|Sharing Is Caring|
|Summary:||Thanks to Camillo, a few residents of the pension house officially meet over meat; also, the problem with sailors.|
|Related:||This For That, That For This|
Widow’s Walk Pension House
Tybalt is not much around the place, but likely has been glimpsed occasionally in the halls or more likely up on the Widow's Walk, gazing out to sea. He is a taciturn and forbidding figure, having an ugly scar marring his right cheek, greasy hair with little braids decorated with beads and shells dangling among the loose portions, and generally having an unwashed smell that proceeds him. Today, however, he is actually clean, the trousers so dirty they can stand up on their own and the grubby tunic of indeterminate colour having been changed for a clean green tunic sand cheap, but clean trews. He taps on Sal's door, head ducked bashfully and face turned to hide the scar. He is holding what looks to be something greasy wrapped in canvas. It is around dinner time.
Camillo happens to be with Tybalt, in decent but ordinary clothes, his shirt the ordinary greenish-brown of vegetable dye, his customary bag slung over one shoulder. He stands a step behind Tybalt as the corridors are hardly broad in the pension.
The sound of laughter emerges, muffled, from behind the door. It is distinctly Sal's, for it is a boisterous sound occasionally heard 'round the dinner table downstairs or, indeed, through this very door since she took the room at the pension house months past. Sal mostly keeps her company limited to herself and the boy under her care; not much is known about this particular tenant, except that she became synonymous with the giant cheese roll, and that she peddles entertainment (of the wholesome variety) near the Whimsy.
The laughter stops a moment after the knock on the door, and a longer moment unfolds in silence before she decides to see who's calling. The door opens nearly all the way at first — revealing Sal's expectant face and a dimly candle-lit room behind — only to close to a suspicious sliver. "Was expectin' the landlady," she explains somewhat curtly in her lively not-quite-from-here but not-quite-from-anywhere accent. Faced with Tybalt's formidable form, it's questionable whether she's even noticed Camillo. "You're too late for cheese, if that's what ya want."
The distinctive smell of roast venison enters through the crack. Tybalt's got an odd accent, a mix of the far North mingles with slaver's Bay, the old damage to his mouth causing a slight hiss and slur unless he is concentrating. his words are a little slow and halting, and his voice manages to be gravelly and nasal at the same time. "Cam said you gave him that nice cheese. We have more meat 'n we can ewat ourselves. Thought you might like to share it."
Camillo seems to approve of Tybalt's to-the-point explanation. "Sin to waste it with winter coming on," he mentions quietly."
Sal's eyes go narrower than they already are, matched by a frown. She packs a lot of skepticism into that thin mouth even when she's quiet (which she is, but not for long). She looks Tybalt up and down like he is, quite frankly, a strange, staged spectacle to be beheld. And not to be trusted. She narrows her eyes particularly at that incongruous bashful expression. She stretches her arm enough to open the door a bit more and leeeanns to one side to eye Camillo. "That's right bloody neighbourly of ya, isn't it," she says to the pair, not sounding at all neighbourly herself. Just then, a round face appears at her hip, staring at the source of the toothsome smell. "You're like a dog to meat," she comments down to the hopeful, sandy-haired boy … and her frown almost gives 'way. With a grand, conceding — but just a tinge amused — roll of her eyes, she lets go of the door and steps aside, gesturing inward.
Tybalt glances at Camillo with a subtle look of aproval at his comment about waste. His face is not a particularly expressive one, and only a sharp eye is likely to catch it. He gives the boy an attempt at a smile, the stiffness of his right cheek and the missing teeth on that side, likely making it more fearsome than intended, "He's a clever lad then. Meat'll make you grow big and strong, won't it?" He slinks in, dangerous and sinuous as a snake. "Mayhap it's coolish by now. Had to cook it outside the Walls."
Camillo slips in behind, a more unassuming figure than the sailor. He nods to Sal and the boy. "You're the only other ones I know who live at this pension," he comments to Sal and the boy.
The boy beams, albeit with a nervous edge, as though one wrong move from Tybalt and he may bolt like the unfortunate deer that resulted in this meat. Sal strolls in with her arm about him, making sure the door is shut. In what passes for better light, it's easier to see that she's wearing the same long-sleeved, long-waisted, over-worn shirt Camillo has seen her in before, minus the leather, but she also wears a pair of new-looking tan hose in good repair. A belt and a similarly decent if simple tunic (coincidentally, also green) are slung over her chest of meagre possessions.
A couple of well-used candles sit in modest holders on the floor where Sal and the child were sitting earlier, near the single straw mattress. The other mattress is only sparse straw and a wool blanket. There's also what looks like a downturned mask of some kind beside the candles, which Sal casually kicks into a dark corner. "Venison, y'said? Why's that then?"
Tybalt shrugs, "Best guards not see it, and I can't cook here. S'good meat though." He half hides behind his curtain of hair and braids, "You won't tell, will you?" After some thought he adds, "Silly rule. I killed it, so clearly s'mine, not some fancy Lord's."
"I think there are things that the nobles can't easily understand," Camillo puts in softly, "Like the preciousnes of food. So there are things it's better for them not to know."
"Oh, right. Poaching." Sal tips her head back, understanding what now seems obvious. "Heard about that. It's a big deal here, yeah? Well. I'm not about to go runnin' my mouth off to make some noble lord feel important." She crosses her arms and sort of gestures at the men with one bent elbow, a bit discomfited. "Thanks, I guess. More for 'im than me," she adds with a nod of her head toward the boy, who stands just behind her staring at Tybalt. She shares his curiosity for different reasons. Namely: "So who are you?"
Tybalt rolls his eyes, "so they tell me. Some Southron mandness. Don't want to tangle with the guards though. M'Tybalt." He croaches to be more on a level with the boy, whom he addresses. "Nice to meet you."
Camillo looks between the other three in the room, crossing his arms. "Sometimes Tybalt will share a catch with me," he mentions. "So I shared some of the cheese I bought off you with him."
The boy continues to be totally quiet; he just blinks at Tybalt with small eyes, probably wondering if that venison is going to be unwrapped any time this century. It's Sal who answers. "So then I reckon ya already know who I am," she says with a pointed look to Camillo, but turns to humour, cracking a thin smile even while she sets a protective hand on the child's shoulder, "The queen a'cheese, as it were."
Tybalt doesn't seem to mind the boy not talking, "Not your names. Just that you might like a bite and your lad might want to see where I work." He sits crosslegged and opened the canvass so it makes a sot of picnic cloth to protect the floor from the meat juices. He has most of deer here, carefully butched and cooked with an herbed bast. "You hungry, lad?" He slices a piece at random and eats it off the tip of his knife to show it's all right.
Camillo squats down and lets his bag off his shoulder, looking at the hunks of cooked meat, then glancing to the boy and Sal herself. "You finally sold off the last of it?" The cheese, that is.
The boy nods and makes as if to surge down toward the array of meat, but halts and looks up at Sal. She meets his eye, gives a little nod of her own, and sits down cross-legged herself making a semi-circle with the men. The boy eagerly falls to his knees and reaches for the venison.
"Sold more but ate the last've it," Sal clarifies with a smiling flash of teeth. "Oh, 'n' we got yer ship," she tells Camillo. Her smile may be cool and casual as can be, but it is notably uncomfortable around the edges, not certain how to react. "Assumed it was you anyway, otherwise I reckon I've got somethin' else to worry about." Remarkably, this is enough to distract the boy — briefly! — from the prospect of food. He digs in the sewn-on pocket of his increasingly threadbare tunic and hauls out two small carved wooden ships that were jammed almost impossibly inside. One is smoother than the other. He holds them out proudly for all to see.
Tybalt says, "Cheese went well with the…" He says something in another language. Frustrated he explains, "Little hard sausages you don't have to cook with peppers in them?" He looks to camillo, curious, "You have a ship?" Then he sees what the boy has, "Ah! You have two ships! Very nice!""
"Yes," Camillo admits, about the toy boat. It's only when the two toys make an appearance that he smiles. "I'm glad it suited, then." He doesn't say more than that, not wanting to overdo it.
Sal gives a little nod of vague gratitude to Camillo, and that's that. The boy sets down the toy ships in his lap, takes a piece of venison and starts in on it. "Hey now slow down," Sal says in hushed, fond chastisement given the oversized hunk of meat in the boy's hands. She looks to Tybalt, who she still studies every time she glances at even though her tone has turned friendlier. "'M glad it went well with your…" she manages a not-far-off approximation of his foreign answer. "I fuckin' love those things. Whattaya do for work that's so fascinatin'?"
Tybalt flashes Sal a tiny grin, "Me too. Mistress Esme sells 'm." He has another slice, "I guard the Stark grain. Warehouse and Ships. Depending on where th'grain is. Thought the lad might want a good look at the ship."
"I told him," Camillo puts in, while motioning to Tybalt to cut him some of the meat, "That I left the toy ship in return for the good price you gave me on the cheese. Seeing as how the boy seemed to like ships."
By now, Sal's pulled a very small knife out of her boot — made for small chores, not much more — and cut a piece of meat for herself as well as shaved down the boy's portion so that he eats more politely as a result. Mid-chew, she shows an immediate wariness as Tybalt talks about his line of work, though her younger cohort's ears figuratively perk. "Ah yeah?" she queries, brows rising up high. "Where's the ship now?"
Tybalt cuts Camillo a big peice and offers it to him on the eating knife. He must have caught something of her reaction, "I'm not sworn. I'll not swear to serve any man. I'm just in the way of friends with Tellur Snow and he put me in the way of a bit of coin. Ship's in harbour just now if you were wanting a peek at it."
Camillo takes the piece from Tybalt's knife, casually trusting the man to hold the blade steady and not endanger his fingertips. "But no hard feelings if you don't like the idea of going down right away, I'm sure," he adds.
The boy's eyes can convey a lot for being so small. He looks up at Sal with a contrary mixture of hopeful enthusiasm and a wariness not unlike her own. "Y'know we oughta steer clear of the harbour," she says regretfully, giving his hair a tousle. She sighs afterward, letting her head fall to one side and looking like she wants to reconsider, looking back and forth between the men. "Only thought ya might be a sailor," she says to Tybalt. "Ya've the look've one."
Tybalt's hand is steady for his friend. He nods agreement to the no hard feelings. Mostly he is watching to make sure the boy is getting plenty to eat. "I've been a sailor, aye, but I've been trying to stay close to port of late." He studies them, "You have trouble with the customs men?"
Camillo looks curious about the answer to Tybalt's question. He doesn't say anything just then, but he is listening closely as he chews.
"With the customs men?" Sal mimics incredulously. Anger seeps into her voice, though it might not be for Tybalt specifically. "Nah," she dismisses with a grimace. She takes a deep inhale that puffs her chest out and an exhale that's ragged with annoyance. "Thing is though we've got a beef with a group've sailors on account of they don't look too kindly on us, 'n' they've got far-reaching pals, so I can't be too careful, can I." She slices a piece of venison in hard hand a bit too ferociously while unerringly looking at Tybalt. "The bastards could be anywhere."
Tybalt shrugs, all casual and pretending not to notice the implied accusation. "You'd be with Stark guards while you're there and Cam and I would walk you home after. If you were wanting to risk it. I'm good with an axe, though I don't look for trouble."
Camillo looks vaguely troubled to hear of these unknown sailors with a grudge against Sal and the boy. "That sounds like quite a burden to bear."
Sal raises her brows at Camillo, an expressive series of furrows folding in her forehead in agreement. "Tell me about it. Bad enough we have to live here so close to the harbour with all sorts comin' in and out of the front door," Tybalt included, as it happens, "but at least I can keep an eye out."
The boy interrupts with a tug on Sal's shirt and makes a gesture with his hands. It has the abrupt movement common in hand signs accompanying the trade tongue used on docks and wharves and among sailors everywhere, yet it does not represent any word or phrase that typically exists in that pidgin. Please.
"Cor'," Sal laments in response, but it's clear that she has a weakness for his pleading gaze. It's a special variety shared only by children and puppies. She throws her head back and sort of groans at the ceiling.
Tybalt says, "Widow's walks good for that. Watching, I mean." He watches the by play carefully. "Sorry. Should have thought to ask without the lad.""
"It's our fault for bringing it up," Camillo says quietly, "So what can we do to make it easier? There can't be so many as know you accurately by sight, can there?"
"Yeah, it is your fault, because now— " Sal's temper rises fast, but she cuts it back just as quick. It's a struggle: she presses the flat of her hand against her forehead and closes her eyes. "Y'know what, ya couldn't've known and I'm an ass," she says, begrudgingly forcing her eyes open. "It's just I'm all Cor' has and I gotta look out for 'im. Truth is, it might do 'im good to have walk around a ship." She runs a hand through her dark hair, leaving her forearm balanced on her head afterward as she considers. "There's not many who can pin us for certain… I think I'd know if they rolled in. But if there's ones on the lookout— it's those arseholes I'm worried about. Still, they'd have to get pretty damn close." She's paranoid regardless.
Tybalt thinks it over, chewing on the good side of his mouth, "Could turn my blancket into a cloak for you and smuggle him in on a barrel?"
"When people post a lookout, they give a description," Camillo says. "Unless they're after you for something a big group of them saw you do in person, then all most will know is they're looking for a girl and a young boy together, maybe the color of your hair." This is perhaps an unusual bit of knowledge for a servant. But then again, it could be pure logic. "So…as Tybalt says," he nods toward the sailor, "There are ways."
The boy — Cor' — is following the back-and-forth closely, but looks largely lost. He's a very slow eater, meanwhile, taking longer than is normal go through his venison, no matter his eagerness. He coughs a little and Sal calmly gets to her feet to get a flagon from the bedside and bring it to him. It's all very routine. "Mmn," she grumbles thoughtfully, mouth tugged to one side, as she plops back down, one knee on the floor and one upright in a wholly unladylike fashion. "I suppose that's all true enough." She gives in to another toothy smile; it spreads across her face. "Seems like a lot of work for one bloody ship, but you've convinced me, all right?"
Tybalt doesn't know or care about Ladylike, being a messy eater and completely absent of even basic table manners. Her unusual mode of dress and way of sitting bothers him not at all either. want to go after dinner or wait 'til tomorrow? After that's no good as they plan to ship out."
Camillo can't help but smile a little when Sal seems to finally be convinced by their plotting. "If we looked to be hauling something aboard, I expect we'd not attract much attention," he offers.
"Ya both realize y'sound like you're planning a bloody heist, yeah?" Sal jokes. She cuts off a slice of meet, eats it, and licks her finger. Cor's ascertained enough of the plan to be pleased about it; he's taken to playing with sailing one of the toy ships around his lap. "Tomorrow," she decides confidently, throwing an arm cheerily around the youth. "Somethin' to look forward to."
Tybalt shrugs, "Nothing wrong with a bit of theft as long as it's from them as can afford it. We'll come tomorrow then and take you. We can have the rest of the venison after."