Keeping Up Appearances

Keeping Up Appearances
Summary: Boys will be boys - and Castor Westmark is no exception. His second day staying in the Golden Crown Inn after a long, lonely trek in the wilderness has him seeking wine, women and song - all of which he finds… until his father, the Shadow Baron, finds him…
Date: 27/05/2013
Related: Prev: The Gathering, Next: Cranky and Calm
Players:
Castor Bryony Collette Paule 

Common Room, Golden Crown Inn, Wolveshire
A lowered ceiling and rafters combined with a clutter of tables and chairs create a far cozier atmosphere than the foyer. To the right of the room is a long wooden bar behind which mirrors and shelves are arranged to display the carafes and bottles of liquor available to patrons. Cushioned stools line the outside of the bar to provide seating for customers. The room is bisected by a long half-wall topped by panels of glass etched with an artistic rendering of famous moments in Taniford history. The partial wall reaches nearly to the ceiling and creates a unique acoustical environment while also serving to divide portions of the room. On the side closer to the door, the tables and chairs are larger and more crammed together. The other side has smaller, more intimate settings: low booths against a wall with curtains that can be drawn closed, small tables with plush, low-slung chairs. There is a kitchen beyond the bar and servers often bustle in and out.

The door to the kitchen is behind the bar, set in a hinge that makes it easy to go in and out for someone with full hands. A low archway leads back into the main room of the inn.

May 28th, 1329

Bryony makes her way into the common room, hazel eyes reviewing the patrons for familiar faces. There is a dearth of them today, it would seem. She steps back just in time to avoid collision with a server, giving the man a soft smile and a nod of greeting before moving on to find an empty seat with the hopes of a full plate, as well.

"…And that was how the first two of the blasted creatures died!" exclaims a young man with a mane of dark hair hanging down his shoulders. His arms are raised in a pantomime of firing an arrow from a bow, his lips (boasting white teeth and a neatly trimmed thin moustache and goatee) parted in a roguish, lopsided grin as he talks to a blonde-haired barmaid who is leaning against the bar at the young man's side.

The man's cloak, trousers and boots are mud-stained from long travel, and he has a modest bandage tied about his left bicep, bloodstained. He flashes another grin at the barmaid, and lowers his arms so he can reach for his mug of ale on the counter.

The barmaid looks like she does not quite believe him. "You say you took down all four of the beasts - by yourself, Cas?" she asks with a cocked eyebrow, her arms folded over her chest.

Castor Westmark (for 'tis he) sets down his mug and bobs his eyebrows at the girl. "Would I lie to you?" he asks in a cocky manner. Then he leans in closer. "I did not lie about the other thing, now did I?"

Castor's laughter mixes in with the rest of sound and activity throughout the Inn, this evening. The sun is already setting, and those looking for an easy drink at the end of a hard day are all here: talking, laughing, drinking, flirting - even arguing, over in one corner of the room. Castor looks like he has been here a while - at least, long enough to have had several drinks.

"You should hear the tale about the time that I - ooh!" he takes a step back from the bar and nearly bumps into someone. "Your pardon -" he starts to say, turning around.

Tress locks wildly sticks this way and that, giving the young lady some mischief. Her sparkling eyes colour of amber run through all the room, intently looking for someone. She takes one step after another very slowly. Quite clinging gown in the bustier area with a skirt, which becomes so wide in the bottom, elegantly sways near the ground. The dress has the same burgundy colour, which lights on the cloak of her guard, who full of pride, follows the young lady.

The young server girl jealously gawks at the incredibly small, but vivid laces on the light skirt of the lady. Collette offers a smile for the girl and that makes the child fearfully hide her look turning it away and stumbling on the foot of an old and tired man.

This makes the youngest daughter of the Horse Lord chuckle and she starts gently fondling the white rabbit fur on her surcoat with large cut-outs on both sides with no sleeves. A line of gems on the wide burgundy sleeves of the dress blinks in not very bright room, getting attention of the stranger in the corner of the common room, who starts following the lady as a beast follows forbidden prey.

When her eyes do not catch the sight, which Collette was looking for, young woman slowly and elegantly glides near the wooden bar and asks a watered wine for the barmaid, interrupting her conversation with a man. She takes a seat on cushioned stool. While Lohstren lady waits for her drink, russet gaze, this time more curiously, slips through the room, stopping for a few moments near the man, who just bumped into another person. Lady slightly grins as she would be guessing, that there might be an amusing view if these two man will end up as a lot of common people, when someone stumbles on someone. Though she does not say anything and remains as passive observer, who stars whirling her curl around soft fingers.

Bryony takes a quick step back to try and avoid being stepped on by the swordsman, one hand lifting as though it could prevent the collision. A soft chuckle escapes and she looks up at the man. "You'll not have it," she replies to his request for pardon. "Not when there is no pardon required. A crowded room, my lord… A few bumps and nudges are to be expected." Her gaze drifts past the rogue and to the barmaid he'd been speaking with. "A glass of red, if you've a moment?" The woman steps back, giving Castor plenty of room to get around her, should he so desire it. Her gaze shifts towards the woman in the lovely dress and she gives a deep bowing of her head in silent greeting.

It must be Castor's lucky day.

The man catches himself before completely knocking anyone over, but it is the sound of the voice apologising that tempts his attention. And it is the sight of the one who speaks that arrests his attention completely.

"My lady!" he exclaims, giving a hasty bow. "You are too kind, truly. I have stumbled into far worse, believe me." There is a grunt to the side of him as a burly fellow - common-born from the looks of him, a craftsman - reaches for the front of Castor's cloak and tunic.

"That was my foot you trod on, whelp -" growls the older, larger man to the young lord. "I should -" the man cuts off his speaking mid-sentence, and suddenly releases Castor. He gives Bryony a hesitant bow and remarks:

"Beggin' yer pardon, yer ladyship -" he says, only to give Castor a mean glance and then stalk away in the direction of the tables where some men are playing cards.

Castor throws up his hands and shakes his head at the world. "Why does this always happen to me?" he laments with a forlorn, dejected expression on his boyish features. "I suppose I should thank you, my lady," he adds to Bryony a moment later. "On his behalf, I mean. I think you just saved that poor fellow an embarrassing lesson."

Barmaid brings a goblet and puts it in front of the young lady. Collette extends her hand to take a goblet, but her eyes still follows these people so close to her, who apologises each other. That makes corners of the young lady's lips to form a wide smile and she brings goblet closer. At first, Collette just stares at the waving drink inside, but after a few heartbeats she moistens her lips, but the gaze finds that lady and lord once more. When the lady bows her head to Collette, she just raises an eyebrow in return and swallows the gulp of wine.

"And I would venture to say that you are quite disappointed that I did so," Bryony replies, arching a dark eyebrow as one corner of her mouth tugs upwards in amusement. Her hands smooth over her skirts, setting herself to rights as she speaks with the swordsman. "I am curious as to why I am constantly addressed as 'lady'. I fear there is much disappointment to be had." The wine arrives and she smiles warmly for the bar-wench. One hand reaches into one of the many pouches attached to her belt and the woman produces coin, offering it up before taking her glass.

After spending the evening with his children and then his wife, Paule returns to the common room to gather up some form of breakfast, dropping bonelessly into a chair and relaxing as he lets out a little breath. To the first barmaid that comes to him, he orders a plate of food and a loaf of bread and an ale and leans back as he rubs at his eyes sleepily to bring himself further to awarefulness. Spying his son, he doesn't interrupt, a thin turn of his lips in a faint smile as he waits for meals to be delivered.

Castor offers Bryony another smile. "Any beautiful lady is a lady to my eyes." He motions toward the bartender, smirking. "And the same for me, as well, friend."

The bartender gives Castor a look that might say: 'haven't you had enough?' but fixes the drinks regardless. Coin is coin after all. Castor steps backward - this time, checking - toward the counter and one of the vacant stools there. He places some coins on the wooden surface of the bar and reaches for his cup.

"I'll not keep you, lady," he remarks a few moments later to Bryony. "He who has your hand must ne'er be far away, is it not so?"

The man makes a surreptitious motion with his hand to check his coin-pouch, and then casts a sidelong glance across the room at the men gambling around a table in the corner. The barest of frowns crosses the young man's brow as he ponders his options: wine, women, song (of course)… and more coin. He glances from each distraction to another, having not seen his father yet.

Bryony inclines her head graciously in acceptance of the compliment from the young man. A sip of her wine is taken as she speaks with the bartender. To his last, she lifts a brow, finding another small chuckle. "My lord is too kind and far too generous in his assessments. My hands are my own, I fear." Still, she follows his glance, sees the worry in his eyes. "It is I who must not keep you. After all, you did come here for respite, no? It would be unforgivable were I to keep you from it."

Collette mannerly sips her wine, slowly licking rosebud lips, when a drop or two remains on it. Sparkling eyes with some amusement examine woman's called "lady" dress. Young Lohstren lady weaves in her seat as a kitten, who tries to find the best stance. Fingers dances on the silver goblet.

Collette straightens embroidered skirt, letting it fall on the ground elegantly. She listens the conversation of the pair, which makes Horse Lord's daughter sniff. However, she covers her lips with hand, trying to muffle the sound or to make it look like cough.

There's a voice in the air, and the father knows his son's voice immediately. Especially when said son is in the middle of one of the multitude of activities that he disapproves of - but his mother always seems to let slide to some extent. Looking around slowly again, he spies the gentlemen in the corner, gambling, and then his eyes drift back towards his son and the young women. And then he speaks. Firmly. "Boy." he comments. "I see you were having a good morning."

One hand holding a cup half full of red wine, the other hand tucked in at his side where he keeps his coins, Castor nods - smiling as always - at Bryony, and then walks past the bar toward the card-table. Four men, common-born from the looks of them, glance up at the young lord as he reaches for an empty chair.

"I trust you gentleman will not mind if I join your game?" the youthful Westmark enquires politely, despite having already pulled out the chair and is poised to sit himself down.

The eldest at the table - a weather-beaten, bearded man with leathery skin - shrugs his shoulders. "Coin is coin, your lordship," he says.

"You are too kind," Castor replies and takes his seat. "Deal me -"

The voice of fate intervenes.

Correction, the voice of his father intervenes.

And Castor's eyes close as his lips gather themselves into a tight, irritated mouth-shrug. He puts a thin, forced smile on his face and stands up again, turning about to see his father.

"Father," he remarks in a neutral voice of feigned submission, bowing. "My lord. As ever you are most astute. It was a good morning, afternoon and evening. And you, my lord?"

Bryony gives the barest of curtsies to the departing lordling before moving on herself. The young woman finds a spot for herself amongst the more crowded tables. It takes little time to find herself in conversation and soon she is ordering her own meal while chatting with some of the lowborn locals.

"I am having a well enough morning, considering our location." Paule says simply, as he looks towards his son. "I assume that your mother advanced you your allowance again?" he asks, something in his voice that speaks volumes of disapproval of the idea. "And I see that once again, the draw of cards outweighs the need to…" he shakes his head. "Never mind." he rumbles, and considers. "I believe you should come home soon." he says. "Your mother has been seeking proper arrangements for a young Lord such as yourself."

When both, woman and young lord leave bar and vanishes in the room somewhere between all these tall people, young Lohstren lady spins on her cushioned stool to turn her sparkling eyes to the barmaid. Collette grins widely and starts telling her something, sometimes glancing at the young lord. The young lady talks silently, plus the crowd is quite loud, for this reason it is quite hard to hear something, but these words, which leave Collette's throat makes barmaid blush and she just turns to do her own work. Collette brings goblet for a longer time near her lips, again, turning back to the room, letting intent gaze to observe all the people inside, as Collette once more would be looking for someone particular.

"'Twas not Mother—" Castor starts to say, apparently failing to catch himself before revealing - or at least hinting - at the true source of the coin on his person. His lips once again return to that of a thin line under his nose: displeasure, disappointment, even a little defiance.

"I am sure I'll be fine, Father," he replies - keeping his tone civil… ish. He smiles. "I has been a rather long road - perhaps one game ere we must greet the road again?" There is just enough lift in the youth's pitch to pose the sentence as a question… barely. By the time he has spoken it, he is already sitting slowly back down again and nodding to the dealer. The wine cup is lifted to his lips and he makes a show of enjoying it.

"I'm sure that your mother would love to know of your extra-curricular activities." Paule says simply, a glance towards his rebellious child. "I suppose that you figure yourself enough of an adult to do as you wish. Perhaps I should discuss with your mother treating you as such." And all that entails.

A young handmaiden, very small with a short dark hair runs inside the common room. She looks more like a boy, than a girl. Her dark orbs finds lady Collette and child in a quick pace rushes her direction. When Horse Lord's daughter sees her handmaiden, she jumps on her feet, letting a few drops of wine splash on her fingers. The long dress sways near the ground nervously, while Lohstren lady shifts from one foot to another. Finally, when handmaiden approaches near her lady, Collette leans closer. With each word of the girl, amber eyes become more and more darker, when finally a sad sigh leaves lady's throat and she sits back, taking a huge gulp of wine. However, quickly another words from the girl brings the sparkle back to woman's eyes.

Castor resists the urge to groan.

He succeeds.

Nevertheless, his dismay is written all over his face, at least for his father to read. The youth does not entirely desire to make his father look bad in front of others - especially commoners - and he rises from his chair, wine-cup in hand.

"Suddenly the thrill of the game has fled. My apologies, goodmen. Another time."

There are muttered replies to the young lord, all courteous in their choice of words, and all disappointed in their delivery. Castor gives his father a sidelong look of annoyance.

And defeat.

"I think I shall go to the stables and check upon Orion and Cerberus," he declares aloud as if trying to make a point of some kind - the illusion of independence, perhaps. "How soon ere we depart, my lord?"

The 'my lord' carries just a tiny hint of exaggerated emphasis. He quickly scans the room for a distraction - any distraction - from this awkward moment of 'father vs son'.

"As soon as your mother and I speak with the Princess and Prince of Rhaedan, we will be on our way. As far as you and your sister. The Baroness.." Apparently Paule does not agree, when he refers to his wife in the proper, "…believes that it is time to allow our children some freedom to roam." With that, he moves to rise to his feet. "..don't make me regret this decision."

Castor resists the urge to groan.

He succeeds.

Nevertheless, his dismay is written all over his face, at least for his father to read. The youth does not entirely desire to make his father look bad in front of others - especially commoners - and he rises from his chair, wine-cup in hand.

"Suddenly the thrill of the game has fled. My apologies, goodmen. Another time."

There are muttered replies to the young lord, all courteous in their choice of words, and all disappointed in their delivery. Castor gives his father a sidelong look of annoyance.

And defeat.

"I think I shall go to the stables and check upon Orion and Cerberus," he declares aloud as if trying to make a point of some kind - the illusion of independence, perhaps. "How soon ere we depart, my lord?"

The 'my lord' carries just a tiny hint of exaggerated emphasis. He quickly scans the room for a distraction - any distraction - from this awkward moment of 'father vs son'.

"As soon as your mother and I speak with the Princess and Prince of Rhaedan, we will be on our way. As far as you and your sister. The Baroness.." Apparently Paule does not agree, when he refers to his wife in the proper, "…believes that it is time to allow our children some freedom to roam." With that, he moves to rise to his feet. "..don't make me regret this decision."

Castor lifts his chin to his father.

For a few moments he says nothing.

Then, he gives the bow that is appropriate for a lord to a baron. His jaw is set, but at the corner of his lips there twitches the birth of minute smirk - for his mother, and his own newfound freedom it would seem. Lifting his head again after the bow, Castor espies a woman speaking with her handmaiden, and he arches an eyebrow - already distracted.

And glad to be so.

"I shall be ready to depart when our business with the Prince and Princess of Rhaedan is concluded," the young Westmark declares in a soft, neutral tone of voice. "If you will excuse me, my lord, I should honour Mother's wishes."

Turning in the direction of Collette, Castor's face suddenly blooms into a grin, and he walks away from his father, to seek out new opportunities for enjoyment.

"But you will never say anyone, yes?" Collette puts her hand on girl's shoulders, intently staring at her eyes. A little bit afraid, but with a warm smile, girl nods "My lady, I am two years with you. I never…" the youngest daughter of horse Lord puts her finger on handmaiden's lips to make her stop talking. "I know," Collette drawls "I know… Now, please, run and prepare my clothes. I will come after another goblet of wine," she winks for the girl, who gives a respectful curtsy and walks away, now much more slowly and humming a cheerful song. Lohstren lady turns to the bar and lets her finger circle by the edge of the goblet thoughtfully. Young woman drowns in her minds, not seeing anything around. She just cants her head, letting wild curls fall on the bar playfully.

As Castor approaches the Lady, Paule's studious gaze takes her in. Along her body. To that blazon so brazenly set on her cloth and he gives a little snort. The horse farmers. Rising to his feet, he tells the barmaid. "I will take my meal in my room." he says as he turns to leave.

Castor never makes it to the bar.

A mere few feet from his intended target for conversation, the muffled sound of a horse's agitated whinny - a familiar sound, judging from Castor's reaction - manages to be heard above the din in the tavern, and the young Westmark lord frowns, shaking his head.

"No rest for the wicked," he murmurs and promptly drains his cup in one go. He puts the cup down on the bar (along with enough coin to pay for it) as he walks by - lifting his eyebrows wistfully as he passes the girl with whom he had been about to talk - and turns toward the archway leading out of the Inn.

"I am coming, Orion," he mutters under his breath as he stalks out of the room. "Don't get your tail in a twist…"

Then he is gone.

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