(121-11-17) Strangers meet again
Strangers meet again
Summary: The Dornishman meets the Braavosi Lady for dinner
Date: 17/11/121
Related: http://gobmush.wikidot.com/log:121-11-16-strangers-meeting-on-a-foreign-shore

It takes quite some time for all of Sable Derossi's items to be unloaded from the ship. The woman, it seems, brought with her at least one household worth of goods, if not more. Servants, chests - surely some of it belongs to private merchants. But surely so much of it does not. Despite the size of the ship the number aboard, the sounds of the Braavosi are drowned out among so many other tongues in the overcrowded city. So soon it is like they were never there, more trees for the forest.

Except for that dashing young pirate. For him there is one more little reminder. A burly man in armour and with a thick accent, seeking him out. The note is sealed and written in a fine hand, though wherever the guqrd finds Elyas, he will grufly ask if the Dornishman needs it read to him.

"Elyas Seafarer,

I once again would offer to you my gratitude for your kindly assistance yestereay. I remain at the lodge recommended by you and should be qble to recieve guests before I depart in a few days time."

The question whether he needs to read the note for the recipient will find the servant at the receiving end of a very dark glare, before the note is snatched, opened and read. "Tell your Mistress I'll see her tonight", Elyas informs the servant and sends him on his way.

And so a few hours later when the sun is low in the sky, the Dornishman makes his way to the Sea View Inn. He is dressed rather elegantly in a fine white tunic that falls to his knees over black pants and boots. The tunic's neck and sleeves are adorned by golden embroidery and a golden chain is visible on the man's neck. His jetblack hair falls freely now, no longer reined in by cloth. He has even bothered to shave, which takes about five years off his face. Before he is seen he may be smelled, for he follows the Dornish way of being rather liberal with their perfumes.

At the Inn, a room has been set aside for the purpose of a meal. It's a small room, more of an enclave on the terrace overlooking the sea. But then, the woman could likely have bought the inn if she so desired, so it's no surprise that she was able to find a room set aside for her. Elyas will note that the path before him is rather easy - dressed well as he is the inkeeper happily shows him the way to the terrace, where Sable awaits. Her own attire is simple, given the occasion of dining with a pirate, but naturally still fine. The fabric is a fine brushed cotton, only lightly dyed to have a pale yellow color. The gown has short sleeves to accomodate the warmer climates here, and it gathers at the waist to be flattering and to allow for a bit of self expression in the form of a decorative silver belt. The boat neckline is respectable but elegant, and allows for her simple, heavy woven silver necklace to be displayed. Her hair, that mess of wiry curls, is left loose again today but with a few silver beads smattered among the strands.

When the guest arrives and Sable turns from the view and from a conversation with one of her guards, she immediatly shakes her head and sets her hands gently in front of her. "I am so sorry, good man," She says to the innkeep. "This is not the sort of man I anticipated dining with at all. I was expecting one of a more questionable appearance. But since you have brought this one I shall have to make due. Thank you." The innkeep, a bit confused, nods and takes his leave, leaving Sable smirking just a little. "Good day, good man," She says, nodding her head gently in Elyas' direction.

"Whatever I do, I just can't seem to please you, Mylady, can I?", Elyas grins good-naturedly, "Though if it pleases you, I shall go and get changed. I stole this beautiful tunic just for you after all.", he confesses very easily - perhaps he's even lying? "You, of course, look ravishing as ever." He bows and points at the table. "Shall we?"

"You are a grown man, Elyas. You should know by your age that there is no pleasing any woman, not truly and not for very long," The dark-skinned woman responds, gesturing so that he may have a seat. She does the same across the table. "But thank you for your kind words. And your offer, but I do not think it entirely necessary. So long as you are not aprehended for your theft here with me, I anticipate we shall have no trouble." A Braavosi servant comes to see to the wine in both cups. "It is very good of you to come to see me so quickly. I was not sure that you would. But I am told I shall not be long for this place - the road to Old Town is clearing, and the plague seems to be …. mmm. What is the word. Fading? Something of that nature."

"Ah, you dash my hopes that foreign women might not be quite as complicated as Dornish women.", Elyas sighs and takes his seat. He waits for the servant to serve wine and disappear again, then chuckles. "If you know the nature of women so well, you should also know that it is in the nature of man to hurry when a beautiful woman demands his presence." The playful smile fades a little when she continues and he nods slowly. "I have heard that they are hopeful of the plague being over. I would not hurry there if I were you, but yes, I assume the town gates will soon open again. Don't drink the water and don't shake hands.", he recommends in addition, the grin returning.

There is a pause as Sable sips her wine before answering. "Women are, I think, women no matter where they may be. It is the same for men. They shall always be what they were made to be, no matter where they grow. As such flattery as yours is in the nature of a man." She smiles again and takes a moment ot cast her eyes out to the sea.

"You speak as though you shall not be entering Old Town soon, as you had hoped and planned. Ought I increase the guards on my ship, then, if you shall be staying here?" Playful, but more somber given the topic of conversation.

Elyas shrugs a little. "Eventually I should, I suppose. Since it is so near and so filled with ships soon. It will be harder though to prise my friends away from the… girlfriends they've found here. And I rather be certain the plague is truly over instead of hurrying there and catching the black death myself. But don't worry, my dear woman, I told you before that your ship is quite safe from me, didn't I?", he smiles and takes of a sip of the wine, nodding his approval. "Is this Braavosi wine? It's almost as good as Dornish…"

"Is that your business in Old Town? Ships?" The servant returns and sets out a plate of savory pasteries that smell strongly of herbs. They're finger food, the sort of thing just to whet a wealthy appetite. Sable's slender fingers waste no time in plucking one for herself.

"While you have said that my ship is safe with you, I would be a silly woman indeed not to be as sure as I may. By now you know who I am, where I am from, what men were aboard my ship, what items of value, and perhaps you may think I feel safe for these things when in your presence. It would be a simple thing for a clever man to take what he has learned and move upon it.

Another sip of wine. A nod of gratitude. "It is from my home, yes. I am glad it pleases you."

"The only thing I steal from beautiful women is their hearts.", Elyas assures her, while qualifying himself for Corniest Line Ever. He eyes the finger food for a bit, then carefully picks one up to try. "Not bad.", he comments and even licks his fingers before picking up a second one. "I'm in the business of ships, yes. More to the point, the business of acquiring a new one since ours sank. Once we have a ship, we shall continue on our way to the Westerlands. I doubt there's anything for me in Oldtown.", he admits. Wrinkling his nose, he makes a dismissive gesture with his free hand. "Books and Maesters… stuffy minds and the all-pervading musty odour of self-righteousness…"

"Well then I must be safe with you, good man. For what value would the iron heart of a banker be to anyone?" Sable asks, sitting back with her wine to wait for the next course. She sips her cup again, considering the man with a comfortable smile. "You should be a poet, Elyas. Such words, even in disrespect, are quite lovely. So in Old Town you shall steal a ship from someone? Why there, and not here where ships may be taken, where the docks are crowded over and poorly managed in the confusion?" She seems genuinely curious as to his pirate's business.

"Us Dornish are born with poetry flowing in our veins.", Elyas assures her and works his way through a third pastry before they're gone. Perhaps he doesn't expect more food to be forthcoming. Washing it down with wine, he considers. "Well, we did not know that so many ships would pile up here. Still, I believe pickings will be richer in Oldtown… all the noble families have houses there and dabble in trade, especially the rich Reach Lords. So, I think it may be worth waiting for. Besides…" He toys with his wine glass slowly, looking at the dark liquid swirling within. "I know you commercial people only ever think of getting from A to B to conclude business. I do not care much about B. The journey between A and B… that's the adventure. When you never stop to smell the roses how will you know how beautiful they are?"

Well, it shall be a surprise to the pirate when the empty plate is hurried away, and replaced by two bowls of seafood soup in a milky broth - one for each of them. They're small bowls, but at least it's something right? Sable sits up and begins to eat.

"I am told the most beautiful roses are in Highgarden, yes? If so, what roses are there to smell out in the sea? The smell of them would likely set many passangers to be ill anyway, stomachs are so uneasy upon the waves." Sable does not seem uncomfortable at any particular sea memory, so perhaps it was not so bad for her. "Does the theft of these things that are not yours not bother your own heart at all?" The dark-skinned woman asks, seriously. "More men than rich lords make their living in such honest ways."

Elyas eyes the soup suspiciously for a while, then pegs it to weird Braavosi food and dips his spoon in to try. "I do not think the Lords of the Reach will shed a tear over a missing set of golden dinner plates, do you?", he wonders, then chuckles and shakes his head. "My dear lady, I do not know what you imagine me doing all the time. Robbing ships stacked to the rafters with riches to take them home to a well-hidden cave on some outlying island which is by now glittering with more gold than all the Lannister mines contain?"

The soup does not intimidate Sable, she goes right for it. It is sweet and rich on the tongue, a bit different from the Dornish habit of spicing everything up. "Perhaps no tears, no. But will not some men be punished for losing the gold plates? Men who would otherwise feed their families, and make their own livlihoods?" Sable asks, smiling a little at the picture he paints of himself as a pirate king. "That is how I understand pirates from stories as a girl. The reality is much different, then?"

"I'm afraid it is much less glamorous, my dear lady.", Elyas assures her with a smile, "It consists of many days of boredom at sea with men getting drunk and quarrelsome. Of scurvy at sea and the pox on land. Of ships where the only booty is the cook's pig and two bottles of rum. Of armed navy vessels breaking your rigging by firing balls into it with a trebuchet and sinking your ship, leaving good men to drown like rats…" The playful tone has vanished as Elyas seems to be recalling a particularly glum memory and he falls silent to spoon the rest of the soup. If it's not spicy enough for him, he doesn't let on. Nor does he try to sneak half a bottle of tabasco into it.

"Then why do you do the things that pirates do? It makes little sense, if the world is so dangerous and so short of reward. Indeed, even the flowers in the journey you claim to enjoy do not seem particularly fine of scent, by your telling." She notes, finishing her soup rather quickly - or not really finishing it so much as being done with it - and choosing once more a fresh cup of wine.

Elyas doesn't respond at once, but finishes his soup first. Setting the bowl aside, he sips some more wine and leans back in his chair, hands folded over his belly. Finally he looks at Sable again, eyes bright. "I have one word for you, lady, just one: Freedom." He lets that sink in, then joins her in looking out towards the sea. "Have you ever been truly free, Mylady?"

"Mmm," Sable says in consideration, as another plate is brought - this one a plate of fresh green vegetables, cooked lightly and seasoned. A small plate for each of them. This seems to be normal eating, for Sable, for without hesitation she sits up to slice into a carrot. "I like to think that I am free, Elyas. The grandfather of my father was a slave when he was born, but not when he died. His son, and my father, and myself have never known bondage. My home does a great many things to discourage slavery."

Ewww, veggies. At least Elyas manages to not pull a face. "I'm not talking about slavery, mylady.", he then points out, "I am talking of obligations… the need to make money, to follow rules, to obey fathers, to be subject to other people's whims and whishes… Is it a calling for you to work for the Iron Bank or isn't it rather a way for you to earn money without which you could not exist? And does not this money force you to obey the wishes of others and follow their orders?"

"A slave, I think, would disagree with your assesment," Sable says, managing a little smile for the man. She sits back with her wine, swirling it in the cup. "Very well, I shall play the game as you play it. By your assesment I am a wealthy woman. Much of my wealth is inherited, enough that I would not have to earn it if it did not please me to do so. When I take it upon myself to be the steward of the Iron Bank, I am beholden to them - but I am able to leave without fear. I have no husband, so perhaps I am beholden some to my father. But even if he were to withdraw his support of me, I would live easily. Am I free by your reckoning, sir?"

"Freer than most, I admit.", Elyas replies, "But only very few enjoy the freedom of a rich inheritance. And what if your father decided to marry you to someone of his choosing as a way to forge an alliance or simply because he decides the man of his choice is best for you? How free are you then to decline your father's wishes?"

"I suppose not terribly free, in that instance. But I am safe from such decisions, I think - I have been married before. It may not be my father's choice - while I am wealthy in my own right, I am no longer young enough for such things. The man who would accept such a woman would not likely be the one to interest my father in a proposition." She smiles a little wider. "But I daresay that is a restriction upon a freedom that you do not fear. Unless your father is seeking alliances too?"

"You are truly a blessed woman then.", Elyas decides, eyeing her with perhaps renewed interest. Then he chuckles softly and shakes his head. "I'm afraid I'm quite unmarriagable now, wouldn't you agree? Spoiled goods, a rotten consignement, only good for the dunghills now… Or would YOU be interested in a young Dornishman whose only assets are his pretty face and big mouth, mhmm?", he teases.

The woman chuckles lightly, setting her fork down to allow the vegetables to be cleared away. Then it comes - the small stuffed hen for each of them, smelling of wine and herbs. "I think you have too high a view of marriagable men. Most have less to offer than you do - ugly perhaps, of sour disposition and smell. If such men may marry, why not you?" She encourages, lifting her knife to take a thin slice of skin off her hen. "Though I wonder what an impression you would make upon my father with such a thought. Still, I am a bit old for you, I should think."

Ohhh, proper food. Elyas' eyes light up at the sight of the hen. "Too old for me? But you are hardly The Crone, are you? Besides I prefer women who know what they want to giggly girls. So… perhaps something to consider if neither the fact that I'm penniless nor the fact that I avail myself of things that are not exactly mine from time to time can deter you." He begins to hungrily tuck into the hen, losing patience with the fork quickly. Instead he uses his fingers to tear strips of meat off the carcass and munch them.

It takes some time to slice away at the hen, but that is the way one eats a hen is it not? Oh no, apparently it is not. Sable's dark brows shoot upward as Elyas tears into the bird, and she lets out a more natural laugh - a somewhat melodious sound if falling quite short of sweet and giggly. "Good man, if it is your intention to marry in this life I may suggest that you reconsider your proposal strategy. Avail yourself of things that are not exactly yours? They are entirey not yours. Do not use your sweet Dornish tongue to soften the phrases for me. I understand better than I speak." She seems very good natured now, from the wine, the food, and the conversation. Relaxed and at ease.

Elyas has the good grace to look just a little bit embarrassed when she points out the difference between not exactly and entirely not. But he is quick to brush it away again and smile "Trust me, my dear lady, if I propose, the lady will know without fail that she is being proposed to.", he assures her, looking across the half-destructed hen into Sable's eyes before making a point of licking his greasy fingers very slowly.

"How very fortunate for her," Sable points out casually, smiling at his little display but otherwise unflustered. "No doubt indeed the lovely flower that becomes the subject of your love and devotion shall be a blessed woman indeed. Though I hope you select for your bride one who enjoys the sea as much as you, lest she be left behind for years at a time, never knowing your fate. It would be a great difficulty for her, such a life." She hasn't eaten most of her hen, but she sits back once more, apparently done. She has no qualms meeting his eyes, even still. "But perhaps I have a proposal for you, Elyas. If you are interested to hear it."

"Perhaps I shan't roam the seas forever.", Elyas suggests, "Perhaps some day I wish to retire to my beloved beautiful desert and become a goat herder…" He lets the topic go readily, not very interested in the ifs and maybes of life. Instead he tilts his head slightly, quirking one eyebrow in curiosity when she mentions a proposal.

"And be beholden to your goats?" Sable asks, playfully stil. But she is becoming a bit more somber, a bit more sympathetic as if aware that she is playing her game a little too cruely. One might even detect a hint of self-reproach in her face for a moment. "I like you, Elyas Seafarer. I like you very much. I have been bored upon a ship for some time with little amusement such as yourself and I am much refreshed by you. My men and I shall need someone who may show us the way to Old Town. It would be a position that interests you, perhaps? As it is that way you are going."

Elyas places a hand on his heard again when she speaks of liking him and being refreshed by him, though he can't hide that he is genuinely pleased by her words. He plucks a few last bits of meat from the hen carcass, considering this. "I do not know the way to Oldtown any better than you.", he finally admits, "But if you wish for my pleasant company and nice smile, I would be happy to accompany you. I suppose I could offer you some additional protection… if you can offer me a horse? Or do you expect me to steal one?"

"I do not expect you to steal one," the dark-skinned woman says, a little firmly. "It would be just as easy for you to join with us for the journey. But for the duration I would have to expect that nothing, either from my own party or any other, should go missing for the duration. I am a foreigner here, as are my people, and the difficulty of dealing with a theft would be unwelcome. If this is agreeable to you, then it shall be so and you shall ride with us." The servant comes to clear the plates and offer a new wine, a sweeter wine, to go with the fresh fruits and chocolate laid out in the center for them to pick at, at their leisure. "Such company would be safer for you, would it not? If Westerosi roads are dangerous."

"Well, I have my companions at my side, normally", Elyas replies, watching the fruit and chocolate arrive, until he lifts his eyes to look at her again. "But I understand that four thieving pirates would ruin your night's sleep, so I shall tell them to make their own way to Oldtown and meet up with me there. So… yes, I think I'd like to ride along with you. You are a fair sight nicer to look upon than my mates."

"I am sure they would be much wounded to hear you say such things. If they look much as you do I am sure you should all take great joy in looking upon each other." It's the closest to a fliratious compliment that Sable has gotten so far, in response to Elyas' many. But the wine has been flowing for quite some time now, and perhaps that has loosened her tongue enough to let such a thing slip out. Or perhaps it is simple, candid honesty.
"Would they be in danger, your compatriots, traveling with three in the place of four?"

Elyas considers for a bit, piling some fruit and chocolate onto his plate carefully. Then he looks at her again with a grin. "While I would like to think that nobody can match me in either beauty or fighting skills, I am sure my compatriots will be able to handle themselves on the road. Their smell enough should keep all but the hardiest thieves away." He lifts his wine glass in a little toast. "Here's to travel mates then, mylady." Then he takes a sip.

Sable seems to content herself with one small lump of the chocolate, taking a little bite into it and breaking it apart in her mouth, mingling it with a sip of wine. "They must not smell at all as you do then - today you smell far prettier than I ever have," She says with a grin, lifting her glass in a salute to him. "To travel, indeed, good man. And to safe travel, and a healthy destination."

For a moment Elyas looks like he might comment on the provenance of his expensive smell, but he thinks better of it and picks some fruit instead. "I look forward to travelling with you, Mylady."

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