|Down at the Docks|
|Summary:||Lucienne happens across Hardwicke and Jarod at Stonebridge.|
|Related Logs:||Bastard Rumor Logs|
|Upstrem Landing, Stonebridge|
|The waters here are more adequately described as a stream or tributary and thus the boats moored here are of the smaller variety. Two or three dozen of them with sails and even small dinghies and rowboats are tied up along the wooden docks. Sailing farther downstream takes one to Seagard while upstream to the north leads to the Green Fork and The Twins.|
|Wed Dec 07, 288|
The sun is beginning to dip behind the horizon, casting the sky in rich shades of red and orange yellow. Hardwicke is chatting with another man at the docks who looks of an age with him, though the other man smiles considerably easier than the knight. Still, there seems to be some familiarity between them that brings on a certain easy nature from Hardwicke, and they clasp forearms in the manner of friends when the other man has to depart to return to one of the smaller ships docked in this area of the river. He leaves the Terrick knight frowning and then sighing as he scrubs a hand through his dark hair. He is clothed as appropriate for his position, marked by the Terrick heraldry, with his sword buckled at his side.
Not able to be described as 'on the way' to anywhere, it must be for a different reason that the Lady Lucienne and her retinue come into view. As is often the case, she looks to be enjoying a conversation with her handmaid Celine, the two of them sporting scheming smirks as they back-and-forth just out of earshot of the guard. The more observant of the two, it is Celine who first nods in Ser Hardwicke's direction, to draw her lady's attention there as the Terrick sworn rags his hand against his scalp. Her interest piqued, the party's steps slow, and take a turn toward the dockside.
Which is enough to grab his attention when he finishes up his scalp-scrubbing to take a quick glance around; his gaze lands easily on the recognizable sight of Lucienne at her retinue. "M'lady," he says as she approaches, brows twitching with a hint of surprise to his expression.
To her credit, Lucienne takes that little hint of surprise - familiar enough is she, that it does not go unrecognised - all in her stride. Her head is held high, her smile is small but genuine, and her hands are clasped primly at her front. "Ser Hardwicke," she greets, head tilting gently as she approaches the docks, and the Terrick retainer. "A different kind of bustle here, to that of the square, is it not?" Celine falls out of step with her lady, to follow a more deferent distance behind.
Is is sunset at the docks where Lucienne and Hardwicke have happened upon each other. The knight clears his throat and then says, "Aye, m'lady. Different." His gaze flicks over Lucienne's shoulder to Celine hanging back, then back to the Terrick daughter. "I didn't expect to see you here."
Jarod had an errand in town he needed to attend to when he first arrived in Stonebridge. But he's finished with it now, and comes riding his sturdy brown courser, Symeon, along the harder-packed path near the landing. Scanning about for Lucienne, he spots her and rides in that direction.
"I might say the same," supposes Lucienne, continuing her approach to make a comfortable distance between herself and Hardwicke. "For my part, I have some investigations to attend, and I still wish to find time for speaking with Jaremy. Neither task is easily seen to from home, unfortunately." She hasn't yet noticed that familiar horse, gaze locked as it is.
"Investigations?" Hardwicke asks, watching her. "About—" The movement of Jarod's horse catches his eye, at least, and his gaze pulls to recognize him. "Ser," he greets as the younger man gets closer.
"Ser Hardwicke. Good day upon you." Jarod dismounts, so he can lead his horse over to the pair of them. "Luci!" His sister earns a warm smile.
Lucienne clears her throat, and simply nods the once to Hardwicke's aborted enquiry. She's the grace to address Jarod by his name, at least, in the presence of the guards her brother commands. "Jarod," she says, returning the smile in kind. "All finished on your errands?"
"Good day," Hardwicke returns to Jarod evenly. He glances between the two half-siblings, quieting as they exchange questions.
"For the most part. Got started on some business I've been wanting to get started on, at least," Jarod replies. "Need any assistance with your own errands in these parts, Lu?" Perhaps he heard the word 'investigations.'
"I… I may yet," says Lucienne, her brows lifted at Jarod's response, though she doesn't press for details. "Common tongues don't seem to wag as freely for a noble girl as I'd like. Still, Celine," a glance goes over her shoulder to the tall handmaid, "Might have made some progress. We'll see. Ser Hardwicke, are you here on Terrick business, then?"
Hardwicke hesitates a moment, gaze flicking between them, then admits, "Your business, m'lady. I still have friends here. I thought a question or two would not go amiss."
"I am but a common man, Luci, I'm happy to mingle with the smallfolk on your behalf," Jarod says with a grin. "I heard little talk of the rumors we chase in town, for what it's worth, though I mostly stuck to Crane's Crossing. Which gets more noble traffic than ordinary folk. And I didn't linger long."
"My…" Lucienne is touched for a long moment, her lips curling in under the press of her teeth. "Thankyou, ser. I'm sure my lady mother appreciates the gesture as well." She hesitates, her smile crinkling as Jarod grins, and then she ventures, "Celine says there's a little inn on the outer of town, where several people in the market claim to have heard it first. It's…" More pause, her tongue peeking out in frustration. "It's probably no place for a lady to venture."
Hardwicke tips his chin in silent acknowledgment of her thanks. Her problem holds no difficulty for him: "Then someone else will go," he says readily enough.
"Aye. I think I can manage to dress down for the occasion," Jarod says to Lucienne. He exchanges a glance with Hardwicke. "You fancy joining me for a drink, good ser?"
Lucienne's bottom lip drops, and she shifts a look out to one of the small boats moored in the river here. Her chin lifts, and she mumbles a, "Thankyou." Clearly, she's displeased at not being able to go, herself.
Hardwicke doesn't look particularly humored at Jarod's demeanor, but he nods silent assent to the question.
"Anything for you, Luci. You know that," Jarod replies. "And a drink in a shabby common room is hardly difficult work. We'll see how it plays. Or hear, as the case may be."
Lucienne's voice is plaintive as she affirms, "I know." Anything for her. She shifts a deep brown glance back to Hardwicke, something subtly pleading about her expression.
If Lucienne's looking for a way into a disreputable place of business, she's not going to find it with Hardwicke: his expression is firmly set when she glances at him. "It's no place for a lady," he tells her plainly.
"Indeed not," Jarod agrees firmly. He's not up on the idea of his lady half-sister slumming around taverns, either. "Is there anything you'd like us to inquire specifically? We can handle sifting for rumors, I think. You'd be surprised what gossips men are when they're in their cups."
There's a sigh from Lucienne, caught before it can really express the fullness of her exasperation. Her lips press thin on it, cutting it short into a 'mmmm' sound. "It's one of the barkeeps," she informs, short and snappy, stopping short of crossing her arms in a huff. She's a lady, after all. "It might not amount to much, but she's been named several times. A smile and a wink might not go astray, B - Jarod." Even in her mood, she can't bring herself to use 'the' nickname in front of Ser Hardwicke.
"We'll see what she has to say, then," Hardwicke says, giving Lucienne the slightest lift of his brows at her aborted huff.
Jarod gives a somewhat alarmed side look between Hardwicke and Lucienne when she almost 'Buttons' him in front of people. Big, grown-up, fellow knight people. The look he gives his sister is a somewhat wide-eyed, 'No. Please, no.' He lets out a faintly relieved breath when she, in fact, does not. "I think I can manage that just fine, Luci," he says. With a wink. At both her and Ser Hardwicke.
"I'm sure you will," says Lucienne to the both. She narrows her eyes at Jarod, a good-natured warning: she may yet 'Buttons' him, he should be on his toes. "If you'd both be so kind, I think I'd like a bite to eat, now. Perhaps we could find somewhere accomodating, outside the tower." There's no room for refusal; she turns, and starts off back toward Celine, who waits to fall in step again.
"Of course, m'lady." Hardwicke, ever obliging, moves without hesitation to accompany Lucienne to some suitable establishment.