The lower level was chilly, lined with dark stone beneath generous tapestries telling some tale he didn't recognize. He smiled appreciatively at them, like an art critic who stumbled into the wrong gallery by accident.
One on side, the hall led to a wide open room, inside which he only glimpsed practice dummies and a small compliment of arms; on the other side, a hall almost as long as the building, with doors set into each side. Beside the stairs, a small peg board hung, and Alise snagged an iron key and passed it to him.
"Best keep your door locked, lest anyone go wandering in and looking through your personal belongings and worldly possessions, and don't go doing the same with others' rooms without permission. You're the second on the left." She walked with him the short way down the hall, let him fumble with the heavy key for a moment, and waited for the door to open, before leaning on the jam as he stepped inside. "it's pretty spartan, but until you get access to play the game, it's the best you could honestly hope for. It's a sight better than the camping roll and tent most inmates get."
There was a single, low bed with a straw-stuffed mattress, a bedside table, and a dresser in the room for furniture. The guild banner hung on the wall beside the door, and a faded and well worn rug covered most of the paving stones on the floor.
"It's really spartan. No writing desk? No chair?"
"Do you have a need to write? To sit when you write?"
"I guess not, but the thought that I might...."
"Earn some keep, and buy more furnishings, a nicer rug, warmer blankets, whatever catches your fancy. Work hard enough and buy a house for yourself, here, or in a bigger town. You look like a city boy, but the capital's pricey, so you'll have to work long and hard here to get out there."
"What about you?"
"I'm just across the hall. My room looks just about the same, but for a vase and some flowers, an extra outfit or two, but not much. I spend most of my time out in the forest." She brushed some hair out of her face. "I'm a simple country gal."
"Those leathers don't look simple."
Alise looked down at herself and smiled. "They're functional. I never did much like dresses, and the flowy material only gets in the way, especially when I'm out in the forest."
"I think you'd look stunning in a dress. At least as stunning as you look in that, though it doesn't leave much to the imagination." He turned and approached her, a light smile paying across his face.
She took one of his hands, and piroetted beneath it, imagining a dress on herself, knowing he was doing the same, and smiled up at him. "Oh, but it leaves enough."
He lowered her hands to her hips, and she looked up at him standing over her. Douggy started to lean down, but felt a fingertip on his legs.
"I don't think so, big boy. Don't think Tia is the only one who knows your history around here. You better rest up, you've got a long day ahead of you tomorrow. Only if you're good, very good, will I let you join me for dinner."