|Aspects and Warriors|
|Summary:||Seven versus Drowned God. Mallister versus Ironborn. Roost grudge match 288.|
|Courtyard — Four Eagles Tower|
|The Courtyard of Four Eagles Tower is floored with a fine grey stone that match the color and tone of the interior structure of the castle's yard. Plants have been potted and placed around the entrances to add some color, the greenery accompanied by several trellises of flowers that climb the support columns. The most prominent structure in the area is the set of large slab steps that lead up to the great oak doors of the Great Hall. Several hallways and accesses lead off into different sections of Four Eagles which makes this the hub of noble activity when court is not being held.|
|Sun Dec 11, 288|
Morning in Four Eagles. Ser Jarod's already been up for a few hours, drilling on the green, and is only now returning to the castle astride his sturdy brown courser. He dismounts once he reaches the entry, leading the horse the rest of the way, pausing to exchange a quick 'Hullo' and such with the men on front-gate duty before proceeding in properly. Activity in the courtyard is beginning to pick up, as it does in the mornings. Visitors and townspeople with business at the Roost drift in, many seeking an audience. Servants, pages and squires dash about on all manner of errands, and the sound of a handful of conversations carries on the air.
Kathryna has been out the whole night through, it seems, though it does not look like being out actually involved much sleeping. She's dressed and half ready for the day, wearing her usual black leathers and long coat, her sword hung tight at her side, but she's got a muss to her white blonde hair that speaks of either a restless night or, ah… Something else. Her eyes are also somewhat heavily darkened, exhaustion not doing much for her pale features. She picks her way down the lane and through the courtyard, perhaps intent on the doors in and perhaps a bath. Seeing Jarod, however, draws a casual salute from her. A small, drowsy greeting.
Jarod doesn't precisely spend each night in the tower himself, so he doesn't really take her entry as all that unusual. If her appearance draws a knowing smirk, it's brief, and buried as he hands his horse off to a page to be stabled. He sketches her a quick, flourishing bow in response to the salute. "Lady Kathryna. A good morning to you. There should still be breakfast left. I think. Might've been taken down the kitchens by now, but one of the servants'll bring you something up if you ask nice I do suspect."
Kathryna treads a few more feet in Jarod's direction instead of towards the doors, looking the man up and down for a few heartbeats. "Got a few morning rounds in already, have ya? What the hell time is it.." She grunts, looking up to the sky to try and judge the sun. Apparently, she got a -wee- bit of sleep, if not much. And it wasn't in the castle. "Breakfast… might be a good idea. Or a bath. Or sleeping the day through like a lazy ass." She gives him a half grin. "See, these soft lands have turned me lazy already."
"Still a few hours shy of noon, so you're on the correct side of breakfast, at least," Jarod replies, looking her up and down in return and offering a boyish grin. "Aye. We drill early as we can. This is a warm summer. Easier on the men and the horses if the hot work is done before the sun gets too high." The last comment earns a laugh. "You've found our Riverlands so soft, have you?"
Kathryna looks over a few of the men still practicing, either eager to prove themselves or having failed horridly this morning. She smirks softly, "Not as soft as I had been brought up to believe. But, aye… Soft." She winks to him, "It is easy to be soft when the land gives you everything and the biggest worry in training is the sun being too hot."
"I do all right for myself most times, soft southron man that I am," Jarod says with that easy grin still on his face, though his green eyes spark some. "Seems to me you're making some enjoyment of your time in the Riverlands. Which is all for the good. Fine diplomatic relations and all. Have you gotten a proper meet with my lord father, or my young lord brother, on the issue of the Pyke who died in the Stonebridge fight?"
Kathryna smirks rather deeply, shaking her head, "No, in truth, I haven't yet gotten to meet your father once. I'm beginning to fear he's avoiding me, but then there is no rush to my mission here. I have no care to attend back home, and I've made strange friendships with your tree lords to the north. So… it has not bothered me as of yet. But you and Anais are the only Terrick's I've actually had the strange pleasure of meeting… " She smirks even more so to herself at the thought, "And I don't suppose either of you are technically Terricks, as things go." Her eyes stretch across his built, honed form and she nods in agreement to his first comment, half laughing, "Aye, you seem to do quite fine for yourself. But I would be truly worried for you all of the Captain of the Guard did not manage his own body and affairs with the upmost strength."
"My father's been rather occupied of late, I'm afraid. Unfortunate matter with my eldest brother to be settled in Stonebridge. He and Lord Jacsen shall make the time as soon as they've it to make, I'm sure." Jarod pauses to pluck a flask from his hip and take a gulp. Just water, from the smell of it. Well, it's very early yet. Her comment earns another chuckle. "She has the name now, I was born with the blood. But, no, I suppose neither of us fit the full definition. Still, we manage. And thanks. You look to keep yourself in fighting trim well enough, too." His grin crooks, though there's still an underlying seriousness to him. "I've no ability to negotiate myself, mind, but I am curious. What do the Greyjoys hope to gain out of this? And what do they think of the duel in Stonebridge that killed their man. I was witness to it, though I doubt we hold the same view."
Kathryna finally folds herself down on a nearby bench, still a touch tired for the morning and happy to linger in conversation, if nothing else. "Aye, I do keep in as fit form as I can, though I worry I've been slackening since coming to these lands. Perhaps, if you would not mind, I could join your morning drills? I'd be most appreciative. Or you and I can take up evening spars? It'd be a good challenge for us both." She looks somewhat hopeful about that, perhaps truly worried that she is growing weak being here. Then his conversation turns a bit more serious and she frowns, sitting up a bit straighter. "…Truthfully? I am not certain. I suspect that this is some excuse to open trade and some… Odd bit of peace negotiations, but with the Greyjoys starting with a small foot up? Perhaps they hope that past offenses will be forgiven for this current offense?"
"Our morning drills are in large part composed of cavalry training these days. Might be rather foreign," Jarod replies. "But…aye. I could do with a bit of exertion in the evening. Of the blunted-blade persuasion, I mean, of course. I've fought a few Ironmen in my time, but never had the opportunity to train against one regular. Or Ironwoman, as I suppose the case is." He drinks more water, offering the skin to Kathryna wordlessly when he's done. "Perhaps. In truth, much of your Islands' reaction to this has surprised me. I'll admit I expected retaliation on our shores after the Pyke's death. Small raids and the like. But nothing came. Except you, many months later. As for the fight…well, it was a stupid matter, to my mind. But it was a clean challenge and a clean duel, if a hard-fought one. Honest fight, honest death, not much more a man in the Warrior's light can ask for. Though I'm not sure if the Drowned God looks on such things the same."
Kathryna tilts her head thoughtfully as he mentions it being cavalry training. "..Cavalry? Like… on a horse? Why do you train as such now? And, hells, if you would have me… Perhaps that is just the training I need. These lands use horses like we do boats and I can barely manage the brief ride to Stonebridge, much less being fully comfortable aboard one." Kate is no fool about her own weaknesses, it seems, to admit her lacking knowledge of a horse. "But aye, it would be quite nice to have a regular partner for such things. Sparring, that is… whether you will have me in the mornings or no." A wink follows those words, a hint of saucy teasing behind it all, but it's mostly in jest. "And… the drowned god generally takes men from under the waves, but if he died a proper warrior, I suspect they are all feasting now."
"A horse is as much a knight's weapon, if properly used, as his arms and armor," Jarod says. "Or perhaps, his best comrade-in-arms, would be the better way of putting it. As to truly fight together, a man must know his mount as he knows himself. While jousts and tourneys are little but pretty shows, on the fields of war a trained man and trained cavalry horse are worth five - or more - afoot. Gets you higher off the ground, and the power of an animal of more weight and speed than any man shall ever know. Though I'm little surprised the Iron Islands use them not. Horses fighting aboard ship would be…awkward, to say the least." He smirks at the notion.
Kathryna laughs a bit more at the thought, "Aye, there is very little use for a horse in the Iron Isles… they are just another mouth to feed, more often than not. But… I am not there now. If these talks go well… or if …" Though she catches herself in that thought, shaking her head slightly, "If life changes and I stay here, I will need to make up this lacking knowledge, and fast."
"If you're interested in learning more of riding, we could do at that in the evenings as well," Jarod says. "In truth, I've been meaning to improve my lance-work of late. Might be earning my future in that. Not sure yet. We shall see how it plays." He shrugs. "Your cousin, Ser Harras, seems to excel in mounted combat. At least when it comes to jousting. I find myself curious. Why did such a man choose to pursue the path of the knighthood? And convert to the Seven. While your people seem much interested in the arts of war, most have little love for the way sworn knights go about it, from what I can tell."
Kathryna gives him a teasing little smile, half amused. "Don't trust me to train with your men, do you? Think I might be too pretty a distraction?" That makes her laugh, knowing she is by no means as conventionally pretty as the women of this land should be. She shakes her head and then sighs, sinking a bit deeper into the bench, legs open and stretched before her. "…Why my cousin chose such a path… god… I shall never know. I think he always thought himself… Better than being Ironborn. That he could escape the pain and misery of back home by making himself into what these lands want." She smirks a bit. "I suppose he succeeded as well. But is it any true success, forsaking one's culture and home for soft lands and elegant titles? Should I ever wed in these lands.." And that thought is, apparently, on her mind, "I will do it with the Drowned God's blessing, and my children will taste salt in their throats when they are born."
Jarod's laugh is barked and short. "You'd be some kind of distraction, all right." He eyes her appreciative, if quick and side long. "Lady Evangeline would have one kind of fit over the propriety of it, Lord Jerold another. Though the latter's the only one I'm terribly concerned with. Training with a woman, I could handle, I think. An Ironborn…well. We are not such warm neighbors as for me to want all my men's abilities open to the Greyjoys by proxy. Still. If they want to go a round or two with you individual-like, I've no objection. Happy to try a few more turns, myself." He winks. Though he listens quietly as she talks of her cousin, and his path to the knighthood. "Has he forsaken himself for idle comforts, or has he found a way that fits him better? The Seven are perhaps not so soft as you think, and the knighthood comes with more weight than pretty titles. If one wears it as I think it should be worn. You think much of lingering in these lands, I notice. Any particular reason?"
Kathryna isn't all that good at being subtle, truth be told, so while Jarod catches her in the thoughts of lingering in these lands, Kate actually almost looks guilty. Hell, there is a slow sort of blush that might even be creeping over her cheeks, though she'd no doubt say it was sunburn if anyone asked! "…Well then, tell your men I've set the challenge. Any who wish to try their might against an Ironborn, I am open for the sparring. Not dueling, though… I have no wish to die here because of a petty need to prove myself. Simply practice, for all of us." Kate seems rather more firm on that, truly not trusting his men to let a sword slip accidentally. "And yes…If you'd be willing to teach where horses are concerned, well…I'd be most appreciative." Kate has noticably focused on the business at hand and not responded at -all- to the matter of why she might linger here. A not so careful conversational dodge?
While the dodge may not be subtle, it's not one Ser Jarod tries to pursue. He is, perhaps, sympathetic to the art of ungraceful subject changes. "I'll let it be known. Blunted blades and all in good fun and what-not. Should keep the men sharp, and teach them a little humility. As for riding, we can go any time you like. There are spare horses in the stables the squires make use of. Though if you'll indulge me, tell me of your Drowned God. I'm curious of this faith you claim makes men and women so hard, compared to our soft southern Seven." It's half a challenge, though it's said jovially enough. He's more curious than anything else.
Lucienne arrives from the Portcullis.
Kathryna huskily laughs, just a touch, as he asks the question so many others have inquired. She then breathes out slowly, still no priest, not one to wax eloquent on the reasons she believes. She simply does. Pushing one hand back through her blonde hair, she finally starts, "He is not a god to coddle or coax. He does not… give us solace in our pain. He teaches that you must take what you can. Might is right. Survival is all in your own strength. One of the greatest tenets of our faith is 'What is dead cannot die'… and so upon birth, all of us are given to be drown in the sea. These days, it is often more metaphorical than an actual drowning, but some still give their children to the waters. Our priests are all drown a second time, in truth, and brought back by other priests unless the God chooses to take him into their halls. He blesses our strength… He has made us men and women of fire, blood and steel."
"Do you think the Seven coddle?" There's that faintly challenging note to Jarod's question, though it's still more curious fencing than any real challenge. "Well. Some of the aspects give solace. Comfort. I'll grant you that. Others, however, feed…different parts of a man. Or woman. And forge us for harder purposes. Tell me. What do you know of our southern faith?" As for the Drowned God, his brows go up. "Your priests die? And are brought back? How do they manage that? I cannot imagine your god appears Himself to kill or save them."
She must have snuck in through the gates well prior, for it is from the stables that Lucienne makes her way, her chin held primly high as her skirts billow with the rush of her steps. Her former handmaiden would never have been able to keep up with this pace, but Celine breezes along easily behind her lady as they head toward the castle steps.
Kathryna frowns at his question of the seven coddling. She then draws her thin, toned legs up, folding them crossed beneath her on the bench, in probably the most unlady like way to sit ever, but she's not in a dress so it really doesn't matter. It just shows how rather flexible she is that it's a comfortable way to sit. "The Seven. You can pick and choose a diety for whatever situation you need. It's like… your god of the week. And yes, I know that is insulting but damned if it doesn't just seem too… Easy." Her smirk draws again as he questions about the priests. "No, no… they are Drowned until they stop breathing, but then there is a method where they can be brought back… Even if a man ceases to breathe, if you work his lungs and chest enough, he can start again. Those who are brought back were meant to be priests… if they are not, they were meant for the god himself."
Jarod half-smiles now. "Strikes me, Lady Harlaw, that you figure rightly we know very little of you and your ways. But you presume you know us so well. I wouldn't bet that far. The Seven aren't separate gods. No…god of the week, as you put it. They're aspects of one, of all that is. Just as men and women are…kind and cruel, brave and craven, vicious and gentle. We all of us wear many faces. The one who made us must as well, goes the thinking. Though some feel more strongly to one aspect than others. For my part, I was dedicated to the Warrior following my knighting. And I assure you. Living the virtues of that isn't easy." He's seated on a bench with Kathryna. Talking theology, of all things. Lucienne's appearance isn't immediately noted, but the Lady Terrick is a subtle creature. As for the drowning, he nods slow. "I've seen men pulled from the sea have the breath put back in them. Never had to have it done to me. Can't say I'm sorry to have missed the experience. Have you ever been…drowned, in such a fashion?"
Aeric arrives from the Portcullis.
Lucienne halts abruptly, upon spying the Lady Harlaw and her brother - which is after she's overheard a snippet of their conversation, too. Daring a few steps in their direction, she sends a curious look Kathryna's way as Jarod poses his question, and offers a cursty by way of greeting rather than interrupt the flow of their conversation.
Kathryna seems rather content to be lost in theological talk, something odd for one so savage and cruel seeming. It's just around noon, now, since they've been talking a good bit after the morning work. She still looks half asleep, in her leathers, but her blonde hair is a wild mess and there are circles beneath her eyes. She looks comfortably exhausted, a good description for it. "…Alright… perhaps not a god for every little thing, but an -aspect- for every thing. It is honourable to dedicate yourself to an aspect, and if that is your belief, I shan't belittle it.. But I assure you, a mother getting to be blessed simply for being a mother…well, that is an easy path to walk. You warrirors I understand more. Our paths are quite similiar." And his last question makes her frown a touch, perhaps just a hint of a twitch behind her eyes. "…not on purpose." She simply mutters. Then she catches sight of Luci and gives a wide grin and a lazy way. "Lady Luci… well if you aren't just a peach in the morn'."
Lately returned from a trip to Tall Oaks, Aeric has taken to tormenting the men at arms of Terrick's Roost in the mornings. It would seem that his reputation as a harsh instructor is at least partially true. As he returns from the Green, he is garbed in a thick leather jerkin and armed with his greatsword in addition to his sword and dagger at his hip. He walks without weariness though there is a flush to his skin that suggests he has been working hard apace at his craft.
"The Mother isn't every mother," Jarod says. "That aspect is compassion, mercy. And, for some, the protection of those they hold dear above all else. I knew one who sought the path of the knighthood who dedicated themselves to the way of the Mother. How well they manage that when doing a fighting man's work…I'm not sure. Look at it like this. Is a man the same with his brother as with his wife? Are you the same with the men you command as with your lover?" Smile crooks. "We all of us wear many faces, Lady Harlaw. Life is all about putting on aspects. Who's to say which face is true and which is false, if we wear them long enough? Perhaps it's how we wear all the faces of us that makes us what we are." He's in an introspective mood, it seems. He's still garbed in a leather jerkin from morning training himself, though he was engaged in cavalry drills rather than sword work today. A glance up, first at Lucienne, then at the approaching form of Aeric. "My lady sister. Ser Mallister. Good morn. Or good afternoon. We're at that point in the day it gets rather blurry the distinction. Did you just ride up from Stonebridge, Luci?"
Though the pink that travel brings to her cheeks has not long faded, there's a careless sweep to her hair that would certainly agree with a long ride. "I would respectfully hazard that many a mother might disagree with your assessment, my lady Kathryna," interjects Lucienne, a thin smile drawn upon her lips. "Good day, my lady, Ser Jarod." A quick look over her shoulder earns, "Ser Aeric," a hello too. "Have you been about this all the morn? I must confess myself jealous, if so."
Kathryna considers his talk of aspects, though she is turned a bit more thoughtful now. She is at least listening. A husky chuckle is given to Jarod, "Aye… I suppose all of us do wear many faces, but I would more say that life is about survival. About living. Which is what our god teaches. But… to each their own, no? I will endeavor not to think you… Weaker, simply because of your gods. Will that make you happier?" She asks with a bit of a teasing grin. And then she's looking back to Luci, smirking deeply, "Yer mother's blind and snobby, then, if she thinks yer anything other than radiant." Is she flirting? Surely not. Then she looks back to Aeric, expression flickering darker just a moment. Bloody Mallister. "Mallister. You're looking hearty as a work horse."
Aeric draws up to the pair discussion religion and regards the Lady Harlaw with little humor. "Harlaw." The word is clipped. Terse even. "I will ask, indeed I ask.. politely.. that any further defacement of the Seven ceases to be uttered from your lips whilst you are a guest of these lands. I have not one referred to you as a barbarian or heathen due to your beliefs and I would expect the same respect be tendered." There's a nod to Jarod. "Especially whilst you are hosted so genially under a diplomatic mien, hmm?" He turns a smile to her then. "As to my heartiness, we have yet to test that, you and I. You will find me amenable to it at this hour if it pleases you." He shifts to regard Lucienne then and offers her a slight bow. "Good morn, Lady Lucienne. Indeed, I rise early as is my wont."
"Think of us as we are," Jarod says with a shrug. "Whether we're to be seen as weak or strong, I figure we'll prove that in time. By the Warrior or the Drowned God or whatever please you." The interplay between Kathryna and his sister just earns a snort. Perhaps one that covers a chuckle. He knows not even where to begin with that, so he says nothing at all. Attention to Aeric. "No offense given, Ser, I assure. I posed the question about her Drowned God, in point of fact. Now, that's an interesting matter. The Lady Harlaw tells me that priests of the Iron Islands…drown themselves. And are then brought back to breath and life, to earn their god's favor. Or not if they don't, as I guess the case may be."
"You are a credit to knighthood, my lord," says Lucienne to Aeric, dipping into another low curtsy. The faintest hint of a smirk surfaces for Kathryna's rejoinder, and Luci breathes a laugh. "I could not fault my own lady mother, I assure you. Have you eaten, yet? I could send Celine, if you'd like to take some lunch out here. Such a lovely day, isn't it?"
Kathryna looks to Aeric, a slightly cocky smile dancing across her lips. "See? There you have it. Ser Jarod here -did- start it." She teases lightly, tossing a carelessly warm sort of wink in Jarod's direction. "But aye, I shall endeavour to be a touch more respectful of these strange gods. Perhaps it all deserves further study, just has Jarod has taken the time here to learn of my own." She bows her head in almost respect to the man settled comfortably at her side. Then Luci offers food, and Kate's stomach actually growls aloud. That speaks, literally, of just how long it's been since she's eaten. "Oh… food would be a blessing from whatever god you like. THat'd be lovely, Lady Lucienne." The tired and tossled looking Kate seems quite content to remain slumped on the bench, legs folded crossed in front of her so her knees are pointing outwards and feet beneath her opposite thighs.
Aeric quirks a brow at Kathryna's rebuttal. "It is not a question of Ser Jarod's interrogative. I have thrice now heard venom loosed from your tongue and my patience for it has waned. I will hold you to your quiescence." He lifts a hand and tenders a finger gestured in her direction. Indeed, he seems most sincere. "And…" He tenders another glance to Lucienne before returning it to Kathryna. "It would seem you dodge me again. Ahh well. Perhaps one day you will be able to show me this great weakness I bear for my tendered obeisance." He smirks, offering a dry laugh. Skeptical much? Just a touch.
"I could do with some lunch. Or late breakfast. Wherever we are now. My thanks, Lady Lucienne." Though Jarod's presently more interested in what's passing between the Ironwoman and the Mallister than food. Brows arch. "Blunted blades, please, m'lady and m'lord. Otherwise, could be interesting sport for an afternoon." He's a willing enabler.
Lucienne turns to offer the instruction to her handmaid, but Celine is already on her way to fetch the party some brunch. The colour fair drains from Lucienne's face as Jarod sketches out terms for sporting, and it's he who bears the brunt of her shocked expression: they are not. Are they?
Kathryna sits up a bit more, arching a brow towards Aeric now. She laughs huskily again. "Pouting. You are -pouting-, Mallister. It's almost cute on you, you know…" SHe grins a bit more. "Let me get some meat in my belly and we shall grab some blunted blades here and now. You will have your fight. As charming as that lower lip of yours is." Yes, it's clear the Lady Harlaw just gets enjoyment in goading the other sea man. She looks back to Jarod and nods, "Aye…blunted, I promise. No need to cause more of a political mess, aye?" And then she seems to realize how pale Luci is…"Lady… are you well?"
Jarod flashes Lucienne his cheekiest of cheeky bastard grins in parry to her shocked expression. They totally are, and he's totally not about to object. "Not all ladies are ladies, m'lady sister. As I've was rather roughly informed not long ago. She wants to wear this aspect, might as well see what she can do with it."
There's the faintest of facial ticks at the Harlaw's 'pouting' commentary. "Indeed. It would not do to kill a diplomat." Aeric offers mildly. "Not without cause at any rate." He allows a smile and glances towards Lucienne before offering somewhat dryly. "The Lady Harlaw has already taken to the blade against the Lord Tall Oaks. I had wondered if she would fare as well when not matching blades against an elderly archer."
Lucienne may very well not be well, for she hurries to take a seat in the nearest available space, still pale. "I feel just fine," she assures Kathryna evenly, despite looking the opposite. Jarod earns a rather steely regard, and if looks could kill… well. He'd certainly be maimed, just now, at the very least. "The Lord Ser Mallister is frightfully talented with his blade," she worries at the Lady Harlaw, laying a hand atop her chest.
The woman in slacks, no matter how hungered, now looks rather eager for the fight. The food cannot come fast enough. She nods towards Jarod in thanks for the back up, "Aye. Ser Jarod is right in this… I might be a woman, but I am no Lady as your land would have it. I can handle myself quite well, Little Lucienne…" She smiles as sweetly reassuring as she can to the girl, which might be rather intimidating coming from the ice ironborn. Then she's looking back to Aeric and laughs quietly, "Aye… Lord Sarojyn was a pleasant surprise in his own skill, truth be told, but I was bone deep exhausted that day from the training I was giving the… well, those untrained… It had been a long day. I suspect I might fare a touch better this day. Are you certain YOU'RE prepared?
"I did a turn with her myself. Blade to blade, I mean," Jarod says to Aeric. "Was a good little fight." Perhaps he's trying to stun his lady sister. Though he at least manages to curb his cheeky grin in response to her maiming expression.
Her other hand comes up to cover the gape of her mouth, as Kathryna mentions the Lord Camden. Her lashes fall to her cheeks, lest her eyeballs pop right out of her head, and she snaps her jaw shut on a shocked little sound. Celine exits the castle steps right about now, balancing a large tray with a spread of pastries and little cold meat sandwiches, a dainty brunch at best. She also bears pitchers of wine and water. Lucienne elects to partake of… none of it.
Ahhah! Food! If Luci isn't eating, Kate will probably eat double for her, though the Iron born actually refuses the wine — for once. She scoops up many of the little sandwiches and some of the water, barely managing not to talk with her mouthful. Once she shoves several bites down and swallows, she chuckles huskily to Aeric. "Don't worry, Mallister. I promise I won't puke on your shoes." She then tosses him that teasing wink before looking back to the more delicate brother and sister. "Oh, gods, Lady Luci… do not pretend you cannot even -fathom- a lady with a sword? Would you rather all the women of the Iron Isles dead? Because that is what most of us would be if we did not know how to use a blade. Dead or raped and chained slaves."
"Speaks not well of the men on your Iron Islands, if they would use you so ill without threat of blood," Jarod says. "Should be more between men and women than just…taking what you want." For his part, he does take a sandwich. Which he pops into his mouth and chews nearly whole. That eaten, he reaches out to pat his stunned sister's shoulder. There, there.
"I've gutted men for less." Aeric confirms Jarod's distaste for Kathryna's state of affairs on the Iron isles. He also casually reaches for the tray and pours himself a cup of wine which he uses to wet his lips. "Whenever you're ready, Harlaw."
Lady Lucienne blinks long and hard at the Ironer, most certainly struggling to fathom something about the lady. "I would never wish such upon the women of your homeland," she returns, her voice even where her smile fails. "However, this is not the Iron Isles." Jarod's pat to her shoulder steadies her a little, and some of her colour returns. "But do not stay yourself for our silly courtesies, my lady. Swing your sword as you will." Her hand rolls a gentle invitation - go on, then.
Kathryna gives Jarod a momentary smile which is… all ice. There is, for those few seconds, not a hint of heart or warmth behind her upturned lips. She might as well be a statue. "…Taking what you want. That is how us barbarians do it, don't you know? Might is right. The strengths our god bless. If you are strong enough to take it… then it is yours. And if you are weak enough to lose it, well, you have paid the iron price for your weakness." There is no teasing left in her voice, no flirtations. Just a woman who has been honed into a possibly soulless, ice cold weapon from years of abuse and struggle. It is not something she shows easily, but it is there for those passing heartbeats. And then she just melts away from it, head tossing back in a careless, raspy laugh, "But! That is not here… No, not at all. Here, we fight with blunted swords to strengthen our arms and gain glory, not gold." She laughs again, finishing one last sandwich before moving to stand. She looks back to Luci and all out grins. "…I shall, my lady. I appreciate, however, your leave to do so. Perhaps the Lady would be willing to champion me in this fight?" She bows with a flourish to Luci. "Rivers, send your men for blunted weapons. A half and a half for me. I keep mine too sharp for this task."
"Do you really?" Aeric returns with a smile of amusement and an eye at her hip. He nods to Jarod to confirm her request. "Hand and half it shall be. Ought to be interesting." There's another sip of his wine then he raises on his toes to begin flexing his calves. Yes, he seems to be anticipating the moment a little. To Lucienne, he adds. "You ought to linger. You shall learn something I think, Lady Lucienne."
"Bastard sword for the lady. I think we can manage that," Jarod says, grabbing another sandwich before he stands and motions over a couple of handy pages. The boys are sent to scurry and raid the supply of sparring weapons. They'll be back in short order. As for the bit about taking what you want, Jarod's own green eyes grow rather more guarded. "Such men do seem to win in the world in many matters. Those who just…take what they want. I am unsure what world that leaves us with. The Warrior blesses strength as well, and courage, and victory. We shall see whether your idea of strength or our aspect's gets the better today."
With little other choice given the invitations from both combatants, Lucienne settles herself with a glass of water and a nod for each. "As you wish," she says, however weakly - "I shall stay for a time." It's her turn to offer a comforting touch, brushing a hand aginst Jarod's arm. There, there.
Kathryna now has water and food in her stomach and there is little like that to give her a good bit of energy. Besides, she's already got adrenaline thundering through her veins, pulse going quicker now, cheeks flushing eagerly. She stands and stretches for a few moments, rolling her shoulders and shifting her back to pop her spine in a few places. When Jarod's man brings the sword back to her, blunted mostly safely, she nods in approval and steps back several more paces. "…Ser Aeric… As you wish." She tosses one more flashing smile at Jarod and Lucienne, but she's more ready for this fight than she is thinking about them.
Aeric observes the forms. He accepts the blunted weapon from the page and limbers up a bit. In fact, he limbers a lot. The man is rather a lot more flexible than people might give him credit for. Once he deems himself suitably loosened, he turns to face her at an appropriate duelling distance and salutes her with the blade. So doing, he lifts the point overhead and assumes the Roof poise. "I am ready, Harlaw."
Jarod is a little tense, it must be said, when Lucienne's hand brushes his arm. He offers her a nod, before summoning up a boyish grin to flash in return to Kathryna. He can make those smiles appear on cue. "This should be interesting." Raising his voice, and stepping over to a position that'll provide a good view of the upcoming sparring he adds to Aeric, "Warrior be with you, Ser."
It's to Jarod that Lucienne next speaks, leaning in closer to her brother to murmur something. When she straightens, she takes a sip of her water, and inhales deeply; this should be interesting.
Lucienne whispers: She can't possibly stand a chance!
Jarod whispers, "We'll see how it plays, Little Luci." to Lucienne.
With everything set and ready, there is really no time to wait any longer. Kate bows her head in respect towards Aeric, probably the first truly respectful thing she's ever done to the Mallister. Then, sword between both her hands to start, she doesn't even hesitate before bringing it in a quick slash towards his sword arm and wrist, trying to possibly disarm him before the fight ever starts. She's fast. Strong, for a woman. Possibly not as fast as him but there is no hesitation or weakness in the cut she makes.
<FS3> Opposed Roll — Aeric=Body+Blades Vs Kathryna=Body+Blades
< Aeric: Good Success Kathryna: Failure
< Net Result: Aeric wins - Solid Victory
Aeric steps forward, passing into the cut and to Kathryna's left with a downward slash parrying her effort. He keeps his guard low now but the two handed grip allows him to fulcrim the blade to bring the tip in a dangerous arc towards her jawline. If there was any expression upon his face, it comes as a bit of a shock to some. He smiles. Yes, indeed, her vigor and enthusiasm seems to amuse him if nothing else. There is no time for speech on his part, the exchange was that fast.
<FS3> Opposed Roll — Aeric=body+blades Vs Kathryna=body+blades
< Aeric: Good Success Kathryna: Good Success
< Net Result: Aeric wins - Marginal Victory
Jarod lets out a low whistle as he watches Kathryna and Aeric take their opening blows. As he watches Aeric in particular, to be precise. The younger swordsman has the air of someone who's studying.
Lucienne, on the other hand, draws her fine features into a wince, hissing a breath in through her teeth. To her credit, she doesn't yet look away.
Well, this is both a pleasant and a worrisome surprise. Kate genuinely did not think Aeric Mallister would be this good, being a man brought up on the sea himself. She boxed him into little assumptions, like the Ironborn has every Riverlander it seems. But, for all his training, it seems he could be just as good with a sword as he is a boat. Dangerously so. Her blade is parried without issue and brought back up to her jawline, scraping across just barely, probably blunt enough to not really drawn much blood, but it's certainly going to hurt. She grunts a touch, but doesn't blink, cry out, or stop. No, she just draws her blade out quickly then comes back in for a fast cut to his side instead. Keeping him moving and trying to keep herself clear of him and his better reach.
<FS3> Opposed Roll — Aeric=Body+Blades Vs Kathryna=Body+Blades
< Aeric: Good Success Kathryna: Success
< Net Result: Aeric wins - Marginal Victory
Aeric's blade continues its arc, again he makes use of the lengthy hilt. The blade whips about point down to parry her blow and there is a ringing sound as the blades as they meet. Again, he makes no attempt at large swings which might telegraph his next attack. Instead, it is a twist of the wrist and an efficient upturn of the blade which brings his next attack under her arms towards her armpit.
<FS3> Opposed Roll — Aeric=body+blades Vs Kathryna=body+blades
< Aeric: Good Success Kathryna: Good Success
< Net Result: DRAW
Jarod perhaps didn't think the professional sailor would be as good as he's showing himself to be, either, though he's less surprised than impressed. His green eyes dart this way and that as he follows the movements of the older knight's blade. He's silent, and he certainly doesn't look away. Ser Rivers' attention is rapt.
Lucienne manages to keep her attention on the sport for a little longer, though the colour is gone from her face again. Is that blood? She hisses in and out another breath, face still held in a grimace.
This time, as his wrist is twisted and his blade is turned up, Kate reacts fast enough. It's just -barely- in time, but she brings her blade down and blocks the attack quickly. She doesn't manage to push him away in a parry, but she holds him off, their bodies and blades straining inch for inch for several ragged heartbeats, she staring at the Mallister man across their crossed steel. She then breathes out and quickly jerks back, pushing herself and her blade away and out of the attack's range, though she immediately draws her blade down and makes a cut at his thigh, trying to weak his leg and stance in her withdrawal.
<FS3> Opposed Roll — Aeric=Body+Blades Vs Kathryna=Body+Blades
< Aeric: Good Success Kathryna: Good Success
< Net Result: Kathryna wins - Marginal Victory
Aeric ducks the point of his blade and the sound of metal sliding on metal greets the ears as her cut scrapes down his blade. His expression brightens as he feels hers impact his thigh but the leather gambeson he wears deadens the impact to a touch. "Neatly done." He offers her an accolade "Though it does make me wonder why you should choose to dwell among the trees." He lets her take her distance with his poise assuming the long tail with his blade drifting to the rear. "You are a woman suited to the sea. Tempestuous. Fierce." Speaking of fierce, he lunges suddenly with his blade twisting and coming in overhead with what might normally be deadly force. Perhaps he means to cleave her shoulder to hip… or just test her mettle.
<FS3> Opposed Roll — Aeric=body+blades Vs Kathryna=body+blades
< Aeric: Great Success Kathryna: Success
< Net Result: Aeric wins - Crushing Victory
Jarod whistles again, shortly between his teeth. He's watching close enough, and knows the movement of blades well enough, to see it coming. He can't help but wince. Though it's paired with a whisper to his sister, "Warrior's favored today, looks like, Little Luci."
Lucienne gasps as Kathryna gets in a hit, more out of disbelief than any fear for Ser Aeric. "Why is he…" Talking so much? Luci gasps again, and clutches at Jarod's arm dramatically as she agrees, "Looks like."
The brief victory was done well, especially just as Kate seemed to begin to read the way Aeric fights, far more subtle and quick than her own barbarian blows. But then he's mentioning the trees and damned if that isn't enough to throw her just -enough- off guard than his next blow, which should be telegraphed enough to be caught, is simply too damn strong for her to effectively parry. Not really expecting the bold and wild, masculine strength behind the fast sweep of his blade down her shoulder, her sword manages to catch it enough that it doesn't -actually- rip her stem to stern, but it still rips across her bodice, cutting several laces as her parry completely fails, body entirely jerked backward, stumbling back hard to the cobblestones behind her. It's a bad fall too, the strength of his blow having knocked her straight on her back and crack goes her head. Well. It looks like she's down. For the count.
Aeric stands for a moment, body at the ready, blade poised as the 'fool'. Then he notes that Kathryna really is out of the fight. Immediately, he straightens and digs the tip of his practice blade between two cobbles as if driving a spike then off comes his gambeson. He drapes it over her torso to protect her modesty then looks to Lucienne. "Lady, I trust you are trained in healing?"
"Fetch the maester, I think," Jarod orders to that same convenient page, who has been staring frog-eyed as the Mallister fights the foreign barbarian. The boy is getting an education today. His concern, for the moment, remains briskly professional. He's used to seeing men get the shit knocked out of them in sparring. Though he shows no small amount of concern as he approaches and kneels by the Ironwoman. "My Lady Harlaw?"
Lucienne's eyes are shocked wide, so terribly wide as Kathryna falls. "Oh, my lady!" She cries, to her mind the whole scene playing out in slow motion. She claws at Jarod's arm, drawing up as he does and racing him over to the Lady Harlaw's aid. "Celine! Your kerchief!" The handmaid rushes to dampen it with the chilled water from the brunch pitcher, and bring it over that Luci can dab gently at Kathryna's brow. "Gods be good," is the worst curse she can muster.
Kathryna is still out cold for the moment. Exhausted from the night and her head fully jarred in her skull, hopefully she didn't truly break anything. Being concussed will be plenty enough. Down on her back, her usually tightly strung bodice half free, almost making her look like a softened lady for once, the picture is actually a jarring reminder that no matter how long she fights, how much she trains, she is a woman. Short in stature, and physically small in size, she will always be outmuscled by a man larger than her. Of course, when she wakes, her ego is going to be hurting FAR, far worse than her body… but for now she's blissfully unaware of the damage to either.
Aeric is not a healer. There are days he wishes he were. Today.. he is conflicted. He looks down upon the prone woman. A part of him is, naturally, concerned for the weaker sex having been bludgeoned by a man. Damning himself for having been drawn into it. Then, of course, the other side of him states plainly that she /is/ a barbarian and she damned well asked for it trouncing on old Sarojyn. Though maybe it did him some good, reminding the Lord that diplomacy does not win all fights. In the end, the only outward sign he offers the world is to turn and reach for the cup of wine he hadn't finished yet. Wine is a terrible thing to waste. Harlaws.. not so much.