|A Hard Day's Night|
|Summary:||Young Lord Ser Ozric Terrick comes a-calling on Squire Darek Boldt's stall at the Rockcliff.|
|Related Logs:||All the Missing Children logs|
|Paddock, Terrick's Roost|
|Roost Lane runs right up to the front of the town's main stables. The rear of the structure is backed right against the interior wall of the town with the heavy wooden roofing gently sloped down towards the dirt road. Thick wooden beams are plunged into the ground and serve as a base for the walls between each stall. Hay serves as most of the flooring in the area with a large stack of it off to the side. Each stall has at least some on the ground to serve as bedding.|
|11 December, 289|
It's not every day that you haul a corpse miles through the woods, get set upon by hounds, and then have to explain yourself to a pack of nobles (almost worse than the hounds… almost). And so Darek Boldt has taken a — in his mind — well-deserved rest. He's even let himself sleep in a little bit past dawn. Now, however, he's up, mostly awake, dressed, armored (in such armor as he has), and armed, ready to start another day of searching. Rubbing his face and then scrubbing his hand back through his luxurious waves of brown hair, he pushes open the door to his stall. Since he's human rather than equine, he's been given the one nearest the inn's wall, affording him a bit more shelter and warmth. But it's still a stall in a stable.
The sound of horses would not be enough to denote that someone other than the usual stable denizens are here. But, when the proprieter and his stable lads don't immediately come back to the paddocks, that in and of itself could be something. A few minutes pass before two Terrick guardsmen come and linger off where they are visible, but unobtrusive. And from them, a noble-likely one of the very ones Darek had to explain himself too, is there as well. Dressed down in leather and chain, the one eye'd knight doesn't really show much signs as it goes for his nobility. Rather he seems more suited now for being out in the field and stream-minus the small tray held in one gloved hand.
The chinks of his spurs, and clinking of mail-though soft might stand out, now as the knight comes closer. "You there, boy." a bark of an accent. Vale. "Squire." Ozric corrects himself. "Do you have a moment before your knight needs you?" And there he looks to a nearby barrel in which the tray with two steaming mugs are sat. He will wait for an answer before proceeding on.
Darek looks up from beneath his hand full of hair, glancing quickly back into his stall, then up toward the roof, a faint smile touching one corner of his lips. Blinking that away, the young man knuckles his forehead to the knight, "Several days, Ser. My Ser's still in Highfield. He sent me out to look for the children, Ser." There's something vaguely defensive about that last statement, and his eyes trail down to the steaming mugs, his stomach grumbling almost inaudibly. Evidently, whatever he packed for trail rations left him hungry after several days.
"Good." Ozric replies back in kind. Only then does he turn and reach for a mug, offering it out to the young man. "Spiced ale. It's warm and will do well with the chill we have had in the air. Also does well for waking up." He adds with a faint grin. "I had thought you were with the Jast knight or under Lord Ashwood." the one eyed terrick continues on. "I just wished to make sure, I was not keeping you further from some duty beyond the hunt." His lone eye sliding over the lad. "And I am sorry if we pressed you hard last night. You had what we were hunting for, and by damned if my temper did not show." A bow of his head there, before clearing his throat. "Which is why I have come to talk to you. I'd like a full account of what happened before we came upon you with my hounds. And to ask some questions." The knight gestures for the squire to take a seat. "I'll try not to keep you long, as likely you need to break your fast and get back into the field."
Darek steps forward to take the mug, bobbing his head again, "Thank you, Milord." He takes a quaff of the drink, then shakes his hair back out of his head, "NoSer. I'm squire to Ser Jac Caddock, Captain of the Guard at Highfield." He shrugs his shoulders at the apology, shifting his feet as if slightly embarrassed to be recieving it, although his eyes cut back up and he tenses slightly at the mention of the hounds, taking a moment before he responds, "Uh, yesser. Thought I had a good track a time or two. Think I might be able to find him with another hunt or two." There's a pause, and his light tenor gains a bit of tense weight, "I've got to. Now that Eian's dead, young Mott's not likely to have much time, nor young Inna." Taking another sip of the spiced ale, he scrubs his hair back again, then sets the mug down to start pull a strip of black cloth from behind his belt and start winding it around his head, tying it off to keep his hair back from his face, "What can I tell you, Milord?"
Ozric bows his head, taking up the second mug for himself. "You're welcome, squire.." murmured over the lip, before he is sipping down a bit more than a quaff. "You're fine.." as for explaining to whom he belongs to. No apology needed. A lick of his teeth, as his weight shifts, just barely. His free hand moving to sit behind his back-and no where close to the sword he wears. "If we get a chance as we did last night-hopefully we'll find them. I have been informed that my deputy has found..something." though there is no further information to follow. "Tell me, how your hunt began and the circumstances upon which you came to the deceased." Yeah, that should make some sense.
Darek nods his head, although his brows rise at the mention of 'something.' "If it please Milord…" but he cuts off whatever request he was going to make, shaking it off and forcing a smile, "If it please Milord, I started hunting out of Highfield, after young Mott was taken. I tracked him out into the woods west of the town, and found the Hunter in a clearing." The capital letter is audible in his voice. "He was wearing a stag's horned skull for a helm, Milord, was wrapped in furs, and rode a beast that was nearly a horse, but not. It had scales, Milord, and curling horns, and a tail like a lizard-lion. It had hooves though, and wore a chamfron of bone." He knows how ridiculous it sounds, but he bulls on anyhow, "Fits some old stories, Milord, of a Child of the Forest called the Hunter. Well, soon after, Master Trevelyan's letter came to Highfield, and I came down to join forces with him in searching, Milord. That was near a score days ago."
"Go on." ozric says as he looks at the boy. All the focus of that sole eye leveled upon Darek-which could be good or bad. "No, you were saying something before, go on and say it." apparently, Ozric would hear it all. Still to the rest he nods. "As the description from the tales. Yes.." though of course the Lord of the Manor has his own views on what all that could be, beyond an actual child of the forest. those are tales fit to force children into obedience, not truth-right? "I was let known that you had come down and were aiding with the others.." Ozric continues on. "But, yes-go on to the events of last night. Please."
Darek shrugs as he's bid continue what he started earlier, "If it please Milord, there's been too much information hid away or disbelieved, and it's cost lives. The more information that's shared, the better off we'll all be, Ser." He shakes his head a bit at the nobleman's disbelief, "All stories have to come from somewhere, Milord. I wouldn't have believed if I hadn't seen the Hunter for myself either. But having seen him, and now having seen what else is out there?" One hand gestures up toward the Sept as he speaks, to indicate the dead freak, and then off out into the woods. His hand returns to finish tying the strip of cloth about his temples, "Master Trevelyan and me went out searching on our own a couple times, and with these sailors someone lent him. They weren't very useful. No one's ever seen anyone when they're out there in force, Milord. They avoid big groups, know the land, they do." Settling back into the story the Lord was really asking about, he goes on, "So I went out on my own…"
"Spent three days out there, so I could range further out. Was going to spend another two, but I came across the cursed freak last night, facedown in a stream. His guts were already ripped out, and he stunk to high heaven. I started hauling him back, and then the hounds came a-baying. I thought for a second the Weeping Woman's wolves had found me. Hounds aren't much better, if you ask me. Thank the Seven you all showed up to call them off, or I might've had to kill a couple to drive them off."
"Squire." Ozric begins before taking another long sip from his mug. "Such information I cannot give out right now." the older knight says evenly. "Not to the public. Let alone all the knights participating. I don't want anyone riding off half cocked as it were, if such information has been found out-that can lead us to where the children are. I will say this, men came back and had looked in on the map while we were hunting. Upon the thing, being brought back to our infirmary-they checked the hands." And there he looks down. "I do not know for sure if they have a definate idea-but I am to speak with him later. Once all is set out, I will be letting the Haighs, Ashwoods and other men know where it is we will be looking." A glance to Darek. "And you are of that number. I do hope you understand my caution in this. Where as I do understand and admire your bravery and the urgency in this case-know we need some caution or else more lives could be lost."
And then falling silent the knight gives, what appears to be a continue signal, as he listens. "Yes. Disembowled, which I have to say is a rather interesting way to go. With what care our children have seen in their deaths and placements, it appears the fellow you found was used as a sign of punishment.." Or so he would guess. "And grateful I am, that you did not kill my dogs. I'm fond of them, and they are fierce fighters.." Ozric offers with a faint chuckle. "That stench was a concoction that Lord Ashwood, put on that individual-It's how we were able to find you so quick." And likely explains the smell. "What would you consider-the body you found. Was he a man?" A brow raised there. "Your honest opinion."
Darek shrugs his shoulders a little uncomfortably at all the talk of keeping secrets and stuff, although he allows a little smirk to pull at one corner of his mouth at the compliments, "I understand the worry for the little Lady's life, Milord, I do." Which is to say, by his tone, that he's also worried about the lives of the common children, at least as much. The assumptions about the purpose of the disembowling draw a more comfortable shrug, "I didn't look at the wounds too much, Milord. Could've been an animal or something. I was just worried about making sure I didn't leave a trail of entrails." The question that follows, causes him to pause in thought a moment, then he adds, "Don't see why not, Milord. He's a cursed freak, that's for fucking sure, but he seems like some sort of man." There's another pause, and then he grins broadly enough to drive a dimple into one cheek, "Not that I checked under his breeches."
"Right, We have a Maester and a septon for that." And likely to see if this thing rises and all that nonsense. Ozric still offers a faint smile. "It's not entirely just for the Lady missing, but also so our small folk don't run in with torches blazing, and get themselves killed-or worse all the children slaughtered." And so the knight allows that tidbit out before he is nodding. "You said, you and deputy Trevelyan ran into the Weeping Woman before." likely given the wolf comment. Still the knight is now pressing there. "What can you tell me of her?"
Darek shakes his head, "I haven't seen her or her wolves. Master Trevelyan says they had maile woven through their coats," his smile dissolves, becoming something a bit peeved, "But given how little he's listened to what I've said about the Hunter, I wouldn't be surprised if they aren't like the Hunter's mount… not quite a wolf, or with maile instead of fur in some places. And she wears white, and has dark hair, and," he reaches up to tap one temple, "Not really all there, to hear Master Trevelyan tell it."
"So the mount could still be a horse." Ozric counters there with a nudge of his mug. "And it's rider could have placed armor and other things on it, thus distorting it's look.." It seems the knight is quick to dismiss anything as wholly supernatural in this case. "If so, these murderers are seeking to use our fears against us and to make us cow to them. But, for what purpose? They do not ask for ransom, they do not ask for anything." And there the knight furrows his brows before he is looking back to Darek, a slight distracted nod. "I would imagine so, given she somehow wove maille into wolf fur.."
Darek shrugs at the response, "Could be. It was shady in the clearing where I saw it. But show me a horse with a tail like a lizard-lion and I'll eat my words." He picks up his mug again, living it in salute, "Raw and without sauce, Milord." Taking another drink of the spiced ale, he adds, "And that's even without thinking about how they've ducked us every time. Fuck a duck, Milord… the trails just end. I mean, I'm no Master of the Hunt, but I'm not a bad tracker, and they're just… poof. Gone like a virgin in a whorehouse."
"Or a fart in the wind." Ozric comments with a good natured smirk, despite the grim words shared. And there he offers a faint nod. "Well good. I can't say I know how this monstrosity looks, but I can say I know men hold a special part of their heart to cruelty. And it would not surprise me, if these were not just fools and men of motley set out to terrify." A shudder there. "In fact, I would prefer that they were ghosts-or children of the forest. Those we know how to defeat from legend. Men that know our own trails and wood better than we..And have shown themselves to be monsters." A glance back to Darek. "There is no going back from that, Squire."
"They've killed one of mine, Milord," Whatever claim Darek may not have over the people of Highfield, and no matter that he may be from Stone Hedge originally, he evidently considers himself one of them, "And they're holdin' another. Mott's only five years, Milord. I don't plan to see him dead too, whether these fuckers are folk tales or just a mummer's fart." Draining off the last of his ale, he adds, "I'll hold off the day to see what the maester finds out, Milord, and to hear what Master Trevelyan found, if you'll tell me, but then I'm going back out there, Ser."
"Hold a day." ozric says, with a nod. "Then and good. Do me that honor. I am not trying to keep you from the hunt, lad." Ozric says. "I am merely trying to keep the nformation to becoming rumor." And there he looks back up. "You've lasted this long and have seen one of them. I trust in your cannyness." Whether such is misplaced or not. Still the knight, finished with his mug sets it back on the tray behind him. "In fact if you wish to go out, that is fine. I just ask that you keep your information to the nobles participating in this hunt. No lose lips in the Inn." a pause there. "Have you eaten, lad?"
Darek nods his head, "Of course, Milord. I know my place in the hunt." Which is to say, not doing things he's not told to do, but otherwise getting out and about as much as humanly possible. The mention of the trust causes him to straighten up a little, bobbing his head once more. "If there's new information that's gonna be shared, Milord, I'd like to hear it before I go out again. Not much point in going out and coming back the same day anymore. We've swept the area 'round the Roost like crazy." The request and the question that follows draw a shake of his head, "NoSer. I haven't talked to anyone at the Inn about it 'cept to warn 'em not to go out after dark or alone. And I just got up." There's something a little defensive about that last statement, as if he knows that a squire should be up and ready to go before dawn rather than shortly there-after, "Long couple of days before today, Milord."
"I do know. Well then, go and break your fast, Squire-and if you need coin, tell the Keep that I will pay for your meal." And with that the Knight turns and begins back to where the two armsmen have been lazing. "Take the cups with you-consider it your squirely duty for the day. If you wish to join the patrol tonight-then do so. I'll be sure to have someone deliver you the news once I have spoken to my man about it." A look over his shoulder. "Your knight should be proud." said softly, before one hand is raised. A goodby and dismissal all in one-before he is walking out into the light of day.
Darek nods his head, perking up a little at the offer to pay for his meal, "Yesser, thank you, Ser." The offer to join the patrol that night draws a wry shake of the young man's head, "No thank you, Milord. Maybe I'll hang around the edges on my way out, Milord, but those big patrols don't seem to ever find anything." He gestures to the inn, "I'll either be here or out on the Green most like, Milord, practicing my archery." He knuckles his forehead at the order and the dismissal, moving to collect a quiver of arrows and a short hunting bow, slinging both over his shoulder, then gathering up the tray and its mugs.