(120-10-21) On the Waterfront
On the Waterfront
Summary: A street child is offered a fantastic opportunity or two. Perhaps.
Date: 21/10/2013
Related: None


The Honeywine River widens into the Whispering Sound here, and on to the sea. The tranquil blue waters of the Whispering Sound are plied by large ocean-going ships from all over the world, in every color and sort imaginable. River-boats from the Honeywine's course, skiffs, dinghies, and the grand warships that protect the Oldtown Harbor - all travel these waters.

This is where many of Oldtown's newest arrivals first catch a glimpse of the ancient city of stone. It sprawls along the Sound, straddling the Honeywine, a multitude of wooden bridges, grey stone manses, docks, cranes, canals, towers, walls, flights of stone stairs, squat stone buildings, as far as the eye can see to the North. Above all, the Hightower of Oldtown looms, like some gargantuan pillar connecting the skies above, to the earth below.
CONTENTS: Arn(P) Kelinyx(P) Igdahn(P)
Docks <DS>
The Hightower <high>
Downriver <DR>

Keli is trotting through the crowd like it was water and she a fish, no contact, no talking, just wading through the depths. Her head sometimes tilts to catch a few words or her eyes close for a moment, but mostly she keeps in constant motion. Her hood is up but her face bare, those infinitely deep blue eyes locking on the disembarking young woman while Keli takes up a spot near a tall stack of crates. From her pocket comes an apple, someone else's, and she sets to contently snacking while peering between tall adults to get a sight of that regal little blonde.

Igdahn is out among the people, sitting on the back of a tiny little pony which seems to dwarf her form. Her face is covered up by a veil that hangs from the twin horns of her ornate headpiece in a sign of feminine chastity, that she might not flaunt her appearance. She's got a small entourage with her, two guards ahead, one of them leading the pony so she doesn't have to steer it, herself, and can just hold onto the handle of her sidesaddle to stay in place. Two more guards behind the pony, who are carrying some provisions she'd purchased from the market.

Arn watches the food getting tdistrubuted with mild disinterest; he is mainly looking over the crowd for anyone who migh t pose a threat. He shifts he weight a bit as he walk over to the rear gurds and calls there attention to a few of hte larger memebr of the crowd just ot be on the safe side.

Eonn is one of those tall adults. And possibly a threat, considering that he walks about armed and armoured and is far too scruffy to be a proper sort of Oldtown knight. He's come from further into the city, perhaps looking for oysters or a sailor's entertainments, though he's clearly no sailor. Behind him come a retinue of cats. It's hard to count them in the crowds, but it's obvious that there are a few following the man.

Reyna sails into the Harbor.
Reyna has arrived.

Igdahn clutches hands with grieving mothers, not afraid to touch them or even hug their children. As finely as she's done up, she seems (as far as one can tell without seeing her face) to have a tender compassion for these people, and she even has some little toys and sweets for the children among the bounty from the market. One little girl wants a ride on the pony, and one of the guards is put on the detail of lifting the little gamines on and off of the saddle, giving them turns while Igdahn converses with their mothers and hears their stories and petitions for further help, telling them when to come to the palace and whom to ask for to be able to come talk to her in private. She finally comes face to face— or face to veil— with Keli, the poor-looking creature. "Hello, little one," comes a sweet little voice from behind the veil. "Is your momma about?"

Keli must be emulating the warrior men and their style, back on the crates with one leg propped up, arms folded as she loudly chews. She breathes deeply, finishing the chomping and swallowing before shrugging. "Wherever disappearing mums go." Her head rocks to the other side, the child not standoffish but certainly nothing like charming or inviting, perhaps a matter of ignorance more than attitude. "Why are you giving out goods?" At least she has been paying attention.

As Igdahn moves deeper into the crowd, Arn trails behind far enough back ot give her privacy but not to far that he is more then a moment away form her if a trheat emerges. He notices a cat nearby then the warrior they tend to follow. He raises a hand in greeting to the other man.

Eonn notices Arn's raised hand and returns the greeting in kind. He changes the course of his little walk to head in the nobles' direction, not hurried. The cats follow, a white, orange and black patchy one right at his heels. Or under them. He manages not to trip on the creature regardless.

"It's because those who are more fortunate should share that fortune with those who are less so," Igdahn answers softly. "You have no mother to care for you? I know what a sad thing that can be. I have no mother, either, of my own. Do you have any work?" she asks.

Kelinyx shakes her head. "Nobody wants a kid to do their work," she says, perhaps not so true in her case but a solid enough lie to pass basic muster. She looks into her left hand, palm empty, then holds it out to the woman. "Give me pay and I will give you work, though. Do you need something done?" And into the confident little girl(?)'s voice creeps the silkiness of a salesman. She gives a toothy, almost daring grin to one of Igdhan's nearer guards, either a respectful smile or a wily appraisal.

Arn looks over at the approaching swordsman, "Grettings." he then asks, "How do you fair this day?" He keeps one eye on his charge and the one she is talking too.

"Fine and fair," replies Eonn, his tone even and pleasant. He stops at a conversational distance from the other man. "And yourself?" He glances about. "You seem well-occupied?" The cat twines about his feet. Another, a grey tabby, soon joins it.

Igdahn takes Keli's hand, pressing it tenderly in place of payment. "Come to the hightower tomorrow for tea, and we can see about finding you some suitable work." The poor thing is, after all, just the sort who might fall to a less than reputable ladies' trade, and if Idgahn can stop something like that from happening, she'll have done her part for virtue in the world.

Striding down the street comes one Lady Reyna Lothston, wearing a dress of ebony silk with golden trim and embroidery, with soft leather riding boots upon her feet. A swordbelt is cinched around her waist and a sheathed blade hangs from her left hip. Her crimson hair is left straight and loose, hanging about her shoulders and tucked behind an ear on one side. A fellow in simple armor emblazoned with the yellow shield and black bat of House Lothston trails along a few steps behind the woman. Dark eyes cast across her surroundings and settle upon Arn and Eonn, her steps slowing as she shifts her path to approach them, her left hand absently reaching to adjust the thick leather worn on her right hand.
"Lord Arn Tully," the head of House Lothston greets the man as she nears him and Eonn before looking around, "And where has Lady Igdahn wandered off to, I wonder?"

Kelinyx's brows lift as the woman touches her, the child almost wincing at the contact, but after peering at the point of touch for a few moments, she relaxes. "Very well. Hightower. I will wear a white ribbon around me neck so your guards know to let me in." A grin lifts the girl's mildly sunken cheeks, but she is still a child, and the presence of so many cats has her kneeling to summon one for petting. "Thank you, Miss…or is it Lady?"

Arn grins to Eonn, "Yes just looking after one of my house's wards. He turns at the sound lof his name and gives Lady Reyna a short bow, "Good day Lady Reyna, this is an unexpected pleasure." He then gestures to where Igdahn is speaking with Kelinyx, "Oh never far, she is doing her part to better the world."

Eonn smiles, a sly and not really very friendly expression. He bows to the Lady Reyna, though, and stays politely silent. The cats twine about his ankles. More show up. A white one with a torn ear, it'd be pretty but it needs a wash. A very small black one. Eonn seems to draw cats like middens draw flies. They're the ordinary street cats found in any city, and not necessarily friendly to little girls. Or anyone else.

"Lady Igdahn," the little doll-shaped noblewoman replies from behind her veil. She is off doing Good Works for the people, or, at the very least, commiserating with them in their plight. It's just about her only fault… but, then, even now, she only surrounds herself with the women and the children of the impoverished class, and avoids contact with men as a general rule; her purity demands no less effort than that. There's hardly a gentleman unrelated to her who can even have said to have seen her face, much less make skin to skin contact even with her hand. "What is your name, little one?" she asks of the girlchild.

"Is it? I was out with my bird, and heard Igdahn had wandered down here, and my afternoon was rather..free, so here I am," Reyna answers Arn somewhat blandly, her voice cool and her expression blank as she offers a slight curtsey in response to the Tully's bow and then a nod to Eonn, remarking somewhat curiously while looking down at the felines, "Your companion seems to have a thing for cats, Lord Arn. or rather, they for him, perhaps."

The child's eyes narrow a bit at the inquiry, but the nasty growl from the cat she tries petting is enough to get the look off her face. "Mnh, Keli," she says, still peering at the cat and giving it a defiant sneer. She notices the encroaching of loud, confident parties and seems to almost naturally press her tiny form tighter to the crates that shield her from the sun. The approach of Reyna leaves Keli a little more anxious, so much attention in one place, especially the eyes of the poor and the greedy.

Arn smiles, "Well I have noticed that." he then says, "And well less a companion then a chance encounter with a familiar face." he gestures to the man, "He is a sell-sword I may hire." He then motions to the man, "His Name is Eonn." He then says to him, "The expeidition to chastize the bandits has not marched yet."

Igdahn falls back from Keli, seeming to shrink from the feline company. Suddenly feeling lost in the crowd, she retreats to Arn and her companion the Lady Reyna. "Heavens bless me, Lady Reyna, the sun is so very warm. I fear I must retire, ere I grow faint. Might I beg of you to see the rest of these goods find a home with those in need?" she pleads with the Lady in whose retinue she's found a home, and goes to find her way back up onto her pony, to be led back to the tower.

The tall lean man's faint smile doesn't fade. He nods assent to Arn's words and bows again to Reyna, still not saying anything. His striking eyes may hint at a tiny black amusement at the fact that he's being talked about, but it's hard to say. The little black cat jumps up to catch the edge of his surcoat with its claws, and from there starts climbing up him. He doesn't seem to mind.

Reyna manages a small smile for Igdahn as the tiny young woman steps back to her and Arn, "Of course, Igdahn," is the redhead's answer, though she doesn't seem to share much of the Targaryen girl's enthusiasm for helping poor people. She gestures for her own guard to retrieve the goods in question from Igdahn's before glancing to the last person her Lady-in-Waiting had been speaking to which just happens to be Kelinyx. Reyna lifts her right hand, the one that happens to be gloved, and beckons the child with a curl of fingers, "Come, dear. Did Lady Igdahn say she was going to give you something?" Glancing briefly aside to Arn, she nods, "A sell-sword, hm. Always handy, if they're worth the coin they think they are."

Kelinyx winces visibly as more eyes fall on her, the eyes of authoritative and insulated leadership, far away from the rat and scrabble of street life. Keli looks fairly cleaned up for one of her kind, which means there's still dirt smudged on her cheeks and hands, that she has a faint smell of old exertion about her, and her hair isn't much more than clumped and shiny, what little of it shows. She tightens her jaw, then says with a bit of nervousness, "The Lady bid me visit her, bettin' for tasks," Keli says, biting off any editorialization before it escapes.

Arn smiles, "Well yes that is true and hopefully I will soon have an answer to that." He looks around and watches the guards as Igdahn is lead back ot hte Hightower. He takes a deep breath visibly relaxing.

Eonn raises his eyebrows. His pretty, hard eyes laugh now, but he remains still and quiet. The black cat manages to get to his shoulder. Its claws make a nasty little scraping sound on his spaulder before it really gains the position. Once there it rubs its chin against his cheekbone. He murmurs, very quietly, to Arn, "She is someone's target?"

"Come here, child," Reyna's cool voice calls to Keli again, not harsh, but not exactly warm either. Dark eyes study the girl as her fingers crook once more before her hand drops to her side, gloved fingers planted upon her hip, "Lady Igdahn is harmless, and if she gives you tasks instead of just feeding you and trying to get you in new clothes, I shall be astounded. You aren't afraid of making yourself useful though, I hope, hm?" At the exchange between the two men and the inquiry of Igdahn being a target, she casts a glance their way before looking back to Kelinyx, listening but content to let them chat.

Kelinyx draws a deep breath and smooths back her hood, approaching the woman slowly, eyes wary, senses sharp. Her little hands rest on her hips, and though mostly obscured, the handles of her little rat stabbing knives might catch the eye. "I don't presume to know about the lady" she says, her version of an apology for affronts and perhaps covering her ass a little, in the process. "But I been useful once or twice, I guess." She doesn't have the composure of a soldier, but she seems to have more confidence than most children her age, daring enough to hold an adult's gaze, even if she fidgets her weight from foot to foot.

Arn looks over to Eonn, "In particular no but well as a ward of my house she is my worry and well any wanting ot strike at the Taryargens in general may pick her inparticular." He says, "And well just because I do not know of anyone targeting her does not mean there is not.

"Anyone who bothers Igdahn is bound to regret it," comes Reyna's flat voice, obviously aimed at the men's conversation though she keeps her focus on the girl approaching her. A little smile curves the redhead's lips at the child's words, "Smart girl, aren't you? You aren't in trouble for anything, don't fret." Her dark eyes meet icy blue, looking down at the child with that small smile, "I presume, if Lady Igdahn has invited you to the Hightower, that you've no family here in the city. What is your name?"

Eonn regards Arn for a long moment, his expression thoughtful. No more sly smile. He replies, quietly, "If it's anyone any good at that, I am sure you would not know it." Then Reyna's speaking to him and he glances over at her, a little questioning. The cat tries to rub its face across his mouth, so he picks it up off his shoulder and holds it.

Frowning a bit, she chews her bottom lip to disguise the action, arms crossing over her scrawny plank of a body, half legs, her head half eyes. She eventually gives a bit of a smile back to the woman, likely rare to be given such a gesture by adults she has just met. "I am Keli, and I take care of myself," she finally says a little more seriously, as if this is an important defining moment to any who be a part of her experience, and the girl's nose lifts a bit in the air, eyes locking with Reyna's as if they were peers, at least for a moment before she eases back so as not to seem challenging.

Arn nods to Reyna, "Oh that is certain." he smiles, "I am well able ot defend her." he then nods to Eonn as well, "You speak the truth which is why those on guard must always be vigilant." He hten regards the girl names Keli, "Well she has spirit that much is certin."

"Take care of yourself, you say. And how does a little girl take care of herself in a city like this, I wonder? I doubt there's much work for you to do, Keli." Reyna's smile grows a bit as the girl stares up at her for that moment, "There's some spirit in you, I see." The Lothston woman agrees with Arn's remark before continuing. "I like that. You need that to survive. That, and a bit of sense. It doesn't take much, really, but you'd be astounded how many people lack the tiny bit required." She lifts her left hand, the one lacking a glove, her pale fingers reaching upwards in an attempt to cup the girl's chin unless stopped.

Eonn's sly-ish smile reappears at Arn's talk of defending. The sellsword turns the little black cat over in his hands, onto its back and then slowly tips it head-first, then lets it squirm and slide slowly from between his long fingers. Its a movement that allows the creature to land on its feet before him without it having to perform any real cat acrobatics to do so. The white, orange and black blotchy one that's twining about his ankles hisses at it, though, and a brief bout of cat fisticuffs erupts.

There is a visible tightening in Keli's jaw, looking up from under her brow at the woman who seems to be either admiring her or sizing her up for a quick turn for coin as a whore or worse. Her fingers are tightly curled, knuckles visibly white, but she allows the gesture, more primed than she is defensive. "You gotta be first or you gotta be smarter, and no matter what, you always gotta be faster." Whether sharing wisdom or veiled warning, little Keli blinks a few times, breathing fast and shallow, ears shifting as she strains to hear behind herself, her paranoia visible, but apparently worth showing rather than offending the woman and becoming known in the wrong way.

Arn watches the interaction betwene the two females and then turns ot Eonn and asks, "So have you found any other perspective employers in town?"

Reyna's fingers curl about the the child's chin and jaw, gripping firmly but not quite painfully. She tilts the girl's head upwards, looking down at her as she speaks, "Smart is good. Fast is good, too. Are you those two things, Keli?" Maintaining her grip, she turns Kelinyx's head to one side, than the other, looking quite a bit like she is sizing the child up for something or other and taking note of the reaction it draws, "Being able to listen can be quite important too, child. I wonder if you can do that. Calm down. I mean you no harm, and my Lady-in-Waiting has already promised you some help, I think."

Eonn nods to Arn. "I am employed. Some of the time, at least. I don't think it will prevent me joining your little hunting expedition, should you wish me to." He glances at Reyna and the way the woman is holding the child's jaw. His eyes sharpen a bit at it.

Kelinyx swallows aloud, still breathing fast, hummingbird heartbeat, her fingers straightening out and popping in the process. "Then I will listen," she says as if she's been bested in a riddle, eyes narrowing a bit as she lifts her jaw, drawing a dreep breath and trying for her full stance, meager as that is. "And yes, I'm fast, miss, and I am smart. I keep a fine collection uh fingers from men who try to pin me down."

Arn cannot help but let out a chuckle at Keli's comment, "Well that is good if a little morbid." he hten looks over to Eonn, "Interesting but well it is fgoood you are making a wage."

"Wonderful, child, that is very good to hear," Reyna remarks warmly in response to Kelinyx's words, her fingers releasing their grip slowly and lowering back to her side. A low, throaty laugh escapes the redhead at the girl's last remark, dark eyes gleaming with amusement, "Oh, do you? How delightful. I keep a collection of severed mementos myself. We can compare sometime. Don't mention those to Igdahn though. She would be horrified, I'm sure. She's a fragile girl." Her hand reaches for a pouch hanging from her swordbelt near her sheath, fetching a few coins which she offers to Kelinyx, enough to buy a couple of decent meals or something comparable, "I might try to join Igdahn tomorrow. Or, should I not be able to, you should come find me, dear. I'm not terribly hard to find. I am Lady Reyna Lothston, of Harrenhal."

Eonn just raises his eyebrows at what the girl-child has said. He replies, softly, to Arn. "It seems to keep me fed. For the time being. I expect that Lord Mallister will not remain too long." He shrugs a bit.

Kelinyx smooths back her hair, the locks freeing, spilling a bit past her shoulders at the fringe but cut short to the neck on the back.. "Then it is good to meet you too, Lady Reyna." The coins are viewed suspiciously, and Keli gives a glance to the men she had been also conversing with, but eventually she snatches the coins up and nods her head. "I will smell better, then, my Lady." She allows a grin and steps a bit closer to the woman. "You got a fun angle. Gonna be interestin' to see how it all plays out, uh? I ain't no trouble for people like you, though." Sounds like she at least knows her likely place in the eyes of higher-ups.

Arn looks over to Lady Reyna, "It seems your retinue grows milady." he then gives Reyna a bow, I think I shall head back ot the tower myself nad make sure all is well." He hten looks over to Eonn and says, "It was good to see you again. I will be in touch." he then says, "Well Keli is it? anyway if we happen ot meet while you are at the tower I am Lord Arn Tully."

Eonn nods to Arn, and bows to him. "My lord." And then to Reyna. "My lady."

Reyna smirks a bit as Kelinyx hesitates before taking the coins, "I certainly hope you will smell better, and I imagine Lady Igdahn will appreciate it as well. And clean the dirt off your face, child." As the girl steps closer, the noblewoman watches her in amusement, "Don't be getting ahead of yourself, darling." Her hand lifts again, fingers attempting to lightly press under Keli's chin, tilting her head upwards more as she stands close, correcting the girl's last remark, "You won't be trouble for -me-." Lowering her arm, she nods at Arn with a bit of a dry smirk, "Oh, it will make Lady Igdahn's day if I help an orphan. Be well, Lord Arn. I think I shall be heading home myself momentarily." She nods to Eonn as well, before stepping away to do as she just said.

Eonn watches the nobles go, for a brief moment. They're not far before he steps over to that stack of crate Kelinyx was standing near. He sits on a crate and leans back so his back is resting on one further back in the stack, and puts his feet up. From inside his leather surcoat he retrieves a dry sausage, and he cuts a slice off it with his dagger. He chews it slowly, and cuts off another slice. The second he offers to the child, on the tip of his blade.

Kelinyx swallows dryly as the woman gives her a final examination, but eventually she nods in agreement. "Head to toe, Lady Reyna," she promises, looking a bit less absolutely nervous now that she's been paid to exist. That, she could get used to. "No trouble at all," she finally repeats with a duck of the head and a lopsided grin. She watches the woman depart with the others before Eonn's gesture draws her attention. She looks over the offer carefully for a moment before a slender arm extends, dirty fingers careful to snag shy of the blade. "A girl could get used to this, but it makes suspicions, eh?"

"Just so," says Eonn. He holds the blade steady for her to take the bit of meat; it's no trick. Nor is it a bad sausage. "What do you suppose they really want?" One of the cats jumps onto his lap. He pays it no mind.

Kelinyx quickly gets the morsel of food in her jaws and away from cats, keeping a wary eye on the brazen creatures that harry him. "Mnh, it'sh," she speaks while chewing, "Prolly they wanna make me watchsh or shomting, maybe," she swallows, "Take stuff. Whatever. The usual. People like me to stay dirty so they feel clean, right?" Those big eyes beg for another bit of food but she doesn't verbalize it.

Eonn doesn't seem to have any trouble preventing cats from getting at the sausage, though they do stretch their kitty noses towards it. He slices off another piece and again offers it on the tip of his dagger. "Take stuff?" he asks. "What stuff?" His sly smile is back. It's friendlier than before.

Kelinyx rolls her skinny shoulders, fingers smoothing back, preening at her hair a little nervously. The big eyes dart about the people nearby, spotting and hovering on any people who seem to be lingering, watching. Soon she's in the man's shadow, sliding her hood back up and instantly looking a bit more calm. "Aye, on account of I can look like a boy, nobody looks at whelps no ways, unless they're itchin' for a cut." The treat snagged, she wobbles her head in thanks toward the man, though her long legs shift and squirm to avoid too much kitty rubbing, not on those boots, the damn nicest thing Keli owned by a sight.

Eonn slices off another piece for himself, and then pushes a too-eager cat aside. He's gentle about it, unhurried. The cat still hangs about. "I don't think the noble ladies want for any thing that a boy can steal," he says. "Guess again." He doesn't seem to mind her slipping into his shadow any more than he minds the proximity of the cats. The calico one seems to have gone away, but there's a different grey one a few yards away now.

Takes one to know one, and maybe Keli doesn't like the cats because they share an m.o. She nibbles hungrily until the food is gone and folds up, looking the man up and down once more. "Maybe they wanna sell me or make me religious or somethin'?" She doesn't seem exactly thrilled to puzzle it out, but he is no less stoking her curiosity.

Eonn chuckles, slices off another piece of that hard salt sausage, offers it to her on his knife and says, "This is not the country for selling girls. Perhaps the one wants to make you religious. In the sense of religious to gods. I am thinking the other wants to make you religious in another way." He rolls his shoulders, cat-stretching under his heavy spaulders. "What do you want?"

Kelinyx snatches the food and tucks it away inside the front of her ragged leathers for later. "I could wager she did." She looks over the people, well, more between them as she weaves her head left and right occasionally to scope out some commotion or another. "I wanna eat," she says distractedly, as if the question itself was unimportant.

The tall man nods. He cuts off another slice, then offers her the end of the sausage, seeming unconcerned that she didn't eat the last piece. "To eat is a fine thing," he says. He has a bite of his sausage slice, chews a minute, then adds, "I think you are a girl who knows how to eat and not do what she does not want to meet that end? Is this so? But you have not yet met ladies like those ones."

Kelinyx smiles a bit at his generosity. "I been treated like a dog enough. People do bad things to dogs." She starts gnawing on the offering as if right on cue, peering up at him from under her still mildly supicious brow. "I ain't met no ladies yet," she clarifies more softly, before resuming her noisy snack.

Eonn grins at that, and laughs outright. There's nothing mean about it. "Women, then," he says. "But titled as ladies, are they not? What did you think of them?"

Kelinyx raises a brow. "Well, I can't say I figure to know what they want cuz I didn't ask." The little girl. "I found out what happens if I get my snout where it don't belong a good time ago," she says seriously, gazing down to the black kitten that investigates the laces of her boots a bit too closely for her liking, sending the tiny boy thing nearer Eonn.

Eonn looks at the cat, then back at the girl. "What happens?" he asks, putting his dagger away.

Kelinyx sneers at the animal, not agreeing with something that so closely mimics her own role in the city. "Thinks my boot laces are dirt worms, I reckon." There might be a hint of amusement in her eyes at the animal's sometimes awkward fumbling and serious expression.

Eonn laughs softly, says, "It knows better than that. But it still wants to pull on them." He doesn't react to her scootching into him. No surprise, no real interest in the event. The piecemeal armour would make it a bit hard for her to stick anything into him. He sighs a bit, not unhappily, just relaxed, and says, "It might be clever, do you think, to know what they want without asking?"

"Might be," she says, relaxing as the cat is distracted by an imposing gull nearby instead. Keli realizes she's in the man's shadow, shrinking back a bit with her eyes widening, as if to apologize. She makes motions to shrink a step or two away from him, saying softly, "But, uh, they gave me coin up front. I don't know anyone else my age that lucky. I ask enough to keep my skin on my arse and no more. Them?" She gestures to the direction the nobles departed. "That's my shiniest client yet. Keep this up and I'll maybe get a week of hot food. Why should I ask questions?" Poor, myopic thing.

"Girl," says the tall man, kindly. "Do not ask questions. Find out anyway." He doesn't make any move to keep her from shrinking away, nor to imply that he doesn't want her up close. He smells better than most people of his class, mostly just of horse and a bit of old oiled leather. "Maybe you will want to tell me what they do and say with you."

Keli halts as he speaks so curtly to her, hands fidgeting at the buckle of her tired but functional leathers for a way to expend extra nervous energy. "Fine, fine, it could be just as you say. I'll probably see and hear and that. But lots of people do. I'm just a kid," she says flatly, a bit of self depracation. "My word don't mean hoof scrape."

Eonn looks at her. He didn't intend curtness. He seems so calm. But his eyes never did warm. He says, "There are advantages to that, too. But you do not trust me, do you? Maybe you think those women are safer to trust?"

"Trust has to be involved?" Keli asks seriously. "I didn't take n'oath," she reminds softly, still shifting her weight from foot to foot, the soft soles she wears obviating a bit more savvy than the average street rat, and the decent boots kept relatively clean. "You got something for me to trust you on, sir?" she finally asks, taking a daring step forward, brows lifting and the hint of a smile in the corner of her lips.

The tall man laughs softly. "Sausages?" he says. "No, no," he smiles, "You want coin. But coin does not buy trust, does it? It might buy loyalty, but only very rarely. It will buy food, and clothes, and killings, but trust? No, that comes extra, does it not?" Still, he's suddenly got an old clipped Stag in his fingers, and he holds his hand out to her, walking the coin across his knuckles.

Kelinyx narrows her eyes. "How you wager I asked for coin? Maybe I am, uh, furval, with my money," she challenges arrogantly, hands crossing behind her back as she fails to realize her street vocabulary leaves her misfiring on occasion. "Always about clinky-clinky, uh?" She raises one brow, getting a bit more daring as he seems to warm up to her. "The sausages meant more to me than a coin would, same-wise." She wags a finger at him a little playfully and says, "You ask a lot of questions, anyway. So could be time's what I need to give you a right answer."

Eonn smiles. "I don't have another sausage," he says, rolling the coin, flip, flip, flip, flip over the backs of his fingers and back the other way again, smoothly. "These questions," he says, "I know the right answer already. But I do not know what your hoof-scrape word will be if you come back from the Hightower tomorrow. Indeed, that takes time. And that I will pay for in hot meals, if hot meals are your price. Do you remember my name, girl?"

Kelinyx here, she stops eyeing the coin completely, cheeks turning a touch red, as best her poor diet allows her a blush. "No, sir. Lots of noise, Lots of name. There was Lady Igdahn, and Lady Reyna, I recall." That or she's forcing introductions again. "M'Keli," she says, extending her small, not exactly pristine hand, still in the man's shadow but now facing him, despite the swarming sea of cats under foot. Seems better the devil she knows, as far as proximity is concerned.

The worn silver Stag disappears into his palm. "I am called Eonn," he says, "Eonn Rill, should you find another Eonn." He takes her hand and actually tries to kiss it, like lords do ladies, except not a real kiss, just a touch of beard. His grip is loose, she could easily pull her small hand out of his own big rough-skinned one.

Those unblinking eyes study carefully as he approaches, and her free hand slips halfway to her dagger before she seems to catch on that he might not be intending to bite her hand off. It's a quiet, tense moment, but ultimately an amused if slightly relieved laugh pours from the tiny thing as he gives in to the gesture. "Yep, I'll have you all callin' me highness in a month, maybe two if you are all this stubborn," she says, joking about the man's persistence in just treating her decently.

The man's jewel-blue eyes flick to that moving dagger hand of hers, but he doesn't really seem worried. He laughs, too. "I don't think so, girl," he says. Then, "Where do you sleep?"

Kelinyx withdraws her hand, hugging her arms around her tummy. "Where I can. Usually gt a few winks under a stoop or cart, got a few nests in the green outside the city." She sounds almost embarrassed, now that she's confronted by people for whom that is a question worth asking. "N'you?" she teases, turning the question back on him, lopsided smiling.

"On the floor in the house of the man I guard," Eonn replies. "Sometimes, in the stable with my horse. Do horses annoy you as much as cats?" One of the cats in question mews.

"As long as they're not over me, no, not as much," Keli says softly, her eyes darkening a bit. "You know of a roof?" she asks optimistically, her childlike nature not completely snuffed out as she finds herself inching up nearer to the man, a hopeful expression on her skinny but not gaunt face.

"Oh, there's enough room that my mare won't piss on you, unless you roll under her in your sleep," says Eonn. He settles back onto the crates again. "Best you try not to be very noticed. It won't be hard. Do you want to sleep in the hay tonight?"

Kelinyx nods her head slowly, her big eyes now peering out over the watching world, the hurrying world, most of it above her head, but she remains vigilant, still. "And laws, does this mean I'm expected to know a bunch of rules and doesn'ts and doeses?" She is trying to sound petulant, like she doesn't need this charity, but her face isn't as good at hiding her excitement for a chance to avoid chills for a night.

"Like what?" asks Eonn. "Rules like, do not hurt my horse, or my employer's horse, or go into his house, which is behind a lock? You don't need to do anything, it is a pile of hay. It makes no difference to me if you sleep in it or not; there is another stall."

Kelinyx lets out a little trill of amusement. "I meant in bein' 'round you and the ladies," she confesses, "But I assume the same rules as with the horses and probably a couple more?" She laughs again, the sound somewhat brittle, like she's not used to daring let a laugh ring out under most circumstances.

Eonn blinks, looking confused. "I am not like those ladies," he says. "My employer is, a bit, but I imagine you can keep him from seeing you, and if not that, you can keep yourself from biting him. You don't need to learn the rules about how to behave with lords. At least, not for the sake of a pile of straw to sleep in. Maybe those ladies will start giving you lessons in deportment." He chuckles at that. "But not tonight."

"Deportment? I got it, and Sponnybenders and Wigglesticks, right? Anything else you want to give my leg a pull about?" Keli gives the man a smile, then leans back against the crate beside him. "Well, whatever you think I need to learn, I will listen. Like Lady Reyna said, listening is important. We will see what happens after that." Her stance becomes a not so subtle mirror of his, her intent to emulate unobscured

"Manners," the man clarifies. "Never mind." He shifts, and slowly unfolds to rise to his feet. "Why do you think you want to learn what /I/ think you ought to learn? Am I what you wish to become?"

"Beats pissing in your shoe and sleeping in mud," Keli replies smoothly. "Can you show me to the spot or at least tell me how? It was wet this morning and my boots are chirping like sparrows."

"Come with me," he says. He starts to walk back the way he came, leading the way further into the town, and a more genteel sort of neighborhood.

Eonn leads her to a house. Not a grand one, but not unsuited to a minor lordling. It has a little stable, as he said, with a couple of stalls. He shows her to one housing a big white mare, somewhere between dray-horse and destrier, but seeming too gentle for the latter and too lean for the former. The straw bed is thick, and there he leaves her.

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