Page 202: Comparisons
Summary: A gathering in the Flint Camp leads to differences of opinion, too much ale, poor dancing, reminiscence and plots of poison; oh my.
Date: 4 February 2012
Related Logs: Any of the Flint household in Seagard.
Anders Fenrir Markus Orlagh 
Private Tent - Flint Camp
Anders' pavillion within the Flint encampment, tonight open to visitors.
February 3rd, 289 A.L.

"I'd like to know if I could compare you to a summer's day. Because — well, June 12th was quite nice, and…"Terry Pratchett, Wyrd Sisters

The downpour of last night has given way to overcast today, and as such, drying out is a little more problematic than if the sun was shining. Rain threatens once again, and thankfully there isn't much need to batten down again as all is in place from the other night. Tent flaps are extended, making extra 'living' areas, giving shelter from the rain, once it comes. Of course, there are some who actually enjoy the first drops simply because it's a reminder of home (thanks Orlagh!).

Even the 'main' pavillion has it's flaps up and extended, seats under the flaps set. Earlier in the day, for the first time since the trip down, the Young Lord 'sat' to hear grievances, and there were more than a few. Petty, really.. and nothing that couldn't be solved by a mediator.. but it's simply another indication that normalcy and 'home' is getting closer, even though they're hundreds of miles from the cliffs of the Finger.

Anders sits, no longer straight and set for 'court', but rather, a great deal more casually, a cup of ale in hand, half gone already. His vest is off and folded, and the Young Lord relaxes in a neat and clean tunic.. his boots rubbed clean of dirt and mud.

Every day, training. The men grumble at it, but there it is - Fenrir Viiding is just like his father, they say - iron discipline and a fist to make it so. All afternoon, it has been sparring in pairs, with Fenrir leading the charge; he finally takes a break from trouncing some poor bugger whose fault it was that he didn't get to drink last night, and makes his way over to the pavilion of Lord Anders.

Fenrir is -filthy-, covered in mud, some streaking his face, others staining the knee and chest of his leather clothing-cum-armor that he's been using for the spars. "I'm giving them a night off from water-drills, Lord, with your permission - I don't, they're gonna rise up and kill me and appoint you master-at-arms, and that ain't going to be good." His manner is casual, teasing even, and he grins tiredly as he looks around. "Any chance of a drink in this place?"

Alright, yes. Orlagh does enjoy a bit of rain. But not when she's trying to launder so many garments - including some tunics for the Master-at-Arms now, too. Though she herself has been in attendance on the Young Lord today, the girl has often taken a moment aside to direct some of the other servants and simply make sure things get done. No rest for the virtuous and hardworking, alas. There are other things she could have been doing with the daylight hours but.. well, when one's Lord has need of a handmaiden to ferry him fresh, hot tea, or a bowl of rich stew, while he gives ear to the grievances, no matter how shallow, of his men.. you don't argue.

There are many things Orlagh is responsible for, if one looks closely enough. Anders' tunic, already having been of fine quality and craftsmanship, is neatened by fresh stitching along the lower hem and about the cuffs. That ale didn't find it's way to his hand by magic. The folded vest, the scent of something delicious being prepared for dinner… even the maid's presence a short distance away from him, head bowed over some embroidery.. it all speaks of a quiet, oft overlooked loyalty and dedication.

For now, the heir is left to simply enjoy some peace, after a more active day than the last, or the one before. And no doubt only half as busy as tomorrow will be. But the familiar tones of Fenrir do draw a subtle upward glance from the blonde girl, a smile straying across her lips at the informal greeting to their shared master. Setting the needlework aside, she rises to her feet unhurriedly, leaving time for a word in kind between the men before she sees to his request… with Anders' permission, of course. She's not just giving the ale away.

Whether or not he's a grievance to air, the sellsword Riverlander amongst the encampment of Northmen did not appear during the session, and seems inclined to show himself only afterwards, once the rain has eased some and the petitioners have been sent back on their way. He's dressed in fresh enough attire, though he does so rarely leave the impression he's been lazing about; today is not one of those rare times. Spotting the gathering about Anders, the knight casually makes in that direction.

Remarkably, Anders is clean, which means either the Young Lord takes many baths and he hires a legion of laundresses, or.. he's not truly wandered out into the mud. A grin is given to his Master at arms, and he searches briefly for the newly arrived, but always known Orlagh. She'll see to him, certainly, and from the look of it— yes, he'll have the ale and soon..

Raising his cup to his lips, Anders takes a long swallow, emptying it quickly before he puts it down.. on a dry spot on the ground. "And I'll not make them wade into the water?" The grin remains, and is now followed with a laugh. "They'd hate me more.. as I wouldn't recognize their success after three trips, and have them do it once more." A look of theatric consideration comes to his face, before he begins again, "Or twice.."

His Master at Arms, his friend, is an absolute MESS, however, and that truly does bear comment. "Though, from the look of you, Master Fen, you could use a dip in the river.. or three." And who is going to make him do it? His tones sounds a posture; humoured rather than lordly.. and given a moment, the younger of the two rises as if press the issue. Markus' approach earns the man a look, but.. this first must needs be.. seen to. Fenrir, that is.

"Easy there, Young Lord, I know where you sleep." Fenrir's laughter takes the edge out of his voice, and he smiles toward Markus and Orlagh, as though to invite the pair to join in the humor. The mud-splattered master-at-arms eyes his benefactor thoughtfully, brows raising up. "You want I should go and bathe before I muddy your rugs, Lord?" There is only the faintest hint of rich humor in his voice. "Yours to command."

He turns toward Orlagh with an even warmer smile, his tone ebullient. "Mistress, I know the Young Lord's been working you near to death and all, and I know you think I'm a buffoon what can't dance - why else you keep saying no? - but if you'd get me an ale, I promise I'll dance a jig and sing a song and pull down stars for your jewelry." Quite a promise, for a drink, but the scent of sweat and grime from the master-at-arms hints at quite an urgent need. Turning back to Anders, he says "Seriously, Lord, you sound like you got a wager in mind."

With the Young Lord's answering, good-humored greeting, the decision is evidently made. Orlagh steps briskly to the corner of the open-sided pavillion that currently hosts a sizeable barrel of tapped ale, taking up a freshly-scrubbed tankard and pouring a frothy measure for the Master-at-Arms. The subtle wrinkle of her nose might imply she thinks it something of a waste, to place clean mugs into filthy hands.. but when it comes to Fenrir, what can be done?

Turning, her dark skirts sweeping about her booted feet, the girl makes her way unobtrusively over to the two men, dipping a shallow curtsey toward the tall soldier before offering out his drink. "Master Fenrir." she returns his almost-hello with pleasant candour, even offering him a smile as she pauses, for a time, to answer him. "I think you know full well why I continue to refuse you. But if the urge to dance and sing should overwhelm you.." One hand waves toward the grass, in a 'go right ahead' sort of gesture. Outside, though. Not on the rugs. A brief sidelong glance travels to Anders, before the handmaid demurely lowers her eyes, clasping her hands loosely before herself.

With plenty of discourse to go betwixt the odd and his Master-at-Arms, whom is surely not unfamiliar to the hired knight at this point in the campaign, Markus cools his heels in the general vicinity of Orlagh and the barrel of precious ale. "I'd pay good copper to see the man dance," he remarks as he hooks his thumbs into his belt, his voice loud enough and meant to carry to Anders and Fenrir both. "Seems to me a fine bit of entertainment, that." His lips quirk in something of a smile.

Anders laughs at the reply, and he moves to retake his seat. "Find a scraper, in the least and a pot of water. I would at least wish to see the face of the man with whom I speak." He glances at Orly, the smile remaining. "Though, if you keep the mud, she may be fooled into thinking you're another and may acquiesce to your wishes." Maybe.

Orlagh's response, however, elicits another laugh from the Young Lord, and he retrieves his now empty cup. "Or not." He catches the glance, and his gaze lingers before he returns it to his friend; he'd caught Orlagh's silent request for the jig to be done.. off the rugs. "Have a care, Ser Markus.." Anders sends a good humoured warning, "Master Fen's dance can be painful to some, deadly to others."

Fenrir ignores all the commentary - at first. He's focused on that mug being held out before him, and he takes it with a wink to Orlagh and…downs it. In a go, adam's apple bobbing up and down like a cork. Wiping his mouth with a grimy hand, he bows slightly toward Orlagh in thanks and sets it down onto the ground. "For a second ale, then. And 'cos this burk here seems to think I cannot dance all that well." Fenrir grins mischievously at Orlagh and Anders as he speaks, then kicks off his boots and steps onto the grass.

With a crooked smile to Markus, the man claps his hands and begins to, well, dance a jig. And he's good - very good, in fact. It's startling to watch how quickly his feet move, knees rising up in perfect harmony with his continued claps, twirling as he spins around an imaginary partner. In a lovely baritone, so at odds with his leather-hoarse roars on the training field, he begins to sing Old Dun Cow. "Some friends and I in a public house.." *clap, kick out, pivot* "Was playing a game of chance one night.." And so on. Really. He does it.

The 'or not' elicits an amused quirk of Orlagh's brow, and she replies, cheerfully, "It'd take more than mud, m'lord.." before she's turning on a heel to head back toward the barrel.. one hand absently extended to take Anders' empty cup with her, should that be his want, and Fenrir's swiftly emptied one already grasped in the other. Tucking an errant wisp of pale blonde back behind her ear with one thumb, she affords a less formal greeting to the sellsword as her path carries her in that direction. "Ser Markus. Would you be joining the Lord and Master Fenrir in a drink..?" Surely an unnecessary question, under the circumstances. But propriety demands she ask, all the same. Sweeping one palm absently across the front of her bodice, ensuring it lies straight and proper, the girl draws to a halt by the barrel again, already beginning to pour, even as she glances again toward the man she addressed, expectantly.

"You'd be better advised to save your copper for making him stop…" she remarks, in a softer tone.. though it may yet be audible to the others, in a lull. "That seems to be the trick." Still, she smirks as the singing begins out front of the tent, determinedly keeping her gaze upon her task even as a chuckle threatens to shake her shoulders rather tellingly.

The barrel serves well enough as a place for the sellsword to prop himself up, so he makes good use of it, leaning an arm over the top of the thing. Markus chuckles at Orlagh's commentary, and more when he notices her chuckling. "I'd almost think," he offers, in a voice that does not quite strive to carry, "That you rather enjoyed it all, your protests notwithstanding." With his lips quirked in an amused sort of smile, he adds, "I'd love a mug of the stuff, thank you." His eyes lift up to watch the dancing Northman, his easy mirth well-sustained.

Anders knows his friend, and has for many years.. and this talent is not unknown to him. He's seen it come out in the darndest of places, however. Weddings, obviously.. and raucous parties in Inns where there is a drink to be had or a lovely to impress. Dancing always seems to impress them more than poetry, or so the Young Lord is learning, albeit slowly. Doesn't mean that he's going to learn dance any time soon.. beyond the step, step, bow, palm to palm with a raised hand and turn about.. of a dance taught by rote from youth.

Now, Anders really doesn't sing well, as evidenced by last night's attempts with the harpist, Lady Tiaryn, but that doesn't stop him from coming in at the chorus.. enthusiasm certainly counts for something. And the fact that there's no one to impress. "'Booze, booze!' the firemen cried as they came rappin' at the door!"

The cup is indeed given, and in turn taken, as he watches the jig. "Orlagh, he is multitalented.. look how the mud remains in place," he teases.. them both. "Another ale for him, and I'm certain he'll cease for that. Dancing is thirsty work as well."

Markus' commentary is granted a chuff of a laugh as well.. "As I said, multitalented.. it's this," and Anders gestures towards Fenrir, "that keeps those not from the North guessing about us. Normally, it works in our favour."

"Any woman who claims not to find pleasure in flattery.. or very poor singing.. is a liar and a fraud, Ser." replies the girl, easily, handing one of the mugs toward Markus with an amiable curve tugging at her lips. She doesn't even close the tap, just smoothly tilts another cup immediately beneath, not spilling a drop. "..and for certain not worth your time." Amazing the wisdom common-born girls can have, when pressed, in comparison to delicate noble flowers. "Yes, m'lord.." she calls back over one slender shoulder toward Anders, her blue eyes shifting that way at the behest of his voice alone. "..and the sooner one of those talents become good manners and knowing when to take no for an answer, his standing shall be raised beyond all compare." Despite this, she's grinning rather openly now at the sight of the lanky Master-at-Arms dancing barefoot in the dirt, and the Young Lord singing along merrily with him, come chorus-time.

Filling that cup, then the final tankard, she bumps the tap closed again with one hip, then crosses back toward the others; a subtle curtsey accompanying the hand-off to Anders, whether he pays it any mind or not. Fenrir, alas.. well, he'll just have to come back and behave himself, if he wants to fetch his drink from her waiting grasp.

"Aaaaaaaand we all-got-blue-blind-paralytic-drunk when the Ooooold Dun Cow caught fire!" Fenrir belts out the last stanza of the song with beautiful aplomb, his rather nice baritone cutting off abruptly with a final flurry of dancing. Men passing by the pavilion have stopped to stare, and he's greeted with a round of applause and a load of shouts, such as "You show 'em, Chief!" and "That's the way, Cap'n! Right in, that!" As well as a chorus of laughter. So, like any good performer - and Fenrir Viiding is *always* a good performer - he stops and takes a mocking bow toward his men, before putting the boot back in his voice. "Now /getbacktowork!/" And those same men scurry off, before errands can be found that are much less pleasant than cleaning gear.

Turning abruptly and wiping dirty sweat off his face, Fenrir makes his way to where Orlagh waits with his ale, taking it from her politely and downing a more moderate gulp. "..Ah. Now that's worth dancing for." He winks at Anders before offering Orlagh another dazzling smile. "Mebbe now you'll come dance with me, huh?" A half-glance toward Markus, followed by the breezy comment, "By the by, Ser, didna see you drilling with the lads today. Other business, was it?"

Markus takes the mug with a grateful nod for the maid that hands it to him, his eyes darting down to consider her and her words. "Fair advice I will try to take to heart, Mistress. I've had the misfortune of meeting more than a few that might think it makes them more alluring, though I remain wholly unconvinced." He lifts his mug up for a slow sip, and sighs with the pleasure of it, his eyes slowly falling shut. It's the call from the big drillmaster that has him paying attention again, and this time he is lifting his mug out to Fenrir in a mild salute. "Suppose you didn't, on account of I stopped drilling with lads about the same time I started killing them, good Master Fenrir." His lips quirk, knowing there is surely an argument about to begin.

At the end, Anders is virtually forced to raise his cup to his Master at arms, a grin firmly in place. The men that have stopped and stared certainly know better than to remain, even if they're cheering for their Master.. a man they'd follow into battle, full in the knowledge that he's with them. And off they go again, on their appointed tasks before they're given more on top of them.

His brows rise at Orlagh's words, not in surprise in their audacity, but rather in the message conveyed. He knows his man.. and he knows that 'no', coming for the handmaid, is taken as a 'no'. "And if he takes 'no', it is known throughout history that your sex finds disappointment in the chase being called off. Tell me, Orlagh.. you just said that all take pleasure in flattery; is not the pursuit a measure of flattery?" Anders isn't meaning to put the girl on the spot, but rather, after an ale, and in comfortable company, it's a good natured, good humoured question. He knows that the blonde maid is more than capable of holding her own, and the turns of phrase to remain.. proper.. is remarkable. Ladies of noble birth could learn a thing from this girl.

Fen's request, however, as it turns to Markus, brings Anders' regard around, his brows rising. The question is fair, certainly, and it's not lost of him how the undercurrents flow. He draws his cup back and takes a swallow, now content to simply.. listen and watch.

Markus' cheerful counterpoint earns him a backward glance and a slight grin from the fair-haired maid, though her steps have already carried her too far away to really remark. Fenrir, of course, soon commands her attention. As usual. "I.. am not entirely certain I memorised the steps, Master Fenrir. Alas. I shall commit more time to study, before I accept. You understand." And just like that, Orlagh's once again turning him down. But it's in pleasant humor, with a smile returned in reflection to his mud-streaked grinning as he accepts the delicious ale.

The exchange between the Master-at-Arms and the hired knight is no affair of hers, however, and she keeps from gawking between them as it unfolds, looking instead to Anders as he addresses her; flitting her gaze floorward briefly before levelling it upon him. He has, after all, asked something of her directly. It's only polite to maintain eye contact as a response is mustered. "Indeed, m'lord.. pursuit is a flattery. As with any sort of hunting, the chase is as much part of the enjoyment as the.. prize itself." she keeps from saying 'kill', perhaps deeming it not very ladylike to compare.. well, some things. "..but what sport would there be in the hunt at all, if the chase was without impediment..? If a fox merely laid down to avoid further argument, or every brook had a waiting bridge? No, my Lord… pursuits must be a challenge. Otherwise.. they'd simply be called 'wandering'."

By Orlagh's standards, that was fairly eloquent. It remains to be seen if the heir agrees. But she seems satisfied with her response.

Certainly, a no is a no - and Fenrir's knife would be in the belly of the first man to refuse a woman's virtue. But he is male, after all, and cock-of-the-walk - a hard-earned slot, going by the amount of work he puts into maintaining it. "It's a'right, Mistress.. I'll keep asking tomorrow. And the next day. And the next. You ever seen the water erode a rock? Takes time." Fenrir smiles good-naturedly to Orlagh, unabashed entirely by the woman's public rebuttal of his charms. After all, it's just a dance, right?

But the smile slips away from his face, and he turns toward Markus, leaving his Lord to tease the young woman on his behalf - it's good to have a brother at your back. But this is his territory, and he knows well that Anders will not assert himself. Clearly picking his words with care, Fenrir begins. "You're a knight, Ser, and I do grasp that. Been touched by a sword twice and all. But I'm Master-at-Arms in this camp, and I got some odd rules. It's my fault, see, I didn't explain them to you before this. Here in the Flints, every able man trains. Every day, unless we're marching."

He pauses to sip his ale, watching Markus levelly. "Reason for that, see, is that you're a knight. You're a leader to these men. Most of 'em ain't soldiers born, like you and me. Most of them is farmers who answered their Lord's call." He swirls the ale, looking down for a moment. "You don't train with them, and you expect to lead? Let me be clear. I don't see you out there with a sword in hand, tomorrow, and the next day, and the next.. I'll either be seeing you take your leisure elsewhere, or be putting you to mucking the stables. Ain't nothing personal. Just the rule."

The knight takes a slow sip of ale, once the Northman drillmaster is done, savoring the flavor for a deliberate moment. "Hmm, got some logic to it, I won't deny," Markus says, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. "Seems to me, there's two things worth considering though, before you get too far. First, I don't lead your men, or any other men for that matter. Those that want to follow, well, they've seen what they've seen, and chosen to throw their lot in with me in the heat of battle? Reckon that choice is already made, and how many drills I've done won't matter for much when their's reavers running down on all sides." He's still leaning on the barrel, and takes another, shorter sip, this one to wet his throat. "Second, and in my opinion the most important…" he nods his head in Anders' direction. "Or good and kind Young Lord does not pay me to muck stables. Or drill with your lads. He pays me to show up when there is battle, and kill his enemies. Whatever else I might do, well, that's on account of kindness and not bellowing or threats. Though," and there he grins a touch, "I'll admit you're good with both. So let's say I come drill with you and the boys on the morrow, and just see where we go from there?"

Orlagh is given his attention; he asked her, she's given the courtesy of hearing her response. Anders is, indeed, impressed with the response. It is, however, as he expected. The thrill of the chase, and 'no' is simply the wolf running into the thicket, down the embankment to water and up the next in order to throw the dogs off. The best nose, the best tracker then, is the one who finds the most success. And, with a glance given to his Master at Arms, Fenrir is the best dog he knows. "Understood, mistress." And well done. "The fox has many things to commend itself.." A very nice tail, for one thing..

Anders returns to the men; while he won't assert himself, it truly isn't his position. Master Fenrir knows his duties, he was raised to them.. and he'd be a poor lord indeed to gainsay him. In public, anyway. Counsel is one thing.. countermanding is something completely different. And so, in this discussion, the Young Lord remains silent. Brows rise in the words of the response, but ultimately, as far as Anders can see, the hired sword does eventually acquiesce. It'd actually be in Ser Markus' best interest to train— the chances are good that new things will be learned, new applications that may be unique to the Northlands that are rarely seen south of the Neck.

"I lead." The very soft response from Fenrir is a touch resigned, as though he sees something coming down the path. He finishes his ale and turns to offer it out to Orlagh. Turning back, he idly cracks his neck - first to one side, then to the other, and grins. "By the Oak, that feels fine. I been throwing lads around all day." The remark seems casual, but his gaze locks with Markus, considering the other man's words with grave consideration.

"My Lord," and here he deliberately emphasizes the pause, "pays you to obey his master-at-arms. So you're right - you'll be there tomorrow. Frankly, I don't much care why you're there.. so long as you are." He smiles suddenly, his whole stern demeanor vanishing. "Now, let's all of us drink, now's we're all friends again. Mistress Orlagh, if you won't dance with me, mebbe you'll drink with your Lord? Lord, /can/ she have a drink?"

"Terms are plenty clear betwixt the Young Lord and myself, I'll promise you that, Master Fenrir. And that what's my duty, I do not shirk." Markus seems a bit less swift to ease the bristles from his speech, perhaps on account of the man deciding now would be the time to try and call him out, after the sellsword had bled and more for the Flint banner. "Anyways, this ale is too fine to waste comparing manhoods, so aye, let's drink and be friendly and merry," he agrees, glancing over at Orlagh before he leaves the barrel, asking, "Shall you join us? It's not quite as fun to drink without at least the one pretty face…" He jerks a thumb at the Lord and his Master-at-Arms, "And we three don't quite qualify."

As far as Anders is concerned, when Fenrir shifts his words to the more social, it is all over and done with. His eyes narrow slightly at the response, but Fenrir knows he's got the weight of the Young Lord's backing, and as Master of Arms, the backing of his Lord Father. He won't sit for argument, but he will weigh in, "Master Fenrir has my full confidence that our fighting force will be ready for the days ahead." Take that however it is wished.. and in turning to Fenrir, he looks beyond, catching a disagreement brewing as to the dispensation of swords. One lad has been granted a sword, finally, and another would keep him from gaining it.. and a soft 'ssss' is given to catch his Master's attention. The lad in question had been called out by one of the serjeants, and after some discussion and consideration, yes.. the lad deserved the sword.

That isn't before Anders agrees fully, "Mistress Orlagh should sit with us and drink.. and offer her advice and views on the topics that concern us." He's not mocking, not in the least. He's seeking her company, they're seeking her company, in the growing shadows of dusk. In the few days, surely she's begun getting the other handmaids working more effeciently— and to serve the Young Lord and his Father's Master at Arms? And a knight? Wouldn't the others simply kill for such a dubious honour? "Have a drink, mistress.. one, two perhaps.. if it doesn't make you sleepy, that is."

"Oh, I.." Orlagh looks between the expectant gazes turned her way, capturing her lower lip between her teeth for a moment and pulling on it gently. "..I likely shouldn't. If the Lady has need of me.." Getting up in the middle of the night will be rendered fairly unlikely, if she gets tipsy… the girl hardly has the constitution to keep pace, drinking with this little assortment! But.. damnitall if the Young Lord isn't weighing in, waving her into that very predicament. She's hardly going to refuse him, is she? Nor is she going to be easily outdone. " you wish, m'lord.. thank you." Her tone is pleasant once more, a breezy lack of care replacing the dubious expression of a moment ago. "..but allow me to fetch a few pitchers, then, that I might be seated long enough to offer you any answers."

What opinions a serving girl might have that could matter one bit to nobility is not a flaw in this grand scheme that she deigns to point out. Instead, following a curtsey and her returned steps toward the barrel to fill some weighty clay jugs to the brim, she enquires fairly cheerfully, "..what matters would you wish to discuss, m'lord, that concern you so..?" Crazy wife? Handsome hedge knights? Questionable dancing abilities? Certainly she ought to be able to offer at least sensible responses to those manner of things.

Fortunately for the sake of company, Fenrir -was- called away at just the right moment. He returns quickly, shaking his head and muttering something about the difference between men and boys. Still, the 'boy' got his sword, so he must be on the older side of things in Fenrir's eyes. He grins crookedly as he spots the pitchers of ale, catching Anders' eyes and conveying - through no words, merely the glance - the thought Thank you. After all, when the prey runs, sometimes a wolf must inquire of its pack for aid.

"Well, that's settled. A drink, then." He goes to Orlagh's side, actually reaching to assist her with one of the jugs - there doesn't seem to be an ulterior motive in it, just the instinctive move of one born to be Second Man. And happy with it, come to that. He gives Markus a sly wink, friendly rather than challenging, apparently willing to let the matter drop for the sake of a few drops.. Of ale.

Markus has the sense enough to refill his own mug off the tap, and carries it himself as he crosses over to where the Young Lord and Fenrir have taken their respite, a musing look on the sellsword's face. "Indeed, what shall we four discuss then?" he asks, gesturing with a wide hand as he looks for someplace to sit, or at least lean himself on. "I'm sure I could think of something, but more polite to leave that to my betters." He tip of his head in Anders' direction makes plain whom he is referring to, at least at that juncture.

Pitchers, then.. seems right and proper, and fitting. Anders inclines his head ever so slightly to the man only a few years his senior, but one that holds years, decades, generations more experience of battle than he. He's thankful for that, too. "A drink.." and as Orlagh returns, he already has his; he hadn't quite worked his way down to the bottom of the second, but now, it won't be too long. There is a clean rug there, camp chairs just within.. and he gestures to fill in the immediate area. No matter if it's upon a chair, the rug.. or if the mistress chooses a lap. "Then.. here is what I shall ask, and tell me true what it is you see. After this war is done, and all turn their heads and hearts home, how many do you believe will find new hearths and homes where they didn't before? I ask this because every man in these armies are seeing places their families hadn't for generations past, and are learning things and seeing goods that are beyond their experience." There's reason behind it, but a woman's view is welcome, particularly in that there is the potential for, well.. keeping some of the women that are new to the Flint camp, *ahem*.. as well as craftsmen and the like.

Surprised at receiving help, the girl looks up and aside to Fenrir as she straightens; even her full height no match for his towering build. "..thank you." The gratitude is soft-spoken, little above a murmur, all told. But no less genuine for it. Handing one of the heavy pitchers to his waiting grasp, she accompanies the words with a shy smile, before turning in a smooth pivot and walking unhurriedly toward the main body of this impromptu gathering.

There's a sturdy, round-topped trunk only a couple of feet from Anders' high-backed chair, and it's here that Orlagh chooses to seat herself, free hand sweeping her skirts smoothly beneath as she lowers to perch upon the lid. Likely it served to house parchments or tomes of some use to the day's business. But for now.. it's a chair. Yes it is.

A glance goes to the Young Lord, as etiquette dictates, silently enquiring with a subtle raise of her pitcher whether he should desire some more before she dares pour herself a tankard. Looking briefly to Markus, in turn, she indicates with a subtle cast aside, a low, cushioned stool, perhaps hidden to his initial glance about. Should he actually desire a comfortable seat, of course. Maybe he's just too masculine to bother with such luxuries. And Fenrir.. well, he's never backward in coming forward. He'll find himself somewhere, no doubt. No laps for Orlagh quite yet, though. No, sir.

Eventually able to take a delicate sip of the crisp ale, the girl frowns a little as she muses over Anders surprisingly pointed enquiry, not replying immediately. "..well, m'lord.." Her voice is gentle, evidently unused to being looked to for public oration in such fine company, and Orlagh has to force herself to look up at anders, rather than down at her drink, clasping her fingers loosely around the tankard. "..I think every man who has raised arms for you, has done so for love of hearth or home, family or liege. Not for some yearning desire to see faraway lands or learn fabulous things that have no place in the North. Now, I will admit.." Her head cants a little to one side, lips pressing momentarily into a firm line as she chooses her words with care. "..there're temptations here. It holds a certain charm. Particularly for the young and ambitious. But for those loyal.. doesn't matter where they are or what their eye falls upon, m'lord. Their hearts lie with you, and with our homeland." Glancing about at the others, she suddenly looks sheepish, and her blue eyes abruptly lower to her ale after all. " my opinion, anyway."

"She speaks truly, Lord." Fenrir doesn't choose to sit at all - instead, he appoints himself at Orlagh's elbow, keeping both a tankard and a pitcher for himself. The better to fetch easy refills, no doubt. He sips his ale, considering Anders' question with a startling intensity, his gaze traveling out past the tent toward the raucous northern encampment. Silence settles on the man for a moment before, coming to himself, he speaks. "Here's what I think about these lads. Half of them didn't want to come, not at all. Oh, they love you, Lord — but they ain't like me. They ain't soldiers bred. Duty's a bitter fruit to them."

A smile down at Orlagh, though it's hard to say what for. He seeks her gaze for a moment and nods faintly in approval before carrying on. "They want home. Cold and hard, aye.. but it was their father's and their father's father's land. This place.. these Southerners.. It ain't our way, and it ain't our Gods, begging your pardon, Lord." Is he speaking for the men, or for himself? "I don't reckon you need fear much about losing them."

"Thanks, Miss," Markus murmurs as he passes Orlagh on his way to the stool she mentioned, not thinking much of seating himself on something that approaches comfortable. Gods know, the Seven, not them strange Tree Gods of the North, he's sat on far less comfortable spaces of late. What he does think much of, or at least takes note of, is where Fenrir chooses to place himself, his lips quirking in good humor when he catches the man's eyes. "Some, maybe most, surely they'll want to return home," he suggests, though he's the most unlikely to speak with much authority on the wills of Northmen. "But I think my lord will find more than a few men, who having tasted adventure and unfamiliar lands, might be eager for more. Most of them go home, and they're what? A blacksmith's son, a farmer's third son, stable master's bastard… Some'll grow into places of their own, respectable, find a good wife, sire children. But most what come are the ones a home can do without. The extra mouths and the restless feet, take up more space than hold potential for tomorrow." He lifts his mug, and takes a slow sip. "I reckon you'll see a few like that, who aren't so eager to stop being men of purpose and action, and return to their more menial life."

Anders knows full well that the levy that he has isn't made up of professional soldiers. There really isn't an army present that is. But to have taken the march of hundreds of miles south, and to remain faithful.. he nods slowly, and carefully. He doesn't need pretty words, assurances of how much love his people bear for him— it's duty and love of their land, which includes their House. Though there is something to be gained for those who have no place, as Markus says, in their own families due to order of birth. He listens to the three; all say basically the same thing, only one holds each side with a different measure.

Bringing his cup up, he swallows a few more drops, almost to drain, but not quite before he lowers it again and settles back in his seat; a chair for the moment and not a 'throne'. "The south isn't our land.. and o'er, we've been given the word that we're not welcome in it." It's a statement rather than a point of contention. "Some with ambitions see that clearly, and others.. perhaps not so.. those who have a mind to make their way, that is." He'd consider continuing, but at the moment, he feels the need to stop.. to cut the topic there until he can retire to his tent, mull things.. or 'think them to death' as some may accuse him of, and sit, drink.. and speak to the man who knows his mind as well as he does. In that, then, he nods, giving a "Thank you." for their observations. "I may have need of further discussion on this.. most definitely in a week's time, or so."

Ouch. For all her practiced grace and comely elegance in proper company, Orlagh fails to hide a fleeting glimpse of hurt across her pretty features as she listens to Markus' opinion on the matters. Should an outsider's thoughts hurt less.. or more? What, exactly, is so wrong with being a fifth child. Or a bastard. Or.. enjoying a menial life? Her hold on her ale tightens until her small knuckles turn white with the exertion, though that's easily enough overlooked. Less so is her halting, lowered tone; such a contrast to her usual sweet manner.

"With.. -respect-, Ser.." It takes no small amount of effort to stop speaking through gritted teeth, and tension remains along Orlagh's delicate jaw, even so. "..perhaps I hold little potential for tomorrow. But, menial as my life may be, in the eyes of a knight.. I would not change it. A House is only as strong as its foundation, Ser Markus. And being a part of that is purpose enough. For some." Drawing her composure back together with admirable spiritm given how abruptly her world was just broken down into pieces to be analysed and trodden underfoot, Orlagh musters a slow smile; pale azure eyes still lingering upon the hedge knight seated across the way. "..those so easily tempted by varieties in flavour, after all.. perhaps simply lack the fortitude to put all their faith in just one." Realising she may have misspoken, the handmaiden steals a glance first to Anders, then up to Fenrir at her shoulder. Then she simply bites hard on her lower lip and raises her ale in the cup of both hands for another drink, her mouth suddenly dry.

Fenrir gives Anders a long look, conveying silently that his Lord is thinking something to death again. There is a faintly-troubled glint in his eyes as he does this, but Orlagh's words draw the man's attention sharply. He listens, first with concern, then with admiration, and finally with amusement as he watches the woman's expression. A look is given to Markus, cool and considering, and he takes a slow sip of his ale. "She said it, Ser. And she knows better than any." Setting his pitcher aside, he reaches down to lay a heavy hand on Orlagh's shoulder - only briefly, long enough to offer a hard squeeze of reassurance as he throws his weight behind the maid's words.

"Now. I got a matter I want to discuss, with us all here, and it's real important." There is a faint light in Fenrir's eyes, mischievous and far too youthful for his age, but he keeps a straight face. At first. Clearing his throat, the man asks the small group, "What does one do with a drunken sailor?" A wink to Anders. "Lord, it's to you I ask —" And he again begins to sing in his rumbling baritone, grinning between Markus and Orlagh as though to smooth feathers, "What d'ye do with a drunken sailor, what d'ye do with a drunken sailor, what d'ye do with a drunken sailor..early in the morning?"

While the Master-at-Arms might think the conversation better suited with more festive, in the sense that getting drunk with others could be considered festive, fare, the sellsword seems intent on clarifying his point. "You take offense at my words, Mistress, and the good Master here is quick to run to your side, but I ask you, what is it I said that is worth being affronted?" His brow climbs as he looks between the others, his tone genuine. "You call your work and life menial, but is that so? You're seated with your Lord, enjoying his favor and that of his Master-at-Arms. Drinking fine ale, dressed in clean clothes, with a lady to look after…" He shakes his head. "I think you misread the subject of my words. I'm talking about those who have never known excitement in their lives, born too far down the line of their meagre father to hope for any sort of inheritance, who'd work and toil and die never for the fruit of their own, but for the fruit of others. Those are the sorts of men that might not look askance at a foreign land, and think to themselves that there is something to be made from untilled fields and still-standing oaks, rivers unfished, game left to hunt." He drains another mouthful of his ale. "Don't look at me and call me a knight as if I'm some high and mighty staring down my nose, because I'm not. I came from less than nothing, owed a debt of service from before I knew what service was. All I've got, I did by being one of those men looking to new places to stake their claim, my 'Ser', my armor, my blade, and what dubious honor a hedge knight can claim." He lets out a breath, when he realizes how long he's gone on, and says, "… don't think I'm looking to insult anyone, but we all don't have the chance to serve our lord, more of us are lucky if we serve our elder brother with a chip on his shoulder, pulling turnips until the day we die. I'm not looking to give insult, not to my own sort." He lets out a huff, and then adds, a touch lame, "So, what do you do with a drunken sailor, anyways?"

Orlagh's protest comes, and he grants the mistress his full attention, her words given full weight. The mistress is correct; a House is as strong as its foundation, and its people, all who work the land is just that. Anders smiles at the words, his head inclining; it's what he believes, actually— people are most comfortable when they know their place in the world. Sometimes that place changes, and learning a new level of comfort must come (or may never come).. but in that, it grants purpose. He shakes his head; there's no word against hers, not here, not tonight. He asked for candor and discussion, and he asked her place in it.. and that is what he wants.

Now, with Fenrir's glance to him, Anders knows for certain that he's overthinking things, and he exhales.. he tries, but when he gets wrapped around the axle, and can't see? Either he eventually falls out when the cart rolls backwards, or someone has to pull from the front to unwind him and roll the cart forward. His brows rise, however, in inquiry as the question has it's introduction, and Anders knows that look. Absolutely, he knows it.. and when it does come? "You shave his belly with a rusty razor!" comes his response, a grin coming immediately to his face. He's no singer like the Master, but.. again.. it's the company he keeps and continues, "Shave his belly with a rusty razor— shave his belly with a rusty razor - early in the morning!" Rising from his seat during his response, Anders reaches for the pitcher, now finally to refill his cup.. and he now counts to his third. The question is now sent to Markus.. and he takes up the question, his gaze set.. and.. the knight doesn't know the sea chanty? Pausing in the words, then, he puts his hand out to quell the tide. "The pair of you actually say the same, but work to different ends. I've heard both of you.. and one speaks as a man who has such opportunity and one speaks as a woman, and for all women who are born into their lot and are content in it. You have to agree, ser, that a woman has less opportunity to seek their fortune without.. and I will speak no more on this for now before I find myself under a cart.. and instead we'll teach you a proper song.. and one that you can bring to the lands you visit, whether with us, or with another you serve." And he begins to whistle, which he does a fair touch better than sing, truth be told, looking to Fen to bring up the song once more, or perhaps even Orlagh.. Does she know the song?

Wearing clothes that she has washed and mended. Drinking ale she had brought to the stores, that she has spent much of the day pouring, from one of the many tankards she has had need to wash today. While the meal she has spent hours preparing simmers on a fire she lit and her Lady slumbers peacefully in a bed she makes and changes. Regardless of one man's opinion, Orlagh is most certainly far down the line of her kin and toils every day for the betterment of a family that isn't her own. But if he wants to nitpick and compare tales of woe, he's apparently going to do so on his lonesome. Orlagh just doesn't look up from her ale. Nor, in fact, does she drink it. Not for a while anyway.

In the wake of Anders' good humor, though, she does summon a smile; answering him, albeit softly, before eventually taking another sup. "..put 'im in bed with the Captain's daughter.." Of course she knows the damn song. Do they think all women launder linen in silence?

Perhaps he doesn't mean to cause offense, but Fenrir is clearly offended. The litany of complaint flows over him as Markus speaks, and his lean features tense further with each word. He leans forward slightly, like an animal about to spring, mud-spattered features pale and bloodless. It's his eyes that truly do the talking, first widening and then narrowing to little slits. But then his Lord sings, and the moment passes like fog burning off in the morning - the violence eases out of Fenrir's frame, and he straightens, a grin playing across his lips as though he had never angered. Raising his mug to his lips as Anders begins to whistle, he drains it with a long gulp, swallowing, and turns to fill it from the pitcher set aside. "Weigh hey and up she rises, weigh hey and up she rises.. weigh hey and up she rises, early in the morning!

He turns toward Orlagh, looking down at her with a challenging grin, his brow raising as she also offers an answer to the eternal question. "Tie him to the capstan and break his elbows!" Quite the vicious answer, but it's better than keelhauling the poor bugger. He stomps his foot cheerfully, perhaps trying his best to forget his ire of a moment earlier.

Well, offense wasn't meant, but having delivered it to at least one of them, Markus doesn't entirely mind. Whatever words are spoken around the small gathering, it's that look from the Northman warrior that makes the impression on him. He lifts his mug of ale and swallows the rest of it down, leaning over to set the mug aside. "Think maybe I'm not used to your Northern ale, my lord," Markus says, though he doesn't much take his gaze off of Fenrir, a faint note of apology in his voice for said lord he addresses. "I think I should retire, lest I find myself in such a state that I'm not fit for drills on the morrow." That said, he gets up from his stool and adds, "My gratitude, for letting me join your small circle."

Anders appreciates the handmaid, most certainly. Her work for his House is without measure and without question. (It's why he rarely says 'thank you', actually. Expecations..) Eyes widen, and a laugh comes from the noble lord's throat as Orlagh comes out with a line, and he raises his cup before he settles back into his seat. With the pair, Fen and Anders working on draining the pitcher, there won't be much left.. and the first swallow is taken from the new cup as he takes his comfort again.

Fenrir is given something of a salute, even if he winces at the verse offered by the Master before he laughs. Crisis averted, truly.. and there'll be talk, no doubt, later.. when the fires are tended by only a couple of men rather than having all surrounded by groups. "Soak him in oil 'til he sprouts a flipper!"

Anders is given to silence again, even as he looks to Markus as next on the list.. and he opens his mouth.. only to close it again. "If it is what you wish, I bid you good night, ser. I look forward to the morrow, myself. The night passes, the sun rises on all." He inclines his head, allowing the man his exit.

Swallowing a last teeny sip of ale - she's managed to get away with barely finishing one, thank Gods - Orlagh then simply sets her tankard in both hands and rises, not without care, to a stand. A shallow curtsey is dipped toward Markus, as he bides his fare-thee-wells, a weary smile yet lingering across her lips. Orlagh's not one to hold a grudge.. frankly, she looked more wide eyed and terrified that her Lord may find displeasure in her speaking openly, rather than in her actual words. So her flare of defiance is tempered at least somewhat by relief when Anders laughs at her belated addition to the song.

"Good eve to you, Ser.. and forgive my words. I am likely a little defensive, when it comes to my.. upbringing." At least she has the grace to admit it, with a proper downward cast of her gaze.

"M'lord.. Master Fenrir.." Turning to the others, the girl dips a far lower curtsey, intended to encompass both with a single gesture. "..I should take my leave. Is there anything else you may need, before I seek my rest?"

Fenrir at least has the decency to look abashed as he peers between Markus and Anders. Simple men often leap to simple conclusions, and a fist-fight has settled many a score amiably enough - but he oughtn't smash up the Lord's tent, and Markus really wasn't trying to provoke anyone, it seems. He clears his throat, then lifts his mug toward the hedge knight with a friendly smile. "Wear something you don't mind rusting out. I gave the lads the night off, which means tomorrow morning, we're heading into the water. You'll be seconding a section under my man Jory, 'til you see what we're about." The details of administration, it seems, always flicker behind the man's eyes, set so far back in his mind that he can tend to them and still sing drunken shanties.

He turns toward Orlagh, head tilting for a moment before he waves his free hand loosely. "I can't speak for the Lord, but I reckon you've done enough and more today, Mistress. I get the bruises, but you end up with the sweat." He grins toward Orlagh, downing another gulp of ale thirstily before he tacks on, "Rest well. I'll be needing you up early, too, for more tea."

Anders exhales in a sigh and leans back in his seat again, pulling up a foot to settle on its edge. "Nothing else tonight, Orlagh." He ceases before the words 'thank you' would appear with any of lesser station than he. Again, expections and an understanding of duties, roles and responsibilities. It's how Houses function. Fenrir, however, has those last minute instructions, added work on top of her attending the Young Lady. Once the requests are made, he drains his cup of the third filling, his gaze moving towards the decoration of the cup itself. Must not get too wrapped up in thinking again, but the evening isn't quite as he expected, and he's got to figure out the whys of it all.. and hows. He's not ready for bed yet, and even if the Master decides upon turning in, he'll stay later in his seat free to consider until either sleep takes him, or the sun rises.. or both.

"You're passionate in defense of what you love, that requires no apology," Markus offers to the woman whom also stands, and to whom he offers a bow of his head. He's as common born as she, only with the advantage of recognition as a Knight, but he knows well enough how to show respect in turn. "We'll see what I can find, Master Fenrir, but don't be surprised if I come without much beyond leathers. I've no House Flint armory to draw my maile from, and will need it in fine condition when we invade the Isles." He bows his head to the men. "Good eve, my lord. Thank you once again." That said, he turns, and swiftly quits the gathering about the Flint pavilion.

Once the others have departed, Fenrir quaffs the last of his mug of ale and turns to look at Anders skeptically. "You hired him? Honestly?" The question is left to hang wryly in the air, before he shakes his head and refills. "If that fight hadn't broken out, Lord, I would'a rubbed his head in the mud for calling on you in that little disagreement." He takes another drink, exhaling slowly and beginning to pace a slow circle as he looks toward his dearest friend. "..Oi, Lord, I gotta ask something. It, uh, it wouldn't offend you if I, uh, took Mistress Orlagh dancing of a night, would it?" Surprisingly, for such a confident man, the young master-at-arms is *bashful* when confessing his crush aloud. As if he hadn't made it obvious and more. "Only, she's a.. -damn- fine lady. And those legs…" He trails off wistfully.

Anders' cup is empty, sadly.. and he moves to refill it, pulling himself forward and moving to where his friend and confidante perches. He takes the last bit in the first pitcher and empties it, filling his cup only to half. Still, it's better than none, and settling on the edge where Orlagh has just vacated, he exhales and looks across. "I wouldn't have pulled the rug out from under him because we still need all swords we can get for the Isles, but I also would have reminded him again that you hold our confidence, Fen.. my Lord Father's and my own." As well as Fenrir's own father.. and such.. as it goes back. "But.." and now he rises, his expression lightening, "Orlagh, hmm?" He chuckles, and doesn't bother setting himself back in his seat. Instead, he stands, though he doesn't venture beyond the overhang of the flap. "It wouldn't offend me in the least, Fen.. what needs to be done, then, is to be sure she can't use her duties as an excuse. And in that, I'll need the aid of.. competant maids, and the complicity of my lady." Which may be difficult. "She's.. a fine woman," Anders has to agree there. "Grown from a girl who used to cheat at hide and seek when playing with Lise against me." Lifting a hand to rub at his cheek, the smile turns lopsided, "She'd punched me.. at Lise's encouragement, of course. That way, my sister couldn't be chastized, and Orlagh was told she couldn't play such games with the Young Lord anymore." No being beaten up by a girl for Anders, no!

"Oh, I remember, Lord, I remember." Fenrir grins broadly at the man's story, reaching over to punch him lightly in the shoulder - a gesture of familiarity allowed only when the pair are alone, of course, and also drunk. "You cried." A smirk twists his lips as he elaborates the tale a bit, looking out after the young woman. "Got to get your Lady in on it, then - I think she likes me well enough, and I won't hurt the girl none, Lord, you know that." His tone is almost wheedling as he begs the Lord - who has so much else on his plate - to take on this new campaign. "Your sister sent her for you, didn't she." It isn't a question - Fenrir knows Lise all too well, has known her from childhood on, after all. He eyes Anders speculatively, and adds "..But you're happy, ain't you? With the wife and all?"

"I did not.." Anders laughs, his tones almost.. almost pouting. He did, however.. he just doesn't like the memory of it all. "But regardless.. she's grown up to be a fine woman." And she won't punch him now! The man destined to inherit his father's throne, give something of a gentle kick to his friend's shin.. "Just for that.." But really.. and taking a long draught, he easily finishes what there was left in the pitcher, poured into his cup. Now, he's feeling good; he's got that happy buzz.

"I know you won't, Fen. And she'd be lucky to have you. 'Course, I don't know what she had behind at home. Near as I could see, no-one, but truth be told, I wasn't paying much attention to Lise in the last couple of years, and so didn't have much to do in the way of running into Orlagh." And the girl is the perfect maid.. invisible until she doesn't wish to be. "I'll set a couple of the maids myself working, but just for you. And Corrie.." Corrie.. Anders' expression drops a touch before he moves back towards his friend and the handmaid. "She sent her because she disapproves of Corrie. She sent her because she thought she'd be a distraction." He shakes his head slowly, "But I'm not buying it, Fen. I've made my bed.. literally."

As for Corrie? Anders shrugs his shoulder, ever so slightly. "I got what I wanted?" As he usually did, and does. "I might be doing her a disservice, though. She's just not.. she's fighting her life with me, I think. She expects that everything will be the same, and she gave me such argument as the Gods have never heard about her place.. as if I was asking her to tear her soul out and leave it behind. And then.. then.." Anders barks a laugh, "a childhood friend came, and told me that she was there to watch Corrie for her father.. and then answered me, when asked, that she'd do her lady's bidding, regardless of my desires on the matter." He snorts and takes his seat, finally, back on his chair.. "I haven't brought this up to Corrie yet, because.. well.. she said she'd speak to the girl, but.. who knows?"

Fenrir's features darken, and darken further, and darken further, as Anders goes on. He listens in silence to his friend, even accepting the shin-kick. He'd had an inkling that things were wrong in the Lord's bedchamber - how often does Anders sit up drinking these days, really? - but this.. Reaching out, Fenrir grasps his shoulder tightly and gives it a hard squeeze. "I mind me the first time you met Cordelya Reed, as was. You were a boy then. Read too much." His tone is gentle, if a bit sozzled, and he takes another gulp of ale as he continues.

His vaguely canine features zone in on the other man. "You were a sweet lad with her, she so scared and strange, Anders, and you so odd and quiet-like. I was one of the guards your da sent, do you remember?" He releases Anders to pace quietly, dampening his lower lip as he talks. "I was sort of relieved, like, to see you take a liking to a girl. Well.. She was mad, then. Barking mad. She's barking mad now, mate, but you love her something fierce and love always gets harder as we get older." He flashes an apologetic smile toward Anders as he talks. "Listen, it ain't ever easy the first few years a pair're married. And once you get her fat with child, it'll be even worse. I seen it." Some comfort that is. "..But /you/ just mind you the scared little girl, when you get angry. She's still that, being Lady, yanno. Still scared and lost, and you always been her light."

"I remember, Fen.. I remember you looking out for me. Not sure you knew I knew.. but made me feel better." That someone had faith, and raising his hand to where his friend laid his for the squeeze, he gives the hand a brief squeeze of its own before dropping his hand back. "She was a scared thing. Sent to a big household.. and her maids asleep." Which seems to be a common theme with Corrie, actually. "She's.. I thought she'd grown up." And, well.. Anders is probably a little bit bigger for his britches too. He's not the little boy, at least not the same little boy.. but Fen's take on it really is something of an eye-opener. "Since seeing the Lady Cherise, she wants a child of her own.. and I probably didn't help matters either.." Isn't that what heirs do? Make more, and quickly? Fill up the household with so many, that others farther down the line have no hope, no chance.. and so that line remains secure? "I'll mind her.. but I might have done some harm in it. She's not looking at me the same. Sure.. we laid together last night even.. but it's like something's.. broken. And I don't know what's what." He smiles tightly, and exhales again in a sigh. "If I set her mind to the maids and you, it'll at least give her the idea she's useful.. and she likes you. And she likes the idea of love, and happy ever afters. And, I think she wants a break from Orlagh.."

"Who could want a break from Orlagh?" Oh, he has it bad. Fenrir smiles crookedly at Anders' pat, then gulps down yet more ale. These pitchers are getting low - he refills his mug, but they've already polished one off entirely. Blinking a bit owlishly, Fenrir focuses back in on his Lord. "You know what. I know what to do." Uh-oh. "Listen. You go to her, you say you're worried about me, real worried. I mean, let's face it, mate, I'm thirty-two and I ain't got a son yet." That's -old-. He grimaces a bit, seeming to feel every year on his worn shoulders, and carries on. "And does she know a woman who could do for me what Corrie does for you, and does she know a woman who might be able to make me love her, bearing in mind that I'm a right prick at times, the same way you love her even when you're being a tosser, and does she… you get the idea." He grins widely at Anders. "Don't -tell- her Orlagh. Let her figure it out."

Anders considers that second pitcher.. the one is polished off, but his friend is working on that second one. "I really don't know.. If it were me? Or you? Those hands…" He whistles softly, the sound rising between them. "That.. sounds.. so incredibly dumb that it might work. But, you might get some hideous creature.. or.." He lowers his voice, "I think my good cousin Lady Tiaryn has been looking at you." A grin comes after that, and he waves his hand— "So, that whole 'need a son' thing might not work, because Connell," his cousin who died in the War, "didn't leave her fat with child." Unless.. and he narrows his eyes and barks a laugh soon after, "You bastard, you have your pick of women. A lady, and a .. not lady." But.. but.. "I'll tell you what I'll do.. I can set you in your roll.. tomorrow night. You're sick.. feverish. We'll set Corrie up to make sure she's following.. and we'll send for Orlagh.. compresses.. water.. broth.."

Fenrir's head snaps over to Anders and he nearly spills his ale; his eyes bulge in his head, genuine alarm stamped across his features. "Shite! Lady Tiaryn? Anders, you know I can't talk to nobs! And the woman just saw her whole family slaughtered." Forgetting, for the moment, that this isn't just a 'nob', this is - in a very literal sense - the nob. He takes a massive gulp of ale from his mug, downing the mug halfway and swallowing hard. But then, a bit bashfully, "..She has been, huh? Well, even if I got to break the lady's heart, I reckon it's -flattering-." Still, no question of scratching that particular itch - it wouldn't be proper!

"Sick. Tomorrow night.. Yeah.. you know, I do feel a cough coming on, and I got this weird feeling I might overdo it in the morning." Really, by the looks of him, he's going to be feeling pretty sick come dawn, let alone evening. That's a lot of ale he's been downing. He takes another lengthy sip, apparently not one to think ahead once he's into his cups. "..But what if she's good with herbs, like your wife, mate? What if she figures out I'm faking? She'll throw the broth in my face and punch me!"

The reaction is priceless and Anders laughs out loud, a long, genuine laugh.. and it takes him several moments to even begin to reel it in. He's close to tears in the panic shown by his friend, and it does take him several tries to even begin to try and get out more than two words to string together. He shakes his head, his hand coming up to wave of the false starts, and he settles into a fit of strung-together giggles. "Flattering.. she's been eying you, and she's not yet thirty." Which means she could still bear children! "I'll have Corrie try and dissuade her.. speak of you as some.. beast that's not fit for a rug, much less a bed." Anders grins; the man before him is still covered in mud.. so doesn't that prove his point?

As for the problem with the new plan? A breath is sucked in between closed teeth, and the hiss sounds. "I can't trust Cor enough to give you something easy to bypass.." There's poisonings all the time! Only, this wouldn't be a poisoning.. not really. But.. he can't see that. And he won't allow it. "And she'll make you cry." With the punch? "Or.. I could set up a fight between us.. and I'll be .. unreasonable. Seek her for reason? Meet with her for sympathy and commiseration?"

"I'll just drink the seawater," decides Fenrir cheerfully. Oh, yes. A perfect excuse - chug down seawater until you're dehydrated and puking! That'll make a woman want to baby you all night long, yes indeed. He narrows his eyes a bit at Anders' laughter, taking a swig of ale and grinning mercilessly. "Just think. You let that Tiaryn woman marry me, I'd be a nob too. And family. Family, Anders!" The idea is dreadful - it doesn't bear thinking of. To a pair of men already closer than brothers.

"Can't fight with you. Can't do that, Lord." He's back to being Lord? "If I fought with you, and the lads'd see it, and well, we know that'd be bad.." He clears his throat, eyes drifting a bit, glassy on the surface from too much ale. "I know. I know. What if you.. What if you said I'd been real depressed tonight, here in private. Like I'm real scared about something. Make me seem real low, and just putting on a good front. And ask her to try and be a friend to me!"

Family? No way in hell! Anders laughs, "You'd suck at being a nob," to use his own term, "and I'd end up having to teach you which fork to use when." Which is not high on his list of things to do, apparently. He looks consideringly at the pitcher of ale, but remarkably, decides against it. He's got a nice happy buzz and more might send him a little more forward than he'd like.

"I don't mean fight in public, Fen. But where she could see it.." Anders shakes his head a little too quickly, and immediately brings a hand up as if to keep his head from rolling off his shoulders. He's not feeling much in the way of pain.. but there is that twinge.. and then nothing. "I think.. sea water, and then depressed. That'll get both angles. But.. damn, Fen.. you're not afraid of anything. How could I …" He waves it off, and stretches even while he's seated in the chair. "I'll think of something. Or really.. I'll get Corrie to help.. and make sure she knows it's Orlagh and not Lady Tiaryn."

"I'm afraid of plenty, old mate." Fenrir reaches over to pat Anders' shoulder as he polishes off his ale, setting it on the table for.. yes, for Orlagh to find in the morning. What a catch he is. "I'm afraid of Markus spreading dissent in my men, I'm afraid I can't beat him in a slug-match, I'm afraid of the landing when we get to the Isles, I'm afraid of Orlagh, I'm afraid of getting seasick again, I'm afraid of failing.." He trails off, head tilting to the ceiling as he thinks. "I'm afraid of Tiaryn fucken Flint ordering me to service her.." Unlikely, but what a nice thing to be scared of. He grins at Anders after this last, attempting to break his own gloom. "Anyway. Mostly, what I'm afraid of, Lord, is tomorrow morning. So we best get some sleep, or I'll be adding fear of your wife to my snivel-list."

Anders shakes his head as he begins to rise, offering his hand to his friend to give him some support. "Everything you're afraid of, there's no control of, Fen. Well.. a couple we do. But I've got faith in you. Always have.. and I'm not sure if it helps or not, but I've got the same kinds of fear, so you're not alone there." He grins soon after, as he pulls in slightly to clap his friend on the shoulder. "But I'm not afraid of being told to service Lady Tiaryn. That's just crazy."

Still, though, it's time to turn in. "I'll be out there tomorrow. And after, after you get a chance to rest, do me a favour? I need to stretch, and I need to work up some muscle again. Let's run through a couple sparring matches.. but I don't want Corrie to know." He's pretty sure his Master will agree to it.. and so doesn't necessarily wait for the answer. "Good night, Fen.." but here, he pauses before he looks to his friend, "..and thank you."