Page 065: A Pair of Swords
Page 065: A Pair of Swords
Summary: Stragen tries to grill Raffton, but his tongue is apparently not silver enough to get the younger sword to reveal anything.
Date: 18/9/2011
Related Logs: Of Guardsmen And Other Matters, The More They Drink
Raffton Stragen 
Rockcliff Inn - Terrick's Roost
The Rockcliff Inn is one of the better inns within the town and it shows with the well-lit interior and the relative cleanliness to the other locations in Terrick's Roost. The tables are polished with oils and the floor regularly swept. A set of booths towards a darker rear of the Inn's bottom floor, just beneath the staircase, are where whores generally socialize and eye prospects from when not waiting tables. Signs over the undersized bar area advertise prices for ales and wines as well as several different choices of food to be served at the small eating area by the bar or in the main open area in its comfortable seating. A door behind the bar leads to the kitchen and cellar while another near the staircase leads to a private room that would appear to be off-limits to the 'wait staff' except for food and drink service.

The two swords of House Terrick, Stragen Stone and Raffton Howell, have been drinking for over an hour now. Stragen, having met up with the younger Raffton over the course of their duties for House Terrick, has attempted to make friends with the man over the course of several days. And now, on "payday" for the older Ironborn-looking sword, Stragen had invited Raffton out to the Rockcliff to spend some hard-earned coin on good drink. And rightly so, for the Rockcliff Inn has the best to offer, other than the private house stock of Lord Jerold himself.

"…and then I told him, 'That's no Ironborn, that's my mother!'" He guffaws loudly and drunkenly, clapping Howell on the shoulder, and lifting his flagon to the rest of the patrons who gathered to hear the barbarian-looking man's humorous yarn. Despite having recently been a participant of a bar-room brawl here at the Rockcliff, all seems to have been forgotten. After all, the man is pissing his money away into ale after ale after ale for himself and his friend. As the crowd disperses and Stragen downs yet another ale, he turns to Raffton: "So, tell me. You've got to have some stories of the homeland. And don't worry, brother, they actually like me now. And if you're with me, bah… Seven Hells, there'd be a proper fight if they fucked with you, aye? We'd show them what-for. Hah!" Stragen seems quite drunk. Wasn't it singing Ironborn shanties that started the last bar fight here at the Rockcliff? He doesn't learn, apparently.

Raffton chuckles at the joke and drinks deeply, glancing around at the rest of the patrons, and then drinking again. At Stragen's assurances, blond brows lift and he chuckles a bit more and shrugs, "They don't mind me so much these days, seems like. Haven't been fucked with in a while, at any rate. So if there is a fight in the offing, I'm going to have to blame you for that, I think." He smiles, and drinks again, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. He scrubs at the back of his neck and glances around, gaze trailing briefly after one of the barmaids before he turns back to Stragen at the table.

"Aye," Stragen declares loudly, and then leans in to "whisper" to the younger man. Or, what passes for whispering when one is three sheets to the wind. "I caused the last one, you know. Some Ironborn twat didn't take kindly to my songs, and then when he started flapping his gums in front of a Lady, well, I gave him and his men a proper thrashing. Skewered his friend, too!" He slaps the bar loudly, laughing again.

"Aye, and when we're done mopping up here, mate, we'll hop on down to the Haggy Mire and muck with the Naylands. I'd like to tell that Ser Rygar where to stick that long pole hammer of his. Wouldn't you? Eh? He's a bit of a stuffy prick, ain't ey? Oi, more ale!"

"What songs?" Raffton asks, seeming more curious about this than the fight described. He nurses what little is left in his tankard as more ale is ordered, and shrugs at the mention of the Naylands. "Never spent any time thinking about Ser Rygar or his pole," he replies, smirking for a moment and then shrugging again, "Never been called on to go down there yet, but I hear the swamps down there swallow men whole. And the beasts in them, too. I'd just as soon steer clear, myself."

Making a dissatisfied grunt, Stragen turns back to his now refilled drink. "Careful, mate, I've knocked men out for insi… insh… insinuating!" He bangs the bar for emphasis as his drunkenness triumphs over the Common language. "For insinuating things about poles and such. And songs! Yes, drinking songs! There's a mariner's ditty about men who can't handle their ale. I… can't remember it right now," he says, blinking bleary eyes. "You know, I've never been to that Haggy Mire of theirs. Only saw Rygar the one time on the steps of Stonebridge tower. He ain't so tough. But a man like him has plans, and dozens of men ready to jump at his order to die. Would be a bloodbath to get to him, I'm sure!"

Raffton looks up at the maid who brings the refills, and smiles at her, then turns back to his drink, and drinks. He leans his head on his hand, elbow propped on the tabletop, and drinks again, shrugging at Stragen. "Likely so," he says, "Doesn't seem much worth it. Not like there aren't dozens more Naylands anyway, right? And Lord Terrick's got dozens of men ready to jump at his order and die, too. Probably be an ugly thing for both sides. They'd never get in the Tower," he says, "All we've got to do is lock up the gates and they'd never get in. You can't beat a castle." He nods sagely.

"Aye, castles are pretty damned strong. Need catapults and the lot, and there hasn't been a proper siege like that since the Battle of the Trident." Stragen is now staring into his drink, as he's beginning to wobble a bit in his seat. Focusing on the one thing providing him focus seems to be doing the trick. "And from what I hear," the barbarian-looking man says, sniffing at the air and rubbing underneath his nose with the back of his hand. His voice drops a bit in volume again, and is a shade more coherent and serious. "That Ser Rygar's got agents everywhere. Everywhere. People getting knifed and poisoned in their sleep, aye. No proof, mind you, but I know it's that ambitious Nayland twat." Shrugging a shoulder, he begins counting out his remaining coin - and makes a disgruntled sound. "Aye, maybe we're on the wrong side, mate. I mean, look - we've barely drank anything, and I'm already a poor man again! Wonder what that Rygar pays. Prolly more than that skinflint Jerold. You know, the best place to be is with the winning side, lad. Rygar's a twat, for sure, but I bet he's got a big pile of money."

Raffton's gaze has wandered again, though his head remains planted in his hand, cheek and corner of his mouth tugged upwards by his palm. His brow wrinkles at the mention of knifings and he nods, "Aye, nasty business. That bit with the fellow getting his throat slit? Guess the one what done it's been and hung so there's no worry of more of that." Still he looks a bit concerned for a moment, and then goes on, "I reckon it must've been strange, for the other fellows who'd had her, I mean. Knowing she might've done 'em any of those times she was doing 'em, you know?" He drinks again, and adds, "Not that I had her. Too good for common blokes, Amelia Millen. Fancied herself worth lordling coin, for all she wasn't even the third prettiest whore in this place." He drinks again and then turns back to scratch at his other cheek and ask, "Who's got a big pile of money?"

"Nayland! Aren't you paying attention? Stop dreaming about dead whores, lad, that's dangerous," Stragen chides his drinking partner. "If Ser Rygar's got the coin, mate, wouldn't he be better to work for than the losing side? I mean, look at all that's happened down here. Even a High Septon gets poisoned. The Stranger's coming for Terrick's Roost, mate. Probably best to follow the coin elsewhere, aye?" He drinks from his flagon again, turning it upside down when there's nothing left in it, shaking it to see if more ale falls out. "Did you know Septon Amery? He was a good man. Booksmart, aye, but a good listener."

"Dreaming about her?" Raffton's brow wrinkles again, sourly, and he drinks again, and then scrubs at his forehead with the back of his thumb, still wrapped around the tankard handle. "Following coin's what got me here," he says, and then drinks again, before nodding, "Aye, I knew him. Been here going on eleven years, mate, everybody knows the Septon."

Narrowing his eyes slightly, Stragen's gaze shifts towards the man. Right, he liked the whore. "Don't tell me you're upset about that Amelia whore, are you? Mate, whores are a penny a dozen. Don't feel bad about her looking for the noble coin. After all, the girl needs to make a living, aye? Shame you never had her, though." He claps the man on the shoulder, perhaps a little too hard to be friendly, but there's no malice in the barbarian's face. "I've got a whore, you know. Irys Hill. Well, she's not my whore, but I know her from King's Landing. Spry young lass. I bet if you paid her enough she'd let you call her Amelia, eh?" He chuckles and snorts.

Raffton snorts, and then is jostled by Stragen's clap on the shoulder, swallowing another gulp of ale and pulling a face. "Glad enough that jumped up tart's dead, I got no reason to be wishing there's another of her. Ruby's prettier, anyhow, and Lyla as well, and Tyra. Becky…" he tilts his head, considers, and then nods, "Aye, even Becky." He scratches at his beard, short though it is, a Riverlands style rather than Islander. "You've got a whore from King's Landing? You'll have to tell Ser Jarod, that's another of the eight to check off."

"Aye, I'm going to have to." Stragen's demeanor suddenly sours, looking down into his drink again. "Aye, I think I'm done, mate. You going to stick around a bit more? Don't want to be completely hung over for drills tomorrow." And the large man pushes up from the bar.

Raffton looks into his mug and then around at the room, and then shrugs and shakes his head. "Good enough time to be sleeping," he replies, draining the dregs of his ale and levering himself upright.

Stragen turns to head towards the exit, keeping Raffton in his peripheral vision. He's walking steady enough, as long as he goes in a straight line. Forced to sidestep another patron, his gait shows a bit of unbalance until he once again achieves a straight vector. "Hmm. I think I'm remembering that song… 'Less good than they say, for the sone of men is the drinking oft of ale; for the more they drink, the less they can think, and keep a watch over their wits!"

Raffton wanders out after Stragen, his own path reasonably straight as well, his gait lazily ambling. He yawns, and doesn't both to cover his mouth as he does it, one eye closing as he yawns a second time, even wider. His head tilts as he listens, and then shakes. "I don't think I know that one," he says of the song.

Stragen shrugs as he goes, stumbling only a little. "Aye, well, it's not a very good one. It doesn't translate well." As casually as he can, and without drawing attention to himself, the barbarian rests his hand on his sword pommel, presumably from keeping it from slapping against his leg. But what Raffton may not notice is the man resting his thumb against the clasp that fastens the sword to his belt, ready to push off if necessary.

"Translate from what?" Raffton asks. He does not seem to notice Stragen's sword hand, his own resting casually on his belt, wrist leaned against the guard to stop the blade slapping about. His other hand hangs idly from the neck of his tunic, elbow swinging against his chest as they walk.

"From the original old Iron Isles speak," Stragen explains, making no aggressive moves, just strolling along west back towards the Roost tower. "I'm afraid mine is far too rusty to even begin to parse the old language. I'm only part Ironer, you see. Was never raised on the Isles." He glances towards the younger man walking with him. "Weren't you raised out thataways?"

"Oh," Raffton replies. He doesn't venture any more questions on the subject and glances sideways at Stragen as he claims to be partly of the Iron Isles. He shrugs at the question. "Long time ago." After another moment or two, he adds in return query, "How much is part?"

"One half, just like how I'm one half Northman, and one half from the Vale," Stragen states, perfectly deadpan. Hey, math isn't easy for most folks. As the two head down the road, with the tower in sight, he chuckles. "I'm glad to meet you, Raffton. You're a good sort. I like you."

Raffton puzzles over that math for a minute or two, and then just sort of nods, replying, "Oh." He scratches at his head a little, and then lets it go, nodding, "Alright." When Stragen chuckles, he chuckles, and replies after a beat, "Thanks."

And on that note, Stragen walks in silence back to the barracks. No more conversation is made, other than a mumbled, "Good night."