|An Abrupt Interview|
|Summary:||The celebrity couple, Loryn and Miranda, brave the rain to have an early lunch at the Quill and Tankard. Upon discovering that their barmaid, Emmeline, was once a mummer, Loryn plies her with questions.|
Quill and Tankard, Hightower And Citadel
This is the common room of the Quill and Tankard, that famous Oldtown Inn that has never closed in five hundred years. The building is a noble old half-timber structure with plastered stone between the enormous old black beams. It sits on a small rock of an island at the edge of the Honeywine River, and is accessed by a little footbridge, or by water-taxi.
Rivermen and seamen, smiths and singers, priests and princes, Lords and sellswords, travelers both noble and small, and the novices and acolytes of the Citadel - all come for a taste of the fearsomely strong apple cider that makes this inn so beloved by Oldtown's people. There is a pleasant buzz of chatter, cups and tankards being filled and refilled, and general laughter.
The fire in the hearth allows for a merry glow and a comfortable warmth from Oldtown's breezy, misty cobblestone streets. Benches and tables offer places to sit, and there is a deliciously toothsome smell in the air of food from the back.
The summer rain weighs the air down with moisture. The windows of the Quill and Tankard have been thrown open to coax whatever hint of breeze might make it through the downpour. Not many have cared to navigate puddles and mud to reach the Quill and Tankard this morning. In these quiet moments, Emmeline stands gazing off at the Honeywine River, as if hypnotized by its rushing, swirling flow.
The gentleman knight has offered his velvet cloak to his lady wife though it doesn't do much good to keep the rain off of the pair of them. The resident Tyrells hurry across the bridge and into the warm dry confines of the tavern. Miranda sighs in relief when they make it in out of the summer storm and hands the wet cloak out to be hung to dry. "Goodness, that was unexpected," she says in a chipper tone. " Took my bath a bit early it seems."
"Believe me it's so much worse in the north.", Loryn tells his wife with a little grin, "It's more like a pleasant shower here… Well -" He rubs his hands in happy anticipation, "Let's hope Iris got some good stew prepared for lunch hour…"
The sound of voices snaps Emmeline out of her reverie. At once, the young barmaid appears on hand to accept the wet cloak. "G'mornin!" she greets with a bright, if a bit shy, smile. "Might I bring something to eat? A hot cider? And the place by the fire is warm and cozy. So cozy." She dips into a little curtsy, stepping back in the hopes she might lead the noble pair to the best table in the tavern.
Unfortunately Loryn looks thoroughly irriated by the appearance of the barmaid and doesn't move or … react much. "Who are you?", he simply asks, "Where is Iris?"
Emmeline hesitates at such clear irritation. Tentative with meekness, she murmurs, "I'm Emmeline. Iris - she's not here yet." As she speaks, her voice grows ever softer until it fades altogether. Her eyes shift to Miranda, uncertain, before she peeks back up at Loryn.
"I see." Loryn reassembles his features into a faint smile. "I didn't know they were hiring. And I'm here basically every day." He still sounds a little disgruntled but is ready to lead his wife to the table near the fire. "The usual please. I hope Manda's beef stew is still the same? And hot on the fire?"
Miranda nudges Loryn gently with her arm. "It's only a little rain, my love," she says soothingly. "It should clear before the show tonight," she promises with a smile. She let him escort her over towards the fireside table with an apologetic smile to Emmeline.
Emmeline nods, bobbing in an apologetic curtsy. "Yes, ser. Of course." Although Loryn provides a smile, the girl's caution doesn't quite fade. She peeks back up at them upon catching the mention of a show. But, not until she catches Miranda's smile does a soft smile return to Emmeline's features. Once the famed couple are seated, she murmurs, "The beef stew should be ready soon, quite soon. You will get the first bowls. I will bring first two ciders. Yes?"
"Sure.", Loryn agrees half-distractedly, pulling out a chair for his wife to sit down before he seats himself. He stretches his legs happily and pats his belly. "I hope Jon and Jimi will be here soon.", he tells Miranda, "They have written a couple new songs for the new show. Would be nice if you could hear them performed here."
" Cider sounds lovely," the lady replies with a warm smile. "And I am certain they can take the stage if that Dornish fellow isn't singing today." She takes the offered chair and smooths her emerald silks down around her, checking for water damage. "Miss, what's you name," she asks Emmeline with that gracious smile. "Don't mind Ser Loryn, he's just worried the rain will turn crowds away," she jokes.
Emmeline nods and turns, about to hurry off to the kitchens. Upon returning with two tankards of cider, she answers, "Oh. S'Emmeline, my lady. I've just started here." At her sides, she clings a bit to the fabric of her skirt. To Loryn, she adds, "I'm sure the skies are pouring down all the rain now so it will be clear and bright for the performance. S'how it goes. Heavy rain like this s'a good omen."
"They'll be in the next play. The songs I mean. They too, of course, but as musicians. I get to sing one of the new songs as the dashing young hero." He looks a little bit smug about that. When the barmaid returns, he gives her a closer look. "First job as barmaid?", he wonders, "I'm sure Iris will help you out."
Miranda nods to Emmeline. "Thank you, miss. I hope it does prove a clear night." Loryn is given a sweet smile as she looks back to him. "You do have a good voice. Far better than mine. I suppose I should get better at singing or playing an instrument for when we entertain guests," she says with a shrug.
With a light nod, Emmeline murmurs, "Yes, ser. Iris is wonderful. So kind and good to show me the workings here. She watches over well." And Emmeline might well look young enough to have only just started working as a barmaid. However, she adds. "Here, s'not my first time serving tables in a tavern. Was a mummer before, but tending tables was my first trade." She curtsies. "Begging your pardon. I'll go ask after your stew." And before further questions can be plied, she scurries off.
"Or when you join me on stage.", Loryn teases Miranda with a wink, but he does nod in agreement. "I could help you if you like. Or pay Mads to give you some lessons in your favorite instrument." He takes a sip of cider while he listens to Emmeline's introduction and suddenly the girl has his full interest. "You were a mummer?"
Oh no. The lady Tyrell is NOT the stage type. Her blue eyes widen and she shakes her head in fear, grabbing her cider as she sips. "I, ah… One actor in the family is enough." But the casually tossed comment does its job as Loryn watches the maid go. "Well there you are, a female player."
Having scurried off so quick, perhaps Emmeline had missed Loryn's sudden interest. Some minutes later, she returns with two bowls of beef stew and sets them on the table, unobtrusive as possible. But when Loryn asks her again about being a mummer, she paues before nodding. "Yes, ser. Mm. Bit of acting, but more, we danced - on the ground and in the air. We were fire-breathers, musicians, and acrobats…"
"You could still learn an instrument.", Loryn tells Miranda. Apparently, it's a thought he isn't letting go of yet. But when the barmaid reappears, he is mercifully distracted. "Who is 'we'?", he demands to know.
"I could learn the lute," Miranda offers quietly, turning pink. It's then that stew arrives and she digs in daintily with a relieved look as focus shifts elsewhere. Stage fright and she's not even on stage.
"My troupe," responds Emmeline in a soft tone. Head bowed, she peeks from Miranda to Loryn before adding, "We performed many places - all through Westeros."
The lute is noted mentally. But for now Loryn is focused on spooning his stew and listening to Emmeline. "Did you here? I know you haven't performed at the Whimsy for as long as I have been in charge there. What happened to your troupe that you are now waiting tables here?"
Emmeline drops her gaze. "Roads are dangerous. Suppose luck can only last for so long. Mm. But yes, we were here once. Long ago. Might be that we were on our way to returning. Seems I did though." She shrugs.
Miranda gives Emma a silent smile of apology as Loryn starts an interview. "Perhaps in Garvin's time," she suggests helpfully.
"Yes, perhaps in Garvin's time. And of course there are lesser theatres in town and some troupes just perform on make-shift stages in courtyards…" He arches one eyebrow slowly at Emmeline. Curiosity not yet satisfied. "I'm sorry that bad things happened to your troupe. Are you not interested in performing anymore?"
Emmeline smiles, glancing up at them. But she can't quite mask the haunted hint of pain in her eyes. "Mm. I don't have the heart for it yet, I think. A few nights ago, I sang a bit here, but… Mm, it's a bittersweet joy, still." She pauses. "I've been told of your theatre. It has become a gem of this city."
After demurely dabbing a handkerchief on her lips, Miranda offers, "You should sing in the Sept. Praising the Seven does bring peace to the heart. Perhaps even inspire you to sing for the world again, when your wounds have healed." She wears a prominent enough holy star at her throat, it's not surprising she brings up the Starry Sept.
Loryn nods in agreement with Miranda's suggestion. "And if you feel like performing again, come and see me at the Whimsy.", he adds with a little smile, "I can always use fresh blood. Or talk to me when you see me here, I'm sure we'll see quite a bit of each other here." He then focuses on his stew before it gets cold, mmmmhming along the way.
Emmeline bows her head in an appreciative nod. "Won't forget. Thank you." She glances to Miranda with a shy smile. "You're kind. I'd like that… though I don't know so many songs worthy for the Seven. Weren't so much what was asked of us."
"My dear wife knows enough songs to entertain the Seven for the entire year.", Loryn smiles, a spark of amusement in his eyes. He finishes the rest of his stew and pushes the bowl away from him. "Bring us some more cider, will you… Emmaline?" He's trying. "Seems the boys are late."
Miranda muses to herself, "I should write a hymnal…" she rather likes that idea. "Perhaps the storm has delayed them. Flooded streets and all that.' She eats far more slowly than he does, still working half her bowl.
Emmeline's gaze flits to Loryn, catching the amusement in his eyes. But taking the empty bowl, she nods. 'Yes, ser." And after checking whether she might be able to take Miranda's bowl as well, the young barmaid turns and hurries off without another word. And upon returning some moments later, she sets down the ciders, as unobtrusive as possible.
"Once you've learned to play the lute, you can write your own songs and hymns for the sept.", Loryn suggests, knowing how to motivate his wife. He nods a thank you to Emmeline when she brings the fresh cider and takes a sip.