|Summary:||Not everyone enjoys being up with - or before - dawn, but sometimes it's necessary, sometimes it's just random chance.|
|Waterfront ~ Seagard|
|Monday Oct 22, 289|
Seagard's waterfront was once the gateway to a bustling port, both for the Mallister naval fleet and merchant ships that docked here from all corners of the River coast, West, and even lands farther south. The Ironborn's initial attack on the city laid it low, however, and the wreckage of that initial assault still litters the sea. The Mallister fleet was demolished in that first wave, and the blackened remains of its once-proud war galleys float off the docks.
The merchant stalls, customs stations and seedy dockside taverns that once thrived here are largely burnt as well, the Ironborn having looted and gutted them before they were driven from this part of the city. The dock - one of Seagard's three major ones - is still intact, however, and there's enough raw space in the stone buildings that couldn't be burned to house supplies.
Of all the ships standing in port at the moment, one of the most hard working - and therefore somewhat disreputable - of the lot is the one captained by Nedra's cousin, Anheg. A hard working, hard drinking, filthy mouthed sailor who can swear a blue streak up on side, down the other, burn everything between both ends and still turn a profit - every blessed time - and be back in port before most of the other ships have made the turning point to return home. Call it uncommon luck or just damned good seafaring skills, but the captain of the Red Sky is no fool and his crew works damned hard to earn those wages. Nedra happens, conveniently so, to know when the red Sky is going to be in port and, knowing her cousin, arrived early enough in the day to have brought breakfast for the crew, a few casks of ale (to be shared later, of course, and hopefully after they are done for the day) and spent the last day out and back with her cousin, two of her guards and her Septa (who doesn't particularly enjoy sailing but endures it anyway) and is helping with the lines as the ship is securing to the dock again with it's days cargo ready to be sorted and off loaded. Of all the skills, knot tying is probably the least useful for most endeavor, but Nedra is a sure hand with a clever knot and gets it right the first time (some things just have to be learned by repetition) and is laughing to something her Cousin is shouting at one of the sailors, eyes sparkling with pure amusement. Sure, she shouldn't know what half those words mean, but seriously, of course she does.
With the morning comes ships, and all sorts of visitors to the docks. For Nedra's sake and focus, it is kin coming off the waves, with Cargo and likely other things, such as tales, hugs and who knows what else. For the one eyed knight leaving the Mottled Dog, one of the many "fine" establishments along the wharf-it s a sense of something new. He has been in Seagard once since his time on the Pyke and even then the knight had been amazed by the longships and galleys in the Mallisters' employ. With a belly full of fine mead and something that could be questionably called breakfast, Ozric now brings his easy swagger towards the long quays where ships come in to dock and moor. Waste time and wait while their crews go about their business.
With the sea air fresh, it causes a gurgle to rupture in his stomach. Nothing too audible, as the man pauses and smooths a hand with thick rings of conquest worn on his fingers. A shake of his head and he continues, as the staleness of his bed and the tavern wash off him with the sound of gentle port trapped waves. However, it is not the impressive ships that catch his attention. Instead Ozric's eye is quick to notice the queer sight of a Lady by the lines. Someone fussing and doing the job of a man-a sailor. And that is enough to bring a queerish grin to his face. He dares not interrupt. Not now.
Nedra sets the line, secures the knot then tests it by the simple expedience of setting both feet firmly in place, wrapping both hands around the thick rope and leaning abruptly back to test her weight against the line. It holds, as well it should, and she straightens in time to have the line looked over by her cousin, gets the grunt of approval (yes, that's precisely the sound) before one battered and weathered hand lands on her shoulder in a gruff gesture of affection. Nedra responds with a smile cast upward before she nips below decks long enough to retrieve a leather knapsack and a small wooden box that she hands over to one of her armsmen as she takes the short flight of stairs up to the main deck again and prepares to disembark. Nedra exchanges laughing words with most of the crew as she lends one arm to Anathe as she Septa steps down onto the dock and follow suit, a wave given to her cousin before she hops lightly down onto the dock and dusts one hand lightly over heir hair to smooth some of the fine strands back into place. The cold air of the open water suits her, bringing color to her cheeks and a fresh sense of exhilaration that is missed - greatly - when to many days spent inland away from the call of the sea itself.
Amusement, still colors the Terrick's face-though he does not call out. Not yet. Instead, with his good eye, Ozric is content to watch the woman caper up and down from his vantage point on the dock. Only when the Armsmen seem to be disembarking, after the Septa does he offer a faint bow to the Holy woman first. And then he looks up towards the Lady who has the benefit of a boat's deck for some height, though not much. "Good morning.." his gruff voice gives out. There is a wry smile followed by a now of his head.
Ser Ozric keeps his smirk, while he studies Nedra for the moment, before continuing on. "Planning on heading out to sea, then Lady?" No house attributed. Likely the name cannot be remembered or placed-but he knows a noble woman when he does spot them. Their train inevitably gives them away.
Nedra pauses, her head lifting slightly as she follows the greeting and query to it's source, one hand resting on the railing that edges the deck as she surveys the one-eyed man with a look that edges toward amusement. "Were that the case, my lord, I would be embarking, not disembarking, at this hour," she calls in return. "Alas, the course charted for this day will take the ship a few days out and back and I have not the leave to be departing for that length of time," she adds as she surrenders that small bit of height afforded her by the deck of the boat and makes her way toward Anathe. Her Septa, a gray haired woman of middle age, gives a subtle shake of her head at the wind blown state of her charges attire, but doesn't remark upon it - the remark being unnecessary as the subtle head shake was sufficient. Once land side, for all that she's standing on the dock and not solid ground as of yet, Nedra does offer a small curtsy, formalities after all, proper respect and the hallmarks of good etiquette tended to as she straightens, "Good day to you, my lord. Enjoying the morning air?"
"Indeed, and your Lord would allow you such a trip? He must be very generous." A grin there-though he knows she is not going anywhere. At least by ship, Ozric continues and turns, so as to offer escort down the dock if she wishes it. A quick glance towards the Septa, before he is back to looking at Nedra. Mindful ever so of the lady's minders-and of course where he is. "Among other things, yes I am." he offers with a quirk of his grin. "I find it makes the rest of my meal and thoughts settle well." he adds with a chuckle. "Though I believe I over did it with my breaking of fast this morning. And I do not doubt I shall rue the contents put into my guts."
"Depending upon where you broke you fast, my lord, and the actual contents of, you may well rue the day. Or not. But," and settles the knapsack over one arm and nods at her armsmen who trail along a few steps behind Nedra and her Septa, "there's always the morrow. Consider it a.. brave foray into the dubious nature of culinary cuisine offered by the taverns that edge the water front. Or," and Nedra is carefully keeping back the laugh that is threatening to escape, "remember to fetch your breakfast from the merchants that take their place in the market. There's a fine bakery or two, more than a few good taverns whose menu consists of actual food and hearty fare instead of watered down grog, runny eggs, over-fried potatoes and anything else that can be fried and slopped on a plate. However," and casts a smile sidelong-upward at the one-eyed lord, "it is your breakfast. I'm sure you got what you paid for."
"I had merely wanted some fine mead, and fish that seemed fresh enough." Ozric admits as he moves to keep his pace alongside of the lady's own. "Perhaps it was fresh once." the Vale knight continues with a look down the dock. "Several years ago of course. But they cooked it fine and I ate it with tack and filled my belly with sweet spirits." A sigh there before he looks back towards the young woman. "I paid hardly shit for it." A glance back to the septa. "I am sorry sister." he states reverently before nodding further along. "The eggs were boiled hard. I like that." he says easily enough before placing his hand to his stomach this time-breathing out a belch before quietly and awkwardly apologizing. "At least though there is something in this. They will never be able to say, that Ser Ozric Terrick is no brave man. Foolish at times, perhaps." he admits with a rueful grin. "But not a coward."
Nedra wrinkles her nose a little at the notion of fish over-long from the river, laughing at the manner in which Ser Ozric speaks of his meal in such a tone that it sparks her humor to laughter. "Fine mead and fish for breakfast? Truly?" she wonders, the laughter still trying to escape and seeing the look on Anathe's face that is amusement mingled with censure at the tall Knight's coarse words. Nedra shakes her head a little as he belches, "I don't believe that your breakfast is going to settle as well as you'd hope. Perhaps the solution might be to temper the .. ill prepared food with some fare of a better quality, Ser?" she wonders, her head tilting back slightly as she ventures this offer. "And I would imagine that anyone who calls you a coward, Ser, would find them defending those words, in short order, at sword point, and ruing the day for having essayed the words in the first place."
Ozric turns his head as his steps slow. Still the tall knight holds his place as if trying to figure out something with one look-that likely would not be told to him. 'Do you dine on nothing, but fine meats-or fruit for your breaking of fast my lady?" the knight says with an added click of his tongue after. "Not all of us have the means to eat fine fruits or have them fed to us, of course. But here in Seagard for meagre money, I can find myself fed and not hurt my own coffers or that of my House." a smirk there before he nods along as he begins walking a little. "Not all of us are Mallisters." he teases back before he lowers his head, eye down to where his boots are headed as opposed to seeing what is going on. "Hmm. An interesting theory." And indeed the Knight does wear a sword. "However, Lady I would not defend my honor with a sword. Swords are fine weapons to be sure. But, I prefer the reach I can employ with my polearm." he adds as he looks back. "I swing a crow's beak. A hammer and a killer. All in all a fine weapon. The sword though-I can use. I prefer it not, though."
"I prefer a slice of fresh baked bread, personally, and a strong cup of bitter tea as strong as I can coax the brewing to be made and a boiled egg or two myself, but not the mead and not the fish," Nedra counters in return. "Fine meats and fruit are lovely, I suppose, but not practical and usually require waiting for the kitchen to be up and about. Simple things I can make for myself do just fine, for my tastes at least, and it means I need not wait for everyone else to rise for the day merely because I think the best part of the day happens just at dawn." Kalira reads the smirk on Ozric's face and correctly interprets the smirk and the teasing, "No, not all of us are Mallister's. I happen to be one, but I'm not at all belligerent about it," she promises. "At least, I try not to be. I trust that if i was that my Septa would set me to embroidering upon a hundred napkins the phrase 'I will be polite and good mannered at all times in all company'," she muses with a glance toward Anathe and gets a small nod, amused nod, in answer, confirming her guess. Or perhaps just refreshing her memory. She turns back to Ozric and glances at his side to his sword but up again at his words, "May I ask why, my lord?" she wonders. "If the sword is the weapon that so many knights and noble sons aspire to, in order to make their name and demonstrate their skills, and I know well enough that my brother prefers axe to sword, but why a hammer?"
"I see. So you have a rather spartan appetite-which is fine for a lady now. But should you get your belly filled with child you will need to eat more than a slice of bread." The knight quips before he is looking back. "As it is, I eat for my own appetites. And I need the sustenance in order to train my pages and squires well, as well as be able to handle the load of a Lord and knight." A chuckle there before Ozric is looking back to the Septa, before his own off soft chuckle joins in. "My Lady Mallister, I believe your septa would not tell you, you were being a proud eagle. I think she would let you be as such-until you needed a good thrashing." he adds on before he stoops down to snag something from the cobblestone-once they've come off the great stone and wood quay. A tarnished copper, which he holds up and then in turn turns to flick off back into the street, before he is looking at Nedra. "You may ask, I may not answer." he replies before he is scratching his jaw. "The sword, if I may, my lady-Is a simple weapon. Any man can learn to use it, and so to distinguish ones self from the myriad of weilders one will try to make a name for himself with it. Myself, I prefer my hammer, because it is what I prefer. When I took to squiring I was taught how to use a blade-and I did fine at it, but not as well as it came to my hammer." he states before turning to walk on as he talks. "The hammer has it's own feel and it's own strengths. Sure-I might look prettier dancing about with a blade, but I will do my duty and live longer with my hammer."
Nedra deftly dodges the notion of appetite that would be required for the shaping of life by simply not addressing it and moving straight on to: "What little of sword play I have seen, Ser, has amounted to smashing and gashing at each other," Kalira muses aloud after a thoughtful moment of considering his words. "Less smashing and gashing, then, but more bashing instead and moving on?" she wonders, feeling a touch of amusement - again - trying to escape. She slows her steps as he pauses to pick up a tarnished copper then wonders the question at him, "Have you, by chance, recalled my name yet, Ser?" she asks, amusement making her eyes sparkle at this point. "To be fair, I have you at a disadvantage. When you and the rest of your family returned to the Roost you were a new set of faces and names for those of us to learn, but it was a shorter list than the one that you and your kin have been presented with."
"Then you have seen swordplay." Ozric smashes right there. "There is no true art to it. Your late Lord Jason could make a blade sing and dance, as could my knight Ser Cobray-but all men cannot do that. It is a rare talent. And not all men can make castle forged steel break through plate and chain. A sword will break more bones than it will cut them off." he adds before he stops walking completely. And there he stands straight and quiet. "Do I know your name. Yes, I do." he adds before tilting his head curiously at her. "You are the Lady Nedra Mallister. We met briefly on the green, where your cousin looked half sick and stumped. I tried to spar with him, and he did not join in-I feel as if I had his wits pinned down early. My own cousin, Darion tried to enjoin and help your cousin and ended up worse than expected. I had thought men had mastered the use of insult in friendly jest-but those two did not. You smirked-so as not to let on to your amusement, and the wind toyed with your hair. I would have said you were lovely then, but that was our first meeting and would have been forward." A brief pasue before he is scanning the street. "And here you seem like some flower plucked from the sea-mixed in with the kelp while crabs and other sundries keep theire little holes.." and there me motions to the houses and inns built upon one another in close proximity of the wharfs. "And do not fit in. Why come to Seagard?"
"You lent me the company of your page, a young lad by the name of Robett, if I recall correctly, who was quite taken with my mare Jinx," Kalira supplies this bit of detail from her own recollection of the day. "We had been riding the day prior and had taken a low branch but landed badly and she'd been limping so my guard, Petyr, was taking her through her paces to make sure that she was only suffering from a pulled muscle and nothing more. He fed her several apples, and I managed to coax him into eating one himself, as - from what I recall - young boys are almost always hungry from sun up to sun down, I do believe that their legs are hollow." She starts to lift one hand to try to tidy the hair that has escaped the long braid that it is mostly contained in, her hand hovering briefly before she returns it to her side, knowing the gesture to be futile at best. "Thank you, your words are kind, my lord," she says in a quieter voice before turning to follow the motion of his hand toward the houses, the inns, the wharf's, and she turns of her own accord to glance toward the river front.
"Because my cousin, Lady Muirenn, is spending time here in advance of her wedding, and I thought to keep her company and help soothe her nerves, if I may. And it's much less crowded here, in some areas, than it is elsewhere. Plus, I have many cousins - one of whom is kind enough to allow me to take ship for a bit of sailing if the weather will hold for it. And there are very few things in life, Ser Ozric, that are more freeing or exhilarating than standing on the deck of a ship, with the wind tugging, the sails billowing over head, that great snap of sound as the sails bellow out with the first grip of wind to take the ship out of port." She turns back toward Ozric after saying this, "Perhaps I do not fit in, no. But I'm .. quite familiar with that sense, Ser. What brings you here, however, if you'll not mind this question as well, in turn?"
"I did. You and your horse were clearly not frightening, so I knew the boy would be safe." he adds with a faint grin there. A turn of his head from staring down the houses and the inns, to take in the lady. "I speak more true words than Kind, Lady. But, you are welcome." he adds before his eye is quick to go over her hair, before fixing back upon her face in general. There is a quick glance given to the lady's minders who are at an appropriate distance and so he glances back to the young woman. Younger than him, at least. "Hmm." A sound the hints of knowledge and perhaps a bit of mischeif in the words to come, but that is swallowed away with a grin and another chuckle given. "I believe, lady. Every woman as she readies for her nuptials are not to be soothed. They in fact are more or less encouraged by whatever stresses the ceremony brings to lose their minds. I pray you never come under such a disease as marriage. At least, not until you are ready." Or when your Lord is ready would be the appropriate response. However the Terrick lord is not quick to skirt off, rather he seems content to remain in the Mallister's company for the time being.
"Sailing.." the one eyed knight begins. "Is a luxuary I have only witnessed a couple of times Lady. And even then? They were the products of the war I was embroiled in. To me a deck is just another battleground, where if you fall you can die easier, than in a field." A gruff laugh there. "I wish I had the liesure and such to enjoy the sailing you speak of, but I do not." and there as the question is posed back he bows his head. "I am staying here, because there is a reputable inn of cheap value." and he continues. "And I am to see Lord Patrek and give him my note of Fealty." A turn of his head there. "I thought it would be better to do in person."
Nedra's expression is a bit of amusement and something akin to agreement before she says: "Be that as it may, my lord, it's still worth the effort to try to help bing things along in a manner that is less frantic stewn with bursts of tears and tantrums, not that my Cousin is prone to either, but it happens often enough. And as for me, I see no rush to it, nor reason to dwell on it, there are far better things to think on, in fact a whole world of things to think on, than the disease, as you have called it." She adjusts the set of the knapsack where it rests over her shoulder and once more turns to glance briefly out over the water, "Perhaps you would find time to try sailing, even if just for a day, Ser, after you meet with our lord Patrek," she suggests. "It is quite different, I would imagine, to sail simply for the sake of sailing, or for the sake of profit, than it is to sail to and from war. Though," she does turn slightly back again toward Ozric, "you are quite right in the sense that trying to swim while wearing armor or mail is not recommended. I should think that the dangerous foes to be found in the depths would be greatly unimpressed with the gleam of plate, the weight of mail or armor of any sort. The greatest challenge is swimming, Ser, and that's tough enough to do dressed in tunic and trews, I can't imagine trying it in the full weight of a gown OR worse, in armor."
"I say, my lady, you let her sputter and go down in flames, in order to come up from the dust like a phoenix on her wedding day. I believe then she will come out of it alright. And sparkle that much more for her intended." he states before he is grinning, as for the sailing he offers a non commital shrug before continuing on. "I did not care for it then. Should I do now, I would have to have an exceptional host who would wish to see to my seafaring adventure for the day then." he adds before he is stepping out into the street, though the last bit does make him pause and he turns to regard Nedra carefully. "That is why I do not wear clothes when I swim lady." And he leaves it at that with a grin. "I would rather live." There to appease the Septa and not press some bold bit of wordage and think it is okay.
"Perhaps, but just in case, I believe I'll be on hand to douse the flames that may catch upon anything in close proximity," Nedra replies, laughing at this image. "I didn't really care for it myself, at first, something about the roll and pitch of the deck was quite upsetting to my stomach the first few tries. The trick is to fix sight upon something on the ship as the reference point instead of the sight of land, it's less disconcerting that way." She pauses for a moment, studying Ser Ozric silently as she considers his words, "If you would like, Ser Ozric, I would be happy to host you for a day of seafaring adventures," she offers. "My cousin has a fine ship, and I can promise that he won't try to toss you over board to see how well you swim," she makes this promise while reminding herself to speak to her cousin in advance, just in case. "It may not be the grandest vessel to ply the seas nor a vessel intended to seek war and treasures, but she's a fine vessel all the same. However," and though she tries, the bit of color that rises to her face along with a burst of laughter, "I would have to strongly recommend that any swimming that may need be called upon be done wearing something appropriate."
"He may try, to toss me over, but I am a fine enough grappler my lady. I think I could best him." Confidence, not arrogance exudes from the knight in that moment before he is nodding back to the Lady. "I would like that-of course." not meaning the swimming. "And I have been on a ship before, but I have not enjoyed it. My stomach is a thing of steel." and there he turns his head to quietly burp. 'Pardon me..Steel, with a bit of the forge's heat to it." he adds before he looks back to nedra with a wave of his hand, for her own good. "I care not about grandness, nor splendor unless it is in certain things, Lady Nedra. A ship has a job and that is not to sink while she flies. I expect that." he adds before he is moving back to the street. Only then does he look back to her. "Then, pray-do not swim with me. I am old and set in my ways." And there a curt bow of his head. "Until we sail, Lady Mallister." A wave of goodbye and the knight moves to meld into the street's traffic as if he was a local and thus part of the scenery.