worn palm closes about it; she does like a customer who knows what he wants and is willing to pay. She accompanies him to the threshold of her shop and sees him out into the first falling drops of rain with a warning to mind how he goes, it looks like a bad one. He'll hear from her soon. Most certainly he shall.

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