First Voyage

Title: First Voyage
Time Period: September, 130 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary: Mariah takes a page from another woman at the Dovetail and doesn't kiss and tell after her first night on the job.

The pink and orange hues of the sky through the window happen earlier and earlier. Inside the parlor is a warm place with lively chatter and laughing. Just as the night have become longer, the women of the house become a little richer. Men and women of all stations come to play in the house of ill repute and when the chill sets, prices go up.

The girls generally occupy the common room when they're not entertaining the guests. Once in a while a stranger will tarry as he or she hems and haws about who they should accompany but for the most part they are left alone until called upon. In the corner a stoney faced brunette sits on a tuffet with a blonde behind her, running a brush through the younger girl's long straight hair

"Don't let them think that just because they're payin' you that they control your strings." The blonde's advice comes unbidden, along with the rest of the conversation thus far. "You wouldn't believe what men'll pay you to do. I had a man give me a horse just for the priviledge of cutting my dress off to look at me. Never once touched me, not even a kiss."

It was a bit of a surprise for Mariah that when she came to the house, she wasn't put directly to work. The downtime gave her enough space to lose the desperation that brought her here in the first place and given plenty of time for nervousness to build in its place. The closed expression guards against the urge to start crying, belated mourning over her former life.

While she doesn't mention that she finds the hair brushing comforting, she does linger there in front of the blonde. Perhaps she finds her long-time friend a comfort, too. "So don't be surprised. I think I can manage."

There's just a pause before she turns around to face Luna, her hand reaching for the other woman's. "What if they're… too ugly?" Too ugly to fake it, she can think of a few faces in their town.

At that the blonde's eyes widen and she slowly shakes her head. "Oh no, if they're too ugly tell them you cannot see them tonight under any circumstances and walk upstairs. Women issues work every time." Luna presses a palm against her stomach and makes a little face as though pained before straightening again with a smile. "You'll not have anything in your pocket to show for the evening but at least you won't have an ugly man's head 'twixt your legs."

Letting loose a long sigh, rather than a laugh, Luna places the brush at her side and begins to straighten the lace at her shoulder. "As for myself, I think I might see someone tonight… It has been a rather long time since I've had that particular pleasure. You'll find yourself missing it if it's been too long, you know."

A few of the militia men walk past the two girls, one pausing for a moment before jutting his chin to Luna. "Where's Slainte?" As far as looks go, he seems better than most of the others in the parlor, still Luna wrinkles her nose at him.

"Busy, Mister MacCruimein, you should have been here earlier." She gets up from her chair and stands next to Mariah, placing a hand on the younger woman's shoulder. Drumming her fingers for a second or two, she ends by tapping Mariah on the shoulder twice and subtly shaking her head in the man's direction. "There's none of your girls here tonight, you might as well go home."

There's a relieved sigh there and Mariah nods a little, but if she relaxes, it's too little to tell. When Luna mentions missing it, she lifts an eyebrow, "I'll have to take your word for that." It seems hard to believe, from where she stands.

When the militia comes by, she turns back, putting an easy smile on her face. She may be new to prostitution, but salesmanship is in her blood and she takes the cue from Luna smoothly. "Oh, don't say that, Luna," she starts, her magic making her hard to ignore and her voice oddly comforting, "I'd hate to see anyone turned away unsatisfied. I'm sure there's someone here who could stand in for your favorite."

Jain cants his head slightly to the side, judging the young brunette as he would a horse. He narrows his eyes a little before moving toward Mariah. His swagger is noticed by some of the other girls who, like Luna, avert their eyes from him or turn away altogether. The mercenary circles her like a predator, his eyes roving up and down her body as a half smirk of acceptance creeps to his face.

"Show me to your room," his tone isn't unkind, nor is it gentle or quiet. Unfortunately for Mariah, it is nothing more romantic than signing a contract.

Luna sucks a breath in with a hiss and leans toward the younger woman. "I meant not him" she whispers harshly, keeping her head turned from the man, presumably to stop him from reading her lips. "Good luck anyway… remember what I said. Hold your own strings."

With that, the blonde slips away from Mariah and moves to pass the soldier. "Mister MacCruimein, always a— " but her voice drifts off as she passes the man, not even looking in his direction.

Mariah seems a bit confused at Luna's explanation, but she'll have to make a mental note to ask her about it later. She does relax when Jain makes his decision, her smile coming a little easier. Romance is harder to fake, business transactions are something she's a lot more familiar with. And comfortable with.

"This way," she says to Jain with a nod of her head for him to follow. It isn't really her room, in the sense that it's not where she sleeps, that she takes him, but it is a room. It isn't fancy, but it has all the predictable necessities. A bed. Chairs. Table. A decanter of something alcoholic to drink. There's even a window with a nice view. Her fingers shake a little as she ushers him in, but she does her best to hide the nerves.

Jain pushes past Mariah at the door and enters first, not stopping until he reaches the pillows. His large hands move to grip one of them and he holds it at each end for a moment before putting it back down carefully. It is arranged off to the side of the other against the headboard, apparently one will have to do for the both of them.

Without a word he begins to remove his clothing. Boots, shirt and trousers are all lumped on the floor before he gets into the bed, leaning against the bare wood beside the pillow rather than on it. "Go on, take off your clothing and turn around. Let's see what you have to offer."

As he lets himself in and gets comfortable, Mariah turns to shut the door, even locking it for secured privacy. But at his request, she turns to look at him. It's just a momentary pause before she starts to undress. There is a sort of grace to it, but she doesn't make it a tease or a show. She's got a feeling it isn't the right audience for that sort of thing. Her clothes are laid over a chair, all except a leather cord and a pendant in the shape of a bee which she leaves on. However, she doesn't do a twirl for him, instead, she walks over to the bed, fingers trailing along the edge until she stops next to him, an eyebrow lifted. "I think I've got more than enough to offer."

Catching her by the wrist as she stops, Jain gives Mariah a hard look, narrowing his eyes for just a twinge as he takes the young woman in. Slowly his arm raises, with his hand still over her wrist, he leads her to turn her back to him for a moment.

You may.

The words only he can hear are no sooner spoken than Jain moves into action. He pulls the brunette roughly into the bed, turning with her until she's underneath him. "You'll do nicely," he murmurs, trailing his lips against her neck as he slides a hand under her head. He lifts her at the same time he shifts upward, moving her onto the pillow lying flat on the bed.


A short time later


Picking up the other pillow, Jain holds it over Mariah for a moment, almost as if deciding whether to smother her or not. He doesn't smile, he didn't during their entire time together. Unlike the care he's taken with it before, once he's scrunched the end with one hand, the pillow is tossed thoughtlessly aside. Then his shirt is properly buttoned.

"I'll return," he intones, not gently or unkindly, two traits he didn't display in the hour or so they shared. His hand goes into his pocket and a small fistful of jewelry lands on the bedside table, presumably a payment of sorts. "These were for Slainte, I expect they're for you now. If you're free later this week, I'll have you again."

The door is unlocked and the door slammed behind him on his way out.

Mariah lingers in bed as he gets up and redresses himself, definitely not shy about being in nothing but her necklace and mussed hair. her eyes flick to the jewelry as he sets it down, and it's fairly clear in that moment why she's in this business. To her credit, she doesn't go to comb through it with him standing there, but when she looks at him, her smile is much more genuine.

"I'll make sure I am," she says to his farewell, and she keeps her smile until the door slams behind him. But the moment she's alone, she lets out a heavy sigh, sits up and picks up her payment in hand even before she bothers with getting dressed again. Priorities.

Only a few minutes pass before there's a scratch at the door and a quiet click as it opens and then closes behind Luna. She still looks as perfect as she did before Mariah left her in the parlor but now she's dressed in a long loose nightgown, styled like a child or matron's but made of soft linen. Against the light of the candle she holds, her silhouette show through the fabric just as it is outlined by displacement every time she takes a step.

"Are you alright?" Her whisper is hurried as her eyes fall to Mariah's body, only some of which is still visible at the back. "He didn't hurt you, did he?"

By that time, Mariah has tucked away her earnings in a pouch in her dress, but she's slow to get herself back together. Her hair's a mess still, her clothes still tossed aside. but when Luna comes in, she turns to look at the other girl. She hasn't been crying, but she does seem a little shell shocked, perhaps, after her first voyage.

"He didn't." It might have been rough, but nothing overtly violent happened and that seems to be good enough for her. "I'm alright. He's… going to be back in a few days." And while one side of her thinks that's a good thing, the practical side, a more personal side is a little less excited about it.

"There've been rumors," Luna murmurs, leading Mariah to the bed to sit and then getting in behind her. The blonde's hands go to the long brown tresses, immediately combing through them to straighten the mess. "Sometimes Slainte comes out with bruises but she never says anything," it's possible the more experienced of the two started the tales herself. "So you can see why I might be wondering, aye? You're sure he didn't lay a hand on you, nothing of the sort?"

She leans over to tug the sheet up over her lap, seemingly unconcerned with what has just happened where they sit. Unlike the room, Luna carries the scent of rose perfume and talc. "I allowed a gentleman to give me a bath tonight," she intones, explaining her current state. "It was passable."

"He's a soldier," Mariah says, rather than really answering. She'll let the dark and the sheets cover any bruises that might be forming here and there. "He's not the type to ask to give a girl a bath, but he's not mean." Whatever that might do for the rumors, she leaves it at that.

"You do smell nice," is her next comment, letting her eyes close as the other girl fixes her hair and she takes in the warring scents in the room. "I wouldn't mind if the next one was more like yours." Baths and cutting clothes off would be nicer than the gruff militia who doesn't smile.