Page 154: Distinct Disagreements
Distinct Disagreements
Summary: A Hardwicke, a Kathryna, an Aeric, and a Jarod walk into a bar…
Date: December 18, 2011
Related Logs: The long line of Eva/Kathryna disagreement logs.
Hardwicke Kathryna Aeric Jarod 
Rockcliff Inn — Terrick's Roost
The Rockcliff Inn is one of the better inns within the town and it shows with the well-lit interior and the relative cleanliness to the other locations in Terrick's Roost. The tables are polished with oils and the floor regularly swept. A set of booths towards a darker rear of the Inn's bottom floor, just beneath the staircase, are where whores generally socialize and eye prospects from when not waiting tables. Signs over the undersized bar area advertise prices for ales and wines as well as several different choices of food to be served at the small eating area by the bar or in the main open area in its comfortable seating. A door behind the bar leads to the kitchen and cellar while another near the staircase leads to a private room that would appear to be off-limits to the 'wait staff' except for food and drink service.
December 17, 288

The inn is as populous as ever for eveningtimes, and Hardwicke is — not quite relaxed, but a little less on guard where he sits at a table with Aeric. Of course, it's in his manner as often as not to keep quiet, and he's taking a moment to fill his own silence with a gulp of ale. What number drink is that? Who knows.

Kathryna pushes the door to the inn open, stalking fairly heavily tonight, restlessly, an unspent energy in her body that speaks of her often rising need of a drink or a fight. Hopefully she'll keep it to a drink tonight. She doesn't quite notice the men yet, but she heads straight over for the bar, leaning hip against the wood there as she stares down the keep. "Ale… a mug and an urn, please. Just keep the stuff coming." She pulls out a good few coppers to pay for it all, sliding them across the bar as she accepts her ale. Ice eyes then flicker across the room, smirking a hint as she catches sight of Hardwicke.

The Ironborn is a familiar enough sight to catch Hardwicke's attention when she pushes in and makes for the bar. Her smirk earns, probably predictably, a scowl. Mayhaps Aeric is — using the necessaries.

If he hadn't scowled, perhaps she would have ignored him. But he did scowl and it's all the more fun to poke at those who don't want it. So, scooping up her ale and urn full, she heads over towards him and, uninvited, plops down into a a chair. "Ale for the table! I'm generous tonight."

You'd think he would learn. Hardwicke huffs out a breath as she invites herself over and takes another gulp of his own drink. "Is this your way of trying to make friends?" he grouches.

Did someone say free ale? This is why Lord Aeric has impeccable timing. Its in his blood. Mallisters know how to party. He enters the Inn with a flourish of his cloak as the winter wind gusts inwards. There.. there is Hardwicke much set upon by that Harlaw woman. Poor man. He angles his way there directly, removing his cloak and handing it deftly to a barmaid who'd just turned around. Thankfully, she has deft hands. "Good evening, Ser, Lady Harlaw."

"Not really. You could call it as my way of finding amusement. If you weren't so damned bothered by me, I probably would have forgotten you ages ago. But every time I see that little scowl, I cannot resist coming over, plying you with ale, and furrowing a few more lines into that forehead of yours." Kate rasps out teasingly, a cocky grin dancing across her lips. And then there is Aeric coming up behind her and her brows loft. "Mallister! I thought you went into hiding after that mess of a duel of ours!"

"So what do I do to get you to /stop/?" Hardwicke grumbles, squinting at her and her present of ale with a sort of habitual suspicion that does not require actual reason for existing. He snorts at her greeting of the newcomer, though jerks his chin in his own silent hello to Aeric.

"Knock her cold?" Aeric offers to Hardwicke with a gentile smile for Kathryna. As he takes up a chair, he looks to her with a hand to breast. "Lady Harlaw, I'm hurt that you would think me to take avoidance of your person for such a small insult to the Divine. Especially when answered so resoundingly. No, I was merely detained by business of my House. You understand, surely."

Another loud, warm laugh barks from Kate's lips as Aeric gives the best answer to Hardwicke's question, "Aye, Hardwicke… there ye have it. Duel me, knock me on my ass, and I shall no doubt shut up… At least for a few hours." She winks to the sour faced, older man, then looks back over to Aeric and smirks in skeptical amusement to his words. "Insult… to the… Divine. You're divine in these lands? No wonder I worship at the feet of a god who would love to drown me. It's far better than other offerings.

"I've no interest in harming the lady," Hardwicke says, the slightest dry twist of the sardonic in his voice. He offers no comment on the subject of gods, many or singular or all of the above.

There's a wry laugh and Aeric indicates Kathryna with a languid turn of hand. "As you can see, she is none the worse for wear." Damnit? "As to my divinity…" He draws his gaze back to Kathryna. "I'll apologize for baiting you into the topic but brook it no longer lest you break your word to me. We cannot have that, hmm?" He smiles. "So. What do you do with yourself these days when not baiting men?"

Kathryna releases a slightly overly dramatic sigh, as if her life were truly quite so hard, as Aeric comments on her baiting of men, "Well… Baiting men IS quite the difficult, time consuming task, you must understand. Especially when they are so easily baited." She grins in Hardwicke's direction again, but leans over to fill up his ale, if he'll permit her. Perhaps offering alcohol is the only way Kate knows how to apologize. "Deciding if I should forgive the Terrick's for their lady's slight and Lord's…uh… persistent absence has been the main focus of my mind. I suppose I should return to residence at the Roost, but things are quite a touch freer here. And… I have been gifted a horse. So I'm attempting to learn how to ride the beast."

Hardwicke rumbles a low, wordless sound, but he doesn't object to Kathryna pouring him another drink. "If you find them so easy to bait, wouldn't that make it an /easier/ task?" he says with muted snark.

Into the Rockcliff strides Ser Jarod Rivers. Not an unusual sight. He proceeds directly to the bar, calling out for a "Pint of ale, if you please" to the keeper of said bar tonight. He offers a few greeting to other men drinking who he passes on his way. People know his name here.

There's a rather odd trio seated together with a pitcher of ale shared between them. Its the Lord Ser Aeric, Lady Harlaw, and the surlish Ser Hardwicke. The latter seems to have been placated by free beer while the former is regarding the Lady Harlaw as a wolverine might when faced with a badger. "Have you considered, Lady Harlaw, that it is you who gave offense? I realize our customs differ from your own but.. we are not on the Isles either."

Aeric's tone is diplomatic, if that could be said, and chased with a sip of his ale.

Kathryna doesn't quite notice Jarod yet, looking firmly at the handsome faces of her elder counterparts at the table. She sprawls back into the chair's seat, legs stretched before her. She momentarily smiles to Hardwicke, "You would think that." She winks to him, then turns a touch more stern as she gazes back to Aeric. "I have considered that. I have actually also apologized for my… rough nature. I've offered to… Speak kinder. Be… proper in polite company. Hell, I'd put on a damn dress if it'd make her happy. I just won't let myself go to rust… God, Aeric…" She shakes her head, all her mirth gone. "You put me down like I was a simpering child. I am -not- that weak. I've gone soft already. It… it's a danger to me. To my life, should I return home."

Very quietly, Hardwicke snorts into his tankard before taking another gulp of ale. "It's like I've heard the same exact speech twenty times now."

Jarod gets his beer, which he pays for with a couple coppers, and drinks of it while he takes in the lay of tonight's land. The girls working the room not-so-subtly are eyed, a lithe dark-haired one flashed an easy, boyish grin from him. But though his eyes follow her, they're forced to pause on the table with the odd trio. There's a beat of hesitation. Perhaps he's thinking on just trailing the lithe brunette whore wherever it is she's currently going. But, perhaps out of curiosity, he detours to the trio's table. "M'Lady. Ser Hardwicke. Ser Aeric. Good eve." It's the Mallister gentleman who seems to command most of his focus. Not quite as much as the whore got a moment ago, admittedly, but most of it.

Aeric takes a patient breath and leans back into his chair, though he does spare a glance for the door to note Jarod's arrival and offer the man a nod of greeting. "Lady Harlaw.. there is a time and a place for everything. Some.. do not have a patience or a tolerance for the being that is you. Which.. does rather beg the question of the Lord Camden but I'll spare words on that topic." He looks to Jarod and offers a chair with a grand gesture. "Ser Jarod, do join us. The Lady Harlaw is free with her copper this eve as an apology for her rough ways."

Kathryna smirks to Hardwicke again. "I suppose that's one thing I have in common with your women — I nag until someone listens." But her head does seem about as thick as the callouses on her palms, the insults not much bothering the pale barbarian woman. She gives a brief, curt nod towards Jarod and raises her ale to him before taking a good gulp of the stuff. "Aye… I have enough to buy at least a round or two, sit, Rivers." Then she's back to Aeric. "If they have no tolerance for me, then I shall happily move on. I said this already.. it's the Lords Terrick that asked me to remain."

"If you can't deal with problems of culture without storming out, what are you doing attempting to be a diplomatic envoy?" Hardwicke says flatly. "If you can't handle the position, you shouldn't move on, you should move /home/."

"You know so much of the women of our lands, do you, Lady Harlaw?" Jarod asks, something in the way she puts that vaguely amusing him. "Or is that a common trait in women the world over? I'd bet that's more the case, myself. And I thank you for the invitation. I believe I shall." He pulls out a chair, plopping down comfortably, though he'll finish his own beer before partaking in the free stuff. "Anyhow, one point for Ser Hardwicke, we've rather talked your dissatisfaction with my lord father's house to death. Apologies have been made, accept them or no. And I've said I'll practice with you away from the castle. Lady Evangeline does not tell me how to condition myself." That's all he seems to care to say on the matter. "Speaking of sparring, Ser Aeric, I was hoping you and I could talk a bit on that topic."

"Indeed." Seems to be Aeric succinct reply to Jarod. He nods and lifts his beer in confirmation but seems more interested in the exchange between Harlaw and Hardwicke. "What say you to that, Lady Harlaw?"

Kathryna gives a cold smile towards Hardwicke after Aeric's question, though she now stands. "I will say what I just said again, since, apparently, he did not hear it. I would have left, but the Lords Terrick asked me to remain. I can handle the position perfectly fine, and if they wish me gone, then I shall go." Then she goes back towards Jarod and Aeric, bowing her head respectfully and pulling out a few more coppers to leave upon the table to buy the next round. "If you forgive me, gentlemen, I do think I shall take my leave. I agree this is not an argument I wish to continue having, but seems the only thing your man there cares to harp upon as well. Ser Rivers, we shall practice again soon. Good night, gentlemen." With that, she turns to go.

"Haven't seen anything to convince me of it." Hardwicke watches her with a steady gaze dark to her light. "Only making reply to what you insist on repeating." He takes another gulp of his ale and settles lower in his seat without offering her anything in the way of farewell but his observation.

"Oh, don't be dramatic! Stay until your beer's gone, at least," Jarod calls to Kathryna. Having offended her doesn't seem to have given him any qualms about topping off his mug from the pitcher she bought. But he actually does appear to have something to say to Aeric, but he doesn't spend overmuch time waving the Ironwoman back. "I didn't get a chance to say it before, Ser, what with concern over the lady's injuries, but you're a damned impressive hand with a blade. Was all that part of the technique you were talking on before? How you fight…lighter on ships than is common in mainland combat?"

Aeric raises a brow as Kathryna begs her abrupt departure. For a moment, he considers her with a scrutinizing expression but then his attention is drawn back to Jarod. "Hmm? Ahh. Partly. I have merely found that fighting with efficiency of movement not only comes unexpected to your opponent but spares you for the protracted fight. But yes, as it happens, grand motions upon a ship only gets you hung up in the rigging."

Hardwicke snorts a quiet, unimpressed sort of breath as Kathryna finally slips out the door. He shakes his head, takes another swallow of ale, and considers the two men in their conversation with a slow rising of interest for the topic, if not immediate input.

Jarod watches Kathryna go, shrugs, and drinks more of the beer she paid for. "Women are insane." He says it in an almost wise, sage tone. Like it's this great truth he's stumbled upon, and must share with all, for the benefit of the world. If nothing else, that seems to be all the explanation he requires for her departure. "It almost makes me want to try fencing aboard the war galley. Or, at least, learn a bit more of the style that needs to be employed when doing such. My own sword-work tends more to the conventional big man, big sword, big armor, big horse, I'll grant. Though I try to be competent enough at it."

Aeric hmms, saving comment on the women for now. "I've never been much of a fan of that manner of fighting. Telegraphing your swing only makes it easier for your opponent to measure you." He offers an idle shrug and a sip of his beer. "I'm sure Ser Hardwicke could tell you as much."

"I guess I could, but it'd be a boring conversation with me talking about what you don't like," Hardwicke says, fingers tapping along the side of his tankard.

"Aye, I'm trying to stretch myself a bit of late," Jarod replies to Aeric. "Not that I want to become some dancing Braavosi bugger or anything, but I'd like to become a bit less…predictable. In all aspects, but the fighting bit seems particularly useful." He gulps some beer, turning brief to Hardwicke. "You could talk on what you don't like, Ser. That'd keep us talking all night."

Aeric chuckles and moves to refill Hardwicke's cup. "Hardwicke, there are days when you make me look positively cheerful. I ought to thank you for that.. instead I think I'll name you a sparring partner. For myself that is. Meaning no offense to Ser Jerod." He tips his cup in the man's direction. "Its the only time I see you smile."

"That's because you /are/ cheerful," Hardwicke tells Aeric. He huffs a breath and, somewhat despite himself, smirks. "I smile plenty, and I like plenty. Now I'm sure there's plenty of more interesting topics." He takes a gulp of his refilled ale. "But I'll gladly allow you the honor of myself as sparring partner, Ser."

"No offense taken, Ser, I'd like to see that if you'd not mind an audience," Jarod replies. As for Hardwicke smiling, this makes Jarod smile. And laugh. A disbelieving "Ha!" He snorts. "Oh really? What makes you smile, Good Ser Blayne? Name five things. Count them off on your fingers. I bet you can't even get to three." He's mostly joking. Mostly.

Aeric offers a nod to Hardwicke, its respectful, thankful even. "Ohhh, I should dare say.. a fine lass, Lord Fontleroy unseated in the mud at his lance, a good mug of ale and leg of mutton, the balance of a well crafted blade… and… no I shant name the fifth. Its not for common telling." He glances to Hardwicke with a sly wink.

"Ale and mutton should count for two," Hardwicke says, "but if you really need another: a smart horse." But, whatever Aeric's list, he seems somewhat vindicated that there's a list at all, and he looks back to Jarod with arched brows.

Jarod has to give a nod of appreciation to the list, offering Hardwicke a yielding sort of shrug. "Fair enough, Ser. Not a bad list, I'll grant. Though I'm curious what the good Ser Mallister would've filled in for your fifth." He tops his beer off from Kathryna's pitcher, yet again. "How many more drinks do you figure we need to have before you both'll tell that story?"

Aeric offers a glance to Hardwicke. The sort of thing that says 'I'm not telling. You telling?' As he looks back to Jarod, he offers. "And what of your five, Ser Jerod? If we are telling then it ought be returned. Who knows. You may impress the good Ser to reveal his secret."

"I've no idea," Hardwicke admits on the topic of that secretive fifth item. "He already named women, so I don't know where he would've spoken rougher." He snorts at the question and just shakes his head.

"My five? All right…" Jarod actually takes a moment to think on this. "Good ale, good blade, good horse. Those're easy and I'll share them gladly. Good minstrel who can play a tune you can dance to. That's my fourth. And a graceful Riverlands girl with big brown eyes and pert tits to dance with, and who'll let you take her upstairs after. Not so different from his five, I'll grant you, but it wasn't a bad list." He shifts a look between the two of them. "Either Ser Aeric's having me on or Ser Hardwicke's lived a much more fun life than he lets people think."

Aeric tops off his own cup. "Mightn't it be both, Ser Jerod? It could be both and yet still be truth." His eyes flit between both men. "So what news from Stonebridge? I've neard there's quite a lot of activity flitting about there."

"I've seen thirty-seven years. I've lived near twice as much as you have," Hardwicke points out to Jarod. "I'm no maid." At Aeric's question, he goes a bit — quiet.

"And what're your top five, Ser Aeric, since we've both shared and shared alike?" the Rivers knight asks. As for Stonebridge, Jarod takes another drink from his mug before switching to that topic. "Little new. Lady Isolde and Lord Ryker remain firmly ensconced in Tordane Tower, though Ser Gedeon Rivers seems to have taken up more permanent lodging in the town as well. It surprises me they're coexisting so peaceful-like, after Riverrun, but I guess they're just waiting to see what King Robert will decide for the place. My brother Ser Jaremy is still held in Tordane Tower for trying to incite rebellion. What'll become of him, I know not." That takes a good deal of the merriment out of his mood. He drinks some more.

"Rebellion? I suppose they think themselves safe, switching loyalties at a whim, since the King did it once." Aeric offers a dry snort but saves his tongue from further comment by washing the words away with ale. "My top five? Hmm." Leaning back in his chair, he considers. "Silence. The burn of muscles well used. The agony of a conundrum well turned. The freedom of open water." He does not get to five. For the fifth, he lowers his eyes to his mug and tips it back, draining it.

"If Lord Ryker can be taken at his word, he'll be sent to the Wall," Hardwicke says quietly of Jaremy's fate. "A very /distinct/ if." He looks to Aeric, considering his answers in thoughtful quiet.

"Lord Ryker said that?" For a moment, Jarod can't make any sort of reply to that at all. It plainly was not a thing known to him before. He takes a moment to absorb Hardwicke's words, setting his ale mug down slow so he doesn't drop it. "That's…thank the Seven, Ser." Tone low, like he almost doesn't dare believe it, though he plainly very much wants to. "I did not have much hope the Naylands would reconsider. What finally moved him?" He takes another drink, finally getting his wits back about him enough to think on Aeric's list. "That's only four, Ser." Obviously.

Aeric is silent a moment, giving Jarod a black look. "It is at that." He doesn't reach for a refill of his cup but rather sits in a silence with the empty mug cradled in his hands.

Hardwicke shifts in his seat, a hint of discomfort crossing his expression. "You'll have to speak with Lady Terrick yourself," he says. "It's possible I've spoken out of turn."

"I shall, Ser," Jarod says simply, on the matter of Ser Jaremy. At Aeric's reaction to his ability to count not-quite to five, he blinks. Seeming to realize he's spoken out of turn. He does not press for further information, and busies himself finishing his beer. *re*

Aeric doesn't drum upon his cup but the smile has certainly been wiped from his face and doesn't look like its coming back. "Excuse me gentlemen." He rises abruptly and makes a gesture to the barmaid who rushes to get his cape. "But I would not darken these walls. I wish you a blessed evening." He takes the cloak from the barmaid and throws it over his shoulders with a dextrous flip of his wrist whilst he makes for the door.

"I'm sorry, Ser," Jarod offers quick to departing Aeric, though he doesn't seem quite sure what he's apologizing for. "Umm…blessed evening." Done with his ale, he doesn't pour himself another.

Hardwicke watches Aeric go, his mouth a thin line, and then shakes his head before finishing off his tankard. "His late wife, I assume," he supplies for poor, lost Jarod before rising himself. He claps the younger man on the shoulder. "I'm off, Rivers." He spaces it so as not to actually be following after Aeric before moving to the door himself.

"Oh shit…" Jarod mutters, at himself. He nods absently to Hardwicke. "Aye. See you later, then." He'll linger in the Rockcliff a bit longer, for his part. Perhaps find that willowy brunette whore again, if she's not busy with another fellow.