|A Very Sound Recommendation|
|Summary:||Muirenn shops. Nares lurks. Jarod and Hardwicke posture about Jarod's new job, and Hardwicke's possible one.|
|Related Logs:||Movin' On Up follows|
|Town Square — Terrick's Roost|
|The town square of Terrick's Roost could be considered well-kept by the standards of the surrounding area. The stone streets run right up to the building fronts around the edge and the locals have kept the spaces between free of grass and weeds that might otherwise upstart between them. There are several homes and nicer shops located here which incline their business or residents towards those not of the peasantry. The Sept of the town can also be seen from here with its ornate stone front rising above the surrounding structures just down the cobblestone road.|
|Fri Dec 23, 288|
The rays of the afternoon sun stretch lazily down to warm those going about their business. The worst heat of the day has almost passed and people are beginning to emerge from the shadowy coolness to continue their business out of doors. Though not nearly as crowded as on a feast day, Terrick's Roost is still relatively busy with the chatter of women at the market and calls of men in greeting or bargaining.
Wandering the cobbled streets, Muirenn pauses here and there as she looks at some of the vendors and crafter shops. "Septa Waldsteinia, do not allow me to forget that I wished to commission the new girdle for myself and the dagger sheath for my cousin." The young woman comments absently to the tall, skinny Septa that accompanies her. Following the pair is a man at arms wearing the Mallister colors and emblem as well as another errand boy also attired in the Mallister purple and silver.
Among the many Roost denizens working the cobbled streets this late afternoon is Ser Jarod Rivers. Though the Captain of the Guard of Four Eagles tends to misspend a good many of his hours in town, it's a bit unusual for him to be out at this time, when he usually has duties back at the castle. He's here at the moment, however, though he doesn't look like he's precisely at liberty. He's engaged in conversation with a merchant at a metal goods booth. They're discussing the safety of the roads and recent trade tariffs in some detail, if one pauses to listen.
While in the stories the maiden fair is accosted by thieves and brigands at every turn, in all reality Terrick's Roost is a safe and enjoyable place and Muirenn hasn't the least qualm wandering its square with her retainers. It is a good several minutes and several yards of pristine white lace later before she reaches the smith's booth. "Do you think that Cousin Aeric would like a dagger along with the sheath? Perhaps something with an eagle on the…" The tall redhead pauses beside the booth as she talks with the older lady beside her, "on the…that part right above where they grip." her delicate hands gesture as she speaks and then laughs, "I feel the fool but you know what part I am talking about?"
The grey-haired lady gives a nod, "Indeed my Lady, I know the part you are talking about and am sure someone in town is able to do this work. If not perhaps we might speak with your Uncle about going to the Capitol and finding a smith there."
"Pommel, I think you mean, m'Lady?" That comes from Jarod, who's near enough to comment on Muirenn's order. The lady, when he speaks to her, is offered a flourishing bow. The merchant he was chatting with left to his own business for now. "And there's no need to send away for craftsmanship on something like a dagger. The smiths of the Roost are not without artistry if you know the ones to work with."
"Pommel? No, that is part of the saddle yes?" Muirenn gives a soft laugh "I had no idea bladed weapons were called something similar. It is a pleasure to finally meet you Ser. I have heard much about the Captain of the Guard." The young lady gives a polite incline of her head as she flashes a warm smile that teases a hint of dimples from her cheeks as she continues, "I am Lord Jason's niece the Lady Mallister, I arrived with my cousin Lord Patrek's entourage."
Jarod grins at that. With a touch of amusement, though any chuckles are suppressed. "It is, but it's also part of a blade. The top part, just above the grip." He demonstrates by patting the pommel of the sword at his hip, a plan but well-forged blade. "Good place for ornamentation, since it won't get in the way of the weapon's function. And really? What've you heard?" The question is asked with a grin. "But, aye, I'm Ser Jarod Rivers. And you're…the Lady Muirenn Mallister?" He says the name as if very much hoping he's getting it right. "We've far more of Lord Jason's kin in Lord Jerold's house of late, which makes me glad."
"Aye " Muirenn's grin widens as she aknowledges the correct guess, "While the formal address has its place, you may call me Lady Muirenn." Peering at the pommel curiously she gives a succinct nod of her head, "Yes, in that case I must find a smith who can craft a dagger with an eagle upon the pommel. I think my cousin would like that." Returning to the introductions at hand, she gives a soft laugh "I fear my Uncle is pressing the hospitality of the Terricks by having sent so many of us here from Seagard. In my case though, I suppose it was needed." Deftly she refrains in specifying exactly what she has heard, "Do you knnow of a good smith Ser Rivers and would you perhaps assist me in commissioning the piece? I want to make sure that the dagger is quite functional as well as…" a hand waves and gestures, "..as well as attractive I suppose."
"There's a man in the local smithy who does more artistic pieces," Jarod says, giving her the name of Master Such-and-Such. "While I generally stick to having my arms maintained in the castle smithy, that man'll give you fancier work of good quality. Mention it's for a knight attached to the Roost and he might cut you on the price some. I can assist you, surely. I'd not want Ser Aeric's knife unbalanced. Seems like it might come in handy for Lord Jerold at some point." He grins.
"Indeed…I am well versed in a good many things but as is usual with most ladies, weapons are not one of them. I appreciate your help greatly Ser Rivers." Muirenn smiles and says, "Did you ride to town today?"
"Nothing wrong with that. We all have our spheres of ability, Lady Muirenn," Jarod says, dipping his head in a little nod of 'You're Welcome.' "I didn't today, actually. I've some time and I fancied a walk. Wanted to take a bit of time to talk with the local merchants about the state of trade in the area, particularly as it regards Stonebridge. Our smallfolk've been rather pressed buying and selling goods down that way with the tariffs the Naylands have imposed since taking control of those lands."
"If you are available and finished with your busineess, I would enjoy your company as we finish our errands" Muirenn invites, "Upon my honor we are finished with all the stores you would find dull. I have only the apothocary, leather worker, and smith left. Perhaps a cup of tea at the tavern later?" The sheltered young lady appears quite taken with the idea of having company of one other than her regular retainers.
Hardwicke arrives from the Rockcliff Inn.
Jarod is near a metal works booth, though he's less shopping than chatting with Muirenn, whose retainers are nearby. It's later in the afternoon, when the heat of the day is beginning to give way to the cool of evening in the Roost. At the invitation he gives Muirenn a nod, though he chuckles at her last. "I may put something a bit more spirited in my tea but, aye, I'll take it gladly. You're quite kind to invite, and I find myself with a much freer day than I'd envisioned. Is there any occasion for this gift to Ser Aeric? Nameday or…some such?"
"No, only that I have not seen him in many years and wish to give him a token from the family." Muirenn's cheeks flush slightly as she grins and gives a bit of a shrug. Grinning she adds, "I would expect nothing less than for you to add something more exciting to your tea." Slowly she begins to stroll, "Ser Rivers, you have been at the keep much longer than I. Do you know whether there is an herb garden at the keep? I have yet to find one and miss my own at home."
Coming from the direction of the tower, Hardwicke is dressed in his usual Terrick livery, though already off his horse. It looks that the metalworker is his target as well, for he makes his way in that direction with a habitual sort of focus that nonetheless catches sight of the familiar faces. His gaze flicks from Jarod to Muirenn, and he greets the woman first: "Lady Muirenn." And then, "Ser Rivers."
Nares has had, all in all, a quiet day. He has cleaned his paid his religious dues, cleaned his aromour, made sure whis sword ans ax are sharp and then busied himself with precious little in the inn. Now however, he feels is as good a time as any to go seek out Laty Harlaw and get any situational updates that there may be. Stepping out into the town square he takes a moment to allow his eyes to adjust to the greater light levels, and also to take a look around and see just who or what is moving.
"The cooks hands keep small plots, but I'm not sure there's a large space dedicated to it," Jarod replies to Muirenn. "I'm sure Lady Terrick would not mind you starting one. It sounds most useful. And few of the castle ladies have any objection to something that'd pretty up the place. What sort of things do you grow back in Seagard?" Nares isn't noticed just yet, but Hardwicke's approach certainly is. It helps that he says Jarod's name. "Ser Hardwicke. A good day." And this seems to remind Jarod of something. "I'd wanted to speak with you when I came back to the castle, come to it. What business are you on in town?"
"Several medicinal herbs as well as…" Muirenn begins before she is greeted by one of the Terrick knights, "Oh Good day Ser Hardwicke." she greets with a smile, "I trust you are well?" The Ironguard knight is noticed as she glances around when Jarod begins to speak on business and the Mallister noblewoman gives a polite nod and a faint smile of greeting.
Hardwicke does catch sight of Nares, though he doesn't offer the man more than a thinly assessing glance at the current moment. "I am well, m'lady," he says in brisk reply to Muirenn before turning a somewhat wary frown on Jarod. "Have you," he says, not quite a question, and not actually answering /Jarod's/ question.
Unspurprisingly, one of the things that catches Nares' eye as he takes in the scene before him, is the gathering of Terrick, Mallister and knight. Were he heading anywhere but up towards the Roost, he'd simply ignore them and be on his way, but some cruel twist of fate seems to have put them directly in his path. Oh the hardships one must bear. Tugging briefly at his mail so the weight is more evenly distributed between his hips and shoulders he accepts the inevitable and starts on his way, offering a slight nod and "Sers, My Lady," in greeting as he draws up to the small gathering in his path.
"Have you met Miss Avinashi?" Jarod asks Muirenn. "Lord Jacsen's food-taster. She's a rather gifted apothecary. She keeps a space at the Sept in town with many herbs. It's a bit of a walk from the castle, but the gardens there are far more extensive. She might give you cuttings for your efforts at the Roost, or space to work in the Sept if you preferred something a bit more already-grown. As it were." To Hardwicke, "I was, aye. You spoken to Lord Jerold today?" Likely not. But he doesn't really wait for an answer to that, either, before Nares claims his attention. "Master Nares. A good day in return. How goes it for you?"
"I have not Ser Rivers, but would much love to meet with her. I spent much time learning from our Maester and would like to learn more. Perhaps you might introduce us sometime, she sounds like one with much knowledge." The tall redhead gives a sweep of her hand, pushing the curls from her face as she turns to face the soldier. "Master Nares…" Muirenn says politely. There is no love lost between the Mallisters and Ironborn, but the noblewoman is a lady to the core and her smile is honest and if not warm it is neither cold.
"Ser," Hardwicke replies to Nares, carefully neutral. He glances between Jarod and Muirenn, not commenting on the discussion of Maesters and herb gardens, and a frowning gaze settles on the former as he leaves so little time for response. "I have not."
If pushed, Nares would have to claim to be more familiar with the coast of Banefort lands than Mallister, but the house to whom the lady infront of him belongs does not pass him by. As such, it's not Jarod and Muirenn he corrects, but Hardwicke instead, his tone equally neutral given he recognises the man from a week ro so earlier. "Captain, not Ser. There are… certain religious requirement sI do not meet for that title." And several others too in all honesty, but thats the easiest one to mention in anyting even resembling polite company. Herbs and so on he has no knowledge of and so does not remark upon, prefering instead to keep half on eye on Hardwicke.
"Be glad to. I've had occasion to use her wares myself a time or two. Miss Avinashi is most…skilled in the art of herbs," Jarod says to Muirenn. He sounds purposefully vague. But highly satisfied with her herbs. His own manner toward the Ironborn man is cordial enough, if not particularly warm. But it's now Hardwicke who has the majority of his attention. "Ah. Guess it's rather soon. I've not told the men yet, even. Wanted to feel you out about it first. I've resigned my position as Captain of the Guard at Four Eagles." He says it casually enough, as if it were just part of the conversation.
A flick of firey lashes and a softly gasped, "Ser Rivers.." betrays how disconcerted Muirenn is at this shocking and altogether unexpected news; however, she remains silent perhaps feeling as the outsider she has no right to inquire further. Instead, the redhead lets this business be conducted between brothers at arms.
Hardwicke rumbles a low, vague noise in reply to Nares, sweeping his gaze over him once again in another brief examination before his dark gaze flickers back to Jarod. Managing to sound impatient in his blandness, he says, "Have you."
Nares resists the irge to glance sideways to Jarod as he announces his news. Filing it away to make sure Kate is aware of this development. He does look fainly amused at Hardwicke's responce, but for now he'll leave it at that to allow Jarod to complete his news.
"It's nothing bad, m'Lady, my assurances," Jarod says to Muirenn. He goes on, "My lord father has tasked me to business down Stonebridge-way. Sort've an ambassador…thing." That is probably not the proper diplomatic description. "It was requested by Lord Tully after the whole affair at Riverrun. To build ties, foster less hostility in the area, I think in the hopes of avoiding bloodshed whatever King Robert decides. It'll have me out of the castle in the next months more than is fair for my duties with the Guard. Besides…" He shrugs. "…I am uncertain I will still be in the Roost in two years time, so best hand the men over now to someone else who can see to them proper. You were the one I recommended for the Captaincy to my lord father, though I don't know what decision he's made as of yet."
"Yes my Lord Tully has wanted to solidify the area…but…" Clearing her throat, Muirenn gives a delicate sigh and then says, "You will be missed Ser Jarod I am sure. I have never been to Stonebridge, but I hear that there hospitality is not too terrible." With the rare flash of a grin that lights up her face, she teases slightly for again it is well known the Mallister's overall feelings of the House Nayland.
The quietest of bristles travels up Hardwicke's spine. "You did," he says quietly. "How very generous of you. Ser." His manner goes a bit flat and withdrawn, though he does not voice any complaint aloud.
Well, it's intersting news and all, but Nares really should be about hunting down Kathryna before it becomes too late in the day. Besides, he's now heard the two main points that he considers to be improtant. "If you'll excuse me," he offers to those assembled, "I should be getting on." And with that he gives the three of them a brief nod before continuing on his way westward.
Jarod offers Muirenn a grin. "Oh, don't fret, m'lady, I'll still make a nuisance of myself around the Roost as often as I can. And I'll not be staying in Tordane Tower if I can help it. The Terricks have a small vassalage, little more than a lady and knight, down near what's now our border, and I'm hoping I can set up quarters there. It'll allow me some freedom to move back and forth. And not be constantly under Nayland eyes." Jarod blinks at Hardwicke, a little taken aback by his manner. "Aye, Ser, I did, when my father asked who I figured would be good for it. You're one of the most senior knights in the castle, apart from Ser Revyn, and you've the discipline to organize the drills and the eye for workmanship to see to the equipment. Seemed the best to me." Pause. "And you always seemed interested in serving in that manner." He shrugs. "If you don't wish to, I'm certain my father could find other men who'd do."
Glancing up through the ruddy haze of her lashes, Muirenn just looks puzzled a moment and then something in her relaxes as she realizes that for the first time in quite awhile she actually has to look up to someone, she finally murmers, "A great responsibility, and perhaps in some eyes a great chore…but as I have been taught, the Captain of the Guard is one of the greatest pillars upon which a Keep rests." There is a pause as if she searches for just the right words to give life to her thoughts. Finally she continues gently, "Ser Hardwicke, I realize that I know you not and that I have not been at Terrick's Roost for very long, but if Ser Jarod has faith in you…then I am sure that it well placed and deserved."
Hardwicke glances at Muirenn with half-concealed impatience. "If the Lord Terrick chooses to request my service, I will serve. As always." Expression distinctly bland, he looks back to Jarod. "I guess I'm just lucky that Ser Rivers, in his great age and wisdom, saw fit to recommend me."
Jarod makes a snorted "Huh" sort of sound at that response. He eyes Hardwicke, taking a moment to consider his next words. "If my father judges your loyalty to his and the Roosts interests paramount above else to you, Ser, I'm certain he shall. I figure that's, in part, why I was given the job." There's a pointy end in that comment somewhere, though it seems just between Hardwicke and himself. "I spoke as I thought best for the men. That's all." To Muirenn, he inclines his head. Tone warming again some. "You're kind to say it, m'Lady, though I'm often unsure of the faith folks should have in my opinions." It's a joke, which he chuckles at. "Still, seemed right to me."
A bit stung by Hardwicke's reply to well intentioned words, Muirenn replies quietly and with surprising candidcy, "Indeed, Ser Jarod you probably were put in your position due to your familial ties just as I will be married off because of mine. That is the way of the world. That does not, however, mean your recomendation is worth less because of it. Your true loyalty is to your family and the workings of House Terrick and therefore your recommendation would be more solid I would think." Hardwicke is given a measured look as she says calmly, "I am not entirely sure that is the attitude my father had in mind when he told me that the Captain of the Guard was a pillar of a keep…perhaps they do things different in Terricks Roost though." Turning she looks over at Jarod making a small gesture with her hand that sends her long sleeves sweeping the air, "I will let you conclude your business, but will continue on towards the smith's shop? I would very much like your assistance when discussing the details of the dagger for my cousin Lord Aeric." It seems that Hardwicke has been, though delightfully taller than she, moved to the naughty list. Glancing back to the potentially new Captain of the Guard she merely says quietly by way of farewell, "Ser."
"I'm sure it was," Hardwicke agrees, narrowing his gaze just slightly at Jarod as they trade pointed remarks. His gaze sliding back to Muirenn, he watches her with an arched brow and an unaffected manner. At the end, after a beat of consideration, all that he offers her is a distinctly neutral "My lady." And to Jarod: "Ser." He jerks a nod and then turns to head about his business.
You sense: Muirenn seems somewhat flustered, an odd mix of confusion, hurt, and absolute irritation.
Jarod is surprised by Muirenn's words as well. And in that case, not sure if he should be pleased with the defense or generally uncomfortable. But he does offer her a half-grin and wry, "That is the world, m'Lady Mallister. But we do the best with it we can. I thank you. And my business is done, I think." To Hardwicke a short, "Ser. I'm sure Lord Jerold will summon you shortly. Best prepare yourself."
With a short nod, Muirenn says with a sigh as she catches the Septa's most disapproving frown out of the corner of her eye. "Forgive my blatant words Ser Jarod, but they are truth whether we will them or not." Smiling she says, "My words though were meant as praise, for your recommendation is worth more than all others of the Guard in many respects and that is also truth." Hardwicke is given another polite nod as the young Mallister begins to move down the cobbled street asking, "Is the apothocary before or after the smith's?"
Jarod shrugs to that as he follows Muirenn and her retinue, leaving Ser Hardwicke to his own grumpy devices. And Ser Rivers is in a rather less jovial mood, himself. Though he tries to walk it off. "They're a little apart, come to it. The apothecary is near the sept, the smithy back toward the main rode, so it catches the horse traffic moving through the Roost. But neither is a long walk from the other. We're not such a city as Seagard." As for the display itself. "Forgiven. I thank you for them, though I'm sorry you were involved in that…err…display. Ser Hardwicke was among several more senior knights at Four Eagles passed over when my lord father made me Captain of the Guard a bit more than a year ago. It's never sat well with him."
The young woman ponders this and then says quietly, "I know that put you into a difficult place. Just as I will eventually be put into a difficult place whenever I am shipped off to a strange new home, but that doesn't mean our insight or opinions are worth less…it just means we are victims of our familial ties whether we like or not." Muirenn gives a smile and says, "I think you will like your new position though, and I think that Ser Hardwicke will eventually settle into his new role and though he doesn't seem a very personable type, he seems more than able for the job."
"I hope we'll be easier with each other now. I admire the man a great deal. I watched him at the blade when I was a boy, and always wanted to do it as he did," Jarod admits. "And aye. Blood is blood. Which I figure it a part of it as well. Ser Hardwicke was part of the dowry given over by Lady Evangeline Terrick when she wed Lord Jerold. So she came as a knight to my lord father with his lady wife. And has always been close to the Lady of the Roost." And he's the Lord of the Roost's bastard spawn. He leaves the unease implicit in that unspoken. "Well, it is what it is. As for the new position, I'm not quite sure what to make of it. I'm a knight, not a courtier. But I will try. I will try to do it well." He says it like he's making a personal vow to himself.
"You will do well Ser Jarod.." Muirenn replies with a smile as the reach the smith's store. She is silent for a moment and then says quietly, "Families are ever complicated." Eventually she gives a laugh, "If you wish to learn a bit that might assist you in your new position, please see me. Some of the heraldry that might be needed as an ambassador I might assist you with…that is, if you don't already have that." Her pale cheeks flush and she gives a bit of a shrug and a small gesture of a hand, "Forgive my forwardness, Ser."