|Blonds and Brews|
|Summary:||Gedeon and Raffton each learn a bit more about the other.|
|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.|
|1 November 288|
There's a trip to Riverrun in the works, though not for another pair of days, yet. If there's packing and planning to be done, that still doesn't leave the evenings so very full. The blond knight of Oldstones has taken a bit of free time and found a use for it at the Rockcliff. He sits alone, presently, enjoying a light meal and a mug of ale, his blue gaze drifting around the room as he observes the other patrons present with laconic interest.
There are not so many blonds in the Roost that the two don't stand out - two now, anyway, as Raffton enters the inn. He does so alone, and quietly, as is his wont, lingering just inside the door and looking for a seat, eyeing up the patrons at each table before he picks one. He ends up at Gedeon's table in the end, though whether that is because he chose the bastard knight as company or just chose to avoid all the other patrons isn't clear. He doesn't really say hello, just sits down and waits patiently for a bar maid to get to him.
If Raffton isn't one for greetings, Gedeon offers a congenial, "Evening," at least for the other man at his table. And then, he even goes so far as to dare a, "Did the day treat you well?"
Raffton glances up at the greeting, and jerks his chin in return, saying, "Evening." The additional words earns him a nod and a shrug, "Well enough." There is a pause before he adds, "You?"
Gedeon smiles faintly before he shrugs. "Well enough," he returns. "Better, now that I've food and drink in front of me and a pleasant view." He gaze drifts towards the bar where a rather appealing maid is pouring drinks.
"Always helps," Raffton agrees with a brief nod. He glances over his shoulder at the maid in question and gives another little nod. "Good luck," he says as he turns back, adding, still in a slightly mumbley sort of tone, "Tayna's real picky."
"Is she?" Gedeon asks. "Good to know. Maybe I'll just enjoy watching, then. Not sure I'm up for heroic attempts at wooing just this evening." As Raffton's mumbling doesn't seem to have worked, Gedeon lifts a hand to flag a waitress over. As Gedeon's plate his full and his mug half so, she blinks expectantly at Raffton and offers a chip-toothed smile.
"Yeah, she's better for that," Raffton offers with a nod. He smiles a little at the waitress who comes over, and orders a bowl of stew and a pint of cheap ale, thanking her before sitting back again.
She flits off to fetch his meal, and Gedeon rests his chin in his palm. "You've been at the Roost… how long, now? Must've come while I was away, I think."
Raffton sits, glancing down at scarred, work-rough hands, picking absently at his nails. He shrugs a bit at the question, replying, "Coming on twelve years, now, I guess. You were around."
"Yeah?" Gedeon asks, squinting a little as if trying to work though old memories and pull any of Raffton out of the mess. "Twelve years ago, I wouldn't have seen the Roost, yet, but I suppose, when I came, you would have been there. I'm sorry, I thought I would have remembered another tow-headed lad."
Raffton shrugs, shaking his head a bit, "More grown than lad when you got here. Short hair, too," he says, scratching at his head as if in memory. His ale arrives and he takes a drink, and then adds, "Think I was still working with the gardeners then maybe."
"From gardener to guard, eh?" Gedeon asks, smiling again. H pauses to have another swallow of his drink before canting his head a little to the side. "Pretty different professions, those."
Raffton shrugs again, saying, "Worked a lot of random things. Scullery. Laundry. Lichyard. Stables. Do what needs doing." He drinks some more, and scratches at his chin, lightly bearded as it is, and shrugs once more, "Think I'll stick with guarding, if'n they'll let me."
It's a curious list of duties to be sure, and Gedeon's brows furrow a little. "If you're doing the job well, why wouldn't they let you?" he asks, quietly perplexed.
Raffton shrugs. "Up to them, isn't it?" he replies, "Might decide they don't like the idea after all. Their choice, can do what they like with their guard. Couldn't really blame them much. Wasn't a choice many folks would've made t'begin with."
Something in the way Raffton speaks gives Gedeon pause, and he taps his fingers lightly against the table. "I think," he says, slowly and thoughtfully, "there's a piece of this story that I'm missing. What choice was made, that some others would't have made?"
Raffton frowns a bit, like he's confused about Gedeon's confusion. "Making me a guard," he says, as if this is obvious.
"Well, yes, I suppose it's the Lord's choice, who becomes his guard, though I assume he picked the men best at fighting and defending…" Gedeon asks, brows lifting in query. "Why's it such a question, in your case?"
Raffton flicks a look towards Gedeon and leaves it there for a long, weighing moment, pale brows drawn together. "'m not from here," he says finally, still looking both skeptically and significantly at the knight. Get it yet? How about now?
Gedeon peers back, blinking slowly. And then the *click* is nearly audible as his eyes widen a touch. "Ah," he murmurs. There's another beat of silence before he says, "Can I ask… how that happened?"
Raffton scratches at his jaw, and turns back to his tankard, taking a long drink. He's silent for a while even after he swallows, and finally shrugs. "Was too slow."
One brow twitches upwards as Gedeon considers that. "Suppose it happens," he muses. "Miss," he flags a waitress over, "Another round for both of us, thanks."
Raffton shrugs a bit more, glancing over as Gedeon orders for him and giving a curt nod of thanks. "Doesn't happen much they let you live," he says, "Let you have a life."
"No, it doesn't much. If it would happen anywhere, though, I suppose it would be Terrick's Roost. Lord Jerold has a humbling sense of honor and justice." Gedeon lifts his own mug to swallow down the last in preparation for the next round with is plunked down before the both of them a minute later.
Raffton nods in agreement and lifts his mug in a sort-of-toast as he says, "Aye." He drains the last of his ale, and then turns to the next, picking it up and mumbling, "Thanks," just before he takes a sip. "'s a good man, Lord Ser Jerold," he offers after he drink.
"That he is," Gedeon agrees, lifting his own mug in a similar salute to the man. He takes a swallow, considering. "You ever miss it, though? Your home?"
Raffton frowns a little more at this question, and again takes his time in answering. Eventually his shoulders rise and fall once more. "Don't remember too much," he admits, "Did at the beginning. Better t'be glad for what I've been given. So guess this's home now."
Gedeon nods. "That seems fair enough," he agrees. He's content, for a little while and the rest of this second mug to watch the patrons and let Raffton finish most of his meal in peace. "I've always been a little curious about the Iron Islands," he says at length, though. "So many tales fly around about them, but you can never tell what's true and what's just a ghost story."
Raffton scratches at his jaw again, ruffling the scruff of his short beard. Nowhere near as long as those his countrymen sport, a much more common length for the Riverlands, and about the only thing that keeps him from looking Gedeon's age or younger. He drinks again, and shrugs. "People say a lot of things," he says, "None of them been there, far as I know."
"I wouldn't think so," Gedeon agrees, "as most of the stories seem to agree the residents of the Iron Isles don't take very kindly to guests."
"Don't get many. Maybe 're just not used to 'em," Raffton says, lips curving in a brief smile at the joke.
Gedeon huffs a faint laugh. "That must be it," he agrees. "We should send a whole boat over. I'm sure, with practice, they'll enjoy playing host to Riverlanders."
Raffton snorts into his ale and drinks deeply, nodding, "Sure that's all that's missing." He drinks again, still chuckling a little, and finally shrugs. "Don't know it'd go so well, t'be honest. 's different here. Not so much as folks say, maybe, but… some."
"How so, different?" Gedeon asks, mild but curious. He has another swallow from his own mug.
"Harder," Raffton says, drinking deeply once again, "Can't grow much. No beasts pulling the plows, like here. No gold in the mines like the West. Never going t'be much wealth t'go round. Harder work, scraping by."
"And why they 'reach out' so often to their neighbors, I guess," Gedeon opines. He meets Raffton gulp for gulp, considering as he sets the mug back down. "You must have only been a boy when you came here. Do they start their warriors so young?"
"Three and ten or so," Raffton shrugs, "Start your warriors here earlier than that, I've seen squires shorter than their master's sword."
"That's so, though barring war, they're not usually sent into battle so small. Though I suppose, barring war, there's no battle to be sent into." Gedeon smirks faintly for that, "so, you've a point."
"'nother reason this place is… easier," Raffton says, "Folks call it soft. Guess I don't disagree."
"It's different than Braavos," Gedeon agrees with a small shrug, "and perhaps, not needing to draw one's sword daily allows a certain sort of complacency. But it makes other things possible, too. Things I missed while I was away."
"Like what?" Raffton asks, drinking again, glancing over at Gedeon.
"Tournaments, dances, the sort of things you can bother with when trying to stay alive and fed doesn't fill your every waking hour. Indolence, I suppose."
Raffton nods a bit, thinking on that, his expression somewhat contemplative as he drinks. Near to draining his tankard, he turns and makes a gesture to one of the girls, ordering another round with a twirl of his finger. He turns back to bob his head, saying, "Yeah, 's true. Not like nobody does stuff for fun on the isles, 's not all work or fighting, but there's more of it here. Just… time t'do as y'please and no worry about it."
Gedeon nods in agreement, finishing his second tankard and setting it down beside the empty first."What sort of things do they do for fun on the isles?"
"Same sorts of things people do everywhere, I guess," Raffton says, with a heave of broad shoulders, "Drink. Dance. Sing. Play games. Just people, you know," he says with a brief, rueful sort of a chuckle and a shake of his head, "All just people."
"Guess that's so. All just people, but we still find reasons to jab at one another with pointy sticks. Ah, thanks luv." This for the barmaid who sets down the fresh mugs for each of them. "Suppose that's another commonality."
"That's just people, too," Raffton says with a bit of a snort. He offers a bit of a smile to the barmaid, and takes a drink of his ale, nodding. "Guess… guess some folks do it more'n others, but…" he gestures around, "Seems like people here're close enough to stabbing each other, for all their civilizing."
"I think civilizing is mostly just color on the walls," Gedeon says as he picks up his fresh mug and has a small gulp. "Still walls beneath it, though, no matter how they're painted."
Raffton nods along a little, drinking and listening and nodding. "Never thought of it like that," he says, "But yeah. Guess so. Paint anything you want on your shield, all the same underneath. Dent just the same."
"People dent, too," Gedeon says around a small (and perhaps just slightly inebriated) smile, "however they paint themselves."
Raffton snorts and nods, "They do. Bleed just the same. Kid once…" he shakes his head a bit and drinks, then shakes it again, laughing a little, "'s disappointed when he discovered I didn't really bleed seawater."
Gedeon had a mouth full of ale and he snrks, near choking on it before he manages to swallow it down around a few sputtery coughs. "I admit, hadn't heard that one before. Do you call the winds when you sneeze, too?"
Raffton smiles a bit more at the choking, and drinks deep, then snorts and shakes his head at the question. "I did once. Can't anymore. Sorry to disappoint."
"Shame," the other blond man says. "Suppose the Riverlands have made you soft the way everyone warned they would. Blood in your veins, no power over the wind. What next, I wonder?"
"Next I'll start farmin' or something," Raffton says dryly even as he raises his tankard to wet his throat again, "Marry some Riverlands girl and trade in my sword for an ox."
"If you try swinging an ox about, they'll definitely remove you from the guard," Gedeon opines as somberly as a man with two and a half pints of ale in him might. "Crying shame."
It is Raffton's turn to snort and cover his face, narrowly avoiding shooting strong ale out his nose. Not that that stops him from taking another gulp. "I heard somebody say once they put dead cows in the, umm…" he gestures, looking for the word, making a flipping sort of motion with his hand, "The, uhh… the catapault things. Siege things."
"Trebuchets," Gedeon says. "Only after we run out of boulders and dead horses. That's a lot of beef and leather wasted to flatten a few attackers."
Raffton snorts. "Shame to waste that," he agrees, dragging a spoon through the thin sheen of grease clinging to what was a bowl of beef stew. He sets it back down, and drinks again, saying, "Never seen one of them used. Dunno if they're around somewhere at the Roost or no. Maybe only for bigger castles."
"Good question, don't really know the answer, either," Gedeon replies with a small shrug. He watches Raffton drag his spoon through the grease and nudges the remains of his own meal a bit away from himself before having another gulp of ale. "Ser Jarod would be able to tell you, though."
Raffton nods. "Guess he would," he says, "Maybe I'll ask." He doesn't seem overly concerned about it, drinking again, and then scratching his head, running a hand through his hair, "Guess I should be going. Watch in the morning."
Gedeon nods. "All right, then. I'm glad you sat here. We should do this again, sometime."
Raffton drains the rest of his ale, and after a brief pause, nods. "Maybe so," he says, with a bit of a smile, friendly for all it's not very big. "Good evening to ya, Ser Gedeon." He gives a little mock salute as he rises.
Gedeon laughs for that, leaning back in his own seat. "Evening, then, Master Raffton. Until next time." He lifts the remains of his ale towards the other man before finishing it off.