(514-04-01) The boat, the pilot and the ladies
Summary: Arta and Eirian meet during rather odd circumstances.
Date: 514, April 1st
Related: None
arta eirian 

January brings cold to the west country, but snow is rare. This is the season of damp and muck, the awful blend of endless storms rolling off the sea dumping ample precipitation upon the population. While smarter people stay under thatched roofs and hurry to the nearest hearth, some are not so fortunate. They have places to go, trudging by on muddy paths with their carts or taking advantage of a better, faster mode of travel. Unfortunately the shallow rivers in this area are swollen from the rain and debris swept down on the current makes for a hazardous path. It's one such punt being rowed by a burly man that's caught up on a tree, while a woman of few mature years stands on the bench, holding an oar. She wobbles frequently, some strange performance enough to draw attention were there not reason to hurry along. A squall is blowing in, and unfortunately for all, that means yet more rain. Her woolen cloak covers her reasonably well, and the pilot struggles to disengage a rope from submerged branches.

Arta happens to be walking about the river. It certainly is not the most pleasant weather to have a walk but she doesn't really have a choice. Arta is deep in thought gazing at the flowing Bourne river when she suddenly snaps out of focus and notices that there is a little boat some way ahead. She heads towards it because she is curious to learn what they are about to do. Surely enough the woman holding the oar looks odd enough to catch Arta's attention. "Greetings lady, are you in need of help?" Arta says and tilts her head curiously at Eirian.

The river makes a slow bend near the location where the small boat is stuck. Efforts to tug the rope free is compounded by the pilot's desire not to toss his passenger into the water. Why she stands instead of sits isn't apparent without getting a higher vantage, but Eirian turns her face to the sky and smiles. A taut, thin smile, but a smile all the same. Water hitting water makes it hard to hear at a distance; their voices are muffled, but she's the first to notice Arta's approach. She starts to wave the oar, then wobbles and stops. "Aye!" A call of greeting travels over the distance. "Just getting our feet wet!"

Arta remarks with a hint of teasing in her voice "It is a terrible weather to go swimming, don't you think? You are fortunate that i know how to revive you should the river swallow you." Arta then considers the whole situation for a while "Do you have a plan as how to survive dry from out there?" Then curiosity hits Arta, she has not asked for the names of these people yet "I am Arta, lady of Cholderton manor. Who are you?"

"Not the best, but look at how much space I have all to myself," Eirian calls back. Her tone is cheerful rather than worried, though the pilot continues to strain against the rope caught on branches. He pulls out his belt knife and starts hacking at the thick braid, and water keeps pooling in the bottom of the boat. "I mean not to be swallowed up. But this precaution is a good thing to have. Always know how to swim!" Thoughtful, her gaze flicks towards the shore. She's too far to wade, but it's not inconceivable to swim it or be hauled in by that oar. "I suppose I do not, Lady. Recommendations are welcome, though I could appeal to Sulis to leave off the water. Eirian of Burcombe Manor." Her striking blue eyes mark her as a definite Burcombe, or a definite pagan, depending on one's religious leanings.

Arta is curious as to what the pilot is hacking at with his knife. She then notices that it is a rope. "I would cut that rope if it wasn't so far away." She then ponders the probability of them swimming to the shore. The water is still cold and tires out a swimmer fast at spring but the distance isn't all swimming. Part of it is just wading through the water. "Do you think you can swim to the shore? There is a warm hearth nearby to dry out your clothes and yourselves afterwards."

The pilot chops at the heavy hemp rope caught up in a large branch, maybe even a tree lodged underwater. Probably the same source as the hole in the bottom of the boat. He wipes rain from his face and keeps labouring, his muscles rippling under his tunic. In any other circumstance it might be pleasant to watch. Less so right now, though. Eirian takes a point of leaning over to nudge at the tree with the tip of the oar, though the unwieldy long pole is hard for her to manage even though she's not all that short or weak. "But then what of Gawen?" Clear, wide eyes turn towards the man. "I cannot simply leave him here to his fate. We cannot very well swim the boat over, at this rate. It's filling up quite nicely."

Why is she not in screaming hysterics, but rather sanguine about the whole affair? Who knows. She nudges the oar outwards again, testing if the wood floats. "Would you be able to reach the other end of this and pull in? It should tow me well enough and if Gawen holds onto my cloak, we can move along without being pulled apart or something like that. This really wasn't my intention this morning when we set out. "

Arta has seen death, disease and blood. Lots of those during her apprenticeship as a chirurgeon, she has to have quite a steady hand and calm mind when fixing WIDE bleeding wounds, she is quite confident in herself when witnessing trouble because of her training. Less so confident in romance or flirting which unfortunately was the downfall for learning the art of medicine, reading and writing. She reaches out for the oar and catches it. "We could try, do you have a better idea right now?"

Calm assists Eirian in taking a precaution. She sits down in the boat and pulls off her shoes, and then untying the rough spun stockings to go with them. In short order, she has the means to tie her footwear to her girdle so they cannot impede her swimming. She then bundles up her cloak as best she can, probably aware it's bound to weigh her down. The pin is secured to her gown, and she starts twisting the end. "I'm sorry about the boat, truly I am. Now, let us be grateful that the stars bring us just the right person. If this ends badly for me, know I am grateful for your efforts." And with all that aplomb she gets back up and dips her toe into the water, the cold making her pause. Shuddering, she holds to the oar and moves to the edge of the little craft away from the branch. Here goes nothing: the girl jumps in, trying not to yelp.

Eirian checked her swimming of 2, she rolled 3.

Arta checked her swimming at 12, she rolled 19.

Arta despite the fact that Arta does get a cold bath as well. She tucks the oar towards the shore. "I was glad to be able to help you" she says with her teeth chattering.

The water is cold, colder than Eirian gives it credit for. Complaint is registered when her head pops above the water and she clings to that oar like there's no tomorrow. "Manannan, this is worse than the time I fell in the pond!" If one could have a swan's wings… Her eyes shut and she tries to orient herself while Gawen, miserable at his fate, sheathes his knife and hops overboard. He at least knows *how* to swim, and does quite well, but between the weighed down lady and the lady knight, it's no easy task to just get ashore. However, with considerable effort here and there, eventually Eirian drags herself onto the shore, skin soaked entirely to the bone.

Arta gets back onto her feet "Are you alright?" she asks from Eirian. "Lets get you and this pilot into somewhere warm and have something warm to drink." Arta squeezes her clothes to dry them a little. "It is too bad your boat didn't leak closer to Cholderton. I would have had a lot more hospitality to offer or at the best scenario not leak at all." Arta then focuses herself on the two people.

Eirian drags up from the water, and basically falls onto a rock not too covered in sludge. Her gown and her cloak spill out dirty water, helped along by her wringing out the worst. "I always told mother I wasn't a fish, and now I can prove it." She wrinkles her nose and coughs, trying not to spit out water. Her pilot watches the boat forlornly; there's no rescuing it until the river runs lower, but at least it's still there tangled up in the branches. Hard work waits to be fixed. "Hospitality is welcome enough. I went and fell in, did I not? A few moments, my breath is thoroughly smacked out of me."

You say, "Where were you heading?"

"Upstream to market, though I think today that will not happen." Eirian rubs her hands over her hair, and finding no hope for it, hoists herself up. "To this inn, then, where we might be warm. Perchance even have stew. I am likely to lock up and become a stone otherwise."

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