|Bite Your Tongue and Drink Your Wine|
|Summary:||The Terricks and Mallisters have needs, the Groves have means. Both have history.|
|Date:||4 May 2012|
|Crane's Crossing Inn - Stonebridge|
|While Crane's Crossing is technically an Inn, it caters to the traveling nobility almost exclusively. The floors around the hearth are finely crafted stonework, as are the slate blocks that the firepit is constructed of. The rest of the floor is done in stained oak that matches the few long tables and the chairs. The rest of the main room is furnished with plush couches and seating to entice visitors to delay their leave. A full service kitchen provides food of all kinds as well as high quality ales and wines. Also available are several women to provide hospitality to the lonely or those in need, the quality of them to be beaten by but a few in the Riverlands. A hallway near the kitchen leads off to the rear of the building and several up-scale rooms.|
|May 4, 289|
Ser Jarod (nee?) Rivers is holding court in Crane's Crossing. It's getting on into the evening and the place is starting to fill up with minor nobles and well—to-do commoners in search of a pint. Jarod's seated at one of the long tables, surrounded by a mixture of what look like merchant's guards, a couple of hedge knights, and a few guards still in their Tordane Tower livery. He's laughing and gesturing his big hands expansively as he tells what sounds like - and he's not being particularly quiet - the end of a dirty joke. "So the milk maid said to the septon, 'If men prayed with their cocks, they'd be much more religious.'" The wind-down gets a laugh from his current group of best-friends-of-the-hour, and they all drink from the mugs in front of them. He's cleaned himself up a little, freshly shaved and dress well-ish, in a black doublet with gold embroidery on the collar and cuffs. His sword remains at his side, though his boots now lack for spurs.
Justin returns to the Crane's Crossing after a slightly less fruitful day than he would have liked. Having a room here already he's not carrying any of his gear, his bow, quiver, saddle bags, armour and the like. He steps in now and once out of the way of the entry, takes his leisure to look around. Problem is, he doesn't know what the man looks like that he's trying to find. His gaze settles upon Jarod as a familiar face here, surrounded by several other men and up to his usual antics. Also cleaned up more than he's been lately, Justin wanders over to that table but stops short of it to lean a shoulder against a floor to ceiling post. He's in a good position to watch and listen without necessarily being noticed right off.
Jarod has a good meal in front of him as well as what appears to be decent ale. Pork and the boiled tubers that grow so well by the river. The conversation turns the matter of Lord Blackwood's visit to Stonebridge. Jarod more listens than talks now, but it's mostly idle chatter. His companions for the evening don't seem to know too much of depth about what the Lord Paramount's representation makes of things in town. As he listens, and works away at his dinner, Jarod's eyes wander to people-watching. It does take him a moment to spot Justin, but he does eventually. He catches his half-brother's eye, doing a double-take, but he doesn't offer a greeting right away. Some of his easy merriment fading.
As it happens, Justin is mostly watching Jarod, though with his hands hooked loosely into his sword belt and standing hipshot to lean against the thick, hand hewn oak post, he's also checking out what sort of people Jarod's keeping company with. Perhaps. Whatever the case, Justin seems comfortable enough to watch and listen for a time. He finally snags a passing serving girl and speaks low to her. She pauses to look around at all the faces gathered in here and makes a vaguely negative head motion. Justin frowns, let's go her arm to allow her to go on about what she was doing before his gaze returns to Jarod. When he sees his half brother watching himself in turn, Justin pushes off from the post to move closer, "Looks like you are getting along well enough. You hang out in here often?"
The men sharing Jarod's table look up at Justin curiously, though the general mood is jolly enough that he gets hearty greetings and offerings to join them. "Fellows," Jarod speaks up, for introduction purposes. "I present my lordly half-brother. One of them, at least. Lord Justin Terrick. Aye. Not doing so poorly as all that, I suppose." He idly scratches at his neck. Up close, it looks like someone bit him there. Though it has more the look of an act of pleasure than any attempt to penetrate his jugular. "Quite often, at the moment. It's not a bad place for a stop-over. You…looking for me?" He asks it half-hopefully. Though his greeting, for all the easy chatter, is half-tentative as well.
There's a pleasant nod for those at the table who bother to pay the introduction any mind. Even if some of them here might not be caring for the surname of his House. Ah, what the hell. Justin smiles easily enough at Jarod, "Why not? Among others. I was wondering when I didn't see your body hanging from Tordane Tower whether they had you skinned up at Hag's Mire but I thought if not, you'd likely show yourself at one of these public houses sooner than later." There is a glint of humor in his eyes, "You must be doing all right to afford to sup and make merry here, or is there special occation?" He does not pull out a chair to take a seat but he stands companionbly near by for ease of conversation.
While the Tordane guard perhaps raises an eyebrow at Justin's surname he makes no real comment on it, and the general mood remains a friendly one. Stonebridge was a Terrick vassalage not so long ago. As to Justin's words, Jarod laughs. "Lord Rickart hasn't taken my head just yet, no. The Naylands have been quite gracious to Rowenna and I, in fact." If that's said a little pointedly, it's probably not aimed at Justin in particular. "You got time to talk? Some of the more private tables are still free, but we'd best get one before the sun goes down proper."
Justin watches that Tordane guardsman some himself but he nods to Jarod, dropping his voice so not to carry well, "Of course they have. You might be useful to them, and if nothing else you are a shiny ornament to jab in our father's face. Yes, they'll be liking to keep you close." Sarcasm is in his baritone before Justin adds, "I do wish to speak with you - more privately than here." Far too many people crowded around this table and too much noise for the man who prefers quiet woodlands to loud halls.
The look Jarod gives Justin is level and less than appreciative of the sarcasm, but he nods and picks up his plate and mug. It's all hauled over to a more private corner table. The sort usually taken by nobles who want to canoodle with bought women for the evening in the shadows. But it works for family business as well. "Yes, the Naylands're are monsters, plainly," he says as he sits, sarcasm evident from him as well. "Rather than disowning the daughter who ran away, disguised herself as a boy, and scorned them for years, they've taken her back and are attempting to bring her into the fold again. Thank the gods Lord Jerold's not so awful as all that."
Quiet and uneasy, Katrin makes her way into the Inn, accompanied by her grim looking Septa. The woman does not look pleased of being out of bed but when the Lady insists. They look about for a table and gravitate toward one that might provide a bit more privacy.
Quietly the younger half brother follows the elder to the table that Jarod indicates. This time Justin pulls out a chair and takes a seat, setting his back to face the nearest wall so that he might have a good view of the rest of the room from where they are seated. Or at least folk can't be moving around behind his back - corners are useful that way. He tips a hand up to trail fingers beneath his jaw before he rests it on the back of his hand, "You give father some time, he'll likely do the same if you gave him the chance. But without ulterior motivations." Justin smiles faintly, "Acually, that /might/ be unfair of me. I don't really know the Naylands but I certainly don't trust them. And you'd be wise not to either."
The pair of women are brought hot tea and then the barmaid retreats to allow the Haigh her privacy. Katrin regards the people around her and then her Septa with silent eyes, waiting patiently.
"I hope he will," Jarod says, as to Lord Jerold, and he sounds truly sound it. "But I won't force Rowenna to alienate herself from her kin, either. I've no doubt Lord Rickart's good regard of her comes at a price. But perhaps, my lord brother, he might just have some love for his children as well. Just as our lord father does for us. I've dealt with the Naylands longer than you have, all the years you've spent at Riverrun. You may think me a fool, but I'm not. At least in that regard." He smirks, but it's a rueful expression, aimed mostly at himself. "Anyhow, buy some expensive drink on Nayland coin. While it still flows. I don't think Ser Rygar figured he'd be providing for us this long when he invited us to stay here 'in a manner befitting a Nayland.' I fully expect to be cut off at any moment!" He grins and takes a long drink from his mug.
A pair of women settling at the table next to them draws Justin's focus. He recognizes Katrin and if she looks his way he inclines his head politely to her though he does not stand to greet her properly this time. His attention is for his half brother. Justin listens then nods faintly, "Fair enough. I certainly don't begrudge him loving his daughter even if she made him very angry." He makes a dismissive gesture for that topic and leans back in his chair, "Actually, it's that familiarity with people around here that I wish to ask you about. I heard that Lord Kittridge was staying in Stonebridge and has a sister living here. Would you happen to know where he's staying, Jarod?"
Jarod and Justin are seated together at a table in a corner to speak in low voices. The Lady Katrin has taken up residence at the table next to them with her Septa.
In her wandering glances around the room, Katrin takes note of Justin and returns the inclination politely. She just sips at her tea and opens up a book that her Septa has carried in for her.
Jarod is sitting with Justin at a corner table. The sort often occupied by noblemen canoodling with the bought women at Crane's Crossing. Or for more private conversations, which they're having. It's settling into evening and the place is otherwise crowded, loud and merry, despite the uncertainty in the town itself. "The Groves man?" Jarod's brow furrows. "They live in Kingsgrove, just southwest of the Roost. That's where their seat is, at least. They might have Lady Rosanna here now, though. Stonebridge is a crossroads town, and she's of an age where they'll be wanting to make a match. Lots of prospects, even as things stand. If he is in town, and not here, he'd probably be at Tordane Tower." He looks over at Katrin, flashing her a quick grin, though most of his focus is on his half-brother.
Justin rolls his eyes up at the rafters, "I am not daft. I know where House Groves /is/, Jarod." Perhaps he /does/ remember something of their youth as rambunctious boys giving each other playful hell. He twists his mouth, "And I'll ride to Kingsgrove if I must, but his courier said he was here in Stonebridge." The third youngest of Jerold's legitamate sons resists the urdge to punch Jarod in the arm and steals his tankard of ale instead to taste of it before Justin adds, "Lovely. Tordane Tower isn't top of my list of most desireable places to go visiting."
Happy to stay where she is, Katrin just returns Jarod's smile though she leans closer to her Septa to murmur quietly, nodding her head in his direction. Seems she's trying to get at least a little bit of intel on the people around.
Kittridge enters from the street and heads straight to the bar, where he lingers, flirting with the barmaid as he chooses a pint and waits for it to be poured.
Kamron comes down the hallway from the rooms in the back, dressed in the mourning black of a scion of House Mallister. Rolling his neck slightly, he grins as his motion drags a pop from the base of his skull. Despite his illustrious last name, he gives a grin and a wink to the ladies of negotiable virtue at the back of the room, but he passes them by without stopping or even really slowing. He blinks as he spots the tall Groves knight surprise washing over his features for a long moment. A chuckle rises to his lips as he bends his path in that direction, hailing the man as he approaches, "Ser Kittridge… just the man I was looking for."
"Can we get another of these, sweetling?" Jarod calls, flagging down a passing serving maid and motioning to his tankard. "Actually, two more. Mine's getting low." Despite his semi-private table, it's in a decent location to people-watch the door. And he does manage to spot Kittridge Groves. He nudges Justin, pointing toward the lord flirting with the barmaid. "There's your quarry, my lord brother."
Of course Justin hasn't the slightest clue what Kittridge looks likeor even how old he might be, so even if he glances at the man's arrival nothing clicks. He finds Jarod's mug of ale to be slightly flat and mostly already empty so he frowns as he peers into it and sets it down, "It is probably better if I don't have your left overs. Thanks." From where he's seated, likewise mostly dressed in mourning black, Justin catches sight of Ser Kamron coming down the stairs. Jarod's nudge and words reach his ears even as the other is hailing someone at the bar. "Is it, now?" Instead of getting up right away, he watches Kamron going to great the other man so that Justin might study Kittridge.
Kittridge's flirting is idle, and he seems happy enough to give it up (at least temporarily) once his drink arrives. He takes a couple long drinks from his tankard, and begins to turn and lean back against the bar to survey the room when Kamron approaches. "Ho, Ser Kamron," he greets the Mallister with an easy smile, "Are you hunting bandits here in the very Crane, ser?" he jokes, "I will most certainly help you with that though I confess I've noticed not a one just yet. Except Sally," he hooks a thumb towards the strawberry blonde behind him and grins, "A bandit robbing men of their hearts left and right, that one, I tell you."
The tea is finished and after a few more quiet words, Katrin and her Septa rise after settling the tab. She tilts her head into a polite nod to both Jarod and Justin before slipping out into the night.
Kamron chuckles at the other knight's words, "Well, if you've found Sally the bandit, that's a good bit further than I've gotten thus far." He shakes his head ruefully, "The bandits around here don't seem particularly interested in coming out to meet with knights patrolling the roads." He leans side-long against the bar, shrugging his other shoulder lightly, "But a man's got to sleep, so I suppose that the hunt can wait until tomorrow." One eyebrow rises slightly, "Rumor has it you've been enjoying the swamps…" there's something a tiny bit tight about his voice, but his smile spreads and the tightness fades, "I've never been myself. I've heard they're actually quite nice to listen to."
"Let's go take our drinks at the bar, my brother!" Jarod says, finishing his tankard, bounding to his feet, and motioning for Justin to follow him. Not that he's slow to march up an approach Kamron and Kittridge. "Men of the Cape! Seagard and its fine sworn have invaded Stonebridge, and it's never looked finer!" The (nee?) Rivers knight is in good humor tonight, it seems. And he looks reasonably well-kept, freshly shaved and clothes seemingly laundered sometime in the past week. There's also something on his neck that looks suspiciously like he was bitten, but it doesn't look like the sort given in any lethal struggle.
Justin certainly didn't bite his half-brother on the neck, so don't look at him for an explanation. The nearly finished tankard is left behind in the hope of their new drinks to be intercepted at the bar as Jarod springs up to lead the way. Quieter, the dark haired Terrick gets himself up to follow, "As long as you are buying, I suppose I can't refuse." Someone else isn't nearly as boisterous of mood. Justin gives the Mallister a respectful nod, "Ser Kamron," and to Kittridge also, "Ser," though for now he says nothing more than that, a flick of his pale eyes to Kamron to see if introductions might be forth coming. Ah, and there's their two ales come out and set upon the bar. Excellant timing.
"Well, I will consider this portion of the hunt a success then, ser," says Kittridge, raising his tankard to Kamron in mock-salute. He drinks, nothing mock- about it, and then nods, "Aye, I've been to the Mire. I'd say I'm surprised you've never been, close as it is, but I suppose all this… feuding or what have you has prevented it. It's surprisingly pretty. Swampy. Lots of frogs." He nods, lifting his mug for another drink and repeating, "Lots of frogs." He drinks deeply and then looks up at Jarod and Justin's approch, greeting the bastard with a smile that's friendly enough. "Ser Jarod," he says, "I'm fairly certain it looked better when I and mine arrived some week past, and before you came to clutter the place up." It's an easy jest, and he follows it up by brushing a finger at the side of his neck, "I think you've got something… girl-teeth or something. On your neck."
Kamron grins as Jarod and Justin approach, responding, "Men of the Cape!" Laughter rises behind the words, and he reaches out to grasp the bastard's hand, "Looks like you're doing alright for yourself, Jarod." Justin gets a nod and a, "Lord Justin." Gesturing over to the Groves man, he provides brief introductions, "Ser Kittridge Groves, Lord Justin Terrick." Kittridge gets his attention then, "Lots of frogs and harpies." That gets a crooked grin, "And I'd beg to differ. While it may have looked quite spectacular when you arrived, Ser Kittridge, the addition of Mallisters, Terricks, Rivers, and Baneforts can only have improved the place." The words to Jarod draw a puzzled grin, and then when his eyes shift over the bastard's neck, a rising chuckle, "Did someone really object to your presence -that- much, Jarod, that they tried to take a bite out of you?"
"Well, Rickart Nayland's not given my head a toy to the children in the Mire yet," Jarod says wry to Kamron, catching the Mallister man's hand firm. "But the year is young, so I'm enjoying what life I've left." Kittridge comment earns a wink. "Lady likes it rough. Can't say I minded at the time." On this classy note, he gestures to Justin. "Lord Groves, my half-brother was looking for you. He's the one of us who doesn't bite. At least, he didn't as a child. Not sure what all he picked up at Riverrun. It can be a dodgy sort of place."
Kamron's question of Jarod brings amusement to Justin's eyes as well as his tone, "I don't think the biting was objectionable to him. I'd bet a stag he's got claw marks too - but I'd rather not temp him to drop his clothes to show us." Because Jarod might do it! There is a taste of his newly drawn ale, then he inclines his head to Kittridge, "Some of us have been hunting other things besides bandits and until now, they have been just as difficult to locate. A pleasure to finally meet you, Lord Kittridge. Kamron has spoken very well of you, Ser." Jarod's introduction of himself gains a sideways look from Justin, "Clearly you'd know all about dodgy, half brother." There's a faint smirk.
"Lies, Ser Kamron!" Kittridge objects, "Groves' are all you need!" He grins, and drinks, and then nods politely as Justin is introduced, "Ser Justin, a pleasure. Finally?" he lifts a brow, and laughs, "Have you been looking that long? I only just received a message from you this morning, I'd been gone to the Mire on business. Or have you just pined to make my aquaintance? There's no shame in it," he jokes, "Sers Jarod and Kamron can tell you, it's a common affliction. And unlike Ser Jarod's lady-who-may-not-be, I don't bite." He snickers, and drinks deeply and says, "Have you all got drinks? Have you? Next round, then. So! For what have you been seeking me then, sers?"
Kamron chortles at Justin's bet, "Please gods no…" Grinning over at Jarod, he adds, "And there's not a chance Jarod knows dodgy… he wouldn't get hit so often if he did." Nodding to Kittridge, he adds, "Actually, it's been a few days. Your Master Weir was by Four Eagles, and promised to let you know we were hoping to speak with you." The call to drinks draws a chuckle, and he raises his hand to the nearest of the serving women, "A full-bodied red, if you would." There's a laugh at the words that start to come to the woman's lips, and he adds, "Wine… not woman or song." Looking back to Kittridge, he sobers a bit, "A few matters, at least one that can be discussed freely here. If you could spare them, Four Eagles could use a couple of your scouts. Master Weir was talking them up, and we're having a mite of trouble finding those damnedable bandits."
"We all spent more time than any of us would care to think on together on the Iron Islands," Jarod says to Justin as he reaches for his new ale, gesturing the tankard to Kittridge and Kamron. "I've still got a few bottles of mead I took as my own conqueror's coin, by the by. Rather like the stuff." As for the claw marks, he just grins broad. But, thankfully, he does not take his shirt off to prove them right. He does settle in at the bar. An indeterminate amount of rounds of drinks have been promised, so he's sticking around for awhile.
Justin glances down at his spurless boots, then back to Kittridge, "Eh, not Ser … only Lord. I haven't the honor of having earned my spurs entirely yet." Yes, well, then he's quiet to listen to Kamron and Jarod. He has a fresh tankard in hand already and doesn't seem inclinded to quaff it quickly. When there's a pause, Justin interjects, "Actually, I have two things I would like to speak with you about, Lord Kittridge. But first I would let Ser Kamron bend your ear and find if you will be coming soon to the Roost." There is a glance to the other two, then back to Kittridge. It may be that Justin doesn't wish to speak of some things in a public house.
"Really? Well, my apologies, Lord Justin," Kittridge says, "I assumed wrong." He chuckles at Jarod and rolls his eyes, saying, "You're awfully smug for someone most think is either not really a man or fucking one, ser," he says without apparent malice. He takes a deep drink and looks between Kamron and Justin and sighs, "Spit it out, my lords! I'm not going to play guessing games with you, and no one here cares about your business, I bet you. If it's the bandits, they trouble everyone, and Raylan and Tommas and I will be happy to help as we can. If it's about a visit to the Roost I may head that way within the week and if it's about my house's surplus food stores, well, it's no secret that you'd dearly like them, nor that everyone else in the area would, either. So if we're going to talk let's get another round and talk, aye? Otherwise Sally here has promised to take me to bed and sell me a bridge and a bit of Dornish coastline."
"We can take this to one of our rooms if you don't want to speak in the bar, my lords," Jarod says. "Preferably not mine, though I'm happy enough to bring my mead." For his part, he's perfectly happy to quaff his ale. Though his merriment dims some at the talk of bandits on Terrick lands. "Have they troubled the town much?" To Kittridge, he shrugs. "I'm curious what all new nick-names I've acquired from the whole disaster. I knew what I was doing, though, and I'll lump it. Besides, her family's not been overly harsh with us…yet. They're paying for our lodgings. And, like I said, my head's still attached for the moment. I'm not counting on that lasting, so I'll enjoy it while I can."
Kamron makes a face at Jarod's mention of the mead, "That squid's-piss? Eugh. Tastes like honey that's been three times through a horse." He shakes his head at Jarod, "They haven't trouble the town, just the roads, so far." Kittridge's slashing through the bushes they had all been beating around draws a rueful shake of his head, "The bandits are my first concern, but you're right, Ser Kittridge. I'm sure that Lord Mallister has already sent someone to speak with you about stores of food and wood, but House Terrick could definitely use them." He looks over to Justin a moment, then shrugs slightly, "You're right that it's no secret that House Terrick would like those supplies, but the cost they're willing to pay might be important information."
"No," Justin says firmly to Jarod's question of bandits bothering the Roost directly, "Nothing more than a single wagon gone missing on it's way from Stonebridge. However, it's best stopped there before it might spread." Yes, a nice firm foot on the neck of that rumor. Justin thins his mouth, hearing Ser Kamron out before he gives Kittridge reply, "Indeed, while most of the others don't actually /need/ the food and supplies and only wish to buy the up to sell them to us at some unGodly blackmail prices. Or withhold them utterly to see if they can't starve us for their amusement and gain, Ser." Bolder, Justin's tone drops a little icy, "The Naylands would love nothing more than not to stop with taking Stonebridge. And if they could take the Roost, what then would stop them from adding up wealth and power enough to gobble up other smaller houses?" This is certainly /not/ the place he would care to discuss such matters. Justin checks himself with a frown, "Indeed, my father wishes to speak with you himself upon the matter. I am not authorized to be making offers in any specific, Lord Kittridge. I would ask you come back with us to Four Eagles Tower that a proper offer might be negotiated."
Kittridge chuckles at Jarod, and then at the others, and drains the rest of his ale, saying, "Well, I am getting myself another round, even if you gentlemen are not interested. I feel I'll need it if we're to all grow serious." He orders a pint and waits til he's collected it before nodding, "Aye, I know you want it. You know you want it. Everyone knows that. We all also know you can't pay coin for it for you haven't any," he points out, either a bit drunk or just blunt or both. "All the same, I've plans to travel to the Roost at some point in the next week, and I'll speak with Lord Jerold or Young Lord Jacsen about it then if it please them. We would hear your offer, whatever the circumstances."
"I'm a man of strange tastes, Ser Kamron. All the Riverlands knows that," Jarod says with a chuckle. Still, he's happy enough with his Riverlands ale just now. To Kittridge he says, "Lord Justin's right this isn't the proper place for such discussions, but if you come it won't be entirely without incentive for you. Lord Patrek promised us he'd buy the Banefort war galley once the war was over and Seagard had more room with its coin, and the Roost should have that in its coffers soon enough. And Lord Rogr Harlaw paid a dear ransom for his son, Ser Harras. We don't ask for charity, my lord, is all I mean to say. Only a chance to make a fair offer as we can." He still uses the 'we' passionately and naturally, outcast Terrick Rivers or not. "For now, though, I'll settle for another round. Let's toast the Cape!"
Kamron gets his own goblet of wine, raising it up slightly in thanks to the woman who delivers it, and then to Kittridge. He takes a sip, hiding a grimace at the truths the Groves man speaks with the rim of the goblet. "House Mallister would never ask House Groves to beggar themselves. Not even for the sake of their fellow bannerhouses." The words are obviously meant to be reassuring, calming as he gestures to Jarod and his words and then glances over to Justin, making a likewise soothing gesture with his left hand, "Easy, Lord Justin. This is not the place to make a scene. Ser Kittridge has said that he'll come speak with your father and brother in Four Eagles. That can be the end of it for now." Looking back to Kittridge, he adds, "Good men like yourself, Master Weir, and Tommas," whoever that is, "would be exceptionally helpful in hunting down the bandits."
Justin's temper did flare a little, so many ill things having befallen his house in a very short time. Not a good home coming. He draws a slow breath and takes a long drink of his ale, not looking much pleased before he nods to what is said. "I appreciate your bluntness, Lord Kittridge, even if the truth of it isn't pretty. Funds are being gathered and if they aren't enough, there are other things." Quieter, calmer. How did his ale suddenly disappear from his mug? Justin steps over to have his tankard refilled, falling quiet to listen to the others' discussion.
Kittridge smiles crookedly at the trio, and drinks. "Aye, not for charity or to beggar ourselves," he says, mug still hovering just below his chin, tone a bit dry despite the drink, "Just to take less than we could get elsewhere out the goodness of our hearts from houses who've looked down their nose at us for years," he says, "And have profited from our misfortunes in their time and not given it a second thought." He snorts, and drinks, and nods, "Aye, sers, I will come to the Roost, and I will hear your offer, and bring it to my father, who will consider it more fairly than I might. As for the bandits, you'll have myself and Rayland and Ser Tommas if I can spare him from my sister's retinue here. We'll do what we can, we've more experience in the woods than most of yours are like to, I expect."
"The men of the Roost know our own land, Ser, no insult was given to yours and none deserved to ours," Jarod says, prickling some himself at that. He huffs out a breath. "Your aid with the bandit's is appreciated, whatever comes of the rest. I'd like to have thought, after all of us bled together on the Isles, these petty squabbles'd mean less back on River soil. Ser Gedeon and Ser Rygar proved that wrong well before this, though. Least nobody's gotten stabbed in the neck."
Justin shifts his jaw at that comment about experience in the woodlands. He says not a word, also not commenting about those who bled on the isles, or who didn't. The young Terrick lifts his eyes to look to Kamron, something there unsaid. Justin doesn't ask the second thing he had mentioned to Kittridge. Instead he looks tired and sips of his ale with a frown, listening to the more experienced men around him.
Kamron clenches his jaw against Kittridge's accusations, but he doesn't deny them or try to explain them away. Instead, he takes another sip of his wine, then sets down the goblet. "There have been disagreement between our houses before. yes, Ser Kittridge. But since then, we've seen battle alongside one another. No, the Terricks and the Mallisters cannot pay as much…" Making a dismissive gesture again, he grimaces, "But that's talk for Lord Terrick or Young Lord Jacsen, not for me." He chuckles softly, "I was just supposed to get you to talk to them, and to see if you wanted in on some bandit hunting." Picking up his wine again, he adds, "And maybe drink and talk about happier times, like bloody Pyke. And drinking with Good King Robert."
"The Naylands have seen battle beside us as well, sers," Kittridge points out, "And bled and died with us just the same. If we're to put petty squabbles aside now we're all brothers in arms, then let's put them all aside, not just the ones on this side of the river. But as you say, that's talk for the Lords of the Roost." He drinks again and adds, "And Ser Jarod, if I take you right that I gave offense about saying we know the woods better, I apologize. Surely your men know your land, I just meant that ours has a good deal more trees on it, and if in the trees is where the buggers are hiding, perhaps we'll be able to be of help. Either way we'll be happy to ride with you." He drinks again, more deeply, and smiles crookedly at Kamron, "I can imagine you would want to think on that, Ser Kamron, it was a moment of glory for you. For my part, I'd rather not think on Pyke again so 'long as I live."
"If your House still smarts over how the Rebellion shook out, Ser, perhaps you can redress those with Lord Jerold and the Mallisters at the Roost as well," Jarod says. Kit's apology about his woodland skills, however, seems to relax him again. "Some jackass from the North was offering to 'teach' our smallfolk to hunt not long ago, Ser. Like some assholes who just wandered down from the Wall's going to know where to find game better than men who grew up hunting Roost woods. If that wasn't your meaning, no harm done. Wouldn't mind seeing who could bag the bigger deer between us. We did talk of hunting, back on Groves soil."
This lord of the Roost, too young and recently returned home to have any real authority in his House's matters, has taken up leaning against the bar. Justin sips of his drink, chilling out as he pays attention to what is being said. "Whatever you did do upon Pyke, Ser Kittridge, you impressed Ser Kamron enough to speak well of you. If you have earned a measure of his respect, he has certainly been earning a measure of mine. To join our hunt is much appreciated."
Kamron nods at Kittridge's point, "We're not the ones trying to starve anyone out." Shaking off his pique, he finishes off his wine and gestures for a refill, shrugging helplessly and mock-humbly at Kittridge, "I like to relive good memories, Ser Kittridge, even if they hurt like fuck." He chuckles over at Justin, "Doesn't have to be -our- hunt just because we got to it first. Hells, I would even appreciate the help of the Stonebridge guards, since we're on the subject." His chuckles rise to laughter, "Not that I'm going to ask for it, mind you. I do have my pride."
Kittridge laughs at Jarod's story, brows rising, "Really? That'd stupid. No, Ser Jarod, I promise you, I believe your people know how to hunt and fish already." He snickers about that some more, and drinks again before inclining his head to Justin, including Kamron in the gesture, "Well, I thank Ser Kamron for whatever good stories he has spread about me, of course. I did my best to bring honor on my house if I succeeded at all, I am pleased to hear others think so. But as for the bandits, I'm sure with enough manpower they'll be rooted out eventually. What have you been able to learn of them so far?"
"Ser Bruce Longbough might just be interested in getting a piece of that," Jarod says, when Kamron mentions including the Stonebridge men. "He and I were speaking on the need for closer ties in matters of security between the central Riverlands right here, just the other night. I could ask if you like, Ser Kamron. I think my recent actions have proven pretty surely I have no shame." To Kit, he barks a short laugh and nods. "Aye, swear true it happened, right to Lady Anais. I'm surprised he didn't offer to teach us how to lace our boots. I guess he meant well but…bit of an ass, that one." As for what's been learned of the bandits, he nurses his latest drink and falls quiet to listen to this. He wants to know, too.
Ah, at Kittridge's last question, Justin shifts his weight where he leans against the bar. He takes another drink, considering what answer he would give by reply. How much to say. "There's rumor of a few scattered Ironborn basing out of the Tall Oaks area, but no confirmed sightings. Probably only the frightened musings of smallfolk. I hoped to take a group north to go and scout to see if we can find any sign, if the Lady Liliana gives her permission of course." Justin looks to Jarod at mention of a man he doesn't know, then a flick of his gaze to Ser Kamron before he continues, "I've already been scouting between Stonebridge and the Roost with a good hunter to aid me. We've found some … interesting goings on I have set him to watch while I am here. But we have found no concrete evidence of bandits, as yet." His baritone is pitched low in volume so not to carry far, perhaps as a man accustomed to woodlands himself might. "There's a plan we can discuss further in private once you come west, Ser."
Kamron nods to Kittridge, "The Groves men all did themselves proud." As the other man focuses in on the bandits, Kamron grimaces, "Very little." He gestures over to Justin, letting him take that line of questioning. Looking over to Jarod, he adds to Justin, "Ser Bruce is a good man. Solid, if a bit pragmatic." That last isn't entirely a compliment, but neither is it an insult. He nods slightly to Justin, then looks back to Kittridge, "The problem isn't going to be smashing them… it's finding them, Ser Kittridge. They don't strike when there are armed men on the roads, at least not in any force. So we're likely to have to find them and hit them wherever they are." He takes another sip of his wine, "No sense working out a plan at a bar, of course."
Kittridge chuckles at Jarod, and shakes his head, "Yeah, I can't say I came away with muching liking for their leader, though I met the… squire, I guess? Eyefer?" he mangles the name and shrugs, "Seemed nice enough." He shrugs, and then listens to Justin and Kamron and nods, that directed at the Mallister deferentially grateful for the compliment before he moves on. "Well, maybe best we try to make them find us instead then," he suggests, "but as you said, that's a discussion for another time and place. For now, I'd best be going. Pleasure speaking with you, gentlement, I am sure we will do so again soon. Enjoy the rest of your evening, all of you." He puts some coins on the bar, lifts a hand in farewell, and exits.
Liss comes in from the kitchen, and looks around the room, curiously, examining her new home/employment. She notes the well-dressed men, but doesn't approach them, quite yet. Her bare feet pad across the floor, and she automatically begins tidying, gathering up abandoned cups and napkins and bowls, and carrying them back to be washed. Taverns are taverns, the world over, and the job is the same, wherever you go.
Justin finishes his drink and sets the empty tankard on the bar as the group begins to break up, "Thank you, Lord Kittridge. Good night." He gives also a nod to Jarod as his half brother departs before he looks to Ser Kamron, "Thank you also, Ser. I know … little or nothing of politics. I should not have gotten warm." Justin skims a hand through his dark hair, "I should retire for the evening myself." So he pushes himself from the bar to do so, though he glances to the serving girl come to collect their empty cups.
Kamron nods to Kittridge as the man moves to leave, "Enjoy your evening, Ser Kittridge. I'll see you at the Roost whenever you make it." Looking back to Justin and Jarod, he nods to the half-brother with the Terrick name, draining off the last of his second cup and waiting until the Groves man has fully left the inn, "Oh, I wanted to punch him in the throat. But we do need the supplies." Evidently, he's spent enough time at the Roost already that he considers himself part of the 'we.' Or he just takes oaths of fealty seriously. "I think I'll follow shortly myself. Might take a walk down to the river first. Sleep well."