[OOC: 1 Harvestmere, 9:35, Dawn - w/ Hal]
"Hanamene Nughead Thornecroft! Wake up!"
A woman, not a young girl, responded with a long groan. It fell on deaf ears.
"You can sleep like the dead when you're actually dead, woman," the dwarf rebuked her.
"Hal," Hana groaned, by then still refusing to open her eyes, "It's my day off... remember..." She felt a pit form in her stomach, the moment she trailed off. The significance of the day in question came rushing back to her groggy mind. A year to the day. Her father's funeral. She sat up slowly, hair mussed, and opened one eye. Hanamene was not the sort of woman who woke up gracefully.
"I remember, you sad sack," Hal answered, crossing his arms, "But a letter's just arrived for you this morning. Looked important." He uncrossed his arms and held the letter out to her. Hanamene opened her other eye and furrowed her brow at the sight of the Chantry seal.
"It's not," Hanamene curtly answered, deciding on the triviality of the letter without even looking at it. In response, Hal waved the letter in her face. Annoyed, she took it from him at last but tossed it aside on the laughably small bed in her claustrophobically small flat. "I was having a good dream, Hal," Hana lied. Lying only in that it was not just a dream, but a good memory. One that had crossed her mind ever and anon throughout the years. Simpler days. Simpler times. Before ever coming to Kirkwall.
"Dream's over. Get up! Try to make yourself look like a functioning member of society. We're going to the tavern," Hal told her.
Hanamene narrowed her eyes at the dwarf briefly, and in the same fluid motion turned and face-planted back into her pillow. "Functioning members of society don't go to the tavern at dawn, Hal," Hana rebuked him, in turn. The pillow muffled her voice.
"You humans are too delicate," Hal snorted. He went on to add, however, "It ain't like that anyway. I need you to suit up, Thorne." Hal only called her "Thorne" when he was serious, usually as it pertained to his business which, in turn, he took quite seriously. All the same, Hana groaned - loudly. "Come on, get your arse up," he took it upon himself to rouse her out of her bed, which reminded Hana of her grandmother. She smiled, sleepily amused.
"New commission?" Hana asked, covering a yawn with the palm of her hand.
"Yeah... something like that," Hal told her.
Hanamene, finally on her feet, sturdied herself independent of the dwarf. She crossed her arms as he had a moment earlier, and gave him a dubious expression following his last reply. "Commission's make us trudge up to Hightown, Hal. They never traipse on down to us, here. What's this about?"
"Don't say never," Hal took some offence, "You've only been working for me for a year. You've a pretty limited exposure about whose trudged or traipsed before!"
"I suppose you're right," Hanamene sighed, relaxing her posture. To appease Hal, she added, "You're a very successful business man. I don't doubt that many have traipsed down to Lowtown in seeking you out."
Hal puffed up, proudly. His bright, orange-red moustache bristled. "That's right, you know-"
Here he goes, Hana thought. Thinking his next words in her head in rhythm of when and how he said them.
"I could have a workshop in Hightown if I wanted, but I'm closer to my workers here. A smart boss is a humble boss. If he seems too big for his britches, the labourers won't respect 'em. And I-"
"And you can keep a pulse on the current state of the available work force by being in Lowtown," Hana finished for him, with a mild inflection of sarcasm. She hadn't known Hal long, but she'd heard a number of his speeches enough to know them by heart. Hal liked speeches.
"Exactly!" the dwarf said, thrusting a finger in the air as though he'd been the one to finish the sentence in question.
"Alright, fine," Hana said, with a longer sigh. She turned her back from the bed and walked toward the only window of her small room. She opened the shutters, wrinkling her nose at the smell of the district's not-so-fresh air. "Be the gentleman I know you to be and excuse yourself, so I can clean myself up."
Hal obliged, with a deliberately ironic bow ere he took his leave. Hana heard the wooden staircase outside of her attic flat creak with the weight of his heavy footsteps as he went back down to the ground floor where his own living quarters and workshop were located. Saeridin & Son Building Company had another floor in between the attic and the ground one, with rooms that Hal sometimes rented out to people as well - though their original purpose was meant for if, no when the business grew.
When he finally was gone, Hana's eyes drifted back toward the small bed where the still-sealed letter remained, half-crumpled resting in her wrinkled sheets. Barely audibly, Hanamene cursed. She turned away once more, and looked out the window for a second time. Raising her voice, just a little, she asked aloud to no one in particular, "...the void am I still doing here?"
[OOC: The letter in question, found here.]