(123-11-06) Short Pig
Short Pig
Summary: Tybalt lays on a memorial feast for Camillo's late father; Esme is invited to attend.
Date: 01-13/11/2016
Related: People Die, We Do Things.

Tybalt has killed a good pig and has been slow roasting it a good long time, carefully basting it with some sort of apple hickory concoction. Best not to ask the origin of the pig, but be sure he said prayers to the Old Gods on behalf of the dead man as he prepared it for the spit. He has borrowed (or stolen, it's hard to tell with Tybalt) a spit dog from somewhere and it is doing the work of turning the meat for him. He has set out blankets for lounging on and dragged a log to lean against. He's got a small barrel of good cider from the Quill to start people off and an alarming amount of scrumpy set by for when people are lubricated up enough to not mind the taste. He has wooden tankards and trenchers set by, with extras to offer hospitality on anyone stumbling on their fire. The sun is going down now and Tybalt has changed into his best tunic and a strange set of clean (!) trousers. He is fresh washed and braided for the occasion.

Camillo turns up in his green shirt, which is mended down the arm right where he was wounded not long ago, but mended so well it is hardly visible except close up. He looks a bit solemn, but his bag is bulging more than usual, so he must have brought provisions. In one hand, he carries a large bottle of ale, and in the other arm a very simple rag rug that someone could sit on. He lifts his chin in a kind of greeting when he sees Tybalt, and sets the rug on the ground, and the ale by the cider barrel. He pauses to look at Tybalt. "You didn't have to dress finely just for this," he says, bobbing his head in a sort of grateful gesture nevertheless.

Esme was the first guest the lads thought to invite, and surely it was her pies they were thinking of as well as her company. She doesn't disappoint: dressed up in her blue wedding dress, the best-cut and most finely-made article in her modest but garish wardrobe, with a hand-knitted shawl about her shoulders to protect against draughts now that winter is on its way, she arrives with a basket over her arm and makes a beeline for Camillo. "There you are, dearie," she says, sounding pleased by her discovery of a fellow she must have known would be present. "Ain't it a fine evenin' for you? Oh, good evenin', Master Tybalt, I didn't see you there," she fibs. "Where d'you want me to put these, then?" she asks, smiling at him and hefting the basket.

Tybalt comes right to Camillo and clasps his forearms, "It is your father's funeral. It is right that I come clean to the feast." He turns a smile on Esme, small, but friendly enough, "It was kind of you to come. A man should have his friends by him…. By the cider, I think, and help yourself, Mistress Esme. Perhaps we should all fill a tankard before we get started proper."

Camillo looks seriously back at Tybalt, making eye contact, and at last he nods. "Thank you," he says quietly. "Sorry to ask you out so far," Camillo says next, once he's turned to see Esme in her good dress. "Afraid we'll be very simple tonight," he says, with regard to the need to put the basket on the ground. He frowns thoughtfully at the environs. "Tybalt, do you think the cider cask there is sturdy enough for a seat? We can put the rug on it for Mistress Esme."

"Oh, by the—" Esme echoes, nodding; and she aims for the barrel only to stop and look over her shoulder and chuckle to Camillo, "Then what'll we do if somebody wants a drink and I'm sittin' on it?" She tsk tsks, kneeling down on the edge of the blanket nearest the barrel with an audible crackling and popping of knees. "Now, I did bring a cushion to sit on," she claims, "and that'll do me nicely, dearie." And, indeed, a cushion one or the other of her hosts has surely sat upon in a chair round her kitchen table comes first out of her basket, followed in short order by a pair of pie-tins wrapped each in a linen cloth, and an aroma of baked apples and warm foreign spices.

Tybalt looks Camillo square in the eyes, expression showing that he does mean it. When Camillo mentions the cask, his eyes go wide, "Oh! your knees. I didn't think!" He draws the cider first so they might have some to drink with dinner, then moves the cask from its stump, draping Camillo's carpet over both so she might choose the best height. For all his rudeness to the nobility, with her he is as courteous as another might be to some great lady, despite the humbleness of the place. "It's all right, Mistress Esme. We've got Cam's ale and plenty of scrumpy too. It's best have a bit of food in our bellies first before we get to the tales and toasting."saaaaz

Camillo quietly approves of Tybalt making options for Esme's seating, and takes the mug drawn for him. "It is kind of both of you to be here," he says. "Truth be told, I have never much done…this sort of thing. I left home young. And from then there was not so much…call for mourning."

"Oh, you are kind," says Esme to Tybalt as she looks up at him making arrangements for her comfort. She sounds sincere and admiring and appreciative; she stands, with another small chorus from her knees, pats his hand, and plants first her cushion and then her posterior upon the rug-draped tree-stump. No matter what he says about the cask of cider not being wanted too much straight away, she knows better! "That's very comfortable," she declares, "bless you both." She accepts the offered mug of cider, the very same kind she keeps in smaller quantities in her own kitchen, and holds it in both hands and sips. "Ah," she says, "that does hit the spot after a good walk."

She's quiet when Camillo speaks of his gratitude, and his youth. "Well, dearie," she says after a moment, "I'm glad for you that your life hasn't been so full of mournin' as some, and that now the time's come as it does for us all you ain't markin' the occasion all alone. I think it's very proper of Master Tybalt," she gives him another approving nod, "to do as he's done."

Tybalt's finger lightly touches Camillo's entirely gratuitously, "It's proper to mourn and most proper to do it with friends. You might use the barrel as a little table, Mistress Esme…. I do not know what prayers you say for your dead, but would either of you like to say them?"

Camillo tilts his head a little. "I've had sadness. I've missed people. Just…in a different way," he says. "But it means…I don't know how to do any of this properly." He looks to Tybalt, gaze lingering briefly. "I did go to the Sept earlier. To light another candle. I do not know if people here in the city, with more formal ways, say the way we did when I was a boy. In my village, when someone died, as I recall, we would say, to the Smith, to forge a path, to the Crone, to light the way, to the Warrior, to clear enemies aside, to the Maiden, to purify the soul, to the Mother, to forgive, to the Father, to judge mercifully, and to the Stranger for what comes after." He has bowed his head while intoning this prayer, but now he looks to Esme. "Is that anything near what people should say?"

Esme bows her head with such simultaneity that it might be by prior arrangement with Camillo. When she looks up at him again she gives him an encouraging smile. "I think that's just what people should say," she maintains firmly in the face of her younger friend's diffidence and self-doubt. "I've heard similar since I've been livin' in Oldtown," she confides, "but I think your words are a mite prettier — and in his death a man ought to have the words from where he lived, because those are always the ones mean the most." She nods.

Tybalt bows his head and lifts up his hands as Camillo says the simple words, so clearly they suit well enough for him. He keeps his head bowed for Esme's prayer, then adds something solemn and pretty sounding in his own tongue, chanted almost musically. At the end he adds for their benefit, "May those who loved him have full bellies and may his best qualities live on his his family and friends in all the cold places they may walk." He reaches one hand out to each to clasp. "The words you are used to are best, I think. A funeral feast is for grief and comfort both.”

Camillo nods solemnly, but gratefully, at his two friends, lifting his hand to clasp Tybalt's. He clears his throat. "Thank you both," he says. "It is… Well. I don't know…what to say, but. I am glad to…have said a prayer. With you."

Esme's grey head dips again upon Tybalt's words, to which she listens in a respectful and wholly attentive silence, as though by sheer will she might tease the meaning out of those foreign, northern words.

Then when that's done she unfolds and refolds her hands in her bright cornflower blue lap, realises of a sudden that Tybalt means her too, and rather shyly offers him her small and work-worn left hand with its gleaming golden ring of knotwork thorns. Her gaze darts from one young man to the other and she lifts her head a bit further and smiles. "That was very well said, Master Tybalt," she adds; and to Camillo, "And I'm glad we're here to hear it, dearie."

Tybalt gazes at Camillo with an uncharacteristic softness, "This is where I want to be." His hands are thick with calluses, but tonight, even the nails are clean.

Camillo gives a single nod, looking shyly down to the ground. "I brought bread," he mentions, glancing back up at the two of them. "Do you…want any?"

Clearly it would break the young man's heart if anyone were to refuse his offer of bread. Esme squeezes his hand and says, "I think that would be very nice, dearie." She nods again. "… And I reckon there might be a jar of my apricot jam still in the basket," she hints meaningfully, "if we were to look."

Tybalt says, "I would love to share your bread and left me slice you both some good pork. I want to share food with you, Cam." He flashes Esme one of his little smiles, "Jam sounds lovely."

Camillo lets go of Tybalt's hand and goes to his bag to pull out a loaf of bread wrapped in a cloth. He tears off hunks and hands one each to his friends, then glances at Esme's basket. "Shall I…?" He isn't one to look in a friend's bag without asking.

His reticence is appropriate; but Esme encourages him with a nod. "Go on, dearie," she says, because as it happens she left the cheese wires, the poisoned daggers, and the grappling hook and length of stout rope in her other basket. Indeed the basket yields up apricot jam in a sealed jar of cheap and uneven glass, a few cloth napkins employed to keep things from jostling against other things as she walked, a second and woollier shawl just in case — the nights are drawing in, and little more. "… They were the apricots," she adds inconsequentially, "my husband brought me back from Dorne. But he wasn't my husband then, o' course," she chuckles. "Too many to eat just by ourselves, and what a waste it would've been if we had, with winter on the way. Seems the northmen," a small nod to Tybalt, "were quite right about that. Stands to reason they would be." A second, deeper nod for emphasis.

Tybalt is precise while slicing choice slabs of meat for himself and his friends to go with Camillo's bread. There is an air of ritual about it. "In the north, we know winter." He studies her sideways from under his hair, "You have wed recently?" The tone is polite, not disbelieving, if that makes sense. He does not know her well beyond business, but is willing to make the effort.

Camillo comes up with the jam and perhaps a spoon, and sets it on the ground in front of him. "Do you want jam?" he asks Tybalt, in a tone quiet enough not to interrupt the talk of winter and marriages.

Of course, Camillo's not a gossip, is he.

Esme becomes self-conscious at Tybalt's question, no matter how courteously he means it: she sits up straighter and laces her fingers together in her lap and clears her throat quietly before admitting, "Ooh, well. Nearly two months ago I s'pose it was, now. Don't know if that's still 'recent' or not," and she looks down at her hands in her lap, and fiddles with her ring. "Funny how quick a body can can get used to a thing," she observes wryly.

Tybalt says, "Thank you, yes, Camillo." His tone is approving, "It is good to wed a man who brings food to his courting with winter coming." This said as food is being passed about.

"It feels recent to me," Camillo mentions. "It was a very nice occasion." He calmly puts jam on Tybalt's bread for him, then passes the jar over to Esme. And picks up his cup, and drinks.

The new bride ducks her head. "It is, isn't it?" she says, agreeing with the northern perspective. And, having been given something to do with her hands, in the form of bread, and jam to be spread thereupon, she sounds more sure of herself. "He never once brought me flowers, d'you know that?" she points out, busy with the jam, showing herself adept with every flick of her knife. "Always nice things to eat. Right from the start he knew I'd like that better, in any season. But speshly now." She nods. "The Seven could witness how early I start puttin' things aside for the winter, but I don't reckon it's ever too early, is it? When the weather turns and it's cold and wet and everybody's gettin' the sniffles or worse, that's when you need somethin' good to eat, to keep up your strength and your spirits. In the summer it don't matter so much. Funny how it's the wrong way round," she observes. And then, with an apologetic look for Camillo as she passes the jam back to him: "Here I am goin' on about nice things we might eat later on — and forgettin' to be grateful for havin' such nice things to eat right now. Shall I say grace, dearie," she asks him, "or would you like to? It's your evening," she points out fondly.

Tybalt takes a bite of his bread and jam, a thing they both brought to share, then cuts a slice of pig to eat from the point of his knife. He flashes Esme another little smile, "You have my congratulations.." There is not even a hint of anything but respect in the tone of his congratulations. "You are a wise woman to plan so well ahead." He looks startled, "Oh! Prayers over the meal. I did not think!" He sets his knife down and looks expectantly at the southrons.

"No, please," Camillo says, with a gesture to invite Esme to give the prayer. It's a testament to his trust for Tybalt that he doesn't keep an eye on that knife. He has a habit of doing so with people he knows less well.

When Esme's neat and tidy grey head is bowed it tends to tilt slightly toward Camillo and away from Tybalt, giving her left eye a better line of sight towards the northman, the pig, and the knife. And when she's holding her head straight of course she pays constant attention to him as the evening's host, which is only polite, isn't it? … And again that bow, that subtle tilt, as with Camillo's encouragement she repeats the grace he has sometimes heard at her table, its words altered the better to suit the present occasion.

"Maiden, Warrior, Smith, Crone, Father, and Mother above," she says quietly, "we thank You for our friends and our kinsmen and all those we love, and for this evening we're spendin' in such good company. We thank you especially for havin' had the chance to get to know Master Camillo this year, so's we can stand with him as he mourns his father taken up into Your care. And we thank you for Your bounty which we're about to receive. May the food nourish us and the friendship warm our lives, now and in the coming winter; and may we always invite You into our homes and into our hearts. In the name of the Maiden, the Warrior, the Crone, the Smith, the Father, the Mother, and the Other, amen."

She lifts her head and takes an appreciative bite of her bread and jam.

Tybalt is respectfully still and silent for the prayer. After he says, "That is a fine prayer." His shoulders relax a hair as she takes her bite, and it is Camillo he looks to next to see if it is all right to eat.

Camillo doesn't seem reluctant to eat. He bites off a hunk of the bread, then reaches for pork. "I am grateful too," he says. "For the friends I have made. It's… I've not often had many people to be close with."

Esme hastens to swallow her first bite (taken to spare the men any anxiety over whether and when to begin eating) and say, "Thank you, Master Tybalt." She then helps herself to a morsel of pork from the trencher placed within her reach on the cider barrel serving as an impromptu table, saying to Camillo, "Well, that's one o' the nice things about livin' in a city. There are so many different kinds o' folk to choose from, for friends." She smiles and tries the meat; her features shift at once into an arrangement suggestive of approval. Again she hurries to swallow. "That's very finely done, Master Tybalt," she praises; "you and your dog there are to be congratulated."

Tybalt moves a little closer to Camillo, "Have you any stories of him you would like to tell in his memory?" He starts eating in his wolfish way. The pork is very tender and the smokey apple glaze suits the meat well. "He'll need to go back to the man I borrowed him from, but it's best to have a dog on a night where there's to be so much drink and hands are apt to be unsteady. I… want this to be done right, for Cam's sake."

"Not…right now," Camillo replies to Tybalt's invitation, drinking instead. "I suppose it is different in a city," he agrees with Esme. "But…also there are special people here."

Esme nods gently when Camillo refrains from telling tales. One way or another it isn't what she'd expect from her reticent friend. She has another bite of the glazed pork while the men are speaking and then asks, casually, "Special in what way, dearie?" as she reaches for her cup of cider.

Tybalt squeezes his shoulder, "Maybe with more drink in you later." He himself is washing good bread and pork down with plenty of cider. "If you need more of anything, Mistress Esme, let me know."

Camillo tilts his head a little. "Just…different than I've known," he says after a long pause to look for an explanation. "Brave. Kind. It's not often people have asked what I was thinking in the past." He looks back to Tybalt and nods vaguely. "Pork's good," he mentions, eating another morsel and then drinking what's left in his cup.

Sipping cider Esme thinks through Camillo's words and then offers, "I reckon there are brave people and kind ones too most everywhere you might look, but I think sometimes when you know people for a long time you don't necessarily see them clear and true. You see a bit o' them, and you get an idea into your head about what they're like — might be true enough, might be only one little bit o' the truth — and then you just see that idea of yours, at least till they happen to do somethin' so surprisin' you can't help but notice the difference. And quiet as you are, dearie," she leans forward to pat Camillo's hand in a motherly manner, "I reckon there might not be many who see you true, and understand what a kind-hearted man you really are."

Tybalt shares out Camillo's ale on the grounds that tankards ought never be empty and it's a bit early yet for scrumpy if they want to stay coherent. He gives them each a little smile for the compliments to his meat. He is lavish with them tonight, it seems, and straighter of back if one is noticing, not furtive at all. "So's this jam and bread." He nods, "You are kind and patient."

Camillo tilts his head slightly at what Esme is saying, but he's listening carefully. He rolls a shoulder. "It's just…been different before," he maintains. "But I'm glad for what I have now. He drinks from his refilled cup. "It's true that not many have…seen me."

Esme nods. "People get the wrong idea," she says sympathetically, "and then they forget to… keep lookin'." Her gaze shifts then to Tybalt — what a coincidence — and she smiles. "Would you let me be very cheeky, dearie," she says, "and ask you how you do that glaze?" A nod to the pig. "I don't roast meat at home — I ain't got a dog," she chuckles, "and in any case it's more work than I've time for, most days, but I'm wonderin' if I might do somethin' similar for my husband. I think he'd like it," she confides.

The barest tip of Tybalt’s long forefinger delicately touches the back of Camillo's hand. His eyes are even more serious than his tone, "I see you." He ducks his head a little bashfully, "I don't know a lot of recipes, but the ones I do, I know well." He rattles off the proportions and method to her. "What is he like? Your husband, I mean, besides sensible about food and courting?"

Camillo squints a little at the ground, at nothing in particular, then shifts over a couple of inches so that his leg touches Tybalt's leg. "Esme's husband works at the Hightower, as I do," he says. "They're well matched."

The bashful bride ducks her head again and continues her campaign of not noticing the way the two men are creeping nearer and nearer by the minute. She's eating more heartily now, so that when she leaves them alone — it won't be too long, she thinks — they won't feel obliged to press more food upon her before she goes… She clears her throat and agrees with Camillo. "Aye, he looks after Prince Dhraegon Targaryen," she explains, "him who married Lady Marsei Hightower end of last year. And Master Camillo helps to look after the Hightowers, so you've a bit to do with each other, haven't you? … Though it weren't one of them introduced me to the other," she chuckles, shaking her head and lifting her cup for another sip, "they just both happened to come into my shop for things." She sips again, and puts down her cup. "He's a very nice man, is my Flox," she confesses to Tybalt. Her eyes are smiling. "Patient and kind and very clever too. He's good with my son, and he's always pleased to turn his hand to whatever needs doin' round the house. The kind of fellow who's always tryin' to make the world a bit better than it was before him."

Tybalt's fingers brush Camillo's knee before he goes back to eating, his beads glinting in the firelight. "Those are good qualities in a husband. I am pleased for you to have done so well…. Shall we get out the scrumpy for toasts do you think, or would people like more meat first?"

"Yes," Camillo confirms. "We work together some of the time. I believe him to be a good man, although I don't know him as well as Esme does." He looks over to Tybalt and nods, making a gesture to the harder alcohol. "I think so," he says. "If we're all getting enough to eat."

"Couldn't never have been anyone else to suit me half so well as him," is Esme's quiet concluding remark upon Flox, after which she drinks deeply from her cup of cider the better to wash away any lingering romanticism. "… I might just have another wee bit o' that fine pork of yours, please, Master Tybalt," she says, "if you've enough to spare…? I reckon the walk gave me an appetite," she laughs. She doesn't decline scrumpy — she's not planning on swallowing it in any case, so it hardly matters if it winds up in her cup…

Tybalt raises his eyebrows in amusement at the image of Camillo knowing Esme's husband as well as Esme, but says nothing. Instead he carves them all another slab of meat and pours and alarming amount of scrumpy into three fresh mugs, the strong smell of apple based moonshine strong enough to make itself known over the scent of roast pig and hands them round. "Shall we drink to you and your husband first then?"

Camillo lifts a mug. "I will," he says. "To a fine match." Simple enough toast. And he drinks. Then has another hunk of bread to help dispel the aftertaste of the liquor.

It may be that Esme's lips twitch right about the time Tybalt's eyebrows go up; but the drinking of cider provides suitable camouflage. "… Oh, I don't know that that's suitable," she protests; but then Camillo's already drinking to her marriage, and it's too late to stop it. Aside from the tone of her voice she appears rather pleased, looking down into the mug of scrumpy she's now holding in both hands and then stealing a glance up at the lads again.

Tybalt touches his cup to Camillo, "May they live peacefully in well-fed warmth all of their days and may they live long." He takes a drink and helps himself to a bite of Camillo's bread, eyes mischievous.

"Yes," Camillo agrees to Tybalt's toast. He smiles a little when Tybalt steals from his portion of bread, certainly not minding. His gaze cuts toward Tybalt's mischievous eyes. "And may all of us live long and be well fed."

The precise terms in which Tybalt wishes her and her new husband well, turn Esme a trifle pensive. She waits till Camillo has spoken too and then clears her throat and says firmly, "That part I can drink to, aye. Long life and full bellies for you both." And she lifts the mug of scrumpy and affects to drink from it, whilst doing no more than wet her lips; and then she chases away its supposed taste with a sip of her cider and a bit more of the pork.

Tybalt smiles and ducks his head a little, touching mugs again, "That too." He drinks again. He studies Esme through his curtain of hair, "I really do wish you well though I was late to it." Delicately, he reaches for Camillo's hand, "I am told you know."

"Mistress Esme is very understanding," Camillo says softly by way of oblique confirmation, letting his hand slip into Tybalt's. He glances Esme's way. "She has always said kind things to me."

"Know…?" echoes Esme, as though she's not sure what Tybalt could mean by such a discreetly freighted statement. Then Camillo makes it plainer, just barely — really, it takes the both of them to say one thing — and her face registers sudden understanding. "Oh," she says, "o' course I know that. I just didn't know it was quite such a secret, that's all," she says by way of explanation. She picks up her mug of scrumpy and suggests, "What about this one, eh? To findin'— love," there's the barest of hesitations before she can say the word out loud where people might hear it, "when you weren't suspectin' it in the least." She shifts forward on the rug-draped tree stump, holding the mug out at arm's length to try to touch Camillo's and Tybalt's.

Tybalt holds the hand openly, tilting his chin up, proud as a lord in his way. "I… wondered if you'd be wanting to come help me braid his hair in a month or two, when it gets long enough. As a friend and witness, like." Then he is looking down and blushing at the word Love, though he does lift his mug to touch hers, mumbling, "Friends are important."

Camillo nods, leaning to touch Esme's mug with his own, meeting her eyes—for once. "To that," he says. He drinks, then sets his mug down, looking more shy about this hair-braiding business. "It's…a kind of… Well, Tybalt tells me that in their…land they have…a sort of different…way…"

If Camillo hadn't looked away so quickly, if he'd managed to maintain eye contact through multiple utterances, he'd have been spared the latter — Esme's clever and kind dark eyes are quick to light up with understanding. She has hardly lowered her mug after letting the scrumpy touch her lips again, when she sees, and gives Tybalt to understand with a glance that she sees.

"I see," she informs Camillo softly, because he isn't looking. "I was glad to have you there at my weddin', dearie, and I'd be honoured to come and witness whatever you two reckon needs witnessin'." She looks to Tybalt again with another smile. "I hope you'll let me be the first…?" She makes that word a subtle question. "To congratulate you both, and wish you joy together."

Tybalt drinks more scrumpy to hide his ongoing embarrassment, then sets it down so he might lightly touch the ends of Camillo's hair, "For the matelage, he needs longer hair, even if only for the one night, and it's best to have someone to witness the oaths. The braids take a while anyway and you've skilled fingers and you already know us, see. I have been hunting out the prettiest beads and the most perfect shells." Lightly, he touches his blush burned face to Camillo's shoulder. "It is a kind of binding, like becoming family, between warriors or sailors or the like."

Camillo bobs his head as Tybalt explains it a little more clearly than he managed. He looks embarrassed, too, faintly pink across the nose and cheeks. "Thank you," he says to Esme, either for the congratulations or the agreement to witness.

It's possible Esme is enjoying not being the most embarrassed person amongst those assembled here. Though if she'd had to keep on about Flox much longer in the name of polite conversation, she'd be just as inclined to look away and possibly squirm… "You just let me know the right day and time," she says firmly, "and I'll have one of my neighbours sit with Edmyn again. There's a very nice woman three doors down who still owes me a favour or two from when I watched her lads when they were growin' up," she chuckles. "… I'm glad there's somethin' like that you can do for each other. Shall I bring you a pie? Is it the kind of occasion that's suitable for pies?" she asks anxiously.

Tybalt gives her a relieved look and reaches for his scrumpy again, "It is the perfect time for pie, Mistress Esme. You are very kind…. we are all clearly far too sober. Perhaps more toasts?"

Camillo clearly has no clue whether pies are appropriate for this mysterious ceremony or not. But he's not slow to pass his cup over for a refill. "To, um. Rebirths and renewals," he proposes vaguely.

Esme affects a nervous chuckle at the proposed loss of everybody's sobriety, but toasts willingly: "Rebirths and renewals," she says firmly, smiling from Camillo to Tybalt and back again, "and startin' as you mean to go on, hair an' all." This with a dip of her head to Tybalt. She drinks again (or pretends to, anyway) and then lets out a comfortable sigh. "I'm right glad you lads invited me to come and see you tonight," she says firmly, "and fed me all that lovely pork— I'll not be forgettin' that recipe, Master Tybalt," she assures him, "thank you kindly for it. But I reckon it's about time I set my feet toward the city again, and let you lads finish the real drinkin'." A friendly wink.

Tybalt pours them another round, "Rebirths and renewals!" He taps cups and drinks, pausing after as he takes in esme's words and leaning in to kiss Camillo's cheek, expression shy. "I will try to remember to, to write it for you later." He lifts his cup, "To those we love remaining with us in spirit and memory!" After he drinks he peers at the departing Esme, "Would you like some pig to take with you? Are you sure you must go? We've not gotten to the singing yet."

Camillo received the kiss perhaps as shyly as it's given, but by no means unwillingly. His gaze drops but lifts again, goes to Tybalt, then back to Esme. "Will you be safe to get to the city on your own, Mistress Esme?" he asks. "I was very happy we could share a cup. And give you something to eat. When you are always so generous with me."

Esme beams at Camillo, in motherly appreciation of his good manners. "Oh, I daresay I'll be all right," she says; "it ain't far and I know the way, don't I?" Leaving them no time to argue, she arises from her treestump and rattles on: "Now, I'm sure I should say 'no', but I don't have the heart to turn down a bit more o' that pig. Edmyn and I'll have it for our breakfast," she says, still beaming as she adjusts her shawl about herself and fishes the other from her basket, "and I'll be sure to tell him who cooked it up so well for us. What's the dog's name, d'you know, dearie? He'll ask that," she chuckles.

Tybalt quickly cuts her some good thick slabs with lots of basting on, "I don't know the name…. Perhaps it's best to make one up? He goes back where he came from in the morning."

Camillo smiles a little when Esme mentions Edmyn asking about the dog. "I hope he likes it," he says softly. Then he looks thoughtfully at the dog. "I think we should name it. It often sits by the fire. Why don't we call it Ember?"

As she wraps that second shawl round her head and anchors the ends of it beneath the first shawl round her shoulders, Esme eyes the poor spit dog, working so hard and nobody's given him any pork yet. She smiles at Camillo again. "That'll do nicely, dearie. Oh! Oh, are you sure that ain't too much?" she asks Tybalt anxiously, as he offers such a generous quantity of napkin-wrapped pork for her basket's journey home. "Well, if you're sure," she says, "thank you, both o' you, and gods bless tonight, eh?"

And she picks up her basket, smiles again at all gathered in that circle of firelight, and sets off through the grass and along the path toward Oldtown's brighter smudge upon the horizon, safe in the knowledge that there are no creatures between here and there more terrible than she is herself.

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