|Flint, Steel, and the Songbird|
|Summary:||Outside the Flint camp on the road to the Twins, Lady Tiaryn Flint and Knights Alek Coope and Jac Caddock cross paths.|
|Date:||17 May 2012|
|The Flint Camp - Road to the Twins|
|The Flint Camp|
|May 17, 289|
Thunk. Thunk. Thunk. That's the sound that can be heard, yes. And then a pause for a few moments, the swish of skirts, steps being taken and a sort of oof sound. More steps, and then the twang of tightly wound string before thunk. And again. Seems someone has found a spot to practice archery, at the edge of the Flint camp, on the way to the Twins. And that someone, standing with a bow that might well be Camden make, is Tiaryn Flint. Her guard is standing nearby watching, his gaze going from place to place as he keeps his job up, but her maid is settled down, half asleep, leaning against a rock near Tia's harp. Thankfully it's a nice evening, the sun still providing enough light to see. Thunk.
The sound of hooves thunder up the road, despite the fact that evening draws near. Racing ahead of his own party, Alek Coope is all lean muscle on top a black stallion, his fingers tightening on the reigns and pulling the horse up short with force as he spots the Flint camp. His gaze lingers, all steel and warmth, on Tiaryn for a moment before he is sweeping around to see who else camps near. "Ho, any Naylands nearby?" he calls to the woman with a hint of wry amusement, his smile all crooked.
Only a handful of months to his thirty-sixth nameday, Ser Jac Caddock is feel exceptionally old. It probably does not help that his newly-acquired horse has gray in its dark coat and strides with heavy hoof-falls that could cause the earth to shake. The old mare paired with the old knight — it is depressing. He is leading the old girl through the outskirts of the camp, engrossed in conversation with the horse. His stubbling beard has taken on some extra thickness over the last couple days. He had already made the rounds once, and happening to spy on the Flint woman as she practiced, but now he is drawn up short by sound and sight of the approaching riders. He doesn't even have to encourage the horse to stop, she looking content to lower her head and graze at the grass around his boots. He does not answer the question, though has started to step in the direction of both rider and woman.
Tia glances up at the new arrival, a little warily. Jacob is paying attention, his gaze finding Jac as well as Alek, though he seems still quite relaxed. Tia doesn't notice Jac yet, but Alek - well, he's rather unmistakeable. "Ser Coope," she greets, her voice light and musical, pitched to carry. "Good day to you. I have not seen any, but that does not mean so much, as I must admit I've been close to my own kin so far on this trip. I should think though that you might find a spot to camp nearby." As she gestures, she turns a bit, her gaze finding the other arrival.
"I am sure you could smell them, at least, if they were nearby," Alek drawls, all warm, dry humor to his words as he offers such a boyish insult with a shameless smirk towards the woman. He dismounts with ease, swinging down with reigns still in hand as he moves closer to the lady. He even offers a companionable enough nod to the other men he marks, Jacobd and Jac. "Lady—?" He seems to have forgotten her name, but there is an apology in his gaze and the boyish curve of his lips.
The mare idly follows after Jac, chewing at the grass that is released under his boot soles. The common knight starts to whistle softly to himself as he continues his approach, stopping just beside guard Jacob with a slight tilt of his head. "Hello," he says in a casual note that hints at familiarty. "Lovely weather." And then he looks over toward Alek and Tiaryn with a slight nod of his head. The old girl starts to sniff around the ground at now both Jac and Jacob's feet, hunting for sweeter grasses.
Tsk, forgotten her name indeed. Tia recalls well enough where she met Alek - by Lady Danae. But that's besides the point. She inclines her head gracefully, blue eyes dancing slightly. "Tiaryn Flint," she says, having no reason that she knows of to avoid it. Ought to be safe enough. She's still in mourning garb, for the most part, greys and blacks, if nothing else. Her lips quirk in a smile at the childish insult though. "Can you indeed? You've a far more sensitive nose than I do, Ser," she says, allowing a hint of mischief to escape. "I'm sure there's a joke in there, but it escapes me."
Jacob glances over at the new arrival, nodding his head. He takes a step back, so he can watch Tia and Jac both. "G'day," he replies politely. He's a northerner by accent, dress, and looks, and he's wearing Flint colours. "Have I seen you around somewhere?"
"Of course, Lady Flint," Alek agrees once she says her name, steel warmed to silver in his gaze where it drags in playful appreciation over the lady. What, like mourning garb was going to stop him. "Forgive my rudeness, my lady. May I ever be at your service." He offers a bare sketch of a bow, graceful but somehow lazy. He adds with a hint of laughter, "Only that they are dirty, stinky Naylands. I will endeavor to make better jokes in the future." He offers a silent salute towards Jac, curiosity in the cast of his gaze to the other knight.
Jac smiles smoothly. "Certainly… I've been almost everywhere, therefore I assume you've seen me somewhere." The Caddock man then shakes his head. "I jest with you, goodman. We've never crossed paths, and I've never been to the North… I've thought about it a few times… I hear the Wall is lovely this time of year." And then he looks back to his charge and the recently-arrived man. "Should I tell him the Naylands are just a half a mile North, or wait until he's gotten more comfortable?" It is then he gives Alek a quick smirking smile and a polite nod of his head. "Good day, Ser."
Well, mourning garb might not stop him but it doesn't do quite so … kind … a job of accentuating any woman's beauty, generally speaking. Tia's smile is friendly enough. "Ahh, of course," she says, as if she's just clued in. She glances at her target, having an arrow left in her quiver, but for now she simply holds the bow. "I wish I could tell you - oh. It appears that there is the fellow with the answers," she interrupts herself with, as Jac speaks up. She steps back a moment, allowing them to speak. In fact, she takes that final arrow, nocks it, takes aim and fires it at her target. The last shot of the evening. With that done, she watches to see where the arrow strikes, and then turns back to see how the fine knights and guard are doing.
Jacob nods his head briefly, before he says, "Jacob Hawn, Ser, at your service." His lips then quirk in a smile at the comment about the location of the Naylands, true or not. "I suppose we could tell him, it would be neighbourly, not so?"
"So we do. I suppose a half mile north will have to do for my lady, as I doubt we will have time to travel much further once she gets here," Alek replies wryly, his shoulder shrugging upwards in a way that emphasizes that he does not care truly about the Naylands' position. Maybe he thinks he could kill them all, if it came down to it. His gaze tracks the arrow that has so missed its mark, but he does not comment on it, as he likely could not do much better. "Good day, ser. Alek Coope the Blacksword." There is a story behind the name, well spoken of in the Riverlands for his ability with it.
Jac smiles toward the guardsman with a nod of his head. "Ser Jac Caddock," and then he grins a bit toward Alek even as he talks to Jacob. "I think he actually finds the smell pleasant, he just wished a good conversation starter with your lady." And then the knight looks back toward Alek, nodding his head. "Well met, Ser Alek… I'm Ser Jac Caddock of Stone Hedge, sworn to Hollyholt. This here is my close and old friend Jacob Hewn." And he gestures to the man beside him, though his attention moves toward Tiaryn after her missed shot with a broader smile. "Master Jacob has always spoken such wonderful things about you, Lady Tiaryn… I'm pleased to have finally met you." And he bows at the waist to her.
Couldn't get a good shot, could she? Nope. Tia's shot flies wide of the target, diving into the brush beyond, and she makes a bit of a face. "At least nobody screamed, so probably I didn't hit anyone," she says, conspiratorially. She doesn't make any excuses, though her cheeks do go a little bit pink. She turns to Jac, listening to him, and her frown disappears into an amused laugh. "A pleasure, Ser Caddock," she says. "With Hollyholt - one of Lord Aleister's men then?" she asks, curiously. "Do say good day to him and his Lady wife for me." She glances back over at Alek, inclining her head. "Lady Danae is coming as well? That should give us all good company for the trip, especially with the addition of such brave, fearless knights as yourselves."
"Drunk and fearless, perhaps," Alek offers with self-deprecating humor, all dismissive of such praise of his knightly self. "She rides for the tourney, yes."
"I was sent along by Lord Charlton foremost, Lady Tiaryn… Lord Aleister will have to make use of me now,," the old knight says with a comfortable smile. He nods his head though, hand resting at his chest. "I will however pass along your wishes to both Lord and Lady." At the mention of Lady Danae, the knight nods his head gently, affirmed by Alek's words. "Thank you, milady, for your compliments, but I must honorably correct you. I am not truly fearless. There are things that all men should fear."
Jacob has to grin, though he hides his expression from Tiaryn if not the other men. Tia blinks and then she gives Jac a very theatrical woebegone look. "Oh! Heartless!" she says. "You have /ruined/ my impression of you, Ser. I may never recover." Course, she does have trouble keeping up the expression and her wink is something of a giveaway. The turns to Alek, trying to draw him in. "Is it not so? Tell me you do not subscribe to such? Knights who know fear? Next you will be telling me that they are just normal men, rather than glorious creatures of epic song." She even gestures grandly for a moment, before she relaxes. "But all kidding aside, I believe I've some water or wine - if either of you are thirsty?" She has a waterskin, with some summer wine within, mostly full since she's not had too much of it. Yet.
"Given the favor of a beautiful lady, we need not know fear. It is only without one, Lady Tiaryn," Alek offers gallantly, though his smile is all crooked and amused and not at all the type to support his words. He tips a grateful nod towards the lady. "I would never turn down good wine in such good company."
"It is wise to fear a lady's disapproval, milady," Jac explains in mock defense, though he cannot help but provide a crooked smile. "My own Emelia could turn a man's skin yellow in fright should they disappoint her. I never wanted to be the one in her sights in that regard." He gives Jacob a good, solid clap to his shoulder as if they were old friends, or perhaps everyone is Jac's oldest friend. He steps forward now, letting the mare stay at the guard's side so he can further close the gap between the lady and other knight. "I will take some water, milady."
Tia's expression shows she doesn't believe a word of what Alek is saying, though she does open her wineskin, take a gulp, and then pass it over to Alek. if it's poisoned, she'll die first. "Here you go, Ser Coope," she says, with a smile. It takes a moment more to get the water, as it's over by the half asleep handmaid, but Tia does so, with nearly no limp as she moves to pick it up, take a sip, and then pass it over to Jac. "And for you, Ser Caddock. I'm afraid the glasses are over at the main campsite with my goodcousins."
Alek will risk poison for wine, really, and thus he swallows a large drink of the wine, given that he has no reason to believe the Flints would want him dead. "Thank you, my lady. You are most gracious," he replies easily, the corner of his lips quirking again. "Though, I should not impose on your hospitality for long, and return to my own lady's side."
"You are most kind, milady… if you don't mind ill manners, I will do without the glasses." Jac holds the waterskin with care even as he looks over toward Ser Alek. "Well met, Ser Alek… I assume you will be competing in the tourney, so may the Seven watch over you." He gives the man a salute with his free hand before he indulges in whetting his own tongue.
Tia turns to look at Jac. "Do we assume that you will not be competing?" she asks him. And then to Alek, "If you are, as assumed, may the gods look out for you, and may your skill, strength and honour bring you victory." She glances over towards her target, and then her smile turnd rueful. "Excuse me just one moment. I would like to collect my arrows, before the sun fades too far," she says. Can't possibly take too long as she was only shooting six of them, and five are actually in the target if a little randomly.
"Thank you, my lady, and good day to you," Alek offers easily, swinging back into his saddle with a flashed grin towards Jac and a tip of his chin. "You shall see tomorrow, I am sure." With that, he presses his knees to bring the horse around to go galloping back the way he came.
"I am currently being persuaded to join the melee, but truth be told, Lady Tiaryn… I am a soldier. I have fought in two rebellions now, both on the side of King Robert, and before that guarded the gates of Stone Hedge. Begging your pardon for my honest words, but tournaments are for nobles and Summer knights." Jac gives her a steady smile, and beneath the fine bit of dirt that colors his skin, his wrinkles deepen with the expression. "I will cheer on the boys, and sing my stories at the feasts… but my sword will stay shealthed unless I am to protect another's honor or life."
Tia takes a moment to go get her arrows, even the one that missed the target, broken as it now is. She then returns, checking the arrows as she listens to Jac's words. "Sing?" she asks, caught by that particular word, of all things. "That's not something I often hear from a knight," she says softly. "Even those who I have heard sing. What sortof stories do you sing? Are they such that you might gift me with a song? Here and now that is."
Jac steps after her several strides, perhaps out of forced habit. His hands find his swordbelt, fingers looped into the leather. He offers her another lopsided smile, bowing his head a bit. "I am the Songbird, milady… a honest and somewhat emasculating title awarded to me by my fellow soldiers." Then he grins. "I rather like it though. No one worries about a songbird." There is a small pause as he considers her request. "I would be honored to oblige your request, milady." He looks around the Flint camp briefly before he returns his attention to her. "For you, for being so far from home."
Tia settles on the rock near her maid and smooths her skirtsm, s she watches Ser Jac expectantly. "By all means," she says, "and thank you." She doesn't offer accompaniment, though her harp is there, easily seen. And the rest of the flints are down the way by the fire, relaxing on their own. They dont' seem about to move, and likely the sound of their voices can be heard occasionally. "That is most kind of you, Ser." As if it's her right to be entertained.
Jac's eyes close for a moment, and he breathes deeply in through his nose to inflate his chest. His poise lengthens and straightens with the broad shelf of his shoulders neatly T-lined with his spine. When he opens his eyes next, he brings forth a soft lament:
"When the heart is weary, and my steps falter,
When the light is fading as the road ends…
I will lift mine eyes towards my homeland
To hear your call…"
He takes a moment's breath, his rhythmic baritone carries on to the second verse.
"When the winds of change have left my body older
When the journey seems to last a thousand years…
I will see your face, and your gentle voice
Guides me on."
Then he relaxes once more, giving the woman a bow to signal the song's end.