Saoirsia’s Tale

Saoirsia’s tale

The salt from the sea was irritating to the spot under her eyepatch but was refreshing enough to the rest of her that she tolerated the irritation. Ahead oh her, the lights of narrowhaven shone in the distance. The ship was still some ways out and so she had the time to stand idle on deck.

Two weeks had passed since the missive from Daynedun had summoned her from what remained of the estate. Two weeks of rough travel by horse, then foot, then boat. In hindsight the horse might have lived longer if it had not been near starving before she left. There was nothing that could be done for that though, truthfully she stole it from the esate. Well maybe stole was too harsh a word. It used to be her horse anyways. The estate that had been the home of the Danrath for three generations before her father had taken control of it. In five short years he had gambled away a fortune and the debt collectors had taken the estate. Her father had died then. Shock? Perhaps, or perhaps he had been taking loans from men he should have avoided to support his desire to ‘win it all back’ as he had said.

This complicated things for her. The servants had abandoned her and she had been forced to live as a… a…. a commoner. Absently she rubbed under the eyepatch, this lead to one of the sailors mentioning to her that it wouldn’t heal right if she fidgeted with it. Turning on the man the facade she wore changed to one of concealed anger and she politely told the prole that she was well aware of how to deal with her own problems. She added something about the man’s resemblance to a sea cucumber and made a few comments about his stink before the man walked away in disgust.

"Filthy prole", she mocked the man under her breath. The mask of rage fell away in seconds and she composed herself, reminding herself of her station and what was expected of her. It was not her place to treat a filthy commoner badly. After all, it wasn’t his fault that bathing was an art long since lost on his class.

How Daynedun had known of her plight was something she would need to ask the old man when she arrived. She counted out the coins in her purse and frowned. What little she had been squirreling away had vanished quickly during the journey. She would be nothing more than a pauper when she arrived. A well dressed pauper who knew how to bathe but still a pauper. Then there was the debt. She would need to deal with that as soon as possible. How to spirit enough coins away to make a dent in it though?

These and other thoughts swam through her head as the ship made it’s approach and was anchored. She was still thinking on ways when she arrived at the tavern where she was to be met by her cousin Caierris or the old man. Neither were present when she arrived.

She tried other establishments and even resorted to asking the commoners, nothing was helping. No one knew where to find either of them. Her anger was growing as she entered the counting house and demanded information from the man behind the counter. A voice behind her dared to mention something but all she had heard was "respect" and "working class" she turned to face the man, a well dressed individual who had bothered to bathe recently.

She slipped into a more pleasant attitude at once and addressed the man with all due politeness and courtesy. It was the most pleasant conversation she had been privileged to in many months. She was starting to truly enjoy herself when the doors swung open and Caierris, her belligerent and unpleasant cousin, adopted, but still family, entered the counting house.

Oh how she had missed Caierris, finally, someone she could torment without fear of reprisal. The pair laid into each other with fierce quips and sharp tongues. A verbal dance to rival any held by the most skilled combatants in the arts of war. Caierris cracked first and grabbed her wrist, she waved a pleasant goodbye to the well dressed man as she was pulled, then drug, then carried back towards the docks.

A few minutes later she was dumped, uncerimoniously, and quite rudely, on the uneven wooden floor of a house in the slums. "This is it. Home sweet home" Caierris told her in a mocking tone while sweeping her arms around the near empty room .

No, this wasn’t happening. Saved from destitution to live in a squalid shack by the docks. This wasn’t right, it wasn’t fair. It was less than common. It was so dirty, and dusty, and filthy and… and… oh gods above, was that a rat. She picked herself up and dusted the front of her dress off "You have a broom at least? This place isn’t fit for habitation" she said, trying to hide her disgust at the state of this place.

"Yes, here" Caierris said, obviously enjoying this as she thrust an old branch with twigs attached to one end at Saoirsia. "This is not a broom" Saoirsia informed her. Caierris grinned widely "Sure it is. It’s great for swatting away them rats, watch your step as you clean, rat guts are awfully hard to get up" Caierris mocked as she walked back through the doors.

Saoirsia fell to her knees and dropped the broom with a clatter. She was on the verge of tears when a gnarled old hand landed on her shoulder and gave it a squeeze. "I ken it’s nay much lass but dun ye start. I ken fer a fact it be better than what yer father left ye. Bad business that, aye?" Daynedun spoke to her with his usual matter of factness. She turned and wrapped her arms around the old man and accepted the luxury of being allowed to weep in private.

He patted her back and squeezed her. "Get it all oot now lass. When it be over we’ll be giving this place a right clean" he whispered into her ear. Several hours later the place at least looked livable. The work had been simple, demeaning, and dirty, but it felt good somehow. As the pair stood side by side in a corner Daynedun, arm around Saoirsia said "There, feels a bit better,aye? Gettin the place lookin nice an livable? Now, I ken ye been through a bit, aye". Saoirsia nodded slowly. "Maybe" she thought "Maybe this isn’t going to be as bad as I thought".

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