Too High of a Cost

Too High of a Cost
Summary: Lady Claire catches up with her cousin, Sir Corwin and maybe delves into what’s really bothering her when away from friendly acquaintances.
Date: 07/11/1329
Related: None
Players:
Corwin Claire 

Golden Crown Inn, Wolveshire - Common Room
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. he 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.

Nov 07, 1329

The Golden Crown in Wolveshire isn't a particularly rowdy Inn for the most part. Tonight is a fine example of that - only a few of the tables are occupied. A few of them by single travellers and the others by some local merchants who are quietly discussing business after hours. Corwin had been at the market in the late afternoon and didn't want to make the ride back up to the castle without a full belly. So, he found himself at the inn, seated at one of the tables near the fire with a bowl of the day's stew and a mug of ale. He absently spoons the food into his mouth and looks off into the distance at nothing in particular.

While it may have only been a day since her return to the Wolveshire area which includes the castle, Claire makes her way down the stairs with her maid in accompany. "You will find yourself rather bored, I think, milady," comes the remark from the older of the two women as she follows the noblewoman into the common area. "Well, I admit that it will be less eventful with Sirs Gauvain and Jaren not present. Still, I do worry for his squire." Spotting a familiar face not too far away, she pauses with something of a smile before gesturing her intentions of moving in such a direction. "Join us in a moment or two," she adds before moving towards Corwin's table with as much silence as she can muster.

Silence is enough to get rather close to Corwin before he slowly shifts his eyes to see who is approaching his table - the Inn isn't nearly busy enough to sneak up on the knight who isn't really doing much to distract himself but lifting a spoon to his mouth every few seconds. It takes a moment to register that the approaching person is actually coming toward his table and that he knows who it is. His spoon settles in his bowl and he turns slightly in his seat. "Lady Claire. You're here, then gone then here again. I wish I could claim your busy life. Good evening."

"I assure you that my latest trip was purely based on a request of my services," Claire replies as one bare hand settles against the back and a voice betraying amusement before indicating the seat with the barest of nods. "You do not mind if I join you, do you? Though, I have no idea where to start with what I have and have not been doing. Only that I am here to stay for a time. Or, so I think. Barring any other summons and requests, I suppose this may be true."

"Your services seem to be in great demand." Corwin comments, motioning toward the chair across from him. "Please, yes, join me. I was just having something to eat before I brave the cool weather and climb my way back up to the castle. I'm honestly not in any rush to leave the hearthside." The knight swings his eyes past Claire to catch sight of the man working the bar and gives a tiny nod. The fellow begins to wander over to take an order from Claire when he arrives. "Hopefully your travels have treated you well, at least." He replies to her vague description of where she has been.

"Sometimes, it seems that being a healer on a ship was far more easier than anything on land." Whether or not she's necessarily pleased with being in such demand remains to be determined, settling into the chair with both arms folding across the tabletop loosely. The aforementioned hearth does draw her gaze, the flickering oranges hues with a press of her lips tightly together. "I managed to get nothing more than an arrow through my warm cloak but that is nothing compared to some of the others. But, if you want? Keep me company and tell me more about this talk of Princess Amira that you touched on last time before my trip?"

"Arrow through your cloak? I feel like you have the more interesting stories to tell between the two of us." Corwin gives a slight smile, though his eyes are touched with a bit of concern at the same time. "Let us be thankful that it wasn't through your leg or arm. And that those you were with we able to be helped by your services." He clearly wants to ask me, but politeness denies him from digging too deeply into her affairs. "What was I saying of Princess Amira last we met? I believe she is interested in learning more of the healing arts, and I suggested she might speak to you. She has also said she'd like to meet both you and Cordelia and that she would host a meal that the three Sollingers could attend. Whenever we're all available."

Claire may be receptive to some measure of concern, lifting her head to address the fellow approaching with a request of tea and a small bowl of soup. It's not until the man is well distant and her maid, Janelle settles at a table nearby that she continues softly. "I am waiting for His Highness to have ample time in reporting to the Queen, but I think what happened is sufficient to discuss among family." Even cousins as they are and the time will come, when she's certain of few prying ears. Still, she allows her mind to set along the new path of conversation purposely. "I see. If you like, I can certainly tell anyone who asks that I am not available to undertake any projects for some time. Especially since I have a patient to check on in Laketown from time to time. Does Her Highness have an idea of when or is it solely dependent on my not going anywhere for the upcoming future?"

"My impression is that she is mostly available. It's just a matter of having yourself and Cordelia both free of obligations for an evening. And myself. But, my life is quiet right now most days." Corwin shrugs, stirring his spoon around his stew around his bowl. "I can also introduce you to the Princess before that. Or perhaps you'll simply meet her yourself. She's often out and about around the castle." He brushes the topic away with a slight wave of his hand and takes a bite of his stew. When he's finished chewing - "We shall sort that out. Now. What have you been involved with? You keep hinting."

Silent until the tea arrives, the corners of Claire's lips twitch upwards and then settle entirely downwards before wrapping both hands about the cup in lieu of keeping them set against the table. Or her arms. "Have you heard anything about Brenton and the circumstances around it as of late," she asks after a few moments, failing to fully distract herself from the thoughts still firmly lingering far too close to the surface. "Or that the commander of the fort was recalled and his men seemed to have had connections to bandits?" It's with a much softer voice that she speaks with now, acutely aware of those near and more importantly - those not near.

Corwin shakes his head every so slightly, his gaze focusing a bit more intently on Claire when she begins to speak about bandits. He'd spent enough years fighting bandits to know they're not always rag tag ruffians and can pose a serious threat. "I have not heard anything. Or nothing that I've paid much attention to. I suppose I've heard some talk about bandits just as I've heard of some Corsair attacks. Some roads more dangerous than others. But, nothing in particular about Brenton, no."

"I keep wondering how much of the details that Prince Samwell wants to keep limited now that we have returned to our respective places," Claire answers, pressing the cup to her lips while otherwise keeping it lifted in both hands in an adjustment of positioning. While it also means that her elbows rest against the table, it doesn't change the conversation's path. "Still," she says, gaze more favoring the hearth than her cousin directly."There were injuries and some men did not make it back."

"I imagine his Highness would have made it clear if matter were not meant to be discussed. That sort of thing is not usually left to chance." Corwin pushes the bowl he was eating from slightly away from himself on the table so that it can be picked up the next time the Inn keep wanders by. His brow furrows as he listens to Claire's words, leaning back into his own seat, his lips settling into a frown. "I'm sorry to hear that. I've seen many good men fall. It never gets easier." He shakes his head. "I regret that I wasn't able to aid in this mission. Though, I'm sure the Prince had the best men with him. And it was clearly kept quiet …"

"Then you will use discretion," Claire not so much asks as says, but simply states as if it's commonplace. When one's last name is Sollinger. "I could not necessarily speak of it to those I traveled with. In their eyes, they think quite highly me and my skills. I'm quite sure those at the Temple are far more talented, however," she says, shifting her attention towards the cup in both hands with a downwards glance to peer at the liquid within before closing her eyes in resignation. "That is what I have been quite preoccupied with as of late. Who knows if there will be a reprieve, but I will need to travel to Laketown soon to check up on a patient - two patients of mine."

"I'm certain you did everything you were able to. You can only do so much when a man is cut open. The Temple perhaps have advantages that you'll never be able to harness, but that doesn't make your skills any less valuable. The fact that you returned with patients is a testament to those skills. It is good that the Prince was wise enough to have you along for the trip. It is too often that men figure they're invincible and don't worry about finding a doctor until they're bent over and trying to hold their guts inside." Corwin narrows his gaze slightly - "So. This was some organized bandit group? Looking to profit off of innocent travellers, or perhaps they had loftier goals? And was the mission a success, besides the casualties?"

Claire presses her lips even tighter behind the cup, perhaps not appearing as convinced even as dark eyes lift to reply to Corwin all the same. "And there were still those that I was not able to save. For whatever reason. Yet, that was one of the first lessons I learned during the war - that not everyone /could/ be saved." And it may not make any difference to her, in the short term. The long? Perhaps so. Turning the cup carefully within her palms, there's the slightest shake of her head in response. "I wish that I could say more. That, is something the Blue Guard likely know of those that were captured. But they did seem organized a great deal and with potentially lofty goals. For all that did happen, I believe it was a success. The cost, I think, was too high - as any such venture."

"The cost is always too high. Even with that said, after so many years of constantly being at war, lords are looking for more ways to shed blood now that we have a little bit of peace. Plenty would still see the north and south fighting once again now that the Corsairs are pushed away." Corwin draws in a deep breath and lets out a long sigh. "In some ways, groups such as these bandits and the continued attacks from the Corsairs are perhaps all that is keeping that peace together. The kingdoms still have enough other problems to focus their attention upon without looking at borders." A simple shrug. "Let us hope that the efforts of those like Princess Amira are able to keep the kingdoms united. At least in part."

"And let us not forget about the matter of the lands to the east," Claire interjects, taking a sip finally before returning her hands to a more comfortable position. "For all that we may not have the Corsairs to deal with, there was a warning given from harpies, of all creatures. One would certainly agree with you in that we have far too many other issues to keep ourselves busy in our respective lands. Speaking of the Princess, if you can find out which evening suits her best? I will plan my trip to Laketown around such arrangements."

"If I know her at all - which I'm not sure I can lay claim to - I imagine she'd reflect that decision on you, given that your patients are more important than having dinner and conversation with her. That said, I'll try to find a mutually agreeable evening for us all to get together." Corwin glances quickly out the window into the darkness beyond and then back toward Claire - "And I'll hope to get Cordelia to join as us well. That said, she's nearly as hard as you to nail down for any amount of time. I feel like I'm the only one that isn't out having adventures all the time." He doesn't necessarily sounds upset by that fact.

Moving to set the cup onto the table, Claire takes note of the falling darkness before smiling across the table at Corwin. "Since I am back, there's nothing keeping me from introducing you to some of the Blue Guard. Or you can come with me, as I think about it a little more. But I think.. that I will ask Janelle to see about having dinner brought up to our room tonight. Did you need to get back to the castle before the hour became too late?"

"It's perhaps later than I'd intended to leave already. But, yes, I was planning to ride back up tonight. It would be best if we returned together. Strength in numbers." And in swords. Corwin at least has that part covered. He pushes his chair out from the table, pulling a few coins from his purse to leave on the table. "I should like to meet some of this Blue Guard. There is a great deal of talk and mystique around the members. It's easy to forget sometimes that they're just men and women like the rest of us."

"And here, I find that they're companionable," Claire says while placing both hands lightly against the table as she too moves to stand with Janelle doing the same as a faithful, if very watchful shadow. "Well, some of them. Others.. well, they are only human." It's a nice way of putting things, if nothing else. "My guard should still be near the front of the inn, so we can head back immediately."

Fade

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