Page 395: Bastard Feast
Bastard Feast
Summary: The Rockcliff Inn at the Roost is witness to three bastards, brought together by the hospitality of 'House Taken'.
Date: 20/08/2012
Related Logs: Various Maldred/Cat encounters
Gerry Holden Catryn Maldred Oliva Alric Nedra 
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.
20th August, 289

"Fine, fine. Yer as honest an' true as the feckin' Father's own," Gerry said dryly in return to Catryn's challange.
"Knightly, eh?" There was no denying the definitive derision that the sellsword had for the concept as a whole. If they hadn't been inside, he'd likely spat while he said it, too. A good thing he had some manners. Or more likely, he prefered not to be berated by the damn proprietor, or found that the innkeeper returned saliva on the floor with saliva in the tankard. "Well feckin' good fer ye. Hey, iffen we make our way te Heronhurst at some point te do a bit o' tradin', ye dont think ye'd get us inside the keep fer some tradin' direct te the castlefolk, do ye? I'd cut ye in a bit fer the trouble, assumin' me goods get some flow goin'." Always out to make a little extra coin, was he. "An' aye, lost me boy. Sad thing, too, cause the fecker actually knew how te work." unlike Catryn, it was implied.
"'Ey there, lass. Thought ye migth as well get a better look at us, 'n from all over there." He'd a roguishly handsome smile, did the sellsword, the kind that often trapped girls who should've known better. Becaues everything else about him said to walk away. "Since ye were lookin' anyhow. Come sit down. This 'ere be the Driftwood. Me daughter Cat, an' I be Ger."

The Rivers is indeed impervious to cuffs from some slip of a girl. Still as Catryn starts talking, Holden begins laughing. "Bloody hell, if you were able t' stop lyin' I fear that y'd stop breathin' as well." A shake of his head before he is looking back towards Gerry for a moment. "Better than whorin' me own arm out, mucker." the Erenford Rivers retorns before he is motioning to Gerry with a slosh of his tankard. A rub of his jaw, before he is eyeing Catryn. "If you can keep her well behaved, fine. I'll gut anyone stealin' from my family- even if it comes on pink tongues a swift fingers." the cup thumps upon the boards of the table before he looking down to his thigh and where booted feet have propped themselves. An amused grin slowly forms before he is looking back towards Olivia Snow as she finally approaches. "Mistress.." guessing, politeness there from this bastard, though it seems that Gerry has introduced him well enough as 'Driftwood' "Ser Driftwood..err Hold Reivers, Miss." A tug of a forelock, before he's letting his hand blind drift for his drink again.

"I've had a garron try to take my fingers, little one… your small jaw scares me not," the Mistress of Horses quips back with ease and amusement, the curve of her smile only widening with almost cheshirian quality. Then it sobers into an easier expression, and she claims the offered seat once her stoneware mug and plate are set down. Her arms fold at the table space in front of the plate, one set of fingertips holding the fork aloft. Each introduction is afforded a glance of her dark eyes, and a small nod of her chin. "Oliva," she offers. "Oliva Snow. Mistress of Horses for the Terrick House." Holden is given a more familiar smile, perhaps a smile among Bastards. "Well met," she says to them all as she starts to saw her fork against the gravy-saturated biscuits.

At this hour of stragglers and diehards, another patron - no, that's too grand a term - who looks to be, suspiciously enough, neither dead nor drunk upon his feet, manoeuvres his path to a bitter as dark as his sour black jerkin. Many or most men go cowled on the road, but to keep your hood up when drunk as this stringy fellow does, that's generally the mark of, well, a marked man, or a man who…would rather not be marked just yet. But there's enough belligerent paraphernalia about his person, the woody spike of a longbow one of several protrusions, to stop too many folk looking hard or going about barring ways.

Nor does the stranger seem to look back at anyone else, concentrating quiet-like on his dark ale, until…some word, or name, drifted from that corner table, the only one anything like filled, seems to draw him against his will - the knight from Heronhurst's curt introduction. The man in the hood stares on and can no longer hide his surveillance, especially not from a certain pair of eyes…for after a definite wry grin has settled, as the others bring up their bastard natures, it turns suddenly to a scowl as his guarded eyes find the 'trader''s 'daughter'. Her again, he thinks, almost visibly, this stray vagabond who has elsewhere gone by Ser Maldred Rivers. He gulps at the bitter and as yet shifts none the closer.

"Aye," Catryn agreed, both with Gerry and Holden in the same breath, though probably more the latter, "True 'nough." And since everyone would miss her, we can't have that! But…Holden's words sucked all the playful out of her for a moment and she shifted her legs just enough to grind her heel in against the curve of his thigh, dangerously higher than it should have been. "I aint nary a thief, ye wayside varmit. Mighta picked up a bite when we's hungry, mighta slip a'bit o'coin from hes pocket te, when he's drank so's he dun drank it all away, but I'll no sit 'ere an letye cast labels that'll run tha risk o'me hands iffen tha wrong damn fool comes te believe 'em." Hmmmmph.
It's the Mistress though, that has the girl's lips stetching a broad wide grin, her warning mood evaporated with the reply, "Aint supposed te scare ye mistress, small jaws please better'n large ones, as there's more places they can go." God, it's a good thing Gerry's on the other side of the table an can't reach her right not to cuff. Or kick, because her legs are off the floor too. That mouth…is going to get her in trouble. "Nice te metche though."

"We ain't no feckin' thieves," Gerry growled in a hard tone, no humor in it. Some accusations were dangerous, and no matter whether they were actually true or not. "Honest trade, tha' wha' be feckin' doin', an' ain't nobody can say as much as cheated a feller." Which m igth not strictly be the truth, but there weren't any customers around to dispute him presently. He stabbed his eating knife into the table until it gave off a humm of vibrations. With a sniff that told the world exactly what he thought of Holden's words, he lifted up his tankard and took a long drink.
"Ey!" To Catryn, for her talk to Olivia rather than the Ser. He narrowed his eyes at her. "Watch yer feckin' tongue, now," because of the reputations a young girl would find it hard to shake, was that of a slattern. "So, Mistress o' the Horses, eh? Me girl jus' got herself one. I worry she'll get her feckin' fool neck broken, tho', before's she learns how te learn how te ride it proper."

And there it is the groove of heels into his thigh, and there is a growl from the Erenford Rivers, which has him reaching down to grab at the brat's ankle and shove her off him there in that moment. if her stool crashes with her on it the better. Still there's a narrowing of his eyes there in Catryn's direction, before he is looking back towards Gerry. "You I trust." he states with a bit of a knife t' his tongue. "Your lass here is trouble." a snort, though, and he is taking another drink.

He does look oe'r to where the other fella is, in th' dark attire or mood as it were, briefly before he is lookin' back towards Oliva. A dip o' his head there. "I bet y' do a fine job Misstress Snow." Indeed, Holden knows his names an Snow is as dirt poor as his own. "t'ough I will admit this is m' first time hearin' o' a lass who runs th' horse. Though.. I figger a lass has a better hand wit em."

The growls and hard tones cause those dark brows to arch curiously between the three, though as a newcomer to the table, she's not about to question the reputation of a thief. Oliva does know a few though… The mouthful of sausage gravy and biscuit gives her time to merely observe the interaction before she offers a small smirk to Catryn. She swallows before pointing out idly, "a small mouth will have to work more to achieve it's goals." Not strictly dirty on paper, but the husky tone and slight arch of brows certainly sell the double-entendre. Then Holden goes about spilling the troublesome minx from her seat, and the Mistress cannot help but laugh. She has to sober it down a bit to speak to the two older gents, a warm thunder still heard in her words. "I can help teach her the basics," she offers to Gerry. "I do the same for most of the Roost, but she has to be willin' to learn or we just waste each other's time." She offers a smile to Holden. "Truth be told, Ser, my mentor — the gods give him rest — had come as far as the Flint lands to find a Fleetwood. My mother's family are oft hired to be noble house retainers for such a task, and I am the last of our issues. It was me or a lesser horse-man."

Catryn scrambled when Holden tipped her stool, a look of mock idignity on her face, "Hey hey Woah now, watch ye great oaf! Nearly made me spill me drink!" An that, well, that was not okay. But since she's up….and the nice lady had left such an open innuendo…Cat relocated to the other side of the table and sat down, cozy as you please next to Oliva. "Youth, Mistress," the girl cooed, "Has all the vigor in the world te be spent, while old men…," that earned Gerry and Holden both a dismissive little wave of her hand. "Well, look'it them." Obviously. But of mention to horses, weeell, "I can sit astride well enough, always willin' te learn. Won't waste a single moment of yer time, either." Perhaps offering a girl who's spent time in Lys double-entendre's was not the best of ideas. "Tomorra good?" Inquired, with the sweetest little flutter of lashes that you ever did see, before the weight of another's gaze tugged on her attention. Had it sliding slow as molassas across the room before it settled good and proper upon a bastards face and the smirk that crawled…earned him the best of salutes she had. "Ser Bastard!" And the best of her manners, "Why dontche join us then?"

"Trouble, aye. A bucketful o' feckin' trouble," Gerry said with the sigh of the long suffering in reference to his daughter. "But no feckin' thief. Jus' the mouth an' attitude a girl gets from spendin' her whole life followin' a bunch of cutthroat killers." Which was generally what an essos sellsword company consisted of. "Ain't no place fer the meek inna world where most folks'll take feckin' advantage o' ye." He transfered his look to Catryn after, though, frowning. "But tha' don't mean ye gotta feckin' go overboard with the gods be damned attitude. Leave the feckin' lass alone, already."
Though he didn't actually get out of his chair to drag Cat off her kittenish perch by Olivia's side. After all, it would have meant stopping his drinking, which he was in no hurry to do. And the sprawl he'd made on the bench was the sprawl of a man who'd been walking through the night, covered in road dust, and in no hurry to stir a muscle unless he had to.
Maldred, once Catryn called his attentions to the man, recieved a flat look.

The first real heat of the day makes the humidity begin to rise as well and for those who are either looking for a late breakfast or for a brief respite from the heat the common room at the Inn is one of the popular places to stop over. Nedra is just one of the people coming through the door at the moment, stepping out of the way so that a larger group can exit, taking the time to tap some of the dust off of her boots before she enters the room proper. Accompanied by both of the oldest members of her guard, both men having salt and pepper graying hair and the distinctive bearing of old soldiers, Nedra is tugging off her riding gloves and running one hand lightly over her hair as she studies the room to find a cool place to sit.

Sometimes a falconer can hood a goshawk by catching it in a moment when its irritation is so intense…that it amounts to indecision. It would seem that is what Catryn Taken just did to Maldred Rivers - Ser Maldred Rivers, anointed knight, just like the equally esteemed Ser Holden - who is caught in the act of diagonal and tentative escape. He accepts his identification with a short, ironical bow of his head, then throws it back for a decent swig before he shifts forward towards them.

Ignoring the hoyden who snared him in for now, he acknowledges only the other bastard knight. "Ser Holden. Some kinsman of yours told me of you. Said you were the bastard least like me he'd ever met," he adds, his voice cold and correct. Only now does he round on the minx-creature. "*Mistress* Cat. It seems you tire of fishing for turtles and lay your hooks instead after baseborn sticklebacks? Be careful, then, with your velveteen paws."

Finally Gerry gets a somewhat wary nod, full of memory, back; Oliva a clearly sarcastic sweep of a courteous bow.

A hiss in his cup and Holden is eyeing Catryn again. "Vigor." he mutters before shaking his head. "You'd know not what t' do wit vigor if it pissed down yer skirts." the knight says before he is looking back towards Oliva, his hand moving down to grind the palm of his hand into his thigh. Because, that totally helps when you've got some right spot hurting. "Mm. I have heard o' Fleetwoods. Fine enough Horsemanship usually comes from such a fella wit' Fleetwoods in th' name. Then it speaks well o' yer blood." Were Holden perhaps a fisherman, it would likely speak better for his own. Though with the talk of riding, he just snorts out a laugh before he is looking back towards Gerry.

A nod there. "I ken it an see it. I pray her mother ain't rollin in her grave or ashes long." he adds on before he is looking back to her. "Oh I don' t'ink I can do that Gerry m'cutty." he adds over the rim of his drink. Only then does he let his eyes flit towards Maldred as the epitath awarded him from Catryn, does bring a faint grin there, though- it seems to be mainly a mask for study within the inn's shrewd light. "Seems, somewhere, true born fathers are wringin' t'eir hands." an off colour joke that dies as in comes a noble-though he does know this one, by the way eyebrows perk up. A grin and a nod is tossed to the lady Mallister for brief moment before he is back into the conversations at hand.

SAnd there a flash given to Maldred Rivers and there is a tilt of his head, before he simply nods from his pot. The raise of his mug given oe'r. "I'll take that as a compliment then Ser." though the edge is steely hidden in. "I'd rather be fine wti what I am, then hide in a hood whilst I drink." Teeth flashed and lips licked the Erenford bastard cocks his head. "An may I have t' pleasure as to your name Ser?" given he was called Ser bastard. "After all, when m' chronicles are written, I'd like t' know who I was so opposite of."

"Experience, little one," Oliva rebutts as the girl comes to nestle in her other side, "always outweighs youth." With a satisfied smile, she takes another bite of her slow-cooling meal. At Gerry's protest, she offers him a shrug of her shoulders. "I thought you called me over so you could try to curl me up against you, goodman. You are merely jealous your daughter beat you to it." She offers him a coy quirk of her lips before Catryn begins to speak on lessons, and with a more instructor's eye, she sizes up the petite little thing.

"I'm not an easy teacher, hen. You may not like me very much once our day is done. If you find yourself alright with that, then you can come see me in the morn tomorrow. The only thing that may threaten said arrangement is if my broodmare drops her foal in the night." Even if the horse does not actually belong to her, the stable is her house and those within it are her responsibility. She glances sidelong to Gerry. "If your papa doesn't mind, of course." The fact that Holden has heard of the Fleetwoods causes her expression to illuminate. "So rare is it that someone compliments my blood, good Ser. Speak of those nice things, and I might see if you can find more about me to compliment." For not being very social, she sure is a bit of a flirt, no? Now her gaze shifts over to the bowing bastard, and she gives his bow a quirk of her brow. "Is that how a crow bows?" She asks with a Northern's bite. "Show it to us again," the bastard mistress sets her chin upon her hand, waving her fork to see the man bow again. She is not often bowed to, after all.

Maldred rarely bows on demand, and his mirth, when it rarely comes, is unasked - as it is, and does, now. His harsh laugh is the accompaniment to the careless sweeping down of his leather hood with his right hand, revealing the subvulpine features associated with the House of the Twins, a mess of hair that must have been yellowish before it was this dirty, and hard chilly eyes. Well…them you could catch before, as Cat had. Anyway, he replies biddably enough now, "Maldred Rivers am I, brother knight, and overjoyed to be welcomed to this bastards' feast. But alas, snowy maid," he appends turning back to the Northern girl who gave, so far, so much better than she got, "I am none of your fine black Watchmen, just a household sword in a faded jerkin. If you would seek for news of the Watch, I gather your own Sheriff Ser Justin is a keen recruitsman for those elite warriors. Not quite as keen as his elder brother, but getting there, no?"

"An tha likes o'ye keen vigor, does it? More'n what satisifaction ye hand can give. Aye, ye'd keen vigor then, right afore it splashes on ye knuckles," Cat replied tongue and cheek, with a snort in Holden's direction for all that she rolled her eyes and hid her grin there behind the rim of her tankard, "An ache already is it?" Added, when she watched the way his wrist moved, "Tis bad manners te spend so quick in front o'so many." Would that she had but been born a boy.
Alas! And for the good fortune of all, tis Oliva who engages her and mention of experience has the girl barking with hard laughter, shoulders shaking for the humor that flows through her. A pause then, the dip of a quiet work in the Mistress' ear and Cat straights again, proud as ye please for all that she settles out in a comfortable sprawl, this time looking smug towards Gerry and ignoring Holden's little snort towards her mention of riding. "He won't mind, for all tha he be jealous true. S'what happens when a rusted tongue is pitted against one gilded gold. No worry on tender teachin', Mistress, I prefer it hard. Lesson's stick longer that way." Someone shut her up!
OH-ho! While Maldred makes his mark, that glib tongue never misses a beat, just a crane of a slender neck up in his direction, "Surely, Ser Bastard ye'd no question tha worth o'me hooks. After all, sunk deep enough te bring a snappin' turtle like ye out an clear across tha lands. Tell me luv, whilst I greet this next fine Lady, just how well an much ye missed me."
And with a wink, her attention…slid on. "Lady Nedra! Come now, join us, I promise I'll no let these rough folks soil ye skirts, tell them I'm no tha wittiest cat in tha lands!"

There seems to be some manner of a debate being had before Nedra retrieves a coin from one pocket and neatly flips it in the air, calls it and catches the coin in one hand before turning her palm up. A laugh is shared and Nedra rolls her eyes slightly, accepts the pat on her shoulder from one of her guards and heads to intercept one of the serving girls to see about some food and drink while the men move toward a table that is mutually agreed upon by some unspoken matter of criteria. Nedra catches the nearest serving girl and speaks briefly about breakfast, or rather, more breakfast for her men after her usual morning horseback ride around the town itself, handing over a few coins and a tip as incentive to send over the food as soon as it can be rounded up.

Nedra is turning back to scan the room and in the doing she spots a handful of familiar faces, starting with Ser Holden then around to Mistress Catryn and her father Master Gerry; the former is given a smile and nod in return before she gives a wave to Catryn. For what ever reason, and Nedra really can't put a fingertip as to the root of it, she finds Catryn's antics to be entertaining and often eye-opening. She hesitates briefly but begins walking toward the table at Catryn's invitation, though her men gesture to a table that's adjacent, conveniently so. "Good morning," is offered once she is near enough, "You look to be in fine spirits, Mistress Catryn, how's the merchant business faring so far this new week?" is wondered before she gives another general nod of greeting, "Good day to everyone," to all at the table.

"Aye, perhaps'n I did," Gerry admitted with a bemused devil's smile on his lips as Olivia spoke in his direction. "An' the fact yer sashayed yer way over tells me yer couldn't have been too off on the idea, either." Though the smile had a hard time touching anything -but- his lips. He took another swing, drank down half his tankard a single swallow, his throat rippling with the contous swallowing. When it slammed down he barked a laugh. "Ignore me daugther's feckin' sass. She seems te think yer a challange. Double feckin' flirting entendres aside, the girl's not unable te take a lesson. Jus' make sure te cuff her often. She gets feckin' carried away."
His eyes turned to his daughter, then, and there was a firm line of disapproval on his mouth that said she'd taken his leniency too far. "Enough, now. Yer gotten yer feckin' point off. Aye, yer can bark with the best o' them. Now take yer feckin' victory an' stop afore ye go too feckin' far. Again. An' I have te slap some sense inte ye."
A few sharp words delivered, he could turn his attentions towards the arrival of the noblewoman. Though Gerry made a as humble as you please nod in her direction, knuckling his forhead, even, like a good smallfolk, his eyes still raked over the young woman as directly as they had Olivia before. "M'Lady."

Chewing on his tongue, Holden holds and releases for a moment, before he is looking into his cups and he is taking a sip of his ale. "Were y' my daughter, I'd burry you under a tree." he replies towards Catryn. 'Alive, that'd y' nay vex t' heart o' your father." and there he sets his drink down. "Were you born a man, I'd likely grab ye, by yer blonde roots and smash yer teeth out on the table. T'en I'd take your ear." A broken grin and a laugh like teeth falling out of the head is what follows. "Seven guide you, Gerry. I t'ink she'll lead you to the stranger before an arrow will." And there, the contents of his mug are drained in a long and slow cache of gulps.

Wiping his mouth on the back of his hand he looks back over towards Maldred and there is a nod of acknowledgement. "I know you." Well know of at least- but that is as much as he will give. However the crack on the frozen Lord Jaremy Terrick does bring a laugh from the Erenford knight, quite easily. The Mallister lass is kept an eye on, as the knight remains in his easy lean/sprawl on the bench he's occupied. "I only say nice t'ings Mistress Snow." Holden says finally after a moment. "I'd hope folk would say kinder t' me in return." A grin there. Modest ain't he? Or is it humble?

Still being at the inn but having been on a walk earlier is none but Alric. None of his guards by his side as he comes inside. They seem to already be around somewhere and taking it easy. Alric having wanted a private walk. Now letting his eyes scan the area. Spotting Holdred first, opting to look towards the offers. Feeling that him going there is perhaps not the best of choices. Instead about to head on when he spots Nedra. Offering her, and anyone else that is looking his direction a nod. Moving in their direction, but trying not to interupt anything. Offering a mall bow to the entire company before sliding of just a bit to the side and leaning in to say something to Nedra in a murmur.

Oliva finds some air of amusement around the young girl, though the whispered words draw quite a lascivious laugh from those full lips. She offers a mere quirk of a smile to the young thing, and those dark eyes glint like a crystal buried in fertile soils. Then she shrugs her shoulders a bit, arms folded behind her plate now. "Tomorrow morn then," she says to Catryn with a wink. Her gaze lifts toward the noblewoman as she approaches, and she straightens her poise a bit more. A House retainer is not quite as socially freeing as it was to be just a bastard smallfolk girl. "Milady," she greets with a bow of her head before Holden snags her attention once more. Those freckled cheeks dimple just a touch as her cheshirian smile broadens a bit. "You are sure to be a hard man to not compliment, good Ser," she points out.

The bastard Frey bestows in the direction of the Mallister noblewoman - one unknown to him, like most of her ilk - a nod of neutral and unfaultable formality, that somehow still conveys all the impatience and annoyance his richer House feels to her better-famed one. He has by now taken a seat, beside his fellow bastard and with a square view of the kitten, just perfect for a spar of tongues (metaphorically for now, the 'loving father' need fear naught).

"Oh, for certain, Miz Taken," he bites back, "I lacked you sore. I rode through every court and castle in the kingdoms seven, atop my destrier and upon my best caparison, plate armour at my back and the lost sword Brightroar at my side. Everywhere I passed I sang for you, but did you, cruel m'lady, did you think to reply, to drop a favour? Never. Then after sunstroke in Dorne and chilblains in Winterfell, I came to my senses, realised you were most like stewing yourself down here, and dressed in my best clothes just for you, …princess. And now I hope to propose…" he pauses teasingly, "a toast."

Nedra follows the conversation around the table only in part, having been distracted by the discussion of table selection and the prompt arrival of food, and turns faintly pink at the look that Gerry aims in her direction, one that wars with the greeting, "Master Taken," she offers in a lighter voice that intended but turns to smile at the woman with the cheshire smile and freckles, "Good day to you as well, mistress," she replies, though not standing to any measure of formality as greetings are exchanged and the arrival of Lord Alric is greeting with another glimpse of a smile and a small tilt of her head to catch his quiet words, her own equally quiet in turn. She can't place name to the other gentleman at the table, and since she has no name to set upon him she simply nods to Malden in greeting before taking the chair that one of her armsmen is pointedly holding out for her. It allows her to sit near enough to speak with without crowding, cheek to jowl, as it were. And she aims a smile up at Alric while gesturing to any of the open seats at the same table, "Breakfast, my lord?" is wondered in a quiet voice.

With cup empty, there is a shrug from Holden as he makes room for Maldred, allowing the man more bench as he slowly rises up. A glance is given oe'r to where Alric and Nedra stand for now, eyes watching ever so slightly-and as she comes closer there is a brief pause and he rises full and steps away. Eyes keeping a hold of said noble lass before he is glancing back to Oliva. "Mayhaps, dear Mistrees, you'll have a good chance at it." A chuckle there before he is looking to Gerry, a nod in his direction. "I'll find ye afore I leave, Taken. See about gettin' you a shot in at Heronhurst." Eyes do look to Catryn, but the kngiht doesn't say anything to the youthful blonde. Instead he moves on looking at Alric, before offering a bow to Nedra. 'Seems, I am always havin' t' go when you are just arrivin. A shame." A wave of his hand back to the table. "I'm off t' see a blacksmit about some shoes.. 'Ta." and with that he is moving to slide on out, with his whistle and jaunt swagger.

The rest of his ale was done, and with that Gerry pushed himself up to his feet with a weary motion, one mostly devoid of any kind of grace after having spent most of the night on the road. He ran his fingers through the thick of his dark hair, nails scraping along his scalp. His old worn sword was tucked beneath his arm, as was the unstrung hunting bow he'd brought with him, while his traveling pack was slung over his shoulder. "Wells, then, gents 'n ladies. Ye all enjoy the hospitality o' me tables, now, an' iffen the wee one lets her tongue run away with her, give her a feckin' cuff fer me, wouldje?"
A passing look across the females, just because they were there, and to ignore them would have been doing a gross disservice to their womanly curves.

It took….effort, lots and lots of effort for the girl to manage to escew her mouth into something that looked even remotely shut. For all that she was still grinning at Holden over the top of her cup, there was the very decided sense that she had a lot to say and couldn't, because then Gerry -would- smack her and she'd be sending fine ladies like Nedra on wild errands looking for handshaped rocks on the beach again. That wouldn't do. So she settled with a very simple, "I'll letche try," in his direction, before she beamed a proud smile towards Gerry that said, 'See I kept my mouth shut', because she -did- have the victory.
Twice over too, if the way her lips curled up into a sharp smirk there at Oliva's words, the arch of a brow and the glimmer of a challenge. "We'll see," came the reply, full of measured intent, before her eyes swept on towards Maldred, head tipped back in a laugh. "Iffen ye prove tha yer bite too an no all bark." For Maldred, the chit fell silent, listening as he wove a tale that left her eyes glittering, part in humor, part in malice. "They's one man, Mal, who can call me Princess an I'll tell ye now, ye aint he. Mind ye sarcastic bloody tongue, eh?" And with that, Cat's attention sliiiiiid right on towards Nedra. "Business's been right well there, milady, done a nice fine turn wit a couple fools as paid more'n they should have, -on purpose-," she added, "An no cause we cheated 'em. Enough as me pa finally bought me a horse, te." Which was the best part, because she's only wanted her very on for years. "An how's ye missin' person? He turn up or didje have te g'round shakin' feathers like ye's afraid ye might?"

Alric listens to Nedra and nods, offering a bow to those leaving. Only knowing the name of Holden, he does actually speak. "Good day ser Holden." He then offers a smile and another nod to Nedra. "Thank you, my lady. That would be quite nice." Moving to take a seat. Looking to those speaking he does pitch in, "Good day all of you. Alric Fenster." He offers when there is a moment of silence. Then he does turn a bit to order some breakfast before just sitting and listening to the people. Perhaps a bit uneasy. But it seemed to be at least a bit better when Holden left.

Nedra tilts her head in a nod to Holden, a small smile forming on her face as she replies, "It does seem to be the way of things, does it not, Ser Holden," is replied before the knight takes his leave, with a whistle and a jaunt swagger no less. The look from Gerry makes Nedra a little uncomfortable, visibly so from the way she turns slightly away so as to avoid having even her ears turning pink and smiles at Catryn instead. "That he did, Mistress, and in fine health, to boot. All things considered, that's really all that I was hoping for," she admits and glances to Alric as he takes a seat alongside. "If I may?" she offers quietly and gestures with one hand, "Mistress Catryn Taken, daughter of Master Gerry Taken, merchants both, and a finer hand I have rarely seen for distilling nice scents and perfumes, I might add." She glances at the other two at the table, "But I've not had chance to be introduced to the rest of Mistress Catryn's companions," and she gives Catryn a hint of a wink, "perhaps she'll do the honors?"

The Mistress of Horses finishes off her plate finally, and lets the serving girl come by to bus it away. Another mug of ale is ordered. She chuckles a bit to Catryn's bark and bite reference, though she shakes her head a bit. "Oh, you are certainly going to be a pain," she points out with a small smirk. Her gaze shifts over to Alric, and she offers him a nod of her head. "Milord," she says with a polite flourish. Then she glances over toward Nedra. "I do not think we have met, Milady, but I know of your Jinx. I'm Oliva Snow, Mistress of Horses for the Terricks."

Ser Maldred's evenly sceptical glance follows out the other bastard with an expression that appears curiously like regret. "A shame the half heron flew this lagoon so soon. I had had it in mind to drink a toast to House Bastard. Perhaps you'll still join me in it, Mistress Snow? Our kind should stick together, after all. No doubt the false Tordane claimant Ser Gedeon would breathe still, if his amity with him they call Half-Eagle had run true!" The speed with which Maldred is disposing of his bitter, toast or no toast, on the whole undermines the seriousness of his intent. As for Alric Fenster, the bastard ignores him perhaps pointedly, in view of that scene a week or so back at Highfield Hall. And Maldred resists, too, any temptation he might have to probe Cat's sudden air of affront.

"Only if you want it so," Catryn replies to Oliva, before that cheeky lil smile is sent Nedra's way again and at her introduction this time, the chit takes her feet; playfully ruffles Oliva's hair and then sweeps a low dashing half bow that could put any courtly gent to shame. "I go by Cat," the girl added on to her introduction, with a grin for her efforts, and just the hint of a preen for Nedra's praise. But only a hint, because she's a good and humble girl. Proper too! Unless you've heard her talking in the past five minutes. "S'a pleasure te see ye again milord. Aint be rememberin' ye name though. For all," her eyes bounced back to Nedra, "That I'm glad ye brother's well an whole. Be a terrible thing, te have 'im lost it would." She bemoaned, glancing to Oliva when the woman introduced herself, before flicking her eyes back up to Maldred, "That'un there's Ser…," And you thought she was going to say bastard, "Maldred Rivers, knight an a damn fine lutist. With a bitter and sour disposition, ye just have te learn how te look past his…scuffy exterior." For all that there was some measure of affection in the explination.

Oliva glances up at the Frey bastard with an air of amusement. "As I hear it, Ser Gedeon's claim was true — honored by the King himself," she points out idly. "It is the Lady Danae's claim that is under scruntiny, not his — gods rest him well." She does salute with her mug all the same before she takes a gulp from the frothy head. "To bastards though," she agrees. "It is how we keep the smallfolk population so gorgeous." She smirks as she takes another swallow of the warm ale. She glances over toward Cat at her words, and she offers that low laugh — as warm as summer thunder. "We need to work on your compliments, little hen."

Nedra's eyes widen and she laughs suddenly, "Oh my, well it's a pleasure to meet you then, Mistress Snow. I trust that my Jinx hasn't been up to any antics that your stable lads haven't told me about?" she wonders, thinking of the special box that was designed at Seagard to keep the houdini-Mare from escaping. "It took our horse master a few turns to figure out how to keep my mischief maker from leading us all on a merry chase when she'd get free of the box," she admits with a smile. "But she's a good mare, and I'm over fond of her," is added with a grin. She tilts her head in a nod toward Ser Maldred, "Well met, sir, and good day to you," now that she can greet him properly, and smiles at Alric as he tends to his own introductions rather handily.

Looking slightly surprised that the spirited Northern horsemistress rose to his jibe - perhaps even grudgingly admiring - Maldred leaves aside the inevitable political disagreement between a Terrick retainer, and a by-blow of Lord Frey's, as to claims on Stonebridge, and rings his darkly swilling remnant against Oliva's headily frothing pint readily enough. As the echo of the impact dies, so does his last drop sink into oblivion. "I like her compliments well enough," he chides Mistress Snow now. "To school them any smoother would be as absurd, valiant and doomed as teaching a Mallister to make money. Oh, saving your presence," he cuts aside to Nedra, as if he'd just idly forgotten about her. As if.

"In any case, this bastard is for his road now refreshment is…sated," he murmurs, annunciating the last word in Cat's general direction. "Until the Crone's next jape." His rising is less clanking than usual, though still leaden enough to suggest some maile, and he strides his way out without sparing a look back.

"And how did you betray him?" Cat inquired, with the loft of a brow peering in Alric's direction, before her attention flicked back towards Oliva, "My tongue can be sweet when there is need," came the tongue and cheek counter, for all that the lord held the moment of her attention. But only for the moment. Because it was Maldred to whom next she smiled, dipping her head prettily beneath his compliment. "Ever the wayward gentlemen ye are," she teased, offering him a wink. "But I'll sit by ye fire, if yer still in the area come tha morrow." Maybe. If she's around. Gods know she strays often enough.

Oliva chortles a bit. "Perhaps so, Ser, perhaps so." She casts a glance toward Catryn as if to determine the quality and necessity of those rough edges. Then she shrugs her shoulders. "I suppose they will do," she says idly. Then her eyes lift back toward the sour bastard as he begins to depart; her gaze lingers on him, and there is the faintest quirk of a brow as if there is something about that retreat that she finds intriguing. With a toss of her dark hair, she returns her focus to the pair of nobles and the petite troublemaker.

Alric ohs as he turns to Oliva again, "I would suspect that you know Poet as well then. Black stallion with a short mane." Then he turns at the words from Cat. Grinning, "I left his side instead of staying by to speak with the both of you, I suspect." He says before looking to the leaving Maldred, "Be well ser." He does spot Nedra's smile though and offers one in return. "Now you might have understood the fake conflict between me and ser Ramsey."

"Money is merely on way of keeping score, Ser," Nedra remarks in a mild tone of voice. "The easiest measure, I'm sure, but then there are other ways to keep score, as the game is varied and more of a endurance tournament than a short sprint or a brief bout of of a drinking contest. We Mallister's may not have coins spilling out of our ears and other various places, but we keep what we have, we respect what we keep and above all, ser, we never, ever surrender," she says while aiming a small smile at Maldred. "Oh, and we don't cheat or steal from our neighbors, as a general rule either, but not every house keeps such old fashioned standards," she adds in a light voice that is all manner of off-hand and from the tone of her voice, all humor and pleasantness, it's tough to tell which word she meant in any of that. She smiles then at Catryn, "You with the clever tongue, mistress Catryn," she interjects with a laugh. To Oliva she smiles again then casts a sidelong glance toward Alric and nods slowly, "I believe I am beginning to see the shape of it, yes."