(123-07-02) Provisions
Summary: Camillo and Tybalt seek provisions for a journey to Dorne; Esme makes 'em against someone's return.
Date: 07/07/2016
Related: None

The front door of a certain grocery shop on Oldtown Square (painted red and yellow, you know the one) is wedged open to let in the relatively cool morning air — and to let out a steady stream of small boys with baskets, at this hour being sent round the city as fast as their little legs can carry them. The connecting door to the butchery next door is arranged likewise, for the convenience of shop girls darting back and forth to combine the produce of one shop with the goods of the other, all under the eye of the shopkeeper herself, enthroned on her high stool behind the counter, offering commentary and advice upon the proceedings whilst serving those customers who have come in person.

Esme is brisk rather than talkative this morning, dispatching one and moving on to the other with a courtesy less personal than usual. And she is wearing a new dress, in the fabric of which wide green stripes and narrower red and white ones combine to unsettling effect. Where does she find such cloth? Only the gods could answer, were They not just as likely to avert Their eyes.

"And that's on your account," she agrees, sliding a handful of small coins (and one medium-sized) across to her side of the counter, and returning a quick smile; "and I do appreciate it, Mistress Elcey, I truly do. Thank you kindly." Her nose twitches; her gaze lifts past the departing housewife (and seamstress, now that her husband's down on his luck) to the pair of men just crossing her wide-open threshold, and then her eyebrows go up too. "This is a surprise," she declares. "Good mornin', you two."

It is early, but the cool of the day and the slowness of other customers can make that a fine time to visit a busy shop like Esme's. "Morning, Mistress Esme," he says. "I've had a letter and it seems that I'll be going to Dorne for a short while."

Tybalt's trousers are encrusted enough to stand by themselves. The rest of him is reasonably clean and he is even wearing a reasonably clean new brown tunic. A sharp eye might notice a small ragged patch where a hank of hair was cut, likely roughly, with a knife. He slinks in, behind Camillo, no sack in hand this time. He stands quietly, eyes averted from the sartorial horror.

From the moment Camillo speaks Esme has no more of an eye for Tybalt's trousers, than he for her cheerful new dress. She looks levelly into the servant's eyes from where she sits on the other side of her counter; and then she remarks, "I see. Well, thank you for comin' to tell me." Nothing in her tone, or even in her eyes, suggests that this news has any personal import for her beyond the temporary absence from Oldtown of a good customer and a sometimes-friend. "Anythin' you'll be needin' afore you go?" she asks then.

"I think we will be needing a few things," Camillo agrees with a little nod. "Provisions for the trip at least." He pauses thoughtfully to consider what items might be best to take. "And of course someone will be round with any additions to the regular Hightower orders while I am gone."

Tybalt thinks a bit, then adds, "The sort of sausage things that you slice and eat on bread instead of cooking?" He tries several Essosi words for types of sauson/salami type preserved meat. "Grits and dried berries maybe?" He looks to his better dressed friend for confirmation.

Esme glances from one man to the other as they speak, face carefully blank as Tybalt takes his vocabulary out for a canter; she speaks a tart word in an aside to Katla, the blonde shop girl in the blue dress with the suddenly limited understanding of the handwriting of the list she's supposed to be reading from, and then turns again to her customers with mild courtesy. "I see. Well, we'll fix you up with that sort o' thing right enough," she assures them, slipping down from her stool and immediately losing several inches in height, "though, if you don't mind my sayin' so, Master Camillo, it might be best if you send me word by just one o' the staff and let me know who it's to be. I've had a little trouble lately with one o' the big manses, funny orders comin' in and me not sure whether or not they ought to be filled. We sorted it out, mind," she reassures him, rounding the counter as she ties a fresh white apron about her waist, "but it's best to be sure, ain't it? I'd not like the Hightower to run short or be charged for somethin' wrong because there was some confusion about who ought to be orderin' what."

Camillo nods to confirm Tybalt's surmises. "Maybe a bit of cheese," he adds, "Lamp oil, and a couple of candles." He shakes his head at Esme's request. "No, of course," he agrees. "There will be only one man for you to deal with. I'll put it in writing to you. There should be no confusion."

Tybalt looks interested at the bit of gossip about funny orders from a mnse, but has the sense not to ask, "That's a good idea. Maybe a hard goat and a soft white? We can bring the rest of the cider…."

"Ah, now that's wise," agrees Esme, nodding to Camillo; "if it's in writin' then we'll all be sure of what to do. I'm out of goat cheese," this to Tybalt, "but the rest'll be no trouble." And she steps through the open door into the butchery, already calling out sausage-related orders which, to hear her tell it, take precedence over everything else that's going on at the moment.

Ducking back again she sets about gathering lamp oil and candles; "Your usual?" she asks Camillo for the sake of confirmation, though her hands have already made the right choices from the selection at the end of a certain shelf. "Let me think," she adds, "what else've I got that'd do well just as it is, without needin' much cookin'…" A distracted glance about the shop.

Camillo nods once. "Might as well," he says. "Then I can take whatever I need along." He glances at Tybalt. "Anything else we'd be wanting for the trip?"

Tybalt ducks his head, "I am used to living rough. Have you… a good bed roll?"

"Not really my kind o' thing," Esme apologises, shaking her head at Tybalt; "apart from food and drink that'll keep I only really sell little things, what people might want about their houses," she elaborates. "Nothin' that takes up too much room, or that there won't be much call for, see?"

The baskets go out, and come in again empty; the cured sausages arrive from next door; Esme sets the candles and the lamp oil next to them on the counter and bustles into her miniscule back room in search of cheese. Perhaps she's gone a moment longer than is really necessary. Or perhaps it's an unusually tough soft cheese, and it resists her efforts to apportion it fairly between another regular customer who'll be expecting a taste, and the men waiting.

"Goin' by sea, I take it?" she asks absent-mindedly, crossing her shop this way and that, dodging her underlings, as she gathers up what else is wanted.

"Not really," Camillo acknowledges to Tybalt. "But we can find an extra blanket or two somewhere. I am not very delicate." He nods to Esme at her apology, then looks to Tybalt about their route. "I confess I am not very good with the geography of going to other kingdoms." Which he still doesn't seem to think is a very sane thing to do.

Tybalt steps to the side to better study Camillo, "Are you a good sailor? If not, we might go by cart, I suppose…."

Esme keeps one eye on this domestic little exchange, whilst adding to the pile of this and that segregated at one end of her counter away from the other outgoings. "You'll want a sight more to eat, if you're goin' by way of the roads," is her only comment, "and down through the pass…"

Camillo tilts his head slightly. "I don't know," he admits. "I haven't sailed on the sea, really." He squints a little. "How much longer does it take by road?"

Tybalt's eyes linger on Camillo's face for several beats, "If we are going by sea and you aren't sure how you will take to it, we'll need mint tisane or fresh leaves for him to chew."

"I reckon you could beg some mint from the Hightower gardeners," puts in Esme — and then, having suggested a quantity of dried berries and had it approved, she sees about measuring out what she has with her usual precision.

Camillo nods vaguely at this idea that he might have to get on a boat and that he might be bad at it. "Do most people get sick the first time?"

Tybalt is still watching his friend with some concern. "The hold when we sailed south from Home was awash with…. My people sail and I don't really rember learning, but many land folk can't abide the sway…. Se is faster, Cam. If we go by land we'll have to camp, and there still will be a boat at the end, most like, but for not as long. How fast do you need to travel?"

Now Esme's attention is briefly reduced to half an eye and most of an ear, as she referees a turf dispute between two of her lads and makes it firmly understood that they go which way she tells them they go.

Camillo tilts his head a little. "I suppose if we are going, it is better to be there than to be traveling," he allows reluctantly. "And to know whether I can take the sea route back if we should travel with the Hightower party."

Tybalt nods, "Then you won't need a bed roll, though we should stop at the bakery next. It should not be hard to find a ship going that way will take us. I will negotiate that part if you have coin."

All they asked for has been assembled. Esme steps behind her counter and, at the mention of coin, clears her throat delicately and mentions what she'll be expecting in return for their assorted provisions. "Or I could put it on your account, dearie," she offers Camillo, "if that's more convenient at present."

Camillo shakes his head at Esme. "It's all right," he says. "I brought coin." He counts it out on the counter. "Thank you for getting everything together for us."

Tybalt nods and echoes, "Thank you Mistress Esme."

The coins glitter but briefly upon Esme's well-scrubbed counter before she whisks them away, confirming the sum at a glance. A small quantity of change is due and she pushes it across to Camillo, along with a casual murmur of, "And if you do happen to run into a mutual acquaintance of ours…"

Camillo nods his head once to Esme. "I'll pass your regards on to anyone I see that you may know," he promises. Whoever that may be. He takes his change and looks to Tybalt. "I suppose we ought to see to the passage." He looks back to Esme. "You're all right?"

Tybalt nods, "I'll find us a good fast passage for cheap. Wharfs I know well." He subsides, studying Esme now.

"All right?" echoes Esme, as though she has no notion what those two words might mean in conjunction. She reaches under the counter for a sack large enough to hold all the travelers' various purchases and bundles them into it. It may be that, to some, it's an oddly familiar-looking kind of sack… "Don't know what you mean, dearie," she chuckles, hands busy and efficient.

Then, she comes round the counter again to deliver the sack into Camillo's hands and lean her head nearer to his. "Tell him, please, not to come round here," she explains, in a pleasant enough undertone. "I'll meet him somewhere else — but not here, see?" She nods. "I hope you two have a nice safe trip," she adds, looking between them; "Seven bless and keep you both."

Camillo nods vaguely at his instruction from Esme and takes the sack. "Thank you," he says. "For everything. I hope I shall not be long away from Oldtown. But it's the pleasure of the Princes…" And so how can one predict it? He gives a nod to Tybalt to indicate that he's ready to get going.

Tybalt says solemnly, "May the Old Gods smile on your endeavors."

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