(123-10-10) This For That
This For That
Summary: Camillo gets to know Sal. That's the deal.
Date: Oct 10, 2016
Related: None

Harbour Street - Oldtown

A narrow cobblestone street overlooking the Docks, snaking northward into Oldtown Square at the heart of the city, and curving westward to the harbourfront. Lined with aged stone buildings, these support the weight of timber-framed over-hanging houses that look none too steady. The dockside can be seen quite clearly from the street, with the Whispering Sound beyond.

The shops here deal with the business of the sea. Fishmongers with carts and stalls, heaped full with fish of all kinds, cry their wares. Taverns and brothels await the coin of sailors fresh from the docks. The shabby Widow's Walk Pension house stands here, awaiting tenants. At the south end of the street, nearest the docks, stands the Beakhead House, a structure made from the wood of a wrecked ship, with the curved beakhead tip of her bow serving as an awning over the door.

An array of strange temples, with stranger gods depicted upon them, are tucked away at the far end of the street. Opposite from them stands the slightly shabby-looking Sailor's Sept.

The brown ceramic jug Camillo his carrying is surely not something that would appear on a Hightower table, but one could expect to see it used in the kitchens, or pouring at the servants' dinners. Likely he's just bought it from a vendor in Oldtown Square and is bringing it down towards the tower.

The distant clamor of all manner of sailors' voices, the rhythmic drums of Oldtown's patrolling warships, and general bustle of the docks drift toward Camillo, the usual colourful mixture of chaos-and-order of a port city. It is with a rapid beating of feet and a booming shout that it further spills onto these very cobblestones. A helter-skelter explosion of pigeons and gulls taking flight to escape the intrusion is the second herald. Through the obscuring wing-and-feather, a dark-haired figure in long billowing sleeves, a torn-sleeved gabochon-styled leather shirt and trousers, none in fine shape, comes barreling. She - for it is a woman, despite the piecemeal garb of largely men's garb — has the distinct look of someone running from something, and though she's fleet of foot, her pursuer, yelling "stop!" with a tone of authority, is not far behind.

Sal shoulder-swipes an elderly fishmonger and jumps over a drunk who's managed to only crawl a dozen feet from the tavern before passing out; next in the quick line-up is Camillo, but rather than avoid him, she runs at him and his pottery head-on, quite determinedly grabbing for his arms with every intent to shove him directly around in the way of the member of the City Watch on her heels with no apparent concern for him nor his fragile merchandise.

Camillo has a good grasp on the jug, but as soon as hands grab for it— or for him— the piece of ceramic is sacrificed, smashing on the packed earth while Camillo instead sidesteps and grabs his assailant by the collar, pulling her swiftly into an alley near the Ragpickers' Wynd before he's even gotten a look at her. On the plus side, this may (or may not) get her out of the field of vision of the watchman pursuing her. On the negative side, Camillo isn't letting go. "Who are you?" he hisses in her ear.

Being pulled by what she had fully intended to be a prop in her desperate getaway is the last thing Sal expects. Instinct, already kicked into high gear, nearly sends her elbow into the man's face in the second before she finds herself in the alley. "Who am-who the fuck are you!" Her accent speaks of common slums from here to Fleabottom— but for a lilt of something not-quite-Westeros. She squirms up a storm in Camillo's grasp, clambering at the stone wall as though she expects to scurry straight up it. "I didn't fuckin' do anything— !"

The watchman seems to think otherwise. A strong-armed, bald-headed man with a severe silver beard, he comes to a sharp halt a few storefronts away, getting his bearings. Harbour Street is waking up this time of day, confusing his sights with sailors and septons, fish-sellers and flesh-sellers. He quits his yelling and tromps more carefully past the jug resting in pieces in search of his quarry.

Camillo gives her a little shake by the scruff of the neck like a cat with a rebellious kitten, and pulls her another few steps into the alley. "Quiet yourself if you don't want the watch bursting in," he whispers. "Why's he chasing you?"

Sal's oversized garb obscures the rise and fall of her chest, yet it's vividly obvious that her heart beats fast; the sheen on her skin is less exertion from her wild sprint and more nervous sweat, and her whole body practically pulses with the urge to flee even when she stops trying to literally climb the wall — at least for this very second — to answer Camillo. She eyes him in-between watchful glances to the mouth of the alley; her consideration of dismissing his query outright is vivid across her furrowed brow and in her suspicious squint. "Because he had nothin' fuckin' better to do, how'm I supposed to know," she spits, voice down; if there are nerves in there, they're disguised as confident cursing. " … I was only looking. What'd he expect me to do, strap a ship's whole bloody cargo to my back 'n' run off with it?"

The watchman crosses the alley - on the other side of the street, poking his head between two shops. His steps are slow and pondering. He's halfway between careful and giving up.

"You were trespassing on a ship?" Camillo surmises. "But you didn't take anything?" He points his chin at the mouth of the alley. "Let's go up the Ragpickers', I'll buy you something to eat if you'll tell me honestly what's happened and what you are."

"No, just— they'd unloaded onto the docks," Sal replies as though offended at the concept of trespassing, words forced through a jagged whisper as she cranes her head and watches the City Watch cloak wander back down the street. Maybe he's decided she's not worth his time. Maybe he's making another sweep. "What I am?" She seems to hear the rest of what Camillo has said all at once, belatedly. "I'm a bloody three-headed dragon, what does it look like!" After her biting sarcasm, she takes a deep breath that tenses all the muscles in her neck and stretches her mouth into an uncomfortable wince, making a deliberate effort to come down from her hot head. "Look, I… what're you doin', mate. I don't need your charity, I'm the one should be thankin' you. Hm?" Her turnaround to sincerity is tainted by the suspicious way she looks at Camillo again, but she goes on determinedly. "I demolished your … your whatever that was, I'm sorry. What was it worth? I can pay you back— "

"What you are," Camillo repeats stubbornly. "A thief, an orphan, a stowaway, a flowerseller…I would like to know. Having a bite to eat and telling me a few things will pay for the jug." He turns the girl loose, lifting his eyebrows to see whether she might see that as a more even deal.

She thinks he's lost all sense of logic, if the incredulous look she gives him is any indication. With her freedom, she glances away, scratches her chin on her rough leathered shoulder, sniffs, and wanders her way into a sort of agreement. "You're a shit barterer," she states, "… but all right. If that's all it takes." She eyes him up and down with narrowed eyes. "But only if you tell me who you are too, eh? What kinda man you are who'd help someone like me marked by the Watch and take payment in words."

"My name is Camillo," the man says, nodding solemnly toward the Ragpickers' Wynd. He seems to expect the woman to go ahead of him. "I'm a servant at the Hightower. And I've lived long enough and poor enough at times to know the Watch isn't always right. And I like to know where and around who I should tell my errand boys to watch their steps. Of course, I realize not every story I hear is true."

The woman goes ahead along the wynd, but looks immediately back at Camillo over her shoulder. Now that she knows he's a servant at the Hightower, she studies him anew. "I'm still learnin' the ways of the Watch. Probably serves me right, hey?" She doesn't sound like she actually believes that. There's heavy hesitance the pause that follows. "…Sal," she offers. The confession - of merely her name, which is far from special - is reluctant. But she owes him that.

Camillo hasn't pulled any weapons or done anything else suspicious while he's been following. "I'm pleased to know your name," he says softly. "As for the ways of the Watch, they're probably as varied as the ways of man. Will you have a pork bun?"

Sal gives Camillo a funny little look, a hint of an amused smile — just a hint — skirting the edges of her lips. "Yeah," she agrees casually enough and gestures up Ragpicker's Wynd. "If you tell me where I'm goin'."

"We can go through the butcher's shop to the baker next door," Camillo suggests. "Or where you like. You're not a stranger to the Undercity, are you? And Oldtown Square's not far." He doesn't have many funny looks of his own. He seems solemn and serious about getting a pork bun or two.

The hint of amusement around Sal's mouth hops to a glimmer in her eye. "You seem to be the expert on pork buns, mate," she points out. "I've hardly been here a month."

"Oh?" Camillo asks, a gently leading syllable that invites more of a story as he steps forward to take the lead toward the bakery, by means of cutting through Esme's butchery. Someone in the butcher's shop greets him and he lifts a hand, but proceeds through, then goes to the counter at the bakery and orders two pork buns. He pays. When they come over the counter, he passes one to Sal.

The only place Camillo leads her is to the bakery. She doesn't offer up an explanation for how she came to arrive in Oldtown so easily. Or perhaps she's distracted by the butcher's, peering every which way and back toward where she knows the adjacent colourful grocery is attached. She watches him pay, takes the bun, and wastes no time in taking a hearty bite. "Remind me what it was ya wanted to know," she prompts; she gives him a lop-sided grin with a flash of teeth and gestures with food in hand. "Can't promise I can tell you everything. A girl's gotta keep her mystery, yeah?"

Camillo starts in on his bun, too. "About you," he says. "Whether you get chased by the Watch often. Whether you deserve it. What your line of work is." He shrugs his shoulders. "I can't make you tell me anything. But what you /will/ say."

Sal wanders further away from the baker's counter, considering Camillo with high-raised brows while she chews. She holds up her hand with three fingers spread — a gesture that is somewhat lost with a pork bun still in her clutches. She stuffs the remaining half down into the front of her shirt into obscurity without batting an eye. "One: first time runnin' into the honoured Oldtown City Watch, can't say I'm a big fan." Her pointer finger lowers. "No! Not for— like I said, I was only taking a look. I was readin' the name on a box, maybe that's a bloody crime in Oldtown." Or if you look suspicious and poor. Middle finger lowers. "I'm…" Her counting hand drops to her side on the exaggerated swing of an arm. "A juggler now, I guess that's it."

Camillo lets Sal make her own space as she pleases, remaining rooted to the spot, chewing on that pork bun. "If you're a juggler, do you work for Ser Loryn or on the street for yourself?" Camillo wants to know.

"Neither," Sal replies, partially to be contrary. "I was juggling on the street, but now I'm outside the Whimsy. I don't work for him, just…" she screws her face up — it lends itself rather well to such expressions. " — around him. Mutually beneficial." She shrugs. "I guess it's all right." So 'all right' that she's apparently tucked a pork bun in her shirt for later, but never mind.

Camillo does actually seem amused by Sal's quibbling on that point. He smiles a little. "I see. And you're safe? You have a place to live and food to eat?"

Sal briefly wiggles her brows, silly, when she spies Camillo's smile. "Well, you know how it is, yeah?" He said he's been poor enough; she, in turn, watches him with a knowing expectancy that he understands. "For now I've got a place. But I've got a kid brother, don't I. Things can change," she crosses her arms as tension grows in them, her mouth flattening to a more solemn line, "if I don't earn my way." Just as fast, she shrugs again and her expression is vivid, bright, flashing with a wide smile: as though she hasn't a care in the world. "But I always do, eh! Whatta you care anyway," she says, reaching out to slap him on the back as though they're friends and didn't just meet when she tried to use him as a human shield.

"I know how it can be," Camillo confirms without seeming to assume that he knows how it is with this girl. "How old a boy?" he wants to know, before being slightly surprised at this back-slapping. It isn't that he seems offended so much as he appears not to know what to do in the face of it. So he finishes off his pork bun.

Sal, seeming entertained by Camillo, shrugs. It's practically instinct; it takes her a moment to realizing she ought to actually answer his question, particularly since that was part of the agreement. "'Bout ten. He doesn't have anyone else." She jabs her thumb the way they came. "I should get back to 'im."

"There's places that could use a boy of ten for running and errands if he's healthy to work," Camillo points out. "Not least the Hightower. Something to consider. It is a good house and we look after the boys." He dips his head once, perhaps to indicate that he expects it may not be a welcomed suggestion, or one that can be considered quickly or lightly. "Something to think on. Seven keep you."

The suggestion startles Sal; it's something she hadn't considered, and the notion … sits strangely in her mind. She nods distractedly — she'll think on it — and starts to wander off. She stops to say, "If there's anythin' else I can do to make up for … you know, breaking your shit." But she doesn't exactly offer a suggestion or even a clue as to where to find her again. Her well-meant offer simply hangs in the air and she puts a scurry in her step as she makes for the exit.

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