|Barmaid Career Perspectives|
|Summary:||The barmaids, Emmeline and Iris, have a talk.|
|Date:||October 21-23 2016 (OOC Date)|
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.
Another dawn broke unseen behind the dark clouds of an overcast sky. By mid-morning, the drizzle-soaked city remains cast in a dim light. None have yet ventured for a late breakfast or early lunch at the Quill and Tankard. It has been slow and peaceful. With no floors to scrub or tables left to wipe, Emmeline has drifted close to the fireplace to soak in its warmth. As she stares into the hypnotic flames, a sleepiness settles over her. Bowing her head, she rubs her eyes with the backs of her fists.
These are the hours favored by the other barmaid, with all the preparation work already seen to. Tables and benches cleaned, the floor covered with a fresh layer of rushes, tankards and mugs arrayed nicely awaiting to be filled by the barkeep. And Iris joins Emmeline by the hearth with a soft sigh of contentment, as she lets her shapely frame slump into a chair not far from where the other barmaid sits. A glance is given Emmeline, before Iris remarks: "Now all that is left is wait… And hope that the weather will grant us a bit more time of leisure." Well put words for a simple barmaid. Who adds after a moment, "How are you settling in, Emmy?" The tone is friendly, her smile is as well. Dark brown hair is worn in a braid, and today's attire is the usual brown dress with an apron of lighter beige.<OOC> Emmeline says, "How tall is Iris?"
Emmeline peeks over as Iris settles down. This morning, she is dressed as she ever is. It seems she owns only the one dress, or perhaps two of the same dark blue. Her hair flows loose over her shoulders. The question coaxes out a bright though still shy smile. "So well. Thank you." She glances off across the empty tavern, pausing before adding a bit more softly. "S'a bit new to me, to be serving so many nobles." She smiles over at Iris. "But, I think I'm learning well from you. Hope I am."
There is a surprised look, Iris gives her at the praise. "Tis not that difficult. Ask what they'd like to drink and serve it. Give'em a smile and you'll get a nice tip. There's nothing more to it, really." Blue eyes focus on Emmeline, as if considering her. "You're doing fine already. As for nobles…", she lifts her shoulders in a shrug, "they are as mortal as you and I, even if they usually have more coin…"
"Mm. I dunno. Just yesterday, I served one - he seemed…" Emmeline's voice trails off as she hesitates. "He asked where you were. Didn't seem to want me at all. Seemed irritated." She bites her lower lip before smiling a bit at Iris. "I think you are very good with the noble folk who come here. You have such confidence."
Emmeline blinks as Iris pins down Loryn's identity with such ease. She nods. "There was to be a performance. His good wife said he was irritated because of the rain." She tucks a loose strand of hair behind her ear, glancing off towards the fire. "Mm. He took interest in me when he learned I'd once been a mu
"Ah I see," Iris says, a bit of relief flickering in her gaze, and a hint if fondness as well. "I'm glad he's still taking care of the Whimsy. As with irritation," her hand gives a dismissive wave. "He's easily irritated. A common fault among people who are active in the theatre genre. His grumpiness usually fades quickly." Her eyes widen. "You were a mummer once? How… interesting!" Iris seems curious and excited about this revelation. "I didn't know! I can imagine Ser Loryn was interested. He is always looking for additions to his player troupe…"
Emmeline nods. "He invited me. Yes. S'pose I could be useful. I'm not so much for acting. I never spoke much when we did spin tales. I belong to the acrobats. Or I performed contortion. And I'd sing. But… mm… I don't have the heart for it yet. Told him as much." She hesitates. "And he left me cautious - the way he had no interest till might be that he could use me." She bites her lower lip, watching Iris with uncertainty.
"Ah…" A smirk forms on Iris' comely features and she tilts her head just so. "That's just how he is. Keeping eyes open for possibilities for his plays. I don't see why you shouldn't take the opportunity, should he have a part for you." Her fingers move to straighten the chemise she wears beneath the dress, the garment having slipped over one shoulder. "Why do you think, am I still working at the Quill? Because I can't rely on earning enough with starring in Lord Loryn's plays."
"Was a hard life sometimes," murmurs Emmeline with a wistful smile. She glances up at Iris. "You star in his plays? Often? Someone told me he paid well. If you could count on it, would you stop working here?"
"I would suppose as much," Iris says, when Emmeline comments on her former life as a mummer. "I've never been out of Oldtown. Born here. Raised here. Then thought I should aim for a secure income here at the Quill. Patrons are nice, but this ain't the Bawdy Bard. Which is good! I've thought about working elsewhere… I got offered a job once, at the Golden Maiden Winery. But nothing came of it." She shifts a little in her seat, crossing one leg over the other. "As for Lord Loryn… I owe him quite a lot. He taught me to read and write. He encouraged me to become an actor…" The expression in her eyes goes distant for a moment, thoughts drifting to pleasant memories. "He's a good sort of noble, if that is what you're wondering. He can be trusted, even if he can be a bit moody at times."
Emmeline listens close as Iris gives a far different impression of Lord Loryn than she'd first gotten. "Does sound like a good man," she murmurs, soft and subdued. "S'good you found him. And that you can work here. Much better here. I'm pleased to be here." She sinks a bit deeper in her chair and folds her legs up. Ankles crossed, she hugs her legs. Grinning over at Iris, she murmurs, "But I hope he will have more leading roles for you. To bring you delight and delight to others. I'd like to come watch you next time the stage is yours."
There's a slightly odd look Iris gives Emmeline. "Yes. It pretty much changed my perspectives," the dark-haired barmaid allows. "Yet I have to get a leading role… I starred in his play, the Pirates of Pentos, got a supporting role there. But that has already been some time ago. I should approach him about.a part in his next project. I just… wasn't sure, his new responsibilities as knight and husband would him allow to continue his creative work with the theatre.
"It was all that he and his good wife spoke of. And he seemed to be looking for you. Seemed irritated when he saw me instead. So, yes." Emmeline grins with a hint of impishness. "Yes, most definite, you should approach him. You will star and perhaps the lead role will be yours. What sort of story would you like best to be a part of?"
Blue eyes are lowered for a moment, the bottom lip caught between her teeth as Iris listens to what Emmeline has to say about Loryn and his wife Miranda. A brief flash of gratification in her gaze for the other barmaid perhaps to see. "You think so? I'm not sure… I can play very much anything I would think, from tragic heroine to the element of comic relief.", she states with perhaps surprising confidence for a barmaid.
"Mm. I think heroine would suit you best," murmurs Emmeline with a smile of shy sincerity. "But laughter is always welcome. S'good to be be… what's the word? Versatile? Yes, I think that's it." She tilts her head. "Do you sing as well? Or dance?" She pauses. "Are such things for his knightship's stage?"
"You think so?", Iris asks, looking a tad flattered at the compliment. "I would certainly like to have a leading role, but then again… his lordship has been making promises of the kind for some time." She shrugs, a chuckle rippling from her lips. "We shall see." To the next questions, she nods her head. "I sing pretty well actually, and dance now and then. Loryn has often used song and dance in his plays as well. There were a lot of songs in the Pirates of Pentos, that's for sure!"
Emmeline's soft smile brightens. "I'd like to hear your music. And to see you dance. And- and I hope he fills his promise." Sinking a tad deeper in her seat, Emmeline, tucks a loose strand of hair behind her ear. "What is the troupe like? Do the others all keep other jobs too?"
Iris makes herself a bit more comfortable in. her seat, one hand playing idly with her braid as she continues. "Ah… There is Madrighal, he is nice. He is good at making up songs, and a good person to have around. He is Dornish. Then there is Kelinyx, and some others. Mostly smallfolk, but sometimes we have nobles starring as well, like…" Words trail off and Iris smirks. "No, I won't tell you his name. Besides, I haven't seen the Vixenbane for awhile. Then there was Lady Ulyka. After all, Loryn often likes to play one of the major roles in his plays as well…"
Emmeline blinks at the mention of nobles joining a troupe of smallfolk mummers. But then, she nods slowly. "He'd mentioned that he was to sing in a new production. Mm. But Madrighal. He performs here. I saw him one night. It was so wonderful." She bites her lower lip, smiling. "I'd like to meet him. Might be one day, one day, he will teach me some of his melodies. That would be wonderful. And as you say, seems a good person." A sudden clatter in the kitchen draws Emmeline's attention. She sits up, about to dash off. But no shouts follow and so she settles back down. Glancing to Iris, she murmurs, "The nobles here, they associate a lot with us. Smallfolk, I mean. None ever spoke to me 'til I was a mummer. Always thought it was cause I was a curiosity - not so much a smallfolk girl."
"I've never experienced such a thing. In fact, I believe nobles think it is easier to seek smallfolk for company than people of their own station," Iris counters with another light shrug of her shoulder, the chemise once again threatening to slip down over it. "Talking flirting, even speaking of their worries of the day seems easier. I think, because with noble ladies, they always need to be so careful in what they say and do!" A light smirk there. "I mean… This ain't the Bawdy Bard, but when I sat down in Lord Lorcan Darry's lap some days ago, I never felt safer in my life.", she adds then with a giggle. "After all, he insisted I'd sit down, and I just assumed he meant his lap." Her blue eyes glitter with mirth. "The look he gave me… Seven Hells, he looked so shocked!"
Emmeline hugs her knees yet again and half-hides behind them. Peeking over at Iris, she nods. "He did. Mm. He's not from here. And I think it's different in other places? At least, before I was a mummer, nobles barely glanced at me. At least, that's what it seemed. Though… Lord Lorcan Darry found me later. Asked me to sit with him. He… he spoke to me for a long time. Told me many things. Tried to give me a set of lady's clothes. Even kept calling me lady." She bites her lower lip at the lingering sense of unease and confusion. "Dinnae seem right."
"He did… what???" Iris looks very surprised at this news, and cannot resist to lean a little forward, bringing her mouth closer to the other barmaid's ear to murmur her next words at a lower volume. "Seems he was after someone after all, hmm?" Leaning back with a low sigh and a roll of her eyes as if to say "Noblemen!", this darker haired specimen of barmaids shakes her head. "He was shocked by my forwardness perhaps. But it seems your tactic of…" One corner of her mouth lifts in a wry grin. "Playing the damsel in distress did catch his attention. Well, not that I thought that brute would take my action as encouragement to grab you and pull you into his lap. I am sorry 'bout that! But yeah… Seems you made an impression." She glances towards Emmeline, one brow lifting. "Did you accept the dress?"
Warmth floods Emmeline's cheeks as Iris murmurs such things. Shaking her head, she murmurs. "No. I dinnae accept it. Weren't clothes for me. Even the simplest cloak, it was too fine - too beautiful. We wore beautiful things as mummers, but never something a lady might wear." Half-hiding behind her knees, hugging them tight, she says, "I dinnae mean to play any tactic. And- and it was alright with the other man. He let me go. He said sorry. Was alright. And- and I'm thankful, very, very much, that you were coming to help." She smiles a bit up at Iris. "Made me feel that this was a safe place to work. Just like I'd hoped. And it hasn't happened again."
"Can't tell, Ser Loryn gave me nice clothes, 'cept for when I was starring in his plays," Iris admits with a slightly wistful look in her eyes. "But yeah. I s'ppose there is no way for our kind to wear lady's clothes ever, for others to see. I'm glad that ser apologized. No neewd to worry, this is a safe place. There might be the pinch to a shapely backside, and a bit of lap sitting happening, but nothing more. And only if you are okay with it." Summarizing it so nicely, Iris leans back in her chair. "You already made your point, and should anything likle this happen again, just tell the man "No!", regardless if he's smallfolk or noble. If someone likes to get grabby, tell him to go to the Bawdy Bard. The Quill ain't a brothel. Nor the Tooth an Nail."
Emmeline nods, smiling with blossoming relief. "Where I worked before, when I first came, it was a bit like the Toote and Nail, I think. Weren't… mm. It weren't such a good place for me. Although, the other barmaids were kind. Helped look out for me. And the tavern - it gave me a chance to work, to survive. I'm grateful, even though I'm much happier here." Her smile widens into a grin. "I'm glad to have met you."
So occupied by her conversation with the other barmaid, Emmeline is startled when the front door swings open and a rain-soaked gentleman gives a jovial, "Hullo!" At once, Emmeline is on her feet, but perhaps Iris will be the first to recieve the customer. Emmeline scampers off to ready whatever Iris might need to fetch.