|Summary:||Jaremy takes a break from his obsession with preparing for the joust to speak with Jarod and Rowan. Preparations for the tourney take place.|
|Related Logs:||Ungrateful Bastards, A Lady's Favor|
|Courtyard - Four Eagles Tower|
|The Courtyard of Four Eagles Tower is floored with a fine grey stone that match the color and tone of the interior structure of the castle's yard. Plants have been potted and placed around the entrances to add some color, the greenery accompanied by several trellises of flowers that climb the support columns. The most prominent structure in the area is the set of large slab steps that lead up to the great oak doors of the Great Hall. Several hallways and accesses lead off into different sections of Four Eagles which makes this the hub of noble activity when court is not being held.|
|Fri Jul 15, 288|
The heat of midday has come, and Jaremy has spent the entire morning preparing for the joust. Hours have passed as he and his charger horse have been punishing the poor stray-and-steel jousting dummy in the courtyard. Repitition after repitition, complete with asking everyone from his bastard brother to stablehands to reset the faux target, have come and gone.
After one last successful hit on the dummy, knowing it over, Jaremy urges the charger to a stop and dismounts. Handing the reigns over to a stablehand, the firstborn heir of Terrick's Roost walks over to a bucket of water, pulling off his tunic and hanging it over a wooden post. Sweaty and tired, he dumps the bucket over his head, leaning against the wooden post to rest his sore arms.
Jarod is lounging on the sidelines, chomping on an apple idly as he watches Jaremy abuse the available target dummies. His own jousting practice has not been terribly serious, though he's put even more time than usual whacking available dummies, squires and other manner of practice ornaments with his sword of late. He's just spectating right now, however. "Manage to kill him yet?" he asks with a smirk.
From the stables, representing the Naylands of Hag's Mire, comes Rowan, Jarod's slip of a squire. He looks about as weary as though he'd been wielding a lance all day, himself, drenched with sweat, sleeves well up past his elbows, and his slender arms covered in blood. And other fluids. Eugh. He smells very strongly of horses, and seems to be on his way toward the rainbarrel, probably to dive in head first, when he spies the brothers. Were it Jarod alone, he'd probably give some sass on his way by to wash up, but the presence of the heir gives the lad pause. "My lords. Uhm." He goes to push his hair back from his face, sees what it's covered in, and thinks better of it. "Forgive my, uhm." Appearance? Smell? Appearance and smell? "State. We've a new foal, just now."
"No, that dummy will hold out for at least another week until I find more worthy opponents. Seems it has outlasted my charger…" Jaremy starts, turning to see the Nayland boy, arms covered in blood. Quieting, he glances to Jarod with a private, knowing look before he leans down to snatch the bucket from the courtyard ground. Dunking it into the rain barrel, he nudges his head in Rowan's direction, setting it on a table for him. "A new foal you say? Seems horse and man are having a rough day indeed." He chuckles darkly, grabbing his tunic from the ground and brushing a bit of straw from it. "…and how is its mother, Rowan? Will she live?"
"Stop calling me 'lord,' Rowan, or I'll lose all faith in you," Jarod corrects, words slightly obscured by a half-full mouth of apple. He swallows. "It's highly improper. It's 'Ser.' Or 'by-blow' or 'bastard' or something-or-other. I'm sure my fair lord brother can suggest a fitting nick-name or two." He grins. "No apologies. If it cleans it means I'm keeping you too idle." He waits for an answer to Jaremy's question rather than asking any of his own about the new horse.
Rowan says, "Oh, aye, Dancer'll be fine now. The foal got stuck all sideways. Bloody mess," Rowan thrusts his skinny arms into the bucket, scrubbing vigorously. "So we had to reach up and turn the poor thing. That was no fun for anyone involved. You haven't lived until you've been elbow deep in a horse's cunt, let me tell you." The boy pauses, takes a breath, and blushes a bit. He opens his mouth again, perhaps to apologize for the directness of speech, then just turns and sticks his head in the rain barrel. Glug, glug, glug. He hauls himself out again with a gasp for air, shaking his head vigorously and sluicing water from his face and hair. "So. Ah. Yes. Mother and child are fine, now." He pauses again and adds, "Named the foal Tourmaline. Sort of sounds like Tordane, you know. And it's a stone. She'll make a fine lady's horse when she's old enough.""
"Oh, aye, Dancer'll be fine now. The foal got stuck all sideways. Bloody mess," Rowan thrusts his skinny arms into the bucket, scrubbing vigorously. "So we had to reach up and turn the poor thing. That was no fun for anyone involved. You haven't lived until you've been elbow deep in a horse's cunt, let me tell you." The boy pauses, takes a breath, and blushes a bit. He opens his mouth again, perhaps to apologize for the directness of speech, then just turns and sticks his head in the rain barrel. Glug, glug, glug. He hauls himself out again with a gasp for air, shaking his head vigorously and sluicing water from his face and hair. "So. Ah. Yes. Mother and child are fine, now." He pauses again and adds, "Named the foal Tourmaline. Sort of sounds like Tordane, you know. And it's a stone. She'll make a fine lady's horse when she's old enough."
Again, Jaremy casts a glance to Jarod while he uses his old shirt to dry off his shoulders and neck. "Well just so long as you ensure there's a foal up there to grab, Rowan." Jaremy replies, teasing the younger lord as he passes by towards Jarod's table. All the while he watches his brother, continuing an old, silent conversation. "If we catch you or anyone in the stables with mugs of wine and a minstrel I'm sure Jarod will have words with you." That earns a smirk, glancing back towards the Nayland squire. "Tourmaline, like Tordane, that's rather throughful of you. Rather thoughtful…" He stops at the bench, reaching for a dry shirt that he'd set aside.
"I'm nothing if not a highly disciplinary task-master," Jarod replies, while still lounging and finishing his apple. "Tourmaline, eh?" That makes him grin. "That's right pretty. And fitting enough. Oh!" He snaps his fingers. "You should make a gift of her, Jaremy. For Lady Isolde, that is. She's always had a love for horses. After you win her hand proper in the tourney, of course." He sounds quite confident this will happen. Or at least fakes it well.
Win what at the when-where? Rowan opens his mouth to ask something that's entirely none of his business — so nothing comes out. The lad's mouth just remains open, catching flies for a bit, then snaps shut again. Eyeshifting between his knight and his lord-to-be, the squire clears his throat and takes a stab at levity. "Jarod'd be just as glad for me to take a horse to bed, I think, so long as I dip my wick in something. He's sodding obsessed." A cheeky smirk is angled in Jarod's direction. "Tell me, my lord, is your brother really so amorously successful as he claims? Seems t'me he's far too interested in my sex life to have one of his own."
"Well…let me put it this way." Jaremy starts, leaning back against the table, facing outward from the bench he sits on. "I'm sure he's been up to his elbows in things that you haven't, and those are likely stories I don't want to hear myself." He chuckles, glancing to his bastard brother with a bright smile. "Isn't that right, brother? In all honesty, though, Rowan, there are moments that define men, and I'm sure he'd not hand you back to Hag's Mire something less. There's some places and some things he simply cannot teach you."
Jaremy runs his hand through his ragged, wet hair, peeling it away from his face. Satisfied, he tugs the clean shirt on. "I do like your suggestion brother. I'll send word to the stables to see if she is ready for move by then. The tourney's not far away, though, we may have to deliver it in the form of a promise."
"If you go on the way you are now you like as *will* end up diddling horses, Rowan. This sort of thing is what I'm trying to prevent. You have so little respect for my wisdom." Jarod returns Jaremy's smile with a cheeky grin. "Elbows rarely, but I serve as I'm bidden. But seriously, Jaremy, tell him I'm right. Best just to pay a kindly and lovely woman some coin and get it done with. Everything'll seem easier after."
Still quite bedraggled, streaked with gore in places, and reeking of horse, Rowan snorts and adopts an indolent lean. "I've been thinking about that, you know. Paying them? What's it really say about you that you've got to bribe a woman for a few minutes sweating and grunting on top of her?" He shrugs. "I'm prettier than the both of you. Ladies should pay me, by my thinking."
Lifting an eyebrow at Rowan's response, Jaremy turns his head to Jarod and lets out a snorty laugh. The genuinely pleased sound gives him a brief escape from the heavy look on his brow. "Gods be damned…" He sighs, lips pulled back in a feral grin. "…the young one has a way with words. I don't know, Jarod, what does that say about a man?" His hand raises, knuckling his forehead as his eyes tilt to the side of their sockets, thinking of a response for the young squire.
"Rowan," Jaremy starts, teeth bared to the lad in a broad grin. "While I'm not in entire agreement with Jarod, at the very least I'd suggest one day you don't find yourself in battle wondering what it's like to lie beside a woman. We're alloted very few things as mortals, and there are certain things you'd not want on your list of regrets. You'll know what we mean when it's been done." He chuckles. "As for you being prettier," He tilts his head, testing the squire. "…last I checked ladies preferred men with wrists slightly larger than arrows. Is Jarod feeding you at all?"
"Your first time, you'll want to pay to have someone who can show you how it's done," Jarod says, firm on this point, all voice-of-experience. "Like I was telling you before, Rowan. You aren't going to be good at it, so you better practice a bit until you get competent. And then it's fun, and you can try and get something on your own for no coppers at all." As to what it says, he shrugs. "Says you want to keep it simple. Nothing else. And see, I'm right." He points to Jaremy, as if his brother had totally affirmed everything he was saying. "Built like a spear, isn't he? Damndest thing. Don't let it fool you, can he throw steel around well enough. Just wish we had more time to build up your arms a bit before the tourney."
"My wrists?" Rowan blinks, looking down at the offending joints — a bit on the bony side, at that. "Ladies lust after a manly wrists?" He laughs. "Now this is an education. I'd've said my legs, my arms, or even my arse — all of which could also use some bulking up, I'll agree — " When asked if his knight feeds him, the lad can barely contain his mirth. He puts on a sad face with huge eyes, a starving urchin, lip quivering. "Never, Ser Jaremy. He leaves me to fight the hounds for table scraps, and beats me if I ask for more." He sniffles and swallows. Can everyone hear the violins? Good! He doesn't keep the act up long, though — how can he, in the face of his mentor's praise. Such as it is. "I've had the best instruction, O Captain, my Captain," he says with a flashing grin. Then, shrugging, "There's only so much we can improve on what the gods made, eh?"
"So you presume to know what women look see in men, Rowan?" Jaremy retorts, offering a united front against the young squire. Slowly he folds his arms, lowering his chin to gaze at him with a level of incredulity. Harrumphing, he waves in Rowan's direction. "Regardless, this is none of my concern so I won't hound you like Ser Jarod. Just be prepared for when other knights have things to say about your stature, Rowan. It might work to your advantage. Maybe if you gorged him on meat for a few days, or lifting buckets of rocks?" Jaremy asks, looking to his brother for direction. "I've watch you two in the yard and he's adept with a blade, I'll give you that, but he's going to be impossible to keep in the saddle."
"Well, I've got to make a man of you somehow, my Spindly Lordling Nayland," Jarod quips back to all the talk of the abuse he thrusts on Rowan, with pride. Though the talk of training earns a serious enough nod. "I figure he'll have a better time jousting than in the squire's melee, come to it. Boy can handle a horse, and less time for the bigger clods to throw their weight down on him. I do like the rocks, idea, though. Anyhow, since I won't be jousting myself I expect you both to acquit yourselves admirably. I'll be betting on you both, of course, and if you lose I'm going to be borrowing coin from my fair lord brother for a fortnight at least. And I would hate to put you out, Jaremy."
Still merry, Rowan shakes his head and demurs, "Not at all, Ser Jaremy. Far be it from me to know what a lady thinks." The warning about what others may say of his stature makes the lad snort, and the depth of his smirk brings out a dimple on one cheek. "Oi! Begging your pardon, m'lord, but I've been here four years and a bit, now. There's not a slight about size or girth or appearance or manner I haven't heard a thousand-fold, and had beaten into me by the other lads." He shrugs. "It is what it is, as the sages say. I have to work thrice as hard to outmatch the other fellow, but I thank the Seven every night I have that chance. S'what I've always wanted." There's a touching note of sincerity in the lad's voice, but he bounces right back to jocular quick as a wink. "I'll take the whole tourney, Ser Jarod. They'll call me the mouse that roared!"
"Should you lose money on me, brother, you'd best hang on to your coin. You'll never know when it might come of use." Jaremy quickly retorts to his brother, turning to issue the short-haired bastard a knowing nod of his head. "Though no, that would not put me out. At the very least it will give you something to do while we are attending to meeting and greeting lord and lady alike in the banquet halls and tents." It's a quick interruption, muttered low to the bastard while Rowan finishes.
"Fuck, you'll take the whole tourney you say?" Jaremy sighs, leaning back against the table once more. "Take all of the tourney you want, but I vow that the joust itself will be mine. I have designs on who to crown queen of love and beauty, and designs on exactly what to do with the earnings, mouse." He pauses. "Tell me, Rowan, are you excited to see your family and bannermen again? How long has it been?"
"They'll keep the squires to tossing each other around, Jaremy, have no fear," Jarod says with a chuckle. "Though you can take a few passes at Rowan if you want. He's good to practice on. Just don't break him too badly. That's my job." Rowan's pronouncement actually earns a grin. And not a smirky one, at that. "This is why I figure I won't lose any coin on you. Boy's got something to prove, Jaremy, which is invaluable motivation. I speak from experience."
"The whole. Tourney," Rowan affirms, grinning broadly and with immeasurable cheek. "So, should it happen that I crown the queen of love and beauty, milord, I'll let her down gently and sing your praises highly." Of course he's talking nonsense and he knows it, but he's seems to be enjoying playing the braggart for the obvious comic effect. At the mention of his family and bannermen, though, his mirth dims. "Oi. I suppose," he shrugs. "It'll be… strange, eh? Haven't seen or barely had a word in all this while. I might be a Nayland by blood — and proud of it, you Terrick blighters — " he smirks, jesting but jesting sincerely, "but… my fortune's that of House Terrick now, innit? It's a strange spot."
"Your fortune's of House Terrick until my brother releases you and you find yourself anointed with the oil of the Seven." Jaremy replies, a bit too harshly for normal. Something's wrong. The calm, charming smirks and jests have wiped from his features, leaving behind a darkened mood. "It's been a long time since you've been to the bog, Rowan. Be proud of your Nayland blood all you want, but you may just find yourself returning home to a strange land with strange manner. Nayland by blood, but you became a man at the Roost." He turns to look at Jarod, watching his brother closely. "Should you decide your squire is due to learn something of the joust from me, I would be honored." He looks back to Rowan, waching the younger man closely. A strange smile forms at the corner of his lip. "After all, when this one crushes the other squires with that blighter training…a lady just might take interest."
"Fuck you, you buggering Nayland bog-spawn," Jarod replies in a jolly enough way to Rowan, still cheeky and light, for his part. Jaremy's change in mood puts *some* seriousness in him, however. "In any case, I've still got some time to turn this froggy specimen into a proper knight yet. And I *will* make a man out of you, Rowan. Mark me on it." Sounds like a promise. Poor Rowan. "Couldn't hurt him to observe you in action, brother. You've always been a better horse. Just like I can still beat your arse square around the practice yard with a sword any hour. The Seven bestowed us differing and varying gifts, and I'm happy to take advantage of yours as often as I can."
The squire blinks — and blanches slightly, evincing a grimace — at the lordling's sudden shift in mood. He bows his head. "Of course, my lord. I wasn't — I meant — " He takes a breath. No words seem to come, so he is silent, allowing Jarod's jocular ease to fill the void. He smirks at the promise to make him a man, fluttering his lashes in an elaborately limp-wristed fashion. "Personally, Ser? I cannot imagine the honor." Hah. Then, forcing a lightness of tone, the lad sketches a bow. "By your noble leave, Sers, I'm going to go check on Tourmaline and her dam… then have a bath."
Jaremy looks away from Rowan, eyes still dark with whatever troubles him. His attention turns to Jarod, who carries the reins of the young squire. "I will be down here in the morning after breakfast is served. If you would have him learn from me, that would be the best time." It's a suggestion of timing and of training, letting Ser Jarod make the decision, rather than asking the young squire when he's available. Jaremy's elbows lift, resting on each side of his back against the table. His light brown eyes fall onto Rowan, and a long silence overcomes him. Weighing the squire, he brings a hand to his jaw to rub at his growth of beard before he nods. Be it out of approval or to a thought of his own is unknown, but he stops himself far before the line of being outright cruel to the squire.
"Get off with you, then," is Jarod's dismissal to Rowan. "Meet me on the green tomorrow at first-light. We'll get in some time with the swords - and rocks, I think - before you get your arse on a horse." And the squire is loosed to his liberty, on that note. Though Jarod lingers in the courtyard. He offers his brother a somewhat curious side-long look, idly toying with the remnants of his apple core.
"What?" Jaremy says aloud to Jarod as the squire makes a quick exit. There's no need to look, Jaremy knows damned well that his brother is watching him. A frown creases his lips and his brow, and he throws his hands up. "Okay, so I'm a little raw. It's not as if I outright beat on the boy, Jarod, and no I will be fair with him on the morrow. I give you my word of honor."
Jarod shakes his head. "I'm not terribly concerned for Rowan's delicate feelings. Boy's made of sterner stuff than he looks. I know you'll be fair with him. It'll be good for him. I expect he'll come out of it learning a thing or three. Like I said, just try not to break him. Bruise him if you, though. It builds character." He clamps the core in his palm and hurls it over the courtyard wall. Then nods, satisfied at the impressiveness of his display of littering, before turning back to Jaremy. "What's got you so raw, anyhow? I shouldn't have let talk of the Naylands get started, likely as. Don't hold it against Rowan. He's a fucking odd one, but he'd a good enough lad whatever his family. Serves me damn well, though don't tell him I said so. Makes me a figure of less impressive authority." Smirk.
"I know, it's not his fault. He hasn't even spoken with those pig-fucking mud men. I'm just…" He clenches his fist. "I'm just coiled tight. This tourney seems to keep getting farther and farther away due to the fact that it's not happening tomorrow. To make matters worse, the talk with father didn't go so well. He's set me to make this right or the pure consequence is that we're going to lose bannermen and have to find some sort of…" He flattens his lips, shaking his head. "…alternative to Nayland taxes on the ferry traffic. I just want this to end now."
"You need a good fuck worse than Rowan," is Jarod's sage advice. "Go find one. It'll take the edge off. Or keep murdering that practice dummy of yours, though that won't do half so well." He can't help but wince as Jaremy mentions the talk with father 'didn't go so well,' however. Brash as Jarod might be, the old man can sit him down with little more than a disapproving look. "On second thought, maybe more passes with the dummy would be your best route. You're over-thinking this again, and there's naught more you can do about it now except wind yourself up. You'll settle this on the field, good and clean, and then the Naylands can go back to their bogs and Lady Isolde can be yours proper. Like it should be."
"You're right, I should just keep this simple and keep focused. To be fair, I'm just eating myself up wondering whether or not her and I should have just called the septon on the spot and force her mother to deny father's promise received from Geoffrey Tordane." Jaremy bitterly tsks, shaking his head. He slaps his hand down on the table and rises. "Fuck it, you're right as always, Jarold. No women, though, no women at all. The Maiden is likely to punish us for that. I won't leave anything to chance." He starts to walk away. "I'm going to get clean and get some food, and then take a ride."
"That's what I'd do if I were you. Fuck it, I would've had her up on my horse and off to a septon to do it ten years ago," Jarod replies to Jaremy. Tone a little less light, come to it. "Which would likely as just've caused more disaster, of course, which is why I leave these weighty matters to you, my dear lord brother." He lightens with a smirk again. "Well, I'll go and find myself a fair common girl on yourself behalf, then." And off he goes, on that note.