|Briefings and Interuptions|
|Summary:||Justin and Mortimer catch up on various investigations. Keenan helps.|
|Related Logs:||Missing children saga. Who shot Dania saga.|
|Justin's Home, Terrick's Roost|
|A small room out behind a crafter's cottage in town. There's also a vegitable garden.|
|Wed Nov 28, 289|
It may surprise Mortimer to learn that the Lord Sheriff rents a single room out behind a crafter's cottage in town, near the Sept. It's not a very nice place but not a dump either - merely average for a poor family. The coin Justin pays them for the spare room goes a long way to helping that family out who's son was killed by the Ironborn and who's wife has several children to feed.
When Mort arrives, Justin has the door open to get in fresh air and light. He's seated outside facing the tiny vegetable garden out behind the ramshackle building, cleaning and oiling the pair of boots he finally had to break down and have made to replace his old, worn out pair. His maile and plate dully gleam, freshly cleaned and oiled as well for it's a rare day Justin is not out riding or walking somewhere to try and find out more about the missing children issue. Not that he's has as much luck as Mortimer, perhaps. The Terrick knight gets himself up out of the old chair once Justin has pulled his boot on, then selects his sword belt to oil next. It's obvious that he hasn't managed to take the time to snag a page or squire, yet.
Oddly enough, Mortimer has known where Justin is renting since just after he moved there, but then that's a side effect of being on speaking terms with most of the towns folk. Still, it's not information that he's abused, nor spread, figuring that if Justin wants everyone to know where he is then he can tell them himself.
Making his way to the cottage in question he's aware that he's a little late, but is hoping that the Lord Sheriff will forgive him without too much complaint. Rounding the final corner he spots the younger man at work and slows his pace a little so his approach can be heard before he's right on top of him. A simply "m'lord" is given in greeting, along with a nod.
Justin has retaken his seat, the belt laid out over his lap. He's removed his sword which is still the same rust pitted pathetic hand me down he got somewhere or another as a Squire and not yet been able to afford to replace. Nor apparently did his father see fit to make certain his son had anything better. Justin nonetheless takes the best possible care of the blade to make it last. For the moment he's putting his time and attention into the leather of the scabbard and belt, rubbing them down carefully with the oily rag. He glances up as his very hard working Deputy arrives.
"Mortimer… I've heard a tid bit here and there that makes me think you've stumbled upon some leads? Or is it only the rumors of mythical huntsmen I heard something or another about from old women gossiping in the market?"
It's evening and the Sheriff is sitting in a chair out behind a crafter's home. Ramshackle, the building has a small vegetable garden behind it and a spare room that is rented to Justin. The door has been left open to air it out as the Terrick cleans his armour and oils his leather goods. The interior is poor and spare, a bed, trunk, small desk - but it's enough for one man who doesn't spend much time here anyway.
"Aye m'lord," Mortimer replies briefly, "there's a fair bit to tell if you have the time," and assuming nothing else occurs to draw one of the other of them away at a moment's notice. A quick cast of his eyes is given around, ensuring that there's no unwelcome ears wagging and then he asks, "where were we up to when we last spoke? It was when we just had the lad's account? Of the woman in the trees?" He thinks that's it, but doesn't want to waste vast amounts of time by retelling what's already known, so he waits for a confirmation from Justin before continuing.
Ambling into Justin Terrick's office is his cousin - Keenan Terrick has the mien of a big city dandy but the practical edge of a cutthroat merchantalist. Astoundingly well dressed by Roost standards he mops up sweat from his brow with an embroidered handkerchief as he saunters in. "Cousin," he says without fully introducing himself to Justin, "And master Trevelyan - interesting events afoot as I understand it?"
"Aye," Justin replies, finishing with oiling his belt. He stands to buckle and settle it back around his hips, part of the arming belt hanging down at an angle on his left side for the long blade's scabbard. Unlike his cousin, this Terrick looks down right shabby with his thin beard scruff, fading scars on his face, the slowly increasing thread bare condition of his black surcoat, shirt and pants. Justin is long overdue to have new clothes made but at least he got his worn out boots replaced with a new pair.
Actually standing outside of the place he rents to sleep (not nearly passing as an office), Justin eyes the new arrival to study Keenan. Whom surely he's seen at a distance if not actually met, yet. His grey eyes roam over the dandy before he gives Keenan a nod, trying not to frown. He doesn't look particularly friendly.
To Mortimer, Justin lifts his chin, "That is what you told me last. Since then I have been hearing about … a Spirit called the Hunter? Has anyone actually seen it?" No, Justin isn't quite answering his cousin's question.
Mortimer turns as another set of footsteps are heard, recognising the young lord easily enough as he approaches. Stepping back a little to allow him into the conversation he offers a respectful nod in greeting, along with the usual "m'Lord."
Attention back on Justin he nods his understanding then takes a moment to work out where to begin. Keenan may already know most of this, but he does his best to address the pair of them all the same. "The Hunter? Aye, we've a lad over from Highfield who claims to have. He's been listenin' to a few of the old stories if you ask me, but he definitely saw whatever it is that is currently going around calling himself that at the moment. Reckons he's a Child of the Forest or some such." Letting his hands rest easily on his belt he goes back to his own story then. "Anyway, I went and had a poke at where the lad said he'd seen the weeping woman. Tracks were a bit odd, but easy enough to follow. Took a few hours but eventually they lead t' one of the abandoned cottages the Ironmen burnt." He pauses there a moment, grimacing slightly at the memory and pondering how best to proceed.
Keenan uninvite sits down anyway, "A child of the forest now - no top of half wolf chainmail covered beasts and weeping madwomen? Who said the Roost was dull? Poor, dirty, remote, but certainly not dull…" Keenan remarks pouring himself a goblet of wine from a skin he has brought with him.
The only chair out here in the vegetable garden behind the cottage is … Justin's, which he happened to stand up from to buckle his belt back on and stepped away to address Mortimer. He eyes Keenan for taking his only chair and pulling out a goblet from who knows where to pour himself some wine. Justin's maile halburk lays over his chest he had dragged out, his steel breastplate laid to prop up against it, both also repaired and oiled as best he might. They don't much gleam through, darkened to a smokey grey that is almost, but not quite black.
Jerold's son looks back to Mortimer and lifts a dark brow, "A lad from Highfield? Not the missing girl's brother then." Justin tosses his oiling rag to the trunk and picks up his pitted sword to sheath it - hopefully before his cousin took any notice of how pathetic it's condition. It can still kill a man in hands that know how to use it and that'll have to be good enough, for now.
"What did you find there, Mortimer?" Justin prompts his Deputy.
"If there's any Children of the Forest left in these times then they're up north of the wall," Mortimer states to Keenan, trying hard to keep his tone light and neutral, rather than slipping into 'remind the youngsters of stuff they should know but seem to be forgetting' tones. "The tales are well enough known for people to think to use them as cover if they want to be left alone, that or they’re a few removes short of a feast and reckon they are them. Not the same as being them though."
Justin's initial question is met with a brief shake of his head, "one of their squires apparently, he's been looking into a couple of missing kids from there, a lass and a young lad. Came here so we could combine efforts and such." That clarified he takes a deep breath and exhales slowly before continuing. "A body m'Lord, freshly dead. Young lass of fourteen or such. I was.. seeing to her when there was this weird singing out in the trees and a woman, matching Inna's brother's description appeared. Said she was looking for her children. I tried to get her to come back here with me, told about the orphans and that she should come see if her's were amongst them." He pauses there again, glancing briefly to the floor, "begging pardon if that might have put them in danger, but I had to try."
As for the children of the forest, "If they ever existed at all you mean." Continuing Keenan says, "You might be forgetting the bit about the dogs she had and how she wanted them to use you as a chew toy master Trevelyan - and the interesting breed that they were - apparently growing mail off their backs." Having poured his wine and usurped his cousins only chair Keenan stands with his drink - reversing the usurpation.
Justin was about to pointedly /ask/ Mortimer why he didn't just take the woman under arrest and force her to return with them for questioning - when Keenan helpfully supplies some additional details lacking in the tale. "Dogs? Wearing chain maile?" Yes, Justin gives Mortimer one of /those/ looks like I better hear more.
If Keenan wasn't a Terrick, he'd have got a stern glance for that, Mortimer had been working through things chronologically and that bit was next. Still, nothing to be done for it now and he half nods, half shrugs to Justin. "Looked more like wolves, but aye, they had patches of mail m'Lord. Four of 'em. Once she failed to respond to what I was saying they slipped out of the trees an'all. She told me I was wasting my time, the 'he', who she later names as said Hunter, was taking the children for her, and that the parents had to feel the same pain she had. Said she'd killed the girl I found there because she didn't know where her, the woman's that is, children were." Keenan is giving a brief look to indicate that he's getting there, then he finishes. "She started to leave an' I went to follow. Wasn't going to let her just slip back into the trees. Only two of her beasts decided they didn't like the idea of that. I got one of them but the other got me as it were and ended up being the best I could do to get myself and the lass back here."
"And so you see Lord Sheriff we have a classic dark storybook scenario with murderers and wolves and mystery. If someone hasn't done so already it should be transcribed for posterity." Keenan has his eye on the ball as always. "By the way I am Lord Keenan Terrick your cousin - forgot to mention that.I bolstered your ranks by ten men to get this issue resolved…"
Well, that makes his eyes narrow, the telling of his new information. Justin's mouth thins, "Sounds like we need to organize a hunt of our own. Might not hurt to offer a bounty on wolves too." The Sheriff glances aside at his cousin who Justin has noticed is /not/ wearing black in mourning for the death of his brother, "Maybe auction off Keenan's clothes here to fund the bounty. What say you, cousin? Pitching in to help the greater good - and you can assemble a great cloak of wolf pelts to wear by day and cover your bed by night." Now wouldn't that impress a girl or three? Nevermind Justin's baritone is wry and dry.
Oh wait, ten men he says? The Sheriff perks up at that, "What ten men? Knights?" Damn, wouldn't that be sweet?
"Sailors m'Lord," Mortimer clarifies quickly, not wanting to get between the cousins as they posture and maneuver. In an attempt to keep things moving and not dwell on the thought of what Keenan may or may not wear he looks to Justin, "That's not all though. I don't reckon it malicious, but Mistress Dorsey was hit by an arrow while riding to Stonebridge. Made it back in one piece and is currently under care at the sept. I know the fletching involved, but still haven’t found the archer."
"Don't sell off the whole farm cousin or the Ashwoods will wind up owning everything including that rusty sword of yours." Keenan has a black arm band - same as his eldest brother Ozric and that's enough mourning for him. "Try and I'll get on my ship and sail away with all of my men. Are all Terricks such looters? Or is it something new - an Ironborn custom we picked up?" canting his head and having heard all he needs to hear - nothing new apparently the Terrick merchantalist excuses himself, "Yes mistress Dorsey - I believe I shall go check on her - she was delirious infected the last time I saw her." Hard to believe Keenan would even care.
"You know the fletching?" That gains his interest as Justin learns Keenan's men he has brought are only sailors and not even Men-at-arms. Alas. "Is Mistress Dorsey going to be all right?" Justin looks between them, knowing the woman. Keenan gets a frown from him, "Not looters - but most of us are /honorable/ men willing to give the shirts off of our backs if it'll help our people and get the Roost back on track. Which is precisely /why/ I have a rusty sword instead of a new one I could have purchased. This one will do, for now." The Sheriff eyes his cousin, then looks back to Mortimer.
"Then a hunting we shall need to go. And we might do well to start where you saw this woman last - pick up her trail. And we'll take plenty of hounds - a good sized pack can deal with a few wolves and keep them off of us while we fletch whomever we need with arrows of our own."
And while he's thinking on it, Justin asks, "Have you see either Master Kain, or Master Pariston?"
With Keenan starting to compare Lord Jerold's son to the Ironborn, it takes all the self control Mortimer can manage not to simply turn round and set on him with his fists. Even so, it still takes a few deep breaths before his fists unball and he can rests his hands on his belt again. Looking solely at Justin, as if simply not being able to see Keenan will make him not be there, he nods once. "Aye m'lord," he starts, tension still evident in his tone, "that's the plan. The wolf I hit was trailing blood that should be easy enough to follow if nothing else, although I didn't have much trouble before then." As for Kain and Pariston he simply shakes his head, no sign of either, although so far as he's aware the Flint man isn't expected.
"Well I'll hold off on hypothetically purchasing you a new sword for your nameday whenever that is - you'd probably sell it for a fraction of the cost then give the money all away." Sighing, "Keep your austerity cousin - may it lead you into the grace of the seven and make the people love you - truly. Just don't try and spread the disease to all of us. Somebody has to have something left to mortgage. But this is not the place for such a conversation - I see Master Trevelyan clenching his fists again - I rarely am stupid enough to play to an unsympathetic audience. Good luck in your search…" Keenan is not angry merely exasperated. As any good merchantalist in a sea of warriors he sees things a little differently but is aware that his presence is leading to too many digressions in business for which he was ill suited.
Mortimer he's watching closely, not about to let that man do something stupid that might loose him a very good Deputy. Justin need not intervene however for Mortimer proves to maintain his self control. Subtly Justin gives him a nod, "Shame about the two masters - damn fine trackers. We'll have to make due without."
Keenan gets a roll of Justin's grey eyes up towards the Heavens, "I would not, I would keep it. And sell the blade I have. I think you need a better sense of humor, cousin." Ah well, Keenan's gone off and probably didn't hear him anyway. Stupid cousins. And in all fairness, Justin's probably a little pricklish at such an obvious display of wealth when he hasn't anything to spare.
The Sheriff scrapes a hand through his dark hair to strip it out of his eyes, "I really … shouldn't dig at them like that."
With Keenan gone, a fair chunk of the tension seeps out of Mortimer's shoulders and muscles, he may still need to go find a wall he doesn't like the look of later, but for now he's able enough to stick to the subject at hand. He almost returns with a remark about how Keenan shouldn't go around comparing those who've actually shed blood for the Roost to Ironborn, but then it's not his place to criticise a Terrick, no matter how much he might feel they deserve it. Instead he simply nods once after finishing a remarkably detailed inspect of the dirt by his feet. "We have a hunt planned m'Lord," he finally offers, "it's just a case of getting everyone together and going. That and we're still hoping to have word from Kingsgrove. They found an infant dead, and it turns out the lass I found was one of their's too, thought to have run off or such like."
Justin is fond of Mortimer, values the man. Watching him, he says, "Don't let him get under your skin. Leave him to me. I /can/ get away with punching him in the mouth if it suits me. I've no mind to see you put into the stocks, my friend." Justin steps over to pick up his heavy maile and lay it over the chair so he can pick up his trunk and move it back inside as the evening light is fading.
When he steps back out, he dusts off the front of his surcoat and muses, "Set the date soon. Not more than a day or two. If we hear back from Kingsgrove by then, fine. But if not, we won't be losing more time. A trail can fade fast - it may rain. So the sooner we can gather men, the better. The morning would suit me."
His maile he picks back up, Justin about to put it away in the chest he moved.
"I'm sorry m'Lord," Mortimer offers contritely, lifting his good arm to rub his hand down his face a moment later. He almost offers a 'it's just…' explaination, but then figures that it's neither needed nor useful so just leave it at the simple statement. Watching as Justin starts to gather his gear in for the night he reckons that his cue to take his leave and straightens himself up once more. "I'll see to it," he offers in regards to the hunt, followed by, "but I'll leave you to your evenin m'Lord." Justin knows where to find him after all, should a need arise. A respectful nod is given as he takes a half step backwards before turning and heading back down the narrow street he had appeared from earlier.
His partial plate and helm are next. Justin picks them up, indeed finished out here for the evening. He stops and looks back to the other man and offers a faint smile, "Nothing for you to apologize for, Mortimer. Trust me, I understand. And selfishly, value you all the more for it." He puts a hand out to briefly touch the older man's shoulder, then hefts his breastplate with backplate to take them in to pack into the trunk as well, until wanted. And wanted soon. "I'll see about finishing up a few details I have been working on. Then, let's go hunting. It'll be good if Ser Kell is back to join us, or Ser Kamron." And if not, we'll, they'll make due.
At the door, Justin stops to watch Mortimer walking off. A moment later, he gets the rest of his things in and closes the door.