Story of the day: The Beer Hall
Twisk is going to have to make a picture of Aiden and Adaoire.
The Beer Hall
Taverns in Gallei went by a different classification: beer halls were the object of choice for those Galleisians wishing to clench their thirst. They were called as such due to their purveyances. Little else beyond a house meal and ale was served, there were only a few rooms in the upstairs where those who were too inebriated to wander home could find rest, and altogether the crudeness of the beer halls was considered too unwholesome for the delicate pleasures of genteel women.
When the party entered one such establishment, they were surprised to find no women at the tables beyond a serving wench or two flitting around the drunken crowds. All the men in the hall were older and there was not one solider in regimentals among them. They assumed that this was due to the Galleisian sense of propriety, as every young person of marriageable age was expected to attend Church at this time while those who had already found wives to keep their houses in good order could find no other reason to venture to Church. They as well supposed that since this beer hall boasted of being Frewyn owned, usual Galleisian civilities to which those of Eirannean were accustomed might not be prevalent here. The serving girls spoke in hushed voices, there was no music in the hall beyond the quiet labourings of a Galleisian key fiddle, even the patrons murmured to one another in a low hum. Everything suggested to the party that the Frewyn openness and hospitality they longed for was absent. Their suspicions were confirmed when upon sitting down and asking what the house meal was they were told of its being the same stew they had seen sold around the garden. The twins protested that this was a Frewyn owned tavern and therefore should accommodate a Frewyn clientele, or at least not poison them with horrible fare.
The beer maid who relayed the information bowed and made her apologies with the excuse that though the hall was owed by a Frewyn business man from Amene, it was managed by a Galleisian. The horrors that the party would be made to eat the foul and bland stew occupied them while the girl asked for their drinks. When she asked the two farmers what they would have, they gave her an answer that had little to do with the thirst of their mouths and more to do with a craving of a decidedly more eager portion of their bodies.
“Aye, you’re a pretty wench, girl,” Aiden said, giving the woman a long and sly look. “You got good colourin’ in your skin.”
Confused and not used to hear such brazen praises from her patrons, the beer maid wanted to be certain of his speaking to her. She turned to look behind her and found no one there other than a few men sitting at a table engrossed with their meals. She turned back to Aiden and regarded him with some amazement while pointing to herself.
“Sure, you,” Aiden demanded. “You got pretty hair too.”
The beer maid looked down at the golden curls tumbling down from beneath her arming cap. She touched their frayed ends. He could not be speaking of her, surely, for this was too much flattery for one so plain as to be working in such a place. She remarked the commander sitting amongst them and realized that this party was from Frewyn. Perhaps all the women in Frewyn were as plain as herself and therefore excited great interest in the bold farmer who sought her acquaintance. She looked back at Aiden and observed the keen glint in his eye. He gawped at the tops of her breasts pushing against the scoop of her blouse and he did not seem ashamed of his looking. Her cheeks coloured and she had little idea of what to do or say. She wished to express gratitude for his favourable opinion but that would be appreciating his discourtesy, something a Galleisian woman should not do. She made him no answer, bowed her head to their orders and went to fetch their drinks and meals.
“Never had that happen before,” Adaoire remarked in a cautious tone, watching the woman’s gathered skirts sway as she hurried away.
“Aye,” Aiden agreed with a frown. “I only said nice things to her.”
“This may surprise you two gentlemen,” the commander laughed, “but saying anything in so unabashed a manner whether a compliment or otherwise will deter even the shyest of creatures.”
“I don’t like none of this here shyness,” Adaoire scoffed, taking his pipe from his vest. “I like my girls talkin’.”
“No doubt you enjoy them being vocal in any manner,” said Dobhin with a grin.
Adaoire lit his pipe and winked at the High Lord.
In a few minutes, the beer maid returned. She placed their stews and drinks onto the table without looking at Aiden and was about to leave again when the farmer suddenly took her hand.
“Come and sit with us, girl,” Aiden said, pressing her hand with affection. He brought her to his knee and patted his thigh. “I got a lap that needs warmin’,” he declared, inviting her to sit within its auspices.
Dobhin attempted not to laugh and covered his smiling features with his hand as he turned to the commander. “His approach is astonishing.”
“I believe you mean offensive,” the commander said in a low voice while remarking Connors’ mortified countenance.
“Perhaps, but I have learned that women seem to enjoy those ardent in their pursuit.” Dobhin spied the Den Asaan’s grimace as he endeavored to eat the horrid stew and then he made a knowing glance at the commander to implicate what he recalled of the beginnings in their attachment.
Aiden was resolved to have his lovely object join them. He nodded the beer maid to sit on his thigh, and when she neither begged to leave nor obeyed his command, he shifted in his chair to place his legs around her, hoping to encourage her into staying in the way he was most desirous of seeing her.
The beer maid looked down at the large and worked hand holding onto hers. As a newly employed woman in a newly formed Frewyn annex, she had not been used to feel wanted or included with any of those who frequented the hall. Work was for working, not for fraternization. She knew her sitting among them would not be perceived well by her superiors or even by the other maids, but she observed that these Frewyns, barring the two farmers, were of stately consequence: two men and one woman donning a commander’s livery and one giant with countless pelts of animals she had never before seen. Here was significant company indeed, and if they wished to incorporate her into their private party’s musings, she could not resist. She feared to do so would be to disrespect the town’s new leadership. She was pleased to have employment and wished to keep it, but if she were to disobey the farmer’s wants, such imperial persons could have her easily removed from her station. She sat, after much deliberation, and positioned herself diffidently on the end of Aiden’s knee.
“You just sit your arse right here and we’ll show you how we men in Tyferrim make our girls feel welcome,” Aiden said, pulling her higher onto his lap. He moved her golden curls aside to catch the splendor of her neck. “Sure, you had a supper, girl?” he asked her softly.
The beer maid shook her head. She was sensible of his composed speech to her, his tender petting of her thigh, and though there were small signs of desire, these made her feel at ease where she would have otherwise been nervous. He pulled his bowl of stew toward her and encouraged her to eat but she felt it wrong to take something from a customer when she was the one meant to be serving others. She was not aware of any allowances to the contrary and she kept her hands in her gathered skirts to guard them against wandering toward the spoon in Aiden’s hand.
Adaoire noticed her reticence and he had done with this Galleisian sense of female timidity. “You eat with us and you keep my brother company,” he ordered her.
“All you gotta do is fill out tankards, girl, and we Frewyns are happy men,” Aiden assured her. He placed the spoon into her hand and made a few entreaties for her to dine with them. He placed his hand on her waist and gently grazed his fingers back and forth along her bodice.
She had not expected such warmth and acceptance from one so blatant in speech. Though her benefactor’s hands were immense and rough from toil, they were gentle in their touch. The place she kept in his lap was comforting, and when he spoke to her, he did not ask her to do anything beyond tolerate his conversancy. This was certainly odd, being paid to sit and eat with a man who seemed interested in her. She refilled their tankards when they were half-empty to make it seem like she was working to those who might be watching and did her best to screen the spoonfuls of stew she was begged to share.
Dobhin made a few discrete comments on the subject of being too firm with her while at the table. He and Adaoire guffawed at the intimation while Aiden made no promises to negate their claimed. Although Dobhin should love to see how far the farmer’s shamelessness would go, he admitted that while in the annex representing their king, they must keep some semblance of decorum. Adaoire gave the High Lord a polite invitation to join the farmers one Gods’ Day at the Seidh Maith tavern in Tyferrim and remarked that he and his brother would have no scruple in showing Dobhin the firmness with their chosen women that he wished to see.
Their conversation carried on in the same tenor. The High Lord and farmers were loud in their assertions while Connors and the commander were collected when they spoke, and the Den Asaan was bitterly silent. Everything about Gallei had disgusted him and he could only hold to his mate and wait for the agony of terrible food and dreary atmosphere to be done.
The beer maid listened to the discussions about the table with moderate cheerfulness. There were some words used in their Modern Frewyn that did not translate into Common Galleisian. When asked questions and forced to give an opinion, she responded with nods and shakes of the head to save herself the humiliation of owning herself uneducated in their language.
“Sure, you’re a quiet thing,” Aiden purred in her ear, delicately tracing the lines of her neck with his fingertips.
She closed her eyes to absorb rough warmth of his touch. She peeked at him from the corner of her eye. “My Frewyn is not very good,” she mumbled in a thick Galleisian accent.
“Aw, that don’t matter here, girl. My Galleisian ain’t so great neither. Sure, you’d laugh at me if you heard me speak.”
He said a few phrases in his broken Galleisian, which caused her to giggle behind a raised hand, and he bounced her up and down on his knee to keep her smiles bright. Her curls bounded over her lithe breasts, and Aiden grinned at her, eager to know her more intimately. He pleaded with her to speak and ordered her to do so in a language in which she felt comfortable conversing. She said little beyond her impossible to pronounce Galleisian name and how pleased she was to have Frewyn invade their closed and cold society. She soon began to fear that she had ventured to be too open with the farmer, as the more she spoke the more silent he was, but he was only pleased with her and showed her how much so by inviting her to share a drink with him. She thanked him but said she was not allowed.
“Not allowed?” Aiden scoffed in horror. “I ain’t never heard this rule.”
Suddenly from the bar came an angry call in Galleisian for the bar maid to return to work. She stood immediately, bowed her head in thanks for her inclusion in the affairs of the table and was about to leave when Aiden roused from his chair and grabbed her hand. Her eye followed the farmer’s immense stature. She had not realized how tall he was while sitting down, and she lowered her head while she received the distant scolding from her superior. She made a few quiet yessirs but Aiden would not have so exquisite a wench belittled in his presence. She had done her duty to him in keeping him company and filling his cup when it was empty. This was enough for him to make his loud retaliation on her behalf. His argument was simple: he was a paying customer, she was paid to entertain and serve, and he was pleased to keep her close so that she would not have to continually return to their table. Her superior did not enjoy Aiden’s remarks or his ideas of good service, but when he came to the table to put the beer maid back to work, he stopped when he saw who the farmer’s companions were. Adaoire stated that picking a fight with two well-built farmers from Frewyn who had just eaten a bad meal was a mistake he should not want to make, and the woman’s superior was inclined to let them have her for as along as they remained in the hall.
The beer maid gazed at Aiden in astonishment. She was accustomed to the polite gallantry of Gallei but not the brash valiance of Frewyn. No Galleisian gentleman of even the lowest consequence would honour an employed woman with no name of dignity in so bold a manner over something she believed to be so trivial. She murmured that she would easily serve others and return as often as was required but Aiden wished to convey that her presence was the necessity and not the drinks she was so good to pour for them. This was more adulation than she had ever been accorded. She was inclined to disbelieve it but the sincerity with which it was said could not be mistaken as lightheartedness or mockery. She blushed and wished to turn away but she was pulled back to Aiden’s lap as the farmer sat down again. His arm wrapped around her waist to keep her from leaving and she was pressed against him.
Their conversation recommenced but she found words difficult when feeling the continual abrading of his fingers against the bottom of her breasts. She forced herself to breathe. His enthusiasm was gentle, which made it compelling to her. She enjoyed being fondled and included and no one at the table seemed to be disturbed by her presence. She was given playful warnings of enjoying the farmer’s advances but she had not minded them and quietly hoped they would endure.
When their meal had done, Aiden offered to pay. He was met with some opposition by the High Lord who demanded otherwise, but Aiden would not hear a word of it. He gave the beer maid twice what their meal had cost and told her to keep the addition for being so forbearing of his company. When she began to protest his kindness, he eyed her with partiality and slipped his fingers between her curls. “Don’t no one never tell you you’re pretty, girl?” he said quietly to her. He had sensed throughout their interaction that status was to be kept in Gallei. Those of their level were only meant to mingle with the same, and Aiden did not approve of such disparaging conduct. She said nothing to him, possibility from the shyness of not knowing what to say. He grasped her chin with his thumb and forefinger and forced her to look at up him. “I’m just a farmer, girl. It don’t matter who my friends are. Don’t you lower your eyes to me. You’re welcome at my table anytime. You hear me?”
She nodded and smiled, retaining the hope that he would return to the hall if his time permitted.
“Gods bless you, girl,” he swore, unable to look away from her. “You’re a real pretty one. Sure, never had one so pretty in my lap before.”
She wished to say something to honour his compliments but all she could say was, “Galleisians do not say such things to workers,” in her difficult accent.
Aiden tucked her into the bend of his arm and cradled her back with his hand as he leaned forward to murmur in her ear. “Well, this here is Frewyn now. And in Frewyn, we treat our wenches right.” His fingers, concealed by her gathered skirts, slipped in between her thighs. He told her how women in his home of Tyferrim were thanked for their services to their men and he asked if she would be so inclined to allow him to express his gratitude in one of the rooms upstairs. She would. Aiden excused himself for a moment to speak to someone about the means by which his need to appreciate her would be fulfilled. He promised he would be no longer than a few minutes and asked her to stay at the table where he knew she would not be bothered by her superior during his short absence.
The woman sidled the commander and begged for her attention. When she received it, she asked in a tremulous voice, “Are all Frewyn men the same as him, madam?”
“I assure you these two are exceptional in their manner,” she said pointing to Aiden and Adaoire, “But many Frewyn men are more disposed to candidness with women than a few of us should like.”
The beer maid was about to express her contentment at this notion when Aiden returned. He took her by the hand, told the party he would be a while, and led her to the upstairs rooms where she would experience her first taste of Tyfferim hospitality.