(1311-08-25) Mead and Gossip
Summary: After their exploits at the tournament grounds and the hippodrome, Elin invites Tancred over to her rooms at the guest tower.
RL Date: 25/08/2019
Related: Happens right after this scene.
elin tancred 

Gotland Suite — Guest Tower

Reflections of the resident's home country are more subtle touches to the interior. Such as the fur-lined cloak of a more grounded style tossed over the back of a chair, good craftsmanship in the garment and fine embroideries that are more simplistic in the ornaments used; the bow and quiver of leather, the latter carved with Norse symbols, hanging at the wall; the garments of good workmanship and simple elegance that fill the wardrobe of cherry wood, as opposed to the more daring and playful d'Angeline styles.

Furniture and curtains at the windows are of the splendid grandeur as befits the chambers at the guest tower on the palace grounds. Timber of reddish hue has used to craft the three chairs, the table, the desk in the study and also the four poster bed in the adjoining bedroom. Walls are covered with light green damask, and the dark wooden floor has a few carpets from Alba and even Ephesium to provide a certain comfortable and elegant air. Bed sheets and pillows are of white linen, all orderly arranged, beneath a fine woven rug showing a scene of Gotlandish myths and legends.

An invitation had been issued, and Tancred had agreed to accept it. And so it had happened, that he had entered palace grounds, together with the retinue of Elin Asbjornsdottir. The blonde daughter of a Gotlander jarl has a certain proud air to her and a confidence, that might have prevented anyone from stepping in their way. And truth be told, sometimes it is hard to tell all these foreigners apart. Tancred and Elin have meanwhile relocated to her chambers in the guest tower. On the table, between them, are several plates with bread and cheese and slices of smoked ham. In their goblets, some freshly poured mead from her own personal supplies. His prize, the bottle of mead, sits on a sideboard, ready to be picked up, once he leaves. But for now they are breaking their fast together. "To Odin and Týr," Elin smiles, raising her goblet in a toast. She hasn't changed into something more appropriate, but sits there, in her training leathers, blonde hair cascading in a wild golden mess down over her shoulders and upper back.

"To Woten and Ziu." Though the gods are of the same root, Tancred opts to pronounce them the way his tribe does. It likely sounds a little funny to Elin. He has shed his maill coat, mitts, and his helmet, still clad in layers of stout clothes, but at least relieved of much of the weight of his armor. His back can get achey enough as is given his height. Once he drinks deep, he sets his cup down to pick up his knife and start to richly butter his bread. "I had not realized how hungry I was."

Elin tilts her head a little to the side, eyes glinting as she hears her Gods called with Skaldi names. They do sound funny to her, as the soft quiver in her nostrils betrays. Still wearing her leather leggings, she now elects to at least get rid of the vest of studded leather, and the braces, each showing Gotlandish ornaments. Looking rather informal now, in the shirt, she reaches out for a cloth to wipe some sweat off her face. "One does get hungry, when competing," is offered in reply to Tancred's statement. "I find the warm climate here hard to adjust to. But apart from that, things don't seem too different from how they are handled at home. Tell me…" She smiles and reclaims her goblet, taking another good sip from the mead. "How do you like the mead? Is it to your taste?"

"It is sweet. I have not tasted it much, truthfully. It is known in my homeland, though not common. Your land is more known for its products of honey, and it is not cheap." Tancred likes the stuff, that much is obvious, but preserves what's in his cup carefully, not wanting to go through the supply too quick. Well, it's hers, but he doesn't want to be a bad guest. "Even now, I oft find it warm in this southern land, but it is not as hot as it was in Tiberium. It is even worse when one sails south through the sea."

"This is the farthest I've ever been to the south," Elin confesses with a light giggle. "And I am here on my father's wish, as my duty here will help him better his standing with our king. I am my father's only daughter, but he has never denied me the duties of battle. My brothers…" Her shoulders lift in a light shrug. "Aksel is my father's heir. And Kjaeld… He's cute. A bit over-protective at times. Neither of them was allowed to come here with me, so it is Einar who looks after me. And Leif… Leif Gunnarsson was delayed but will arrive here soon. He is the trusted advisor of my father. He wants to make sure, I'll represent Gotland well."

A beat. "Do you have any brothers or sisters?", Elin asks Tancred, giving him a curious look.

"Two that I know of. Perhaps more, now." Tancred pauses, peering into his glass, but doesn't seem uncomfortable; it's more as if he hasn't had to remember in a while. His bright blues meet her gaze again as he places a piece of bread in his mouth, chewing slowly. "A younger brother by some years, and a sister younger than him by some more. Lienhard and Anja. They take more strongly after my mother, so she favors them more." He doesn't seem bitter about that, though.

"Siblings can be assets," Elin replies, setting her goblet down to cut a slice of cheese for herself. "And I've been an asset to my siblings. I will become a pawn in the game perhaps one day. It will depend on how much land my father holds, and whether Aksel…" Her lips curve in a faint smirk. "Whether he will finally realize that chasing skirts is no way to do politics back home in Gotland." She looks a bit thoughtful at that, before she adds, "Lienhard and Anja. These are good strong names."

"Yes, I am given the name of a weakling," he muses, though his tone is light. He picks up a slice of cheese to put down his mouth, following it up with bread and ham in quantity that accounts for his size. "He will chase skirts when he is young. Most men will, I think. When we are older, we focus on other things. I think that is why older nobles try to relive their youth here."

"Older nobles?" This catches Elin's curiosity and she looks up. What do you mean by that? That older nobles here are chasing skirts as if they were younger?" She has another sip from her mead and quickly finds that she has already emptied most of the goblet. "One hears odd rumors, here. Of a woman who attacked a foreigner. Tell me, am I to be on my guard, to avoid such a fate?"

"Older men, in general, though it is easier to see with noblemen and merchants, who have the gold and energy to lure in younger women where their looks and charms have faded," Tancred explains, waving his hand as if to brush it off as a generalizing statement. "It is just something I see at times. It is rare to see women of similar station do the same," he opines, reaching for the bottle of mead to refill his before passing it to her. There's no shock when she mentions 'that' woman. "I know of whom you speak. I do not think it a concern, especially with you under the watch of Einar and your retinue. The people of this land think themselves better, and in some ways it is true, but they will respect a noble, at least in face. Is it a woman, too, who was attacked?"

"I am the ambassador of Gotland. I don't expect any d'Angeline will be so bold as to attack me," comes the confident if a bit haughty reply from the jarl's daughter. "The foreign woman who was attacked however, she is in the dungeons. So I suppose, she must have done something that explains the attack." A sweet smile blossoms on Elin's features. "I for my part don't plan to offend or provoke anyone. I was curious though, whether you've heard of the matter?" The matter of older men seeking younger women elicits a low snort from Elin and she shakes her head. "Again… None too different from what I see at home. My father has elected to take another wife, and have more children. But I regard none of them as my true siblings. Even if… they have my father's blood running through their veins…"

"Yes, I have met the woman. Kalisha. She spoke my tongue, though I do not think she is from Skaldia. A mystery. I know only that she was attacked first, and defended herself. I do not know whether she was deserving of the attack; some of the nobles of this land are as equally unfriendly as the soldiers, and so spit upon those of nations perceived as enemies." Evidently, including him, even though Skaldia is a little different in structure and culture than two hundred years ago. "Perhaps she refused to back down or apologize for a slight she did not commit. I think that is what happened. Were she the one wounded instead, there would be no such issue." He begins to butter up another piece of light d'Angeline bread. "I see your father's seed is strong," he observes with a low snort. "What happened to your mother?"

"Her fate is sealed then?", Elin wonders lightly, giving Tancred a look. "A foreign woman who made the mistake to pull a blade on a D'Angeline?" But then her shoulders lift in another shrug and she seems content to leave it at that "My father likes to spread his seed, yes. He's done so before, with commoners, handmaidens in our service. But it is after my mother died from a fever… ten years ago. That he decided to take one of these women as his new wife." There might be a trace of bitterness in her tone. Seeing Tancred refill her goblet, Elin inclines her head in thanks for the gesture.

"I think so. At any rate, it appears her only allies are a foreign prince and a guardsman. I doubt that that will be enough. I prefer that she be spared, but such things are beyond my control. Were she d'Angeline, she would likely face a lesser punishment. I do not know the laws of this land, but she may lose a hand, or pay a fine, for wounding one of higher station." The common, foreign Tancred's opinion would likely matter little. He picks up his own goblet, taking a break from eating. "Do you take after your mother?"

Elin Asbjornsdottir listens to what Tancred reveals about Kalisha's supporters. "Are you meaning to tell me, they will punish her because of her being foreign?" She rolls her eyes, incredulous. "Well. I believe I have met the prince and the guard. They came here, to show to me the pendant she had with her." A vague gesture there. "It looks like it is from Gotland, and I told them as much. They even asked me to go to the dungeons and speak with her, but…" Dark grey eyes go distant and her smile fades. "After hearing her speak… I can only assume that she had the pendant from a raid upon our lands. She seemed to me, like a mad woman… out of her senses." A slight shake of her head there, before she adds, her eyes lifting to meet the gaze of Tancred, "They say I look like my mother, sometimes. But I have inherited my father's stubbornness and pride. I have never been sick in my entire life. People say, I may bear strong children one day."

"They will punish her for wounding a noblewoman with some connection," Tancred corrects, shaking his head, "But the punishment is raised to death because she is a foreigner, even though she was attacked first. Would it be acceptable for a man to defend himself against the jarl, or king, or his relative? In our land, such dispute can be settled with wergild or blood. It seems blood shall be the payment here." He takes a drink from his goblet, nodding. "I saw the same pendant and did not recognize it. I told that Gal that it is likely from Gotland. Still, you seem not to be her kinswoman and would not offer her reprieve." He takes another sip, and goes back to eating. Does his appetite have no end? "Do you wish to bear children? You would want them to carry your will."

"I am… not… her kinswoman." Elin confirms this with some finality. "Truth be told, I very much doubt she is even from Gotland. Even though she speaks the tongue, her accent is an odd one. In Gotland, things are often settled in a fight, sometimes to death, and sometimes to first blood. This fight however doesn't sound like it was an official one, to resolve things or read the will of the Gods. The pendant… it shows our rune of Týr." Whereas Tancred's appetite seems to have increased, her own seems to have dimmed. "My wish to bear children is currently not as pressing. I am supposed to bear a future husband children, but before that happens, I would wish to know that I have lands to offer them, a title, a position of jarl." She states these things as if they were the most natural claims in the world. And as I am my father's daughter, and bound to obey him, my children will obey me in turn."

"No, it was in anger, with swords instead of fists and knives." The latter isn't exactly much better, though it makes sense for someone like Tancred of the working class; they always carry knives of some sort for their profession, or merely to eat with. "There were not many who paid witness, and the noblewoman's word counts for more than two foreigners." He shrugs one shoulder then, finishing the bulk of the remaining ham. Meat is expensive. "And if not, they get the birch?"

"I see," Elin nods gravely. "Sword fights of that kind are the roots of old feuds in our lands. I am curious to see how this whole affair plays out. If there will be blatant injustice, I shall take this information to Gotland." As for his other question, she leans back in her seat, amused. "I think there are other ways, Tancred. Sometimes a smile can be so much more effective. Perhaps. The birch, in combination with sweet honey cakes."

"What will they do with information of that sort?" Tancred asks. Finally, he's stopped eating, but perhaps because the table is close to empty of foodstuffs. He spreads in his chair, resting to help with digestion. Or, at least, some Balm somewhere had told him that. "Yes. The sweet with your sour. I am not yet a father, so I do not know how I will deal with it. My own father was fond of the birch, but I cannot say he used it on me when I did not deserve the punishment. I do not know if it would work in this land. I think many of them would enjoy it instead."

"Aksel says sometimes, I should have gotten more of the birch." Elin replies. "My people would find the information interesting, I suppose. And being the ambassador, I believe that I can demand an explanation for such a verdict from the Duchesse of Eisande. It is easy to feel offended by an act, if taking the act further and discussing it whether it will mark a precedence, a general way of dealing with foreign guests… I am used to speak my mind. I shan't hold back my thoughts, if I see relations with Gotland could be affected by their ruling." A lift of a brow. "Many d'Angelines enjoy punishment, you say? Am I to think then that to earn such a sentence, a whipping, would come close to a reward in these parts?"

"I see. When peace returns, we should have a Skaldi ambassador to do the same," he ponders, accepting. As for the latter bit about punishment, Tancred shakes his head, amused. "It was a jest, but I often pass by the Night Court. While I cannot come close to affording patronage, they are happy to slake my thirsts for wine for a time, or at least those that will tolerate me. Many of the courtesans are more welcoming than most I meet, though they are trained to be."

"Trained women…" Elin looks a little bemused at that. "What are these? Whores in more… noble surroundings? Welcoming, I see, and they offer you wine without charging you?" A chuckle rises in her chest and it breaks free in silvery laughter. "This sounds like a paradise for men. I see why you haven't thought of leaving Marsilikos."

"Men and women," Tancred corrects, "It is part of their religion in some way. Love as thou wilt. They are prostitutes in our land, yes, though ones of high status — here they are looked up to. There are also common prostitutes who lack the same status, though still they are held in better regard than they might in other lands." She might catch him clearing his throat when she teases him about why he hasn't left. Good thing the beard hides any brief flush. "Were they less welcoming, I may have left earlier," he eventually responds in kind.

"I see." The expression on her face is not at all judgmental, more showing surprise and being intrigued at such odd customs. "If they are so highly regarded, I will have to make up my own mind sometime, I suppose. At least to learn more about them. It is after all what an ambassador should do," Elin muses. "Men as well?" Her lips curve in a grin. "Perhaps I should partake of what they have on offer. If they are as welcoming as you say…"

"I had mentioned them because I often pass by one salon. There, two of their flowers out of three submit, but in different ways. I visit to see if their red Second is present, although I find her pretty neck often busy." Tancred tilts his head to one side, gesturing. "If your people accept it, then I do not see why not. Many of the children there are sired by foreign nobles visiting." He gives her a measuring look. "Though, I do not feel your father would like you to return home with a surprise."

Elin allows herself to hold that measuring look of Tancred for a moment. Her cheeks dimple as her smile intensifies just a tad. "Do you think me a fool, Tancred? You probably know that there are ways for women to avoid surprises? Or perhaps this is something that has never occurred to you?" And there, she returns that measuring look with the faintest ghost of a smirk.

"There are herbs and teas that one may drink," Tancred recalls after a pause, itching at the tip of his nose, "And there are other acts as well that may be done. Or one times it with their moon's blood, though that I little know of." He tilts his head, holding her gaze without rising too much with the apparent tease/taunt. "I do not worry about it here much. The women in this land may only conceive when they pray. I do not understand how it works - they say their angel permits them to conceive."

"So you already know that much," Elin observes, mirth glinting in her eyes. "Do you think, that I, a jarl's daughter have never laid with a man before? Do you think that I am sworn to chastity, till I am joined to my future husband in matrimony? Oh… Einar will disapprove of conversations as these, but there is a reason that I asked him to stay outside." The notion seems to amuse her. "Conceiving through praying… now that sounds like an interesting concept, though. It may explain why they are more free with sharing their love."

"No," Tancred states in his usual candor, "I did not think so. And I had thought perhaps you do not like him watching, as well." Now he seems to be teasing, his eyes alighting on hers and then briefly scooping lower. But he continues on with the current thread of conversation. "They are. It must be that their gods or 'angels' have made it so. I have never heard mention of the pox or anything similar. One would think to hear of its spread in a place where they .. love freely."

"I have no interest in diseases of that kind," Elin Asbjornsdottir clarifies with a smile. Noting where his gaze travels, she gives Tancred a faintly amused look. "It is Einar who does not wish to watch," she says in a low conspiratorial murmur. Teasing right back. "But I personally have a few requirements for engaging in anything 'watchable', Monsieur. It requires trust, and trust must be earned. Losing a wager may not be enough to tempt me into your bed."

Dipping his head agreeably, Tancred leans forwards, hands clasped together. "I understand," he empathizes, "She already had known me beforehand, and so had reason to trust me." He studies his, blunted and chipped from work, though his fingers are softer than they used to be. "It does not do to bed someone who will cut your throat."

At this statement, Elin's grey eyes alight. "Wise words, my lord.", she remarks. "I have no interest in the ladies you've bedded, though." Her fingers dance along the rim of the goblet. "I wonder… will our paths cross again?" She meets his gaze and sits up to lean a touch forward, her words almost a whisper.

"We will see." Tancred makes no such promises, even though he's eager to maintain that little locked gaze. He grasps the edge of the table, coming in a little closer, but chuckles to himself and begins to rise from his chair.

"We will." Elin leans back in her seat, once Tancred moves to stand. She does not try to hold him back when he seems about to depart. "Thank you for breaking the fast with me," she tells him, remaining pointedly seated, even if that means, of course, that she has to raise her eyes to take in the Skaldi giant towering over her. "And thank you for the conversation. This has been most insightful. Einar will see you out, as far as to the palace gates."

"I fear he would much rather run me through." Tancred has to bend over and do that little dance to get the maille hauberk back on, which isn't terribly dignifying. He buckles his belt on around the armor, picking up his helm and turning for the door. As he makes for the exit, he seems to pause, then looks back Elin's way. "I have something to tell you, if you'd come closer."

"He wouldn't dare," Elin responds, watching Tancred as he redons his armor, part after part. As for when he seems ready to depart, she looks up, her eyes narrowing for the briefest fraction of a moment. "What could that be?", she wonders, moving to stand before she walks over to the door where Tancred is hovering.

She's not short for a woman, and likely has a few inches on most in Terre d'Ange, but Tancred still looms over the Gotlander. So he has to bend over rather far to share his 'secret'. Which is to say, he tries to kiss her.

At no time had she appeared intimidated by his stature. And even now as Tancred bends over to bring his face closer to hers, Elin does not back away. Her fingers slide into his hair, gripping at the back of his head to make it pause in its daring descent. With her eyes now so close to his, locked at short distance, he can see the amused glitter in her eyes. "This," she tells him in a low whisper, "is not to confuse you. It is my way of showing you that you've captured my interest. To earn more, you'll have to keep it." Pulling his face closer, she grants him the kiss and deepens it, lips curving as if she were smirking at the 'secret' shared.

Intimidated or not, it makes logistics awkward. Woe to Tancred, he can't easily kiss beauties without sitting down or hurting his back, have mercy. He responds with brief, wide-eyed surprise when she halts him, but says nothing initially; he only intensifies the kiss as she does, making it last and sneaking in a little tongue while he can. He touches her shoulder, holding on even as he pulls away. "Freyja help me, then." When he breaks off, he heads on to exit properly. "I'll be seeing you."

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