Dresses and Diplomacy

Adriwyn scuffs her feet a bit as she enters, making sure she's not tracking anything in.

Dytha |The small house was neat and modestly, though comfortably furnished. A bed in one corner stood over a rolled mattress on the floor, several extra blankets and pillows stacked on top the cupboard against the wall. Dytha had cleared the table of cutlery and lay out string, scissors, pins...everything needed to fit Adriwyn for whatever clothing she'd decided on. The fabric from the faire waited on a chair nearby. She looked up as Adriwyn entered, her smile fresh again, clean of the fatigue that had seeped into it over the day before.

Adriwyn blinks as she sees the layout of such things, and checks herself over to be sure she's clean enough. She is, but she's nervous about it, and flushes faintly. "G-good day, ma'am." She flushed more at stumbling over her greeting.

Dytha |"Ma'am?" She chortled, giving the woman a look. "I'm not your tutor, Adriwyn." She shook her head. "Come in. There's pottage on the stove if you'd like any." She turned to the corner stacked with casks and dry goods to pour them each a cup of soft wine.

Adriwyn flushed more as she stepped in. "No, perhaps you're not my tutor, but you are... my superior in a chain of command."

Dytha strolled over and handed the cup out to her. "You sound like a Gondorian. Next thing you know you'll be marching about and saluting."

Adriwyn flushed more, looking down as she took the cup, since it would be too rude not to. She was surprised at the comment enough to murmur, "It might help."

Dytha chuckled. "What, the wine? Or the marching?" She took a sip of her own cup and motioned to the bowls on a shelf by the fire. The pottage bubbled deliciously in its pot. "If you're hungry."

Adriwyn flushed yet more at having said her thought aloud, and sipped from the wine to calm herself. "Not hungry, but thank you."

Dytha glanced over at the bundles wrapped in twine on chairs by the door. "They were delivered this morning. I promised you at least one dress, but you'll need three, at least. Did you get anything yesterday with the ring I gave you?"

Adriwyn flushed more, shaking her head. "N-no'm, other than making a dent in my hand. I needed to get away and hunt after that one Dunlending's comments."

Dytha batted the air as if the mentioned man were a fly to swat away. "Every faire sees a few of them." She untied the first bundle and laid out the green cloth Adriwyn had picked at the market stall.

Adriwyn nodded. "I'm sure... but I don't usually wind up hearing it." She bit her lip as she pondered, and kept herself from elaborating.

Dytha glanced at her over the cloth as she inspected whether the dye was even throughout. "If there's anywhere to speak openly, it's here."

Adriwyn flushed yet more, and bit her lip again. After a moment, she sighed, shaking her head. "There are times it's better to be thought a fool than to make it clear just what sort of one I am."

Dytha chuckled. "If only I had that skill." She picked up the string and turned to Adriwyn. "Arms out."

Adriwyn held her arms out, biting her tongue again at the start.

Dytha only glanced at Adriwyn this time that she held her tongue. She filled the silence with her own chatter as she looped the string around Adriwyn's waist and marked where the end overlapped the long piece with her thumb. "Speaking of hunting, there's a boy that was caught poaching this side of the river. A Dunlending boy," she said, meeting Adri's eyes.

Adriwyn sighed, then nodded. "Happens a lot, I'm sure. What's normally done about it?" She didn't fidget too much.

Dytha marked the point in the thread with a sprig of charcoal, then moved the loop down over the woman's hips to do the same. "That depends who catches him, but this one was brought in to us. We could hang him."

Adriwyn nodded slowly. "Could. Seems a lot of work for something that just adds to the resentment and distrust. If it's to be killing, I'd rather just slit a throat. I assume 'caught poaching' means with game?"

Dytha shifted the string around Adri's chest, then measured from shoulder to wrist. "Not a bad assumption. Of course, then we would have to believe whoever caught him."

Adriwyn fidgeted a bit more, but nodded at the words. "So, not one of our own, so to speak, who caught him. And given where we are and the distrust... that's cause to wonder. Hrm."

Dytha slowly nodded. "You understand my problem."

Adriwyn sighed, then made sure she was standing straight again for measurements. "I suppose I should try to talk to him, then? See what he has to say for himself?"

Dytha smiled. "You can put your arms down." She pivoted the string on Adriwyn's shoulder to drop down the length of her to her waist, then from waist to floor. "Let me know what you find out. Someone will come looking for him, eventually. It would be best to be prepared."

Adriwyn nodded, lowering her arms. "It might be best to just... trade across the river, rather than raid. Not that most people on either side of it would like hearing me say that."

Dytha sighed and motioned to a chair where one of her own more simple dresses was folded over the back. "If you put that on I'll see how it hangs on you." She turned, allowing the woman privacy as she continued the discussion of the nameless boy's fate. "I'm inclined to return him, whether he was truly poaching or not."

Adriwyn nodded, removing her outerwear and slipping the dress on. She sighed and flushed at how some of her small-clothes behaved in that, but the bit of privacy helped, and she hid the evidence well.

Dytha listened for the rustling to finish before she glanced over her shoulder, then turned around. "It would show Tros Hynt that we're willing to be partners, if we can." She stepped back and took in the sight of Adriwyn in the burgundy kirtle. "How does that feel?"

Adriwyn nodded, and flushed a little more under Dytha's regard. "It would... and that we're not blood-thirsty monsters. At least... some of us." She sighed. "I'm going to have to try to learn their language, at some point...."

Adriwyn realised she'd not actually answered the question. "It feels... good. Almost fits, even."

Dytha smirked. "Perhaps, but I wouldn't try using it. They might take insult that we've stolen what's rightfully theirs..." She stepped up and pinched the dress where it bunched, slipping pins through the fabric to keep the shape created by Adri's form and her manipulation. "I would focus on Westron, for now. That's a language we both share."

Adriwyn nodded again, with only a small sigh. "Right. Well, if I only have to understand their tongue, that'll help... but I suppose I should practice Westron more, then."

Dytha nodded, her gaze shifting color as her thoughts started to stray. "Adriwyn...you don't know what the fight between Barst and Willelmh was about, do you?"

Adriwyn pondered, then sighed heavily. "I heard a little bit, in the tavern, but it wasn't near enough to catch it all. But Will did near-shout at him about not being a bandit, after Barst had been pestering him. I'm afraid I didn't stay as late as they did, though. I'm sure they don't get along, is all I can really say."

Dytha |"You can take the dress off now, but be careful of the pins." She turned around, crossing her arms as she puzzled the more pressing matter of Will's broken ribs. "It isn't like him to start something with no cause..."

Adriwyn nodded, and was very careful in getting the dress off, especially given how her shift under it was behaving. She managed, and laid it over the chair-back, finally diving back into her regular clothes. "No, it isn't. But I don't know what the built-up provocations might have been. Or even... perceived ones."

Dytha turned back and collected the dress, making sure the pins had stayed in place. It was her turn to keep her thoughts to herself.

Adriwyn made a show of checking her purse - not that she actually produced one.

Dytha stretched a smile to push the worry from her face. "Well, he still breathes." She folded the dress and lay it back on its chair.

Adriwyn nodded with a sigh. "But he was worried we didn't take him seriously enough, and that sometime he might not."

Dytha 's smile stalled. "I know." She picked up the wine cup that she'd abandoned for her string and pins. She looked down into it, her visage shifting to a grey even a smile couldn't push away. "Adriwyn...may I speak freely with you?"

Adriwyn nodded. "Certainly, m... well, you don't like when I call you that. So, yes."

Dytha took a moment, but she could not know how the words would sound until she finally spoke them. "I feel for Barst in a way I've not allowed myself feel for anyone else before, and should not have allowed ever...and I cannot make it stop."

Adriwyn nodded, trying not to show the parts of her reaction that were hurt. "So I'd surmised. And he seems more attached to you than I think he'd like to admit."

Dytha had thought for a moment her struggle would be easier if it was out in the open, but even without saying anything, it had been out in the open this whole while. Looking into the deep color of her cup, she did not notice Adri's pain. "I want it to stop," she muttered. "I don't recognize myself when I'm around him, or maybe I only have less control over who I pretend to be."

Adriwyn nodded, rubbing her knuckle along her jaw briefly, and recovered her own cup. "And, sadly, fighting against yourself for it... only makes it worse. Or such is my experience. Rather like... picking at a scab, in some ways. Except... he's still there, and still, in his own way, courting you."

Dytha 's head bobbed over her cup, but she was uncommitted to the nod, and it faded until she only stared into her wine. "By breaking Will's ribs?" She looked up, her eyes a bottomless blue. "That's no way to court anyone."

Adriwyn sighed, shaking her head. "No'm. That's... I don't know what it's about. I wish I did. And that I thought I had the skill in getting information out of people to just ask them and find out that way. But, like with our reported poacher, it's never that easy."

Dytha |"No," she echoed. "No, it isn't."

Adriwyn sighed, then nodded again. "I'll keep trying to see what either of them will tell me. Though feeling I have to keep them apart doesn't make that easy. Barst is good for my Westron, but Will... probably needs a friend. If he'll accept one."

Dytha drank back the rest of her cup. "He does." She turned to fill it again from the cask on the shelf. "Depending on what you learn from the boy, if I decide to return him to his people, will you go with me?"

Adriwyn nodded. "Of course." The movement at the corner of her mouth fought between smirk and frown for a moment. "I'd want it to be someone with you that I trust, after all."

Dytha 's smile slowly returned. "Aye." She lifted her cup to her friend and took a sip.

Adriwyn nodded, finishing her cup. "I should probably check that they don't burn the meat I brought in... as well as starting to see about our reported poacher."

Dytha |"I will have your dresses ready within the week." She paused, her ring finger tapping the side of her cup in thought. "Adriwyn...if you could go anywhere—anywhere at all in the world—where would you go?"

Adriwyn blinked, put off even from thanking her at the question. "I... I know so little of the world, that I've no good way to answer that. I've not even seen all of the Mark, for all the riding and hunting and fighting I've done. And it's more... well. If I didn't think I'd just be getting my heart shattered, there are people I'd want to be with - much more so than places, I think."

Dytha nodded, sympathetic to the thought. "If you could make someplace up, then. Where would it be? What would it look like?"

Adriwyn blinks more, shaking her head, her eyes shining despite it all. "I've... I've seen a few mead halls... the *outside* of Meduseld now... and parts of the Mark. Oh, and one noble's house in Edoras. All I could even make up... would just be more of the same, I think. Even with... who I'd want to be there... I can't want to make them... not them." She turns away to rub at her face.

Dytha looked down as if to find the line she'd overstepped. She crossed to Adriwyn to rest a hand on her arm. "I didn't mean to bring up the past. I'm sorry. It was a silly thing to ask."

Adriwyn shook her head and sniffled, wiping her eyes again. "Not so much the past... and I know it was meant to be better than I took it. I'm sorry. I just... I don't even really understand the tales people tell of places. The Mundburg... is just big and I don't know how or what it looks like. That kind of thing. Where would _you_ go? You've seen more, and might have an answer."

Dytha gave her shoulder a soft squeeze before her hand fell away. "I might, but I will tell you of it another time." She smiled and picked up her pins. "Go, or they'll burn the meat."

Adriwyn nodded with another small sniffle, but managed a smile for her, despite the shining eyes and slightly smudged face. "Aye. Can't have that. But I'd love to hear more about places I've never seen... maybe in a way that I can get a little understanding. Someday."

Adriwyn sets down the cup and aims herself for the door.

Dytha turned to position the cloth across the table and begin on the dress, but she watched as Adriwyn's back was turned, her smile a little lighter.

Adriwyn headed out, offering on the way, "Thank you... especially about the dresses."


Chat Log: 07/29