|Bad Squire, No Biscuits|
|Summary:||Hardwicke seeks out an elusive Veris who's holed himself up in the Armory.|
|Date:||16 Jan 2012|
|Armory - Four Eagles Tower|
|Behind a bolted door lies the Tower's Armory. Stacks of armor line the walls, each placed carefully upon shelves with their helmets. Spears, pikes, axes, and bows line one wall while on the other and also kept on racks in the center are dozens and dozens of swords of all kinds. These are all mostly identical with few variations among them except for design and size as the armory is simply a repository for defense arms. At the front near the door the Guards have their own personal storage space for their more customized gear.|
|16 Jan 289|
Having set Veris to rather labor-intensive tasks since the siege was broken and rebuilding began, Hardwicke occasionally finds himself in the position of /losing/ his squire, which won't do when he has other things needing doing. So when he marches into the armory with a frown, it's actually in search of his erstwhile squire. "Veris!"
Veris, having been off on a… celebratory spirit the night prior, jolts awake when he hears his name ringing in his ears. "Shit," he breathes, hopping to his feet off the platform he'd dozed off on, only to discover that his left leg is asleep. The half-polished weapon in his hands goes clattering across the floor, and the squire inches toward it with a grimace, trying to push through the pins and needles in his leg. "Aye, Ser!" he calls back in response through gritted teeth.
"Oh," Hardwicke says. "There you are." He takes Veris in with a suspicious, narrow-eyed gaze, standing straight and tall in breastplate and arms. "Armor and longsword," he says. "Polished and sharpened." Tipping his chin down to scowl at him, he adds, "If you think you can stay awake long enough."
"Been workin' away, Ser," is Veris' straight-faced response, standing beside the sword on the floor. He makes no excuse or explanation for why the weapon is on the floor, he just crouches down and picks it up with an innocent look. "I'll do as you say, Ser, though I've a thought that the armor won't take much to being sharpened." He clears his throat when Hardwicke mentions staying awake, maintaining his straight face, which is a sure indication of guilt.
"This armor, Veris," Hardwicke says with a sigh, waiting expectantly for the squire to begin unbuckling him. "And if you take a whetstone to it as a joke, I am not going to be happy."
Finally, a broad grin flashes across Very's face as he sets the sword aside and starts to unbuckle the Knight. "Eh, Ser, I don't think happy's a state I've ever witnessed in you," he chuckles as he strips off the armor. "My goal weren't so much making you happy as making you less unhappy. Any more'n that'd need an act of the Seven, I think."
"Maybe I'd be happier if you were funnier, Veris," Hardwicke says in a dry tone. "The Lady Anais seems determined enough to see me happy. Couldn't convince her out of planning a bloody wedding ceremony. As if we all need a party." He lifts and shifts his arms where appropriate to allow Veris to strip the armor off.
"You wound me, Ser," Veris responds with a grin, moving around Hardwicke to pry the armor off once everything's undone. "I'm assured that everything I say's the height of hilarity once you've got enough wine in you." The armor's carefully set beside the sword. "A party's like to boost some spirits," he remarks idly as he looks the armor over to see how much work he's got to put into it. "You don't want her to have a wedding ceremony? They're good cause for joy and celebration, I always thought."
"And who's assuring you of this?" Hardwicke wonders pointedly. His armor does not often see polish, the knight not having been in the habit of it when he was going without a squire. He sighs at the question. "She's planning my wedding ceremony," he tells him, as if he just ran around telling everyone he was about to get married.
"Anyone I ask enough times," Veris answers, running a finger over the armor. This thing hasn't seen a good polish in a long while from the looks of it. "When you've not the wit to pierce, you wage humor by attrition." Glancing back over his shoulder to the Knight, he narrows his eyes. "Your wedding ceremony," he echoes, the words not quite settling in. "I'd thought the Young Lady was already married, but I hadn - your wedding ceremony." Something about that just sounds a bit off. "Are you sure?"
"I am not marrying Lady Anais," Hardwicke snaps in a tiredly exasperated manner to Veris. "I'm marrying Belle." Who, if Hardwicke had not gone out of his way to mention, Veris might have at least caught a glimpse of with him, all smiles and teases for the dour Captain.
Veris rubs his chin with the polishing cloth. "Belle… Belle. Hm. Can't say that her name rings a - " He stops himself short and points at Hardwicke with both hands, making a comically anticipatory face with his brows waaaaay up.
Hardwicke gives Veris a very, very unimpressed look. It is so unimpressed it is Unimpressed. With a capital U.
Pause. Wait for it. Wait for it. The two of them stand there stubbornly facing each other for a beat, Veris in his goofy pointing pose and Hardwicke with his stony and unimpressed look. With a disappointed sigh, Very breaks off first, letting his arms drop dramatically to his sides. "Does she know yet that you hate everything, Ser?" he asks facetiously, slapping at his armor with the cloth. "I hear that's a deal-breaker for some, is all."
Hardwicke scowls at him, his arms crossing easier over his chest now that he's only in his livery. "I don't hate her, and that seems enough for her tastes," he says.
"Well," Veris says, pursing his lips as though impressed, "I suppose that is pretty special all told. Then congratulations are in order, Ser, for your betrothal to the not-hate of your life." The Captain is toasted with an imaginary glass. "I imagine she's the one I've seen who's always smiling at you, Ser? That narrows the possibility down quite a bit, I think."
"You think you're very clever, don't you," Hardwicke says in a bland sort of voice. "Yes, I imagine you're thinking of the right person."
"Cleverer'n some, but not clever enough," is Veris' honest reply, accompanied by a shrug. "In all truth, Ser, I wish you all happiness with her. If it's happiness you marry for. Seems to me a rare enough thing in men of your position sometimes, if you don't mind my saying."
Tipping his chin and peering down at Veris, Hardwicke says, "Captains? Knights? Sworn swords?"
"All of the above?" Veris says, scrunching his face. "The higher the position, the closer to Lord Ser Terrick, the more it seems to be in effect. Us simple folk wallowing down here on the food chain, we're happy to please, Ser. Simple problems, simple pleasures. Keeps me out of trouble, like."
"Out of trouble?" Hardwicke says with clear skepticism. He shakes his head with a quiet snort. "If you say so, Veris."
Veris just grins broadly at Hardwicke, gathering everything he needs to get the armor and longsword up to standard for the Knight. "How can I get into trouble, Ser, when I am ever at your bidding and working myself to the bone? Surely, I've no time for mischief left." He lays everything out neatly, all in a logical order. "Just the armor and longsword you need for now, Ser, or anything else you need done tonight?"
Hardwicke levels a long, narrow-eyed gaze on the squire, as if sussing out secret mischief from him. Finally he sniffs and says, "No. Just that," before turning to head back out of the armory.
Sitting down on the floor to get to work, Veris starts off by taking the cloth to the armor, applying generous amounts of oil to start. As he rubs in small circles, he idly hums under his breath - a popular drinking ballad which slowly goes from a hum to mumbled words, and from there to a spirited song. After the first refrain ends, the Squire leans over to poke his head this way and that, seeing if Hardwicke is indeed gone again. Satisfied that the Knight is out of sight, he leans way back into a more comfortable position and polishes slowly… and more slowly still… until his lids start to droop once more.