Page 008: Ale for Steel
Ale for Steel
Summary: Jarod tries to pick a hedge knight up at a bar. Kevan plays hard-to-get.
Date: Wed Jul 20, 288
Related Logs: Orientation
Jarod Kevan Lyla 
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.
Wed Jul 20, 288

Lord Terrick's bastard spawn has been busy today. Into his armor and down to town, then back to the castle, and now apparently back to town again. Albeit minus arms beside his sword this time. And, from the sweaty and harried look about him, he looks hastily changed. He draws a few looks when he enters the inn, given the earlier drama, but he doesn't look like he's there to antagonize anyone at present. Green eyes sweep the booths and bar. Searching.

In a setting such as this, Kevan prefers a table back in the corner, where he can sit inobtrusively and with his back to the wall. He's occupying such a spot now, sitting quietly with a horn of ale as the other patrons go about their business. The earlier goings-on don't seem to have fazed him much, but there is a certain calculating glint in his eye as he nurses his drink; for a man such as himself, potential strife is a potential opportunity, and the fact doesn't seem to have been lost upon him.

"Excuse me, pardon me, excuse me…oh, hello, Lyla, sweetling, you're looking in fine form tonight…" Jarod weaves around tables and patrons in the common room. Pausing to smile at a very pretty brunette serving wench. But, with a wince, he does not linger. He's sighted his quarry, and it's not fair Lyla. It's that back table, and the hedge knight in it. "Ser Kevan, aye?" He brings himself to a stop by said table. "We met before. Ser Jarod Rivers. At the smithy, if you'll recall?" And tag-along to the afternoon's drama. Not that he mentions that to jog the man's memory.

Kevan looks up at the newcomer; he doesn't rise, but he does extend his hand to the chair across from him. "Of course, of course. No doddering old maester am I, that I forget a face so quickly. Care to share my table, Ser Jarod?" The hedge knight leans forward, planting his elbows on the table's rough wooden surface. His attention wavers, but only for a moment. "One more here, if you please." That's to Lyla the barmaid, who's making her way around the tables, as Kevan raises his empty horn for her to see. Blue eyes swivel back to Jarod, and Kevan regards the younger man expectantly.

"I do. Thanks. It occurred to me that I'd promised to buy you a drink." Jarod says this in a rush as he plops down. Out of breath. He takes a moment to just collapse in the chair and enjoy not being in motion. "What are we drinking tonight, anyhow? Wine or beer, doesn't make no mind to me. It's your table, ser." It's a very, very safe bet he did not run himself ragged to catch Kevan at the inn and buy him booze.

"Just ale. I'm afraid I never developed a taste for cheap wine." Kevan eyes the man across from him with a hint of well-hidden amusement. Sensing a certain urgency in the young man's demeanor, however, Kevan addresses what he can only imagine must be the subject on Jarod's mind. "The Seven might not have gifted the Naylands with the sense they gave an idiot, but they certainly don't seem to be lacking in balls, hm? Sending a Nayland lord to collect on a Tordane warrant on Terrick lands…" So he was definitely present and listening in when Ser Rygar came after Amelia, then. The blond man shakes his head. "Whoever thought that one up is either supremely confident, or a supreme fool." Kevan laughs. "Or both."

"The Naylands are a lot of bog-raised cunts who're trying to provoke my lord father into something foolish so they can run weeping to Lord Hoster Tully," Jarod says, cutting right to it since it's being cut to for my by Kevan. Though he takes a break when his ale arrives, to gulp it. That helps him get his breath back quicker, or at least gives him some much-needed hydration. "Aye. It was bold. Bolder than I've seen here, and I've been my lord father's sworn sword since the rebellion ended."

More ale gulped, and he continues. "The borders're tense, that's just the way of things between my family and the Naylands. The Naylands want more land, my lord father's land, and he's not precisely willing to give them an inch of it. In the past, it's just been small matters. Pushing into our borders with proxy bandits sometimes, never went beyond that. The way things went today, though, my lord father figures they'll push harder soon, and when that time comes the Terricks'll teach them a lesson for their boldness, you can mark me on that."

Kevan shrugs; Jarod's fiercely avowed opinion of the Naylands is to be expected, but it isn't one the hedge knight shares. Yet, anyway. "Your lord father would be a fool to assume otherwise. And I'm not sure your little lordling isn't a fool himself, for very nearly playing into their hands." He shakes his head. "Aye, I may not have been in these parts for a time, but I remember the Naylands' reputation. They play the schemer as well as you Terricks play the part of the noble fool." He grins, raising his horn to Jarod. He might have been kidding with his last, but kidding on the square if so. "Ware the Naylands, Ser Jarod, and ware them well. If this isn't part of some grander plan, then I'm a Dornishman. It bodes unwell for you and your House, certain to say."

"My brother's not a fool," Jarod says, quick to defend Jaremy. Not that he offers any particular evidence to back up this assertion right now. "He's a good man. He's just…in love, I suppose." More drinking. "But for the Naylands, and for my father as well I'll not deny, it comes down to land and honor. The Naylands want to take ours both, and we're not keen to let them have them. And it only bodes unwell if we haven't the strength to keep them, and I'll eagerly put our strength against those frogs any day." He pauses. "You're a hedge knight without a lord to pay him at the moment. My father wants it known his coffers are open to those with steel and who know its use, and I'd be a fool not to see you as such a man."

"In love? With the whore?" Kevan snorts. "He'd be better served to forget her and find a new plaything. She's a nice girl, aye, but no whore is worth a war." It's possible he misunderstands Jarod's meaning. Ser Kevan isn't partial to the goings-on of the local aristocracy. "As it seems to me, they've already made a fair start. Nayland lords riding with Tordane steel at their backs? No, young ser, that is hardly a good omen for the future of you and yours. " Kevan does seem to perk up ever so slightly at the offer of employment, but his eagerness is tempered with caution. "I take your confidence as a compliment, ser, truly. But your father's coffers don't look to be in the most secure of positions. Strength is all well and good, but it matters little if your enemies leave you without a leg to stand on." He leans back, taking a long, slow pull from his drinking horn, his attention closely focused on Jarod as he listens for the younger man's reply.

Jarod shakes his head. "No, not the whore. The whore, poor girl, seems just caught up in the Nayland's games somehow. With a lady. The Lady of Stonebridge, Isolde Tordane." He smiles a little as he says her name, of which he doesn't seem particularly aware. "Its her the Naylands are trying to use against us. Her hand was promised to my brother when we were all just children, by pledge from my father and hers. Except her father died when he went to fight for King Robert's banners against the Targaryens. Her brother, too, both on the banks of the Trident. And now there's no heir to Stonebridge, save her, and whoever gets her hand shall get her lands as well. The Tordanes have been banners to the Terricks for as long as any history I paid attention to from my maester, but Lady Isolde's mother's hatching some plot to sell her daughter's hand to the Naylands, and if that happens they'll claim Stonebridge and be breathing down our doorstep more than now."

After reciting all that, he needs to drink. "It's all highlord politics. The point of it is, we're looking for good swords right now. And it's not confidence. I see what I see. You fought for Lord Hoster Tully during the rebellion. And you fought in the North, that's hard country to forge a man. You didn't come to this tournament just looking for glory or a winner's purse. You came looking to see if your skills could earn you silver in the Riverlands. And my father's got more silver to offer than the Naylands."

"I must confess, the winner's purse did have a certain allure of its own," Kevan remarks half to himself, pausing as Lyla the barmaid arrives with a fresh horn of ale. Normally, with a pretty wench like that, he'd take a moment to watch her sashay off, but not this time. "Mmhmm." He nods, uttering a slow grunt of understanding as Jarod explains things. A thoughtful look on his face, Kevan takes a long drink of his own ale. Another pregnant silence hangs in the air between them for a moment. "I understand Valda Tordane was born a Frey. Shifty, weaselly lot, the Freys, eh?" There's more silence, and another drink, before Kevan finally decides to jump right back into the matter at hand. "Well, ser," he continues finally, "I will say, you're certainly perceptive. But one thing you're missing… so far, the Naylands are winning." That last is accompanied by a rather unpleasant smile. "Stonebridge's loyalties are shifting, and the Lords Nayland have the lot of you scrambling about like chickens after a meet with the headsman." Thinking and talking is thirsty work. More ale washes down Kevan's throat. "But then, your father does have silver the Naylands lack… for now. And in truth, if I backed whichever player looked the strongest at the outset, I'd have gone down in flames with the Mad King. I'm a swordsman, not a master of intrigue." It's not an outright pledge, but it's also apparent Jarod's offer is tempting Kevan in that direction.

Jarod does take a moment to watch Lyla sashay off, eyeing her particularly from hips-to-ankle. "Thanks," he says to her as his ale mug is filled again. It takes him a second to fix his attention back on Kevan. Oh, yes. Life-and-death politics concerned with those he dearly loves. He can try to get up pretty Lyla's skirt later. "Aye. Those same Frey weasels at that. Little of her mother in Lady Isolde, but it's Lady Valda who still controls more than she should down Stonebridge way. Look at it this way, Ser Kevan. There's little Frey blood around Four Eagles Tower. Which, I assure you, makes us far the prettier to work for." He grins as it seems his offer is having some hold. "No need to decide tonight. I'm bound for Stonebridge on the morrow with my lord uncle. See if we can settle business with Lady Isolde more pleasantly than my lord brother near did today. Look. My father knows your name and I've vouched for you, and we're looking to buy as many swords as we can muster so that we've strength if worse comes to worst. You ride up to the tower and I'm sure he'll offer you as much and half-again as you were being paid up North. Twice, perhaps, if you do well for us. My father's a good man. I've always been done right by him. I'm not sure how much that means to you, save that I can promise he won't cheat a man in his pay. Think on it."

"Least you lot aren't a pack of arrogant whoresons like Rickart Nayland's brood, I'll give you that." Kevan raises his mug once more in a mock salute to Jarod. The fingers of his freehand drum restlessly on the table. "You may be assured, good ser, that little else will occupy my mind for the time being." A finger jabs in Jarod's direction. "If I do take service with your family, however, I'll thank your father to remember one thing. I may be lowborn —" Normally, he's not so casual about the subject of his birth, but he is a bit inebriated and he is talking to a bastard, after all — "but I'm no common sellsword, and I'll not be treated as one." That's his stubborn pride talking hand in hand with the drink, most likely. "Gods damn Luther Flint, anyway, the miserly prick," he mutters to himself at the end, trailing off into a grunt as he drains the last of his ale. "I'll make my decision on the morrow," he abruptly announces to Jarod a moment later.

Jarod is making short work of his second ale, as he is still somewhat in a rush. So his head's getting light itself. "You're a knight, Ser Kevan Tierney." And the way he says it imbues the word with a good deal of romantic nonsense that probably should've been knocked out of him years ago. He's not drunk but he's buzzed enough to get to talking like this. "Same as me. Same as my fair lord brother. A knighthood's not a thing you're born with. It's a thing every man has to earn, Ser Vernon used to say to me. And well…you earned it. That means something, I know it does. Know it does better than most." He reaches into his pockets, fishing out enough coppers to cover their bar tab. "On the morrow, then. Been a pleasure drinking with you, ser. Should be enough in there for another cup or two."

"It's a good thing you do at that, ser," Kevan replies soberly when Jarod talks of knowing. "There are enough that don't." He snorts at himself. "Or, perhaps now it's just my turn to play the fool for doubting." A shake of the head; he's drank enough to the point where he's just talking nonsense by now. "Aye, I thank you." He motions for another mug with one of Jarod's proffered coppers; after all, why not? There's no need for talking when drinking alone. He nods to the departing man. "Fair evening t' you, Ser Jarod," offers the hedge knight, his words ever so slightly slurred.

"Fair evening, Ser Kevan," Jarod replies, getting to his feet. He's still running on enough adrenaline that the ale's only slightly slowed his bouncing pace rather than completely degraded it. He offers the man a parting nod and grin, looking mildly accomplished as he heads out of the inn. And off to prepare for whatever other mission his family might set him on on the morrow.