Page 191: Chewing Jerky
Chewing Jerky
Summary: Jarod and Hardwicke discuss battle plans and women.
Date: January 25, 2012
Related Logs: The Siege of Seagard and some other stuff, I'm sure.
Jarod Hardwicke 
Low District — Seagard
The lower class residential district of Seagard, just inside the city walls, with all the worst smells of the fishmonger's trade and the tanneries mingling together. The roads are paved with cobblestones, but the avenues which wind between buildings are of packed dirt, reek in the heat and turn to muddy morass in the rain. With little of worth, and only enduring occupation for a scant few hours, this quarter of the port city is largely intact.
January 24, 289

The siege of Seagard continues. Though the Army of the Cape is just hurrying up and waiting at present, dug into the lower district. It's midday and Ser Jarod Rivers is taking a lunch of a skin of water and some leathery-looking dried meat with a handful of other Terrick men. Seated cross-legged on the steps of what was a tannery, though the particular tanner who kept it seems long gone.

Though he'd recently found a corner to sit in a brief ways away from that handful of men, Hardwicke is folding up the letter he was reading as he walks over before he slides it into an inside pocket. "Rivers," he greets the knight gruffly.

"Ser Hardwicke." Jarod's own greeting is not particularly gruff, and accompanied by a quick grin. He hasn't shaved in a few days. It makes him look a little older, though his features are poorly-suited for a beard. Eyes flick in the direction of the letter Hardwicke folded up, but if he's curious he doesn't ask about it. "When do you figure we'll push farther into the city? Feels strange, waiting here, knowing we might hit one of them with a rock if we threw it good enough toward the market district."

"Maybe you should try throwing rocks," Hardwicke suggests in a dry tone. He scrubs a hand over his face with a sigh and drops down to a seat a short distance away. "Soon, I hope. It feels like everyone has to have their squabbling say before anything gets decided."

"Could throw this, I think it'd do more damage," Jarod says, biting off a hunk more of his salted meat and chewing it. With some difficulty. It's a solid sort of meat hunk. He swallows it with a gulp. "Lord Tully's army has the city surrounded, they say. Ironborn're trapped here. Seems like it'd be better to do it sooner than later. Less time for them to raid and burn. You ever done much city fighting, Ser?"

"Not much," Hardwicke says with a discomforted glance in the direction of the Ironborn-held quarters of the city. "I don't like it. Don't like the idea of it. Too many close quarters. Too many ways to find an enemy at your back."

"I've not, really," Jarod says, for his part, following Hardwicke's gaze toward the Ironborn-held quarter. Frown coming to his face. "I rode with the Mallister men during the Battle of the Bells during the Rebellion, back when I was squiring. We were in the reserve, though, not the battle proper. Were only sent in when it was done, to clear out some of the houses and the like." His frown deepens, nonetheless. "Was an ugly sort of business, though, what was left of that place."

"It always in, in cities," Hardwicke says, expression creased in a frown. "Occupation is ugly. It's not battle, it's — cleaning up."

"And wrecking, before you clean. The Ironborn can't have any hope of winning now, but they'll destroy as much with them as possible. Just like the Roost.' Jarod's tone is grim. He gulps some more water, setting aside his semi-eaten hunk of meat. "How's the Terrick cavalry fixed, Ser? I heard the losses coming into the city were hard on the force as a whole, in horses more than men."

"The Ironborn certainly know what to target," Hardwicke says with a low, frustrated sound. "Setting up the pitfalls near the road for the horses. We're well enough. We expected losses." Lips thinning, he adds, "It's the common-born knights who don't have the means to bring an extra horse along."

Jarod winces at that. "That's a nightmare, there. Lose your steed, lose your livelihood, or a good portion of it. Perhaps there'll be spoils given to those who aided in freeing the city, once Lord Mallister can meet the army." Not that he sounds overly optimistic. "Some men, Ser Bruce for one, are talking that we'll invade after this is done. You think we will? Sail off to sack their islands?"

"Perhaps," Hardwicke replies with just as much optimism. (Or less.) The second question he considers longer. "King Robert is a proud man," he finally says. "He won't take the insult likely. Grind them into the dust on their own soil, they'll think twice before sending longships to our shores."

"There must be some retribution done." Jarod picks up his attempt at lunch again, idly tapping it against his palm. It's very solid, and makes a good item to tap on things while musing. "Seems like it'd be righter to go to the aid of the Westerlands if we fight anywhere else after Seagard's done, though. I've heard of no word from the West since tales of the sacking of Lannisport's fleet came to Stonebridge." He shrugs. "Not up to men such as us to decide, though, I suppose. We fight where they tell us to."

"I doubt they'd leave Ironborn untouched on our shores before taking the fight to theirs," Hardwicke says, although there's a hint of a doubtful cast to his frown.

"And yet, Ser…?" Jarod presses a little for the reason behind the doubtful cast.

Hardwicke shakes his head. "There's no reason to sail to the Iron Islands before we've crushed the invasion here."

"Aye. We'll see how it plays, I figure." Jarod shrugs, doing some more constructive chewing on his lunch. He eats with more determination than enthusiasm. It's not like, if he doesn't care for it, he can order up something else. "I hope we've some time to go back to the Roost, a little at least, before we're sent…wherever. There's so much work to do."

Offering up the faintest hint of a smile, Hardwicke says in a low rumble, "So do I, lad."

"Bet you do, Ser, with your pretty wife waiting for you," Jarod replies with a grin. Adding quickly, "No offense meant. You're a lucky man, is all."

"I took none," Hardwicke says for once in his life, gaze sliding away. "I am a lucky man, in this if nothing else."

"How'd you know, Ser? That she was the woman for you, I mean." Jarod pauses and adds, "And that she wanted you as well, in that fashion?"

Hardwicke arches his brows as his gaze flickers back to Jarod consideringly. "You know," he says. "Belle certainly isn't shy about expressing her inclinations."

"I suppose you do know at that," Jarod mutters. Not that he sounds particularly happy about it. "It's figuring out if they know back that's got me stumped. Some women - not your Mistress Bell, I don't think - but some…they want what they want. And it seems to change, or not please them when they've got it."

"Well, I'd certainly say Belle wants what she wants." Hardwicke squints at Jarod a bit. "You've got some lass you're keen on, Rivers?"

"I suppose I do, Ser," Jarod admits with a shrug. He sounds more rueful than anything else. "Whether she's particularly keen on me - or will still be, on the morrow, or when all this is over and things're less…well, dramatic…" He shrugs. "I don't know. My lass wants what she wants. When she wants it. Many things. Not sure quite where I'd fit in that, if at all."

Hardwicke eyes him some more, considering. "You want to marry her?"

"I would marry her," Jarod says. Without hesitation. Which he seems to realize, and it makes him smirk. And mutter a somewhat surprised, "Huh" to himself. "I don't think she'd have me in that fashion, however."

"Not would you marry her," Hardwicke says, just a touch impatient. "Do you want to." His mouth skews wry. "If she won't have you for a husband, I think that answers your question of where you fit."

"I want to," Jarod amends with a rueful sort of chuckle. "As for her…aye. Perhaps. Well. There's always the tourney circuit, when this is done. Hear you can make the eight pretty easily, you do that for a few years. Figure that'll get a girl out of your system, if anything will."

"Have you asked her?" Hardwicke wonders. "If she'd marry you?"

"I…sort of," Jarod replies, kind of evasively. "Once. Sort of. I mean…I asked her something similar to that." He does not actually go into detail about what this 'similar' thing was. Though he's less evasive when he elaborates, "And after I did, I think the idea of staying with me for any length of time horrified her so much she had to drop me as quick as she could. So I don't figure I'll be asking again anytime soon. I do learn, Ser. Despite my reputation."

"Rivers, if you're still taking up with this woman, I'd say you definitely don't learn," Hardwicke says with a hint of exasperation to his glance.

"I'm not…" Jarod starts to deny it, then kind of trails off. In an affronted sort of way he adds, "I learn some things quicker than others. I'm…working on it."

"Keep working," Hardwicke suggests, reaching into a pocket for the remains of some dried out meat of his own. "What do you want with a woman so horrified at the idea of staying with you?"

"She doesn't seem horrified about it just now," Jarod says. "But she was, and I figure she will be again soon enough. And, well…" He shrugs, brow furrowing as he tries to quantify this. "…when we're not horrifying each other it's…better, when she's about, then when she's not."

"Because you want her," Hardwicke says dismissively. "Of course you like having her around. If you want to keep her — if she wants to keep you — you'll marry her and that's that. If she doesn't care to, well. You'll get over it eventually."

"Eventually," Jarod agrees with a shrug. "No point in dwelling on it, I suppose. We could all be dead tomorrow."

"And there's a cheery thought." Hardwicke gnaws dully on the scrap of dried meat.

Jarod has finished his meat, such as it is. "Aye…" he mutters, standing. "I should be getting back to my tent, I suppose. Thanks for the…uh…talk, Ser." He does sound marginally grateful, though Hardwicke may not be.

Hardwicke jerks his chin in something of an acknowledging nod. He doesn't offer anything else in way of farewell, but he doesn't seem particularly put out by the conversation shared.