Page 186: Good Red Wine
Good Red Wine
Summary: Ser Bruce shares his with the boys of the Roost and they toast their wives, their future vagabond adventures, and the many dead Ironborn they hope to find ahead of them.
Date: 20/01/2012
Related Logs: Ironborn invasion logs in general
Bruce Caytiv Hardwicke Jarod 
Town Square — Terrick's Roost
The town square of Terrick's Roost was once considered well-kept. The stone streets run right up to the building fronts around the edge and the locals have kept the spaces between free of grass and weeds that might otherwise sprung up between them, although dark streaks of stubborn soot have crawled in between the stones. There are several homes and shops located here which show the scars and cinders of the sacking of the town at Ironborn hands. The ruin of the town's Sept can also be seen from here with its ornate stone front rising above the surrounding structures just down the cobblestone road.
Thu Jan 19, 289

Bruce has just finished loading the day's provisions for the Nayland camp onto a mule drawn cart. This includes fresh foodstuff, but also essential things like water and whatever other equipment they need. Today, that's weapon and armour oil, spare strings for crossbows and some leather goods, as well as a whole bucketload of metal tent spikes. With the common knight are a half a dozen of the Nayland levies, hard looking men all, and two of his own Guardsmen.

Jarod has spent his day in town among those smallfolk still left in the Roost, though what particular business he's on isn't immediately clear. He takes his leave of a little cluster of men, offering them a half-bow of his head as he departs. Bruce, and his entourage, certainly haven't been missed. Though Ser Rivers shows no outward unease at the presence of the Nayland levies. He strides toward the common knight, in fact, easy grin coming to his face. "Ser Bruce Longbough. The man, the myth, the legend of Blackwood and Stonebridge and all that." It's a jest, but a friendly one. "Your men fixed for the march to Seagard? I gather it won't be long."

Bruce turns about as he hears Jarod's voice, his expression relaxing and gathering a rather jovial look to it. He gives a little mock bow to the Terrick knight. "At your service, Ser." A wink is thrown Jarod's way. "Aye, most definitely. We've been ready to march since the day after the battle. Not that these lads," he jerks a thumb behind him, "haven't enjoyed the break on the soles of their feet but. You know. Been training 'em hard. Work in the day, sentry at night. Keeps us all sharp. There's a war going on, allegedly." He gives a faux mystified shrug.

Jarod takes a long look around the remains of the Roost town square, nodding wryly. "I've heard of this war myself, a bit. Must admit I'm sort've itching to be on the march, myself. Ironborn remain on the River coast who aren't dying presently. I'm of a mind to change that. I trust you and yours've rested comfortably enough while in the Roost? I think the folk here're grateful to see any who came with the army from Alderbrook but…you know. Terrick and Nayland. Old habits die hard. Though they at least seem put aside while there's a real threat to face."

Bruce steps away from the cart, leaving the men to their own devices. Well, really, leaving them under the supervision of the two Guardsmen who are there. In any case, he motions for Jarod to follow him, though he doesn't step too far. "In all honestly, me and Ser Rygar decided that it would be better to keep the men on a tight leash. As always. That's the great failing of a lot of Captains, if you'll let me be so bold as to state my opinion. During war time the men should be vigilant, kept busy with training and jobs, and away from women and too much wine on the march. They got their chance to rest, and rested they are; but they weren't let off of the leash, and they're still in the mind that it's a war. If you're picking up what I'm putting down here, mate." He gives Jarod a curious grin.

Jarod smirks some at that. "I take it, I think. I'm sure the women and remaining breakables in the Roost thank you for your leash. Perhaps it's well for your men's discipline, at least, that this town offers much fewer of its former comforts at present." He lets out a short breath through his nose. "Can't help but wonder if we'd have been able to save more of the place - or the Ironborn would've had less time to wreck it - had we marched faster. Should be grateful we marched this way at all, I suppose, rather than turning direct to Seagard."

Bruce throws his hands up in the air. "Such is the way of war, Ser Jarod. We can only wonder to the Gods. But, on the other hand, that Frey caution which slowed the march also meant that we didn't pursue the Ironmen into a field of caldrops and ruin both our cavalry and our feet. It's always a tight balance, these things. I think we did remarkably well." He pauses, arching an eyebrow. "Fancy a drink and a bite to eat, mate?"

"Alderbrook was as well-led a battle as I've been a part of, I'll grant to that," Jarod admits with a short nod. "Credit strikes me as more to Lord Rickart than the Frey for that one, at least from where I sat. And I speak always as a Terrick partisan, so the praise doesn't come easy." The offer of the drink draws a grin. "I could spare a moment for a cup or two. What've you got for a man to swallow?"

"Some wine I hid away in the cellar of the Rockcliffe." Bruce turns around, makes a motion and yells something at one of the Guardsmen, who gives a nod and begins to lead the cart back to the Nayland camp. Then Bruce turns back, leading Jarod in. "I hope they've got something to eat. I'm bloody well famished."

"There's like some meat left over that wasn't used in the wedding of Ser Blayne. The Lady Anais had the lot of what the Ironborn had sought to leave to rot distributed. Feast before it spoils. Both celebratory and practical." Jarod falls in step with Bruce where the Nayland knight leads. "I should put down some sort've foundation before I start drinking, I do suppose."

"Eh, maybe they should have smoked and salted more of it? Anyways, not my place to say. Free food!" Bruce guffaws loudly and enters the tavern. "Well, I don't know if I plan to get THAT drunk but… you know, plans go awry. What kind of Captain would I be anyways?" That crooked grin finds a place on his features as he enters.

Jarod laughs along with Bruce as he heads into the Rockcliff, such as it is post-invasion. "Just pass out somewhere your men can't see you. Then they'll never be the wiser, presume you were off on Captainly business. You know, Ser Bruce, it occurs to me we made our acquaintance over this inn what seems like a lifetime ago. Well. Over stiff Amelia Millen left on the upper floor, at least."

"Eh. Everything I've heard is that Jens Howard was an arsehole, mate. Besides, I think it actually stirred something /positive/ for House relations, somehow." Bruce chuckles, moving to an area where there's a table as well as a large cabinet. He crouches down, taking his helmet off, and moves the cabinet a bit. Looking behind it, his face lights up and he exclaims, "Aha!"

"Little doubt he was an asshole," Jarod says with a grim sort of laugh, flopping comfortably down at the table. "It's his killer I find myself thinking back on more than the poor sod she did in. Sad sort of girl. But, aye, made us men who'll drink together, if nothing else, and perhaps that's something to build on." His head tilts toward the stuff Bruce is 'Aha!'ing over. "You're raising my expectations, Ser. That'd best not be bottomshelf swill."

"You think Ser Bruce Longbough hides bottomshelf wine in the baggage train during wartime, then hides it again in the Inn? Nay, I say, Ser!" Bruce is rather boisterous tonight. Maybe he's just not gotten any time to drink with a buddy, other than those he works with. In any case, he comes back with three (!) wooden bottles of whatever it is that it is. "Now, it's up to you, being the local, to provide the food, Ser Jarod." He plops down in a seat and in expectation of that, begins removing his armour to eat.

Jarod is in Terrick livery rather than armor, though as ever he carries his sword. The wine draws a blink, and wider grin. Of that he approves. "I'll see what I can scare us up." He flags over one of the few women still working here and, after a brief consultation with her, learns there is indeed meat remaining. Salted pork is, at least, available in some supply. "So, we toasting anything in particular? Victory at Alberbrook? Our continued survival? Cooling of Nayland and Terrick rivalry as we all band together to kill more evil things?" He chuckles. "More things to toast than a man might immediately think, you start breaking it down."

"I'd say that's all good things to toast for. I'll add one more - that we bring the death and destruction and misery that the Ironborn brought here, back to their homes." All at once, Bruce has gotten deathly serious, a very harsh look on his face. "Whatever they visited the Cape of Eagles we will visit tenfold on them until they are accepted back into the King's Peace. On that, I'm sure, our brave King Robert would agree with me." He pours them each a cup of the wine, a dark looking red, then raises his cup. His sleepy blue eyes regard Jarod closely.

"To repayment. Tenfold, in Ironborn blood." Jarod toasts that with equal seriousness, and a very personal fervency. He drinks quick and deep. "My only regret about Alderbrook is that it did not give me the chance to put my sword within striking distance of Maron Greyjoy. Well. Perhaps he's fled to Seagard, and we shall meet there at closer quarters." He sips slower on his wine a second time, savoring it. "This is damn fine. Where'd you get it?"

"My youngest brother, Erik, decided to buck the family tradition of serving the Blackwoods after the Rebellion and went down to King's Landing. He's a Goldcloak there, sends me up all sorts of strange and wonderful things. This is from Lys he told me, across the Narrow Sea. It came just before I got sent to Stonebridge, along with the smoke he sent me. Also from Lys. I don't know who he's been taking bribes from, but he's been obviously making a tidy profit for himself." Bruce laughs, taking a drink. "Heh, I barely ever see that kind of thing. The enemy ahorse, I mean. Sometimes I get lucky. At Stoney Sept, me and the Ravens happened to be in the same place as a bunch of the Reach's finest. We smashed the Mooton guard, then I called a halt and we reformed, and charged through the dust. I was a bit surprised when there was some Caswell horse. That's been one of my only encounters with a knight ahorse in battle who wasn't charging at me. We scared the shit out of 'em."

"What's King's Landing like, as he tells of it?" Jarod asks. "That is a place I'd like to see one day, and drink a toast to Good King Robert's health in one of his own pubs. Though I think, if I have occasion to leave the Roost when all this is over…" And it sounds like a thing he's been giving a lot of thought. "…I'd first like to ride North. See the great Wall at the end of the world. Visit my wayward half-brother Jaremy nee Terrick there, see how he's taken to the Black. The world is large, Ser Bruce." He says it in a reflective sort of way as he sips. Whatever he said earlier, he's drinking slow, enjoying the taste and company, rather for drunkening. He's seated with Bruce at a corner table, one of the few remaining in good repair in the remains of the inn. They're drinking wine and, as a serving girl passes, she delivers a plate of salted pork for each of them.

"I went down there, once, on an errand for Lord Hoster. It's… well, it's huge. And it smells like shit. Everywhere, shit. I don't know how they do it, people who live there. Erik told me you get used to it, but it's one of the most foul smells I've ever smelt. They don't know how to do sewage, properly, at least not on the outskirts of the city. And there's so many bloody shops, leather tanners, dye makers, bakers, smiths… it all mixes with the shit smell." Exclaims Bruce, shaking his head. He plucks a piece of salted pork from the plate and smiles genially at the server before looking back at Jarod. "Aye, aye that it is. I had the fortune to go to a few places for Lord Hoster when I was in his employ, but not nearly enough. I too yearn to travel but… It costs, if you don't want to be moving around like a bloody vagabond."

Jarod's nose wrinkles as he imagines, better than he'd like to, the odor of King's Landing. "Something else the song's don't mention. The importance of good sewage." He takes a nibble of his pork, chewing thoughtfully. "The Roost'll need rebuilding, of course. I shall see to what of that I can, and whatever other duty my lord father requires of me. Though of late I've thought on, when the Ironborn are done in and peace in the land again, that it might be a fine thing to spend a few years wandering as a hedge knight. I've not enough years to really mind the vagabond life, nor enough attachments to hearth and home. This seems the time to do it, once the coast is more settled. Different question for you. You're a married man, are you not?"

"Hedge knight, eh? Never the life for me. But I'm married, as you say." Bruce laughs. "One son, second critter on the way. Aleks would kill me if I up and left to go a wandering, so I doubt my abilities to do that. If I were younger, your age, and not married… I'd cross the Narrow Sea. See what it's like there before I came back."

Jarod barks something of a laugh at mention of the Narrow Sea. "I've no want to see Braavos. You go too far, sometimes you can't bring all of you back. But the North, King's Landing, rains of the Stormlands, ride a tourney in the Reach, perhaps get myself slapped by a Dornish girl…that calls. I doubt I'll marry any time soon, for my part, so best do the wandering while I've less to leave behind." He sounds sadder than he probably means to show as he notes that, raising his cup again to toast. "Well, you're a lucky man, Ser. To your wife and son, then. And your next son, or daughter, whatever the Seven visit you with. May they be born in a time when peace has returned."

Bruce raises his cup, adding, "And to you and your wanderings, and to all the tourneys you fight in and the women you bed around the Seven Kingdoms then, Ser Jarod." He drinks. "Hey, even if I were to fall in battle - I've a son and some other child on the way to carry on my name, and I think my family's done well for ourselves. Two sons knights, one a Goldcloak. Nikolaes Longbough is a mighty proud." The Stonebridge Captain chuckles.

"To all that for me," Jarod toasts, albeit still with a trace of wistfulness. "It occurs to me, your next child'll be of an age with the one Lord Jerold and his lady wife expect. Must say, didn't count on another half-sibling when I was more than twenty. Perhaps as they grow they'll live in better terms with Stonebridge and the Roost than these last days have known. I played at Tordane Tower as a boy, when those were Terrick lands. Some of my happiest times were spent with my siblings and me in company with the old Lord Geoffrey's children. Different times, though I hope not so far gone as all that." He and Bruce are sitting at a corner table, drinking wine and eating a small meal of salted pork. The Rockcliff has scraped together enough of a semblance of its former self to still offer that much hospitality, at least.

Caytiv heads in with a cluster of smallfolk, just putting up a day's work clearing up. The effort's going well, taking more enthusiasm than organization, at this point, and the interest Ser Jarod's second squire's been putting into the work has met with some mild approbation, at least amongst the folk he's worked with. The band wanders in, weary and with dirty hands and faces splotched with a few round fat raindrops which began to fall and then thought better of it. Some liquor is called for to usher in the night and wash away the sight of all the destruction faced in the light of day.

The Captain checking in among the village is not strange, what with his taking care to help direct and supervise what rebuilding his men are a part of. Perhaps the visit to the Rockcliff is a bit more hesitant, though trailing in after Caytiv's group is somewhat encouraging. People using the place, at least. Hardwicke scans the crowd, his gaze lingering and then settling on Jarod and Bruce at their table.

"As much as I'd like to say that after this, everyone will be friends, relations will be solid and life will improve… I've observed the nature of man quite a bit in the last while. Likely, it will return to the way it is. But, we can hope to the Gods, old and new, that things will change for the better in the Cape of Eagles." Bruce replies to Jarod. His eyes are drawn to the newcomers at the door, and he watches carefully as people stream in. Hardwicke gets a nod when the Stonebridge Captain spots his counterpart.

"Particularly with the future of Stonebridge still uncertain," Jarod notes, followed by more wine-sipping. "But, aye. We can hope." His eyes go to the gathering crowd, perhaps not wanting to dwell on that subject. He grins and raises a hand to wave when he spots Caytiv. That wave is angled toward Hardwicke as well. "Cayt! Ser Blayne! A good eve upon you."

Caytiv is about to sit with the lads at table, but he looks up at his Ser when he's called, and pushes a hand back through his hair, pivoting slowly in that direction, and further, to the bar, where he settles up for a round of drinks for the fellows he's been working with. "Ay, ser," he greets his knight, bending his neck in casual barroom deference, and his eyes stray to Bruce, who gets a nod, as well.

Hardwicke returns the nod to Bruce when it's given, as well as lift a hand to Jarod at the greeting. He does take a detour at the bar to ask for — whatever they have left, which happens to include some ale. He waits for a tankard before moving to Jarod and Bruce's table. "Sers," he greets them. "Good to see the Rockcliff doing business."

Bruce also returns Cay's nod, motioning at the table for both of the newcomers' sakes. "I'm afraid the vintage is my own, Ser Hardwicke. But the pork, at least, is from here." He rises from his seat. "I'm not sure we've formally met, though I know who you are. Ser Bruce Longbough, Stonebridge Captain of the Guard. Pleasure to meet you and, oh, by the way, congratulations on the marriage." The Nayland man wears a grin as he extends a hand.

"It's some trace of normalcy, if nothing else. Aye, feels good to drink here again," Jarod agrees with Hardwicke as he approaches. "We were just coming up with things to toast. So, here's to your marriage and lovely bride again, if I didn't say it the other night. Aye. Congratulations, Ser, you're a lucky man." He raises his cup, to toast properly.

"Hear, hear, ay," Cayt chimes in with the congratulations being piled upon Hardwicke, coming to hover nearby, standing by Jarod, hands tucking togehter at the small of his back, elbows angled out casually to his sides.

The small hint of a smile on Hardwicke's lips will have to serve for a more open expression, but then, he is wont to reserve. He clasps Bruce's hand firmly just the same with a tip of his head. "Ser Hardwicke Blayne, Captain of the Guard here at the Roost. And — my thanks, Sers." (And Caytiv.) He does stand up a bit taller, perhaps, the lift of his chin holding something of rare smugness in it.

"Ye Gods, this many toasts… I'm gonna stink like it." Nevertheless, Bruce raises his cup in concert with Jarod. "Aye. The married life is, despite what some say, quite lovely. If I do say so myself. Come, have a seat and share the wine. I got it from my brother in King's Landing. It's from Lys."

"Best celebrate while there're still things to celebrate, Ser Bruce. We'll be off to Seagard soon enough," Jarod says, after he's toasted. "I could do with a second cup, now that you mention it. If you've a moment to sit, Ser Hardwicke, you're welcome to join us. There're some odds and ends I wanted to talk on you with, come to it. Was going to wait until I was back at the castle, but this is as good a time as any."

Caytiv can't entirely stifle a dubious twitch of his cheek in the wake of Bruce's claims on the benefits of marriage, but he won't speak against it in the company of one of its proponents and the recently-wedded Captain. When Jarod mentions another drink, he takes his cue from it and heads back toward the bar.

Hardwicke glances at Jarod with something of a grim twist to his mouth that suggests a certain agreement with his words. He does glance in the direction of the door when they ask him to sit, somewhat considering. But then he goes ahead and slides into a chair. "As you wish, Sers."

"Aye, there's truth in those words, Ser Jarod." Bruce pours himself, Jarod and two more cups of the very fine, deep red wine. "Squire! Where you going, get back here!" For once, the normally placid Stonebridge Captain is loud and boisterous. "Drinks for /all/ of us." He shifts the two new cups to requisite spots on the table.

"I'd not know much about married life myself, though I suppose it might hold a certain appeal," Jarod says, wistful again. It is so time for a refill. Which he gets. As for Hardwicke. "I understand some of the smallfolk received some drilling in arms during the siege. I was wondering if you could recommend a handful of them. I managed to scrape together enough volunteers for…well, a make-shift levy, I suppose, from the refugees in Stonebridge. Wanted to see if there were more Terrick men who might be added to it for the march to Seagard. I understand that my father is reluctant to take men away from the rebuilding effort, but a handful of able-bodied men should be doable, I was figuring."

Caytiv peeks back over his shoulder, shrugged up half-defensively before he unwinds through the turn he'd taken and slouches into a seat, looking across at Bruce, then switching his eyebeams over to Jarod. "Ay, an' they held well a-field," he chimes in, of the refugee levy's performance in battle.

"I know little of it either, Rivers," Hardwicke says, his voice dried in its humor. "Though I imagine I'll learn soon enough." He takes the cup Bruce offers and raises it to him in thanks before taking a swallow. "Aye, yes, we did training in bows, knives, and pikes." He considers his answer before finally saying, "I'd intended on recommending at least some be mustered for the march. It will, of course, be up to the discretion of your lord father."

Bruce appears poised to say something about the inclusion of Terrick men in the march. His mouth opens, and he tilts his head back a little. A bit of noise even comes out but… in the end, he shuts up and drinks his wine. He gives Caytiv a skeptical look, but again, says nothing.

"He's given me leave to take what volunteers I can, though given the state of the Roost I doubt he can muster in full," Jarod replies to Hardwicke. Noting Bruce's expression, he smirks. "The archers were fielded well enough. Spearmen were kept in reserve. Takes a good deal more work on a man to hold that sort of line. But, this is there home, I figure the men have a right to fight for it if they're able. Particularly those who saw a bit of what was in store for them during the siege. Perhaps we could put it to Lord Jerold together, Ser Hardwicke, as you'd know better how many might be suited for it, and what equipment they might be outfitted with."

Caytiv's eyes lid in a sleepy look that matches well with his posture but doesn't seem to have much to do with any legitimate weariness. He watches Jarod when he talks, and then answers, "I reckon they'd a clear enough view a' them Ironers from where they was, ay. Reckon they'd done ye well."

"It's right that the Roost have some levies to show for itself, even if it's few," Hardwicke says, quietly approving. "Lord Terrick will agree, I imagine. We'll leave enough to make sure Four Eagles is secure and rebuilding can continue."

"There was much loot taken from the battlefield. If you're short on weapons, there might be enough extra from the fallen Ironmen that you could outfit your men, especially if they're small in number." Suggests Bruce. He continues to regard Caytiv with some skepticism, though it's now of the the lad himself, one might assume by the way he looks over, rather than his words. He takes a gulp of the deep red wine and looks over to Hardwicke with a nod. "Aye, that would be good. After all you've suffered, to show the Terrick banner will rub those who got their arses booted out of the siege that they failed. Rub their face in their own shite, basically. Good for morale."

"If the Ironman arms are not being put to use, I've no objection to Terrick men using them to kill squids," Jarod says, with a look to Hardwicke. "There's a touch of poet's justice to the idea, when you think on it." He crooks a faint smile to the elder Terrick knight. Perhaps for the quiet approval as much as anything else. Ser Rivers is nothing if not ever-eager for any kind of affirmation. "Aye, Ser Blayne. Seems right."

Caytiv finally notes that Bruce is inspecting him, and he meets his gaze, one brow cocking upward. He doesn't say anything, but returns the stare, easy, unthreatening, but unyielding. Hi.

Hardwicke lifts his glass again at the agreement of knights. "To Ironborn bleeding on the end of our swords, Terrick and non-Terrick alike." The line of his smile is hard and grim.

After Ser Bruce had looked away from Caytiv to speak to Hardwicke, he doesn't look back. He grins and raises his cup. "There's something I'm happy to drink to, Sers." (And Caytiv.)

"To bleeding Ironborn, and a free River coast in the coming days," Jarod toasts, with feeling, polishing off the remainder of his second glass of wine. He doesn't immediately reach for another, and his meal is gone by now.

Caytiv watches Bruce, not unkindly, and might even smile a little at the toast, finally just bowing his head as if adding the force of an unspoken prayer to the wishes of victory and peace being spoken about the table. At last he touches a glass and hazards a sip, as though not to drink would somehow jinx the toast.

Hardwicke takes another gulp to complete the toast before setting the cup down on the table. "And to a quick return, I hope," he murmurs, scrubbing a hand through his dark hair.

"As I was saying earlier, Sers, once Seagard's siege is lifted, I'm eager to repay the Ironborn blood debt on their home soil. We should take a page from Lord Tywin Lannister, I'd think. As sharp as they think their claws are, let the rains and sea crash over their halls, with no one there to hear." Bruce shrugs at Hardwicke's mention of a quick return. "It'll be as quick as the amount of men and the generals who are committed to it, as we all know. Hopefully Lord Balon has roused the ire of the whole of Westeros. I imagine so."

"The Ironborn struck as they did on the strength of treachery, and our own lull from years of peace," Jarod says. "They are seeing now we are no soft Rivermen when put to battle. I would not mind seeing every Greyjoy son dead when this is over, either on the sword or from Good King Robert's headsman. As for what's beyond Seagard…we'll see how it plays, I suppose." He inclines his head to the men, Bruce in particular. "Thanks for the wine, Ser. Was very good to drink with you again. The lot of you. I should be getting back to the tower. We'll speak more on mustering later, Ser Hardwicke. Cayt…don't drink too much." He winks at the boy.

Caytiv's nostrils flare and he wakes up a little either under the sip of wine or the talk of bringing the fight to the Ironers once this is all over. "Ay, an' drive their lassies t' slay themselves fer fear of the savage fucking we'll give 'em," he mutters, setting down the wine again, giving Jarod a glance and a nod, as though taking the Ser's command as one given in earnest.

"I'm sure it's a consideration that will be discussed," Hardwicke says, his eyes lingering on Bruce as he speaks of taking the fight to the Ironborn's home. "There'd be little better to discourage further uprisings from them, surely." As Jarod begins his exit, Hardwicke offers a nod to the younger knight. "Soon, I'm sure." His gaze flicks to Caytiv with a crease of a frown.

"If they'd have faught like gentlemen and left the smallfolk be, well, that'd be one thing. But they fought like reavers. And they'll be treated in kind." Bruce affirms, appearing to agree with Caytiv. He downs his cup and rises from the table, a hand held on it to steady him. His eyes open and close a few time and he exhales deeply. "Phew. Guess I drank kind of fast. I'll leave you two lads the rest of this bottle." That said, Bruce scoops the other two, as yet unopened bottles, into his satchel. "Good eve to you all, Sers. Master." A nod to Hardwicke and Jarod, then to Caytiv.

"Save the other two for Seagard. We'll drink it on liberated ground, and toast the dead reavers properly," Jarod says with a half-bow to the other knights and wanna-be knight as he departs.

Whether Cayt is actually looking forward to raping Ironer lasses or is just giving vent to the surlish bitterness curled up in his adolescent form, it's hard to say, but when Bruce seems on board with it, and gives him some manner of paradigm from which to defend the action in question, he gives the man a cautious nod. "Even," he tells his Ser and the other, as they go, then leans forward toward Hardwicke. "Yet there'll be work enough t' keep with, here, won't there be, ay? Sure, the clearin' fares well, but th' buildin' won't go so quickly— will need men a skill in plenty."

After the other two knights have gone, Hardwicke's attention turns back to Caytiv. "Aye, aye, they'll be plenty use for you here at the Roost," he says.

"Reckon they'll be, a' that," Cayt nods. "Might well take mine hand t' th' buildin', ay," he goes on. "T'will be a good skill in future, wi' all th' buildin' will need done here by Annie, ay, an' when Tall Oaks comes t' be restored. There'll be plenny a craftsmen needful a hands to lift an' work, in change for showin' a bloke th' skill a th' thin'."

"Aye, I'm sure the skills will serve you, if that's what you wish to do," Hardwicke says, watching him with a dark-eyed gaze. "Not the usual sport of knights, though."

"There's work t' be done— a knight is in service to th' folk, an' how better than to do what needs be done?" Cayt reasons dimly, "An' nay hang back at th' far edge a th' field, ay? I've arms, an' strength, an' will use 'em as must needs."

"As you should, Hill." Hardwicke eyes him a moment longer, then tosses back the last of his glass and scrapes his chair back to stand. "If you'll excuse me. I'm afraid I have a wife to get back to." His lips twitch just a touch towards smiling, but it's there and gone.

"Ay, an' there's a pleasant bit a needful work, ay?" Cayt answers almost-smile with almost-smile. "Even, ser."

Hardwicke's expression is perhaps a little bland, but certainly not hostile for the familiarity. "Evening, Hill," he says before he heads out.