No Slacking

Title: No Slacking
Time Period: November, 134 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary: The debate on how the Banes siblings should establish themselves begins. Albeit quietly.

Sunlight has been attempting to break through the cover of clouds overhead and warm the camp of gypsies just outside of Dornie for a little over an hour now. Each morning it seems just a little bit harder to be motivated. Travel had been a motivation, but now that they're here

It isn't the wine and roses Patience Elvira Banes had been hoping for. Try as she might, she couldn't keep Dornie's militia from the entirety of their few meagre possessions. Since discovering that a bracelet given to her by her mother was among the liberated goods, the woman has been even more withdrawn than usual. But she hasn't complained about anything, or been seen to cry about it.

She doesn't have to for her brother to know how she's been impacted. She's curled up on her side of the tent she shares with him, wrapped tightly in a blanket, and shivering against the lingering chill in the air. The book they'd been sharing the night before lies between them, as does a copper pocket watch that no longer runs, which Elvira took greater care to conceal on her brother's behalf than she did the possession which she treasured most.

It's not to say that Arthur hasn't noticed the state his sister's been in. He spent much of the previous evening listening to her read (since they only had the one book to read, and they both know he reads slower than her), but most of the short time he's been awake this morning has been spent on his own little world, musing angrily to his avian companion perched lightly atop their tent about the state of things. He was about as far from happy with their current situation as he could be, and he didn't particularly care who overheard him, and his anger had taken hold of him far greater today than it previously had.

"Will you fly into town for me tomorrow if it's not raining and see what you can find out?" Patience can hear her brother returning towards their tent, though, his voice growing steadily louder as he speaks to Fake. "Just keep an eye out for that Duncan fellow, or anyone who was riding with him. You did a good job staying out of sight when they came around, but I don't want someone deciding to shoot you because you seem suspicious or intrusive." His arms are crossed as he stares on ahead at the flap to the tent, a sour expression on his face as he looks down at Patience. It's probably not helping her, that he hasn't been letting her go out into the camp much. But it's better, to him, than risking being out if more of the town inhabitants decide to come harass them.

It had only been when he'd heard the shivering that he really took register of his sister once more, look from her to the items that still laid between them.. He lets out a sigh as he picks up, the pocket watch. A grimace forms for just a moment, before he sets it back down and reaches of to touch her shoulder. "If you're so cold, you can ask for the blankets I'm not using, you know."

"They're your blankets," the shivering woman responds, instantly defensive, but quietly so. "I don't need anything extra." The fact is that the blanket is is using isn't near as nice as it looks, even. But appearances are everything to Elvira. "You shouldn't talk to Fake so other people can hear you," she suggests in a soft voice, instantly bracing for a biting rebuttal.

"Oh, you are so thick sometimes," is the rebuttal that Arthur gives, rolling his eyes at his sister. Not biting, but not exactly playful either. "You're no good to anyone if you freeze to death." But rather than wait for her to argue, he shifts over a bit, just enough so that he can toss what he isn't using of his blanket over towards her - it's a bit too big for him, enough so to give his sister at least a little extra warmth when it's spread out. And, well, he's used to being out in the cold. Moreso than she'll ever be. "People don't seem to mind Fake. I'll worry if that arse and his people overhear me."

"They don't seem to mind him now," Elvira points out gently, "and they may not mind him, or us, at all. At least until that Duncan comes around and they think they can get in his good graces by…" She doesn't elaborate any further, mostly because her brain feels numb and she isn't sure she can properly articulate the rest of her thoughts. "I just want you to be careful," is the gist of it anyway. All the same, she scoots closer to her brother to take some more of the offered blanket.

"I lost Mum's bracelet," she admits to Arthur finally. "Those men took it when they also took my scarves." Silk she'd been saving to trade when they got to their destination, for all the good it does them now. "I can just see the look on her face. You know the one. Like the time I spilt all that lavender oil on the living room rug. She wasn't even mad." It's the disappointment she fears most, even midway through her twenties.

Arthur's expression hardens significantly at that, his eyes fixing on hers for several moments before he turns a looks at the flap of their tent. "I'll get it back," he remarks quietly. "Do you know which one of them it was that seized it?" If it was Duncan, well, that just gave him even more of an excuse not to like the man. "Don't worry. Mum won't even know the difference the next time we see her." And not because Arthur'll get some cheap, similar looking replacement like he normally does.

Green eyes widen and she shakes her head quickly. "No, Arthur. It was my fault. Don't you go trying to fix my mistakes." The last time he did that, he spent time in jail and she was sent home very little to show for their wasted efforts. "I don't know which one of them took it. It probably doesn't even make a difference. Who knows how they decided to split our things?" Elvira rolls onto her back and stares up at the canvas over her head. "And we aren't even going to see Mum or Dad again, are we?" Leaving home had been her idea; she prepared for those consequences.

Taking a deep breath, Arthur closes his eyes and sighs. "I can get it back without doing anything that will make us look bad, you know. I'm sure if they knew what it was, they'd be willing to give it back. If not, then we've made an awful mistake, and we need to leave now." Both because it would mean this is an awful place, and because it would set the precedent that maybe the people here will be harder for Arthur to "work with" than anticipated. He waits a few seconds before looking back at her. "I'd like to see them at least one more time. Once we get established, and I know what I'm doing." Which is to say, once he's swindled enough that they can aafford to have them visit.

Elvira rolls over onto her stomach so she can hide her face in her pillow, pulling blankets around her tighter as she goes. "I'm sorry I got us into this mess." She lifts her head only enough so the words aren't completely muffled. Then she goes back to metaphorically burying her head in the sand.

"And what, exactly, would the trouble that you've gotten us into be, again?" Arthur inquires, glancing down at her. It's somewhat patronising, because he's sure he knows what she means - not that he blames her for any of it, ultimately. Why should he? "Are you going to get over here under my extra covers, or are you going to let yourself freeze?"

A groan is audible even though her face stays buried into the pillow for the duration. Rolling over on her side then to face him, she props herself up on one elbow and rolls her eyes. "We're here, aren't we?" As opposed to back in Cheshire, living off her late husband's wealth. Though the preference would have been that he were merely her ex-husband. "I said I'd handle things and…" And then she was standing over a man she wouldn't have recognised as her husband had she not laid the day's clothes out for him herself.

She briefly debates suggesting that she probably deserves to freeze, but instead she finally gives in to reason. Wrapped as tightly as she is, she sort of inchworms her way over, and looks ridiculous while doing it, but… At least she doesn't lose the precious warmth she has built up beneath her ratty blanket. "You're always so warm," she laments. "I don't understand how you got to be so lucky."

"It's my bright heart of gold," Arthur replies flatly. "Bright as the bloody sun." He sighs, leaning back as hard as he can against the back of the tent - which isn't very hard, so it feels rather awkward. "So, why'd you keep my watch? Instead of the bracelet." The watch is not something Arthur would ever want to lose; it's the only thing he's had for most of his life. But at least then, he wouldn't have to see his sister mope.

"It means a lot to you," Elvira explains as if it were the simplest thing in the world. "And I just… I just forgot." About the one possession wholly hers that she considered precious. Hardly surprising. His sentiment is shared as well, if in a more selfless vein. She'd rather lose the bracelet than him lose something that he cares about, but not because she'd rather not see him hurt. She'd just rather he not be hurt. "Bring your gold heart over here and warm my hands. I can't feel my fingers anymore."

"Well then, maybe if you'd wrapped up when I first offered," he remarks, bopping a finger against her forehead, "that wouldn't be a problem, now would it?" His sister being "forgetful" and thoughtful earns mostly a sigh from Arthur as he reaches down to pick up the book the pair of them had been reading - his old copy of Watership Down, and really the only other thing besides the watch he'd really want to keep around.

She would stick her hands up the back of her brother's shirt if she were feeling particularly evil. It wouldn't be the first time. She's resigned herself to behaving, however. She has much to atone for now, in her opinion. "No, Arthur," she sighs. "It wouldn't." Be a problem.

"May I go into town today?" Elvira asks. "I bet I could find work, or at least trade a story for some time in front of a fire." Presumably one indoors, confined to a hearth.

"I somehow feel like it's not really up to us," Arthur grumbles, shifting a bit closer to Elvie like she had previously requested. "If you do, be careful. This place isn't what I expected," but then, with the word of ammunition and power, perhaps he should have in retrospect, "and that makes me nervous." Like any unknown factor would, really. "And stay away from the militia leader. Unless he's giving you back your bracelet."

"I plan on it. I don't like him much," his little sister admits. She'll put up with a lot from someone, but her tolerance for it has worn understandably thin over the past year. Elvira finally wriggles until she can free her arms from the covers and pushes herself up to sit so she can settle in close to Arthur, wrapping her arms around him. Her teeth chatter just faintly for a moment. She never has done well in the winter months. "I promise I'll be careful. You could send Fake with me, if you wanted. And if he wants to come with me. Though I do think I'd look a little ridiculous with a hawk on my shoulder. Do you think he could be convinced to try something a bit smaller? I could hide him easily that way."

"I usually leave it up to him," Arthur replies as his sister moves up next to him, a hand raising up and patting on her shoulder. "But I think you'll be fine. Maybe he'll be willing to be a bit younger for you, though." As in, be the sparrow perched on her finger instead of the sparrowhawk on his shoulder. "Just try not to attract any undo attention until we can move into town proper. Which reminds me, if you look for some place to stay that's not…" Well, a tent, "I'll be immensely thankful."

"Me? Attract undue attention?" Elvira smirks faintly. "Only when you ask me to, brother of mine." Which is the truth, of course. While she prefers to remain the wallflower and to remain unseen, if he can convince her it'd be a benefit to them (to him), she'll make a spectacle of herself if she must. "And believe me, I want out of this situation as badly as you." The tent situation.

"Maybe you'll find a chipmunk waiting for you outside," Arthur continues, the words almost sounding like a challenge to the sparrowhawk perched atop their tent - and Arthur knows he can hear them. "You don't have to try sometimes. Not you, anyways. These people don't know us, and I won't be surprised if they take notice of new faces." He wrinkles his nose a bit, looking up at the roof of the tent. "Hopefully, they take to it better than we've seen so far."

He lets out a sigh, settling back a bit, a thoughtful look on his face. "Keep an ear out while your there, too. See what you can overhear. What's going on right now, anything about who's who. I have people I need to speak to soon enough, I just don't know who they are yet." Both for legit, and not so legit reasons. "I'll be going into town myself at some point, but it couldn't hurt."

She's quick with a counter. "That's hardly undue attention, is it?" She stares up toward the apex of their little shelter as if she might be able to see Fake perched atop it through the heavy canvas. "I'll keep an ear to the ground on your behalf, as always. I'm sure Fake will as well." She smiles then, spirits brightened some by prospect of exploring what she hopes is to be their new home. "He'll be good company.

"Perhaps even better than you."

"Any attention can be undue attention," Arthur asserts, arms crossing as he looks over at his sister. "The point is, blend in. Literally, if you need to, I guess. Be a chameleon or something." He shrugs a bit, gaze refocusing on the tent flap ahead of him. "If you knew the things I know about Fake, you'd disagree," he remarks with a smirk. "Good fellow, but a bit off his rocker, and he thinks quite a few things about you." He's joking of course. Mostly.

"No worse than what you think of me, I'm sure." Elvira does seem to disappear from sight, melting into her surroundings until she's not even a distorted outline against the backdrop. He can hear her move, of course, and see the shifting of the bedroll on the floor. The blankets drop and make a sudden puddle at unseen feet.

When she speaks again, it's got a disembodied quality to it, not because there's any impressive sort of effect to her voice, but simply because there isn't any visual source for it when quite clearly there should be. "You two make a marvellous pair. Complement each other well." The lifting of the lid of her trunk is entirely for Arthur's benefit. If his sister wanted, she could disguise that. Although she could just as easily make it look as though she's rummaging through her things, when she's really sneaking off to do something else.

His familiar isn't the only complementary presence in Arthur's life.

"Yes, yes, I get it," Arthur replies tiredly. "Come on, now, cut that out before someone decides to peek in and check on us. We don't need any more reason for anyone to be suspicious of us, mm?" A beat, and he smiles and unfolds his arms. "Or maybe we do. Wouldn't that make for a challenge?" Yes, but not one Arthur actually feels like dealing with, and the ruffling above the tent by Fake seems to indicate that the familiar is in agreement with that sentiment. "What, exactly, were you planning on going into town for, anyway?"

She laughs softly. "I don't think you actually want me to do that." The only warning Arthur receives is the rustle of fabric before his sister's heavy nightgown lands atop is head, draping over his face. "You and your challenges." By the time he can remove the obstruction from his vision, Elvira's dressed for the day, and the weather, in a heavy sweater and denim that looks newer than it actually is. "I need tea, of course." When doesn't she need tea? "I think I overheard something about an apothecary. I'm sure that will have what I need."

"Oh, for-" Arthur groans as he pulls the nightgown down off his face. "You can always ask me to leave, you know," he remarks, eyeing her for a moment before he tosses the nightgown back at its owner. This does remind him that he needs to get properly dressed as well, but unlike his sister, he doesn't have fancy tricks and opts to wait until she's left for town. At least then he'll be the only one trapped in the tent this time after it collapses while he's hopping around trying to fit his leg through his old, ill fitting slacks. Again.

Sigh.

"An apothecary? Alright." Arthur seems at the very least approving of this trip, whether she needs it or not. "If I give a small list, can you see what they have for me? I may make a stop by there myself at some point."

Genuine laughter is hard to come by these days, but there's a short burst of it at her brother's expense. "Oh, but then I wouldn't get to see the look on your face when I do things like that," Elvira teases, taking the time to carefully fold her nightgown and pack it away again. Then she retrieves a pencil and a small pad of paper, handing both off to Arthur so he can make his list. "Of course, I'll get whatever you need, if I can get my hands on it."

"It's not much," Arthur replies as he takes to scratching out the few things he needs - you'd never know he was the one who spent hours forging papers and signatures from how awful his casual handwriting is. "Mostly some… things for an idea or two I might have." For some scams, in other words. "I hope you're not planning on buying back too many of Fletcher's herbs," he notes, grinning up at his sister. He doesn't actually know if the militia men took any, it just makes for a good chance to tease his sister.

She takes some offense, and it shows only in the briefest of flashes in her eyes. "Oh, don't worry. I won't trade for anything like that." That she might simply take what she wants is left for him to infer. She doesn't have to squint to read the list he hands off to her. For all that his penmanship is atrocious, she can read it as if it were in her own hand. "I'll scope out where the good pubs are," she tells him with a sly note to her promise. Knowing that will do them a great deal of good, too.

"Oh, good," he remarks, clapping his hands together as he rises up to his feet. "That's exactly what I was going to ask you to do next. Well, tomorrow, but…" he waves a hand dismissively as he moves up next to her, an arm draped across her shoulders, and a finger pointed at her. "I'm serious, though. Be careful. I was apparently wrong about how we'd be greeted here, so who knows what the townsfolk are like."

"Ye of little faith," Elvira quips, winding one arm behind Arthur's waist to squeeze in a hug. "I promise ever so sincerely to be on my very best behaviour," she swears. "Fake will hold me to it, of course. Or will he just lie for me? He does like me best, after all. You'll just have to keep your fingers crossed, I suppose."

"Fake likes that you think that," Arthur replies slyly, hugging Elvira back for just the briefest of moments before letting his hands fall back to his sides. He knows full well what Fake thinks, and continues not to say anything one way or the other. "It's not you I'm worried about. It's everyone else." A small bit of paranoia, nothing too unusual for Arthur.

Elvira slinks around so she can instead place a hand on either side of Arthur's face. "I've got it. Everything's going to be just fine. We've made it this far, so it's time for our luck to turn 'round." Whether the positive thinking is just for his benefit or not is between her and the proverbial fence post.

Arthur glares at her, mostly because her hands are cold and he doesn't enjoy being made colder than her already is. "I'm glad you're so sure about it," he remarks a bit grumbly. "It's a good thing I trust you. I'd hate to imagine how things might be otherwise." Her smirks, pulling her hands away from his face. "Go on, then. You have a long day ahead of you. Well, I do too, but I need to figure out just what it is I'm doing.:

Oh, rats. He's on to her. Arthur's little sister gives her best (playful) pout and just hides her hands in her sleeves after she's gently and non-verbally informed that she can't use his face to warm them. "You be careful, too," she warns in a soft voice. "And don't be grumpy. It doesn't suit you."

Turning away, she pulls aside the flap of the tent so she can step outside. "C'mon, Fake," Elvira seeks out the familiar's (possibly unfamiliar) form. "Let's see what sort of trouble we can get brother dearest into."

Fake, in the midst of the last few moments of their discussion, had indeed vanished from the top of the tent, and the moment Elvira steps out, a small, red breasted bird flutters down on to her shoulder - just small enough that it could perch on her finger if it decided it really wanted to.

"No slacking," is what Arthur offers in place of "have fun". "We need to know as much about this place as soon as possible. To which note…" her says, looking over at the small trunk with his clothes. "I guess I should prepare to go out at well. Send Fake back to me if you need anything, I'll be around."

Elvira pulls her hair back on one side and waits for Fake to hop over closer to her, then tucks it back into place, letting him nestle in among her brunette curls. "Oh, we'd best get a move on, then," she stage whispers to the familiar with a conspiratorial air. "Wouldn't want him to know all we plan to do when we get into town is slack." She tosses a grin and an air kiss over her shoulder to her brother before she sets off with long strides, and a look of purpose.