|Hawks, Harpies, and Weasels|
|Summary:||A party goes hawking just outside Stonebridge.|
|The trails are worn and well tended here and the fields on either side are lush and full of wildflowers amidst the lightly scattered trees of the central Cape of Eagles. A few packed dirt trails converge with the main road from outlying hamlets around Stonebridge.|
|February 5, 290|
Summer continues on apace, the Cape of Eagles still in the first years of the Long Summer. The sun is high in the azure ceiling of the world, but the heat is moderated somewhat by a breeze that's come up along the river from the sea. Tyroan has gathered up a collection of ladies, ladies-in-waiting, knights, and retainers for a bit of time out-of-doors. The retainers are mostly there to provide extra hands to handle a couple of hawks and falcons, and critically, the beer. The group is mounted, even the retainers, with Tyroan at the head of the group. Walking his horse slowly up one of the rises that lift from Stonebridge to the west, he half-turns his mount with the pressure of his knees, looking back to the group, "I've been told there's a good view from here. For the…" he gestures idly to the hooded raptors, "the fucking birds." Chuckling softly, he holds out a horn to be refilled by the beer steward.
"Told you we should have gone deer hunting," Firth says cheerfully. She riding her dappled grey today and she is dressed in riding velvets. Her hair is pinned up underneath a veil. She is not touching the hawks and is allowing a retainer to do that for her. Instead she breaths in the view, "It is beautiful today, you chose a good day for riding and hunting Lord Tyroan."
Sunshine, fresh air, beautiful ladies - the day would be perfect except for the constant threat of bird shit sullying his gear. Renholdt is riding lesiurely beside Firth, half-listening to the idle chatter and half lost in his own thoughts. "Deer hunting would have been preferable, but not enough time to establish a proper party for that. At least deer do not crap from the sky." Hmph. Oddly enough, the man is not drinking - for all that it may mean. He glances sideways to Firth and offers the Frey a cheeky grin. "You can always send out your little pants-wearing poacher for deer."
Being around, Karel's attention is on the surroundings mostly for the moment. He hasn't been drinking anything yet as he keeps silent, listening to the nobles for now. Unable to hold back a bit of a nod and a smile as he hears Firth's words about deer hunting.
Aralima is sitting atop her horse, looking out over the area, she raises an eyebrow at Ren and gives a bit of a jerk to her divided riding skirts. Looking towards the area she gives a shrug, "Deer is nice, but pheasant is delicious too."
Tyroan takes a swig from his refilled horn, smirking dryly at Firth, "Yes, yes. It might actually not be piss-ass-cold in the fucking woods." The cursing, as ever, seems just a matter of course. "But then we'd need beaters and huntsmen, and people to haul the carcasses if we caught anything." Straightening up in his saddle, he knuckles at his back, "And someone would get all fucking bloody." Renholdt's comments about the chance of avian precipitation causes him to snort a laugh into his horn of beer, although the comment to Firth draws up one hoary eyebrow. "Ser Karel! You were here at the time…" Wheeling his horse so that he can look back over the town, he points off to the north, "How fast do you reckon those shitstain Charltons marched from their camp there to the lines about the fucking town?" A good place to hawk the hill may be, but it's also a good place to replay the Battle of Stonebridge in one's mind. Nodding to Aralima, he odds, "We'll see if we can't get some pheasant or coney."
"I could but I do not want to encourage and I am fond of my pants wearing poacher." Firth says in response to Renholdt. Her laugh is warm. Then she looks to her Niece. "Niece he is teasing he means no harm by it. Master Karel, what say you deer or hawk?" She then looks to Tyroan and her green eyes are dancing with mirth. "Good question and one I am curious to learn the answer to."
Is he teasing? Renholdt turns his head enough to catch sight of Aralima and the haughty little twitch of her skirts. His grin widens, but he bows his head to her in acknowledgement that he may have hit his limits. Pulling away from Firth's side, Ren leads his mount closer to Tyroan and circles about, glancing first to Karel and then out toward the city. "Wish I could have seen it," he mutters beneath his breath, perhaps loud enough for his father to hear. "Bloody bastards. Came from there and there?" He points, guessing at best, before turning in his saddle to look at Karel.
Pausing for a few moments as he hears the question, Karel thinks back a little to the battle. "Well, shorter time than when they turned around and left, m'lord," he replies, a bit lightly. "Our defenses slowed them down quite a bit as they moved for the town, though." A brief pause, before he looks over to Firth, offering a polite nod, and a bit of a smile. "Well, I've never been good with those birds, Lady Firth. But I've had to do some hunting while travelling, simply to stay alive and healthy."
"Yes teasing." Firth urges her mount forward. She gets closer to them. "Over there." She points. "Is where they had their silly little barricade set up on the road, that is also where I told them that they were traitors to their faces and men without honor. Aleister and Harold were not pleased with me." She tells the part. "Honestly I really do not care." She looks to the men. "What were the defenses?" She asks them. "Wayland only told me a little." She is peering down at the plains. She looks over at her Neice.
Tyroan makes a few connections, and his dark gray eyes shift over to Aralima for a long moment. He's silent on the point of 'poachers' however, settling into the military discussion much more readily. He points toward the road out the western side of the city, "That's where the main blow fell." He's done his research and interviewing to recreate the events, but he still looks over to Karel, "Chime in any time, Ser Karel." Looking back to the town, he adds, "The fuckers came marching right up, bold as you fucking please. Also sent some feints around the edge, looking for holes in the ditch line around the town." Centering his attention on the road, however, he adds, "We had our own barricade, but they had more archers, and so Ser Bruce led the pike out to meet the Stranger-fucking little shits."
Aralima is not a poacher, "I was safely in Terrick's Roost during the invasion, uncle Wayland made sure I was far from her." She looks over to Sirawen and says, "A glass of wine sure would not go amiss." She gives another tug to her skirts once more and offers her hand out ot one of the hawkers for her glove.
For the most part, Renholdt is silent as he stares down from his perch, mulling over the details in his head while picturing the battle as best he can. Firth's commentary earns an arched eyebrow, and a minute after Tyroan curses the Charltons (for the millionth time) he turns about. "And our archers now? I lament the loss of Ser Bruce, although his manner of running things was—odd. Beer." He holds out his hand for a flask, not even bothering to look. "I was safely at Hag's Mire during the conflict," he adds, grinding his teeth together at the thought of missing out on stabbing so much Charlton flesh.
Karel smiles a little bit. "You have it well in hand, m'lord," he offers to Tyroan, before he smiles a little bit. "And our pikemen was, as always, quite good at what they do." A brief pause as he nods at Firth's words. "Barricades and ditches, mostly. Tried bringing them in where we could handle them easier." Nodding a bit at Renholdt's words, "Odd, m'lord? That may be true, but he was highly competent at what he did, though."
"Where I was I cannot recall." Firth frowns. "I just remember what happen to Wayland." She grows quiet now as she watches. And listens and she smiles again. "Wine would be lovely. You will get your chance to show your honor in combat Renholdt." She smiles. "too bad there is not a way to create a mote around the place like one would have in River Run, or more muder holes like you would have at the twins."
Tyroan nods at Aralima and Renholdt in turn, "And I was on a fucking boat, coming back from the Goodbrooks. All of us missed the real fighting," there's a nod to Firth, to show that he understands the difference between being in the area and in the fighting. Quaffing a swallow of his beer, he guides his horse alongside Renholdt's a moment, clapping his son on one shoulder, "I was fucking tucked away at the Mire while you were out cutting the balls off ironmen. There'll be more fighting at some point. Don't fucking worry." He finishes off his beer and tosses the drinking horn to the servant with the skin. As Aralima has her hawk fetched, he nods approvingly, "Get us something for the fucking dinner table, eh Lady Aralima?" Chuckling dryly, he shrugs at Renholdt's not-forgotten question, "Never been a real trend to archers here. A good reason to suck up to Oldstones, I suppose. Takes a long time to make a good shot. Have to be trained young, like Aeron." He snorts a laugh, "Or walls, Lady Firth."
Aralima gives a nod to Tyroan and sends the beaters out to start beating in the brush where other birds roost. She gives a tug to her glove to make sure it is on properly so she doesn't get her arm clawed the hell up. A beautiful white falcon is put on her wrist, delicatly the young woman removes the hood so that the falcon can see her, and she gives it a warm smile and coos softly to the animal.
"I am not entirely green, my lady," Renholdt answers Firth dryly, wiping ale from his mouth and tossing the drink back. His words are reinforced by Tyroan's, and he offers his father an amused, toothy grin. For a moment they almost look alike - well, except for Renholdt's fine head of hair. "Not worried, father. There will be ample opportunity in the future to add more balls to the pile, I know." He watches passively for a moment as Aralima prepares herself before turning his attention back to Tyroan. "Aeron is amazing, but don't fuckin' tell him I said so. It'll go to his head. But—Lady Firth?" And now it is his turn to stare at the woman intently, eyebrows raised.
"There's probably bound to be some more fighting coming up at some point," Karel offers after a few moments of pause, simply shrugging for the moment. Gaze going to Aralima and the bird now, offering a bit of a smile, but otherwise keeping silent at the moment, just listening to what's being said now.
"Walls with a murder hole and a good crossbow bolt do wonders." Firth tells him. "If enough money can be made to build such a thing!" She looks back at her niece and then Renholdt. She grins. "Renholdt you still own me a stag. I try never to make those who owe me money cross. Your secret is safe with me. I have never laid eyes on the lad or spoke to him for that matter." Her lips twitch into a smile. "For that matter, I never did say you were green. I only said you will have other opportunities to defend this place if a certain mistress picks up where her late lover left off." She says politely. She looks to Karel. "Thank you, good Master I agree with you, it will be in the very near future." She looks back to her Lima. "Your hawk is very beautiful. How often do you go hawking?"
Tyroan waves a hand dismissively at Renholdt's worries, "Archery isn't a knightly pursuit." His dark gray eyes flick out to the Frey ladies, and he smirks dryly, "I've even fucking heard it's for the girls." Amusement filters through his voice, although it trails off at Firth's commentary on the walls, "Putting anything more than a palisade 'round the fucking town would… well, it'd more than fucking beggar the House. We'd be in dubt up to our fucking eyes. Besides, the point of Stonebridge is it's too valuable to really storm. You burn it, it's useless." There's a feral, almost Northern, look to the toothsome grin he offers up, "That's why I'd have pulled our fucking pikes into the town. Made them come to us. Hit them from the flanks. Bows are fucking useless when you've got pikes shoved up your ass." The mention of the continued threat draws a snort from the Steward, "If that woman thinks to lead an army down here, I'll show her there's a damned difference between fucking someone and fucking someone up."
There is only so much of bird shit Renholdt can take, and of talk of battles he has never seen, so when his squire approaches at a quick pace, he seems somewhat relieved. Likely there is news ortroubleor something stupid that for whatever reason requires his attention. "Sten?" he inquires, leaning down over the neck of his mount in an oh-so-casual manner. His gaze flicks up to Firth for a minute at the mention of stags and he smirks.
"Your, um, your wife, ser," Sten mutters, glancing around at the group before pitching his voice low to deliver his message as privately as possible. Doesn't matter, though. The man's voice carries as he relays that the beautiful Lady Lyna is currently on a tirade. Renholdt's expression is nigh on murderous at having such a leisurely day interrupted by a bout of hysteria, but after a moment he nods. "Duty calls," he mutters to his father before clicking his tongue and sending his mount into a canter headed back toward the tower. "Catch a good dinner, Lady Aralima!"
Aralima gives a shrug to her aunt, "I haven't since I left the Twins." She watches the beeters, and gives a shake of her head, "Good duck around the Twins." She smiles as two pheasants burst out from under the brush. Giving a click of her tongue she lets the falcon go. "Archers have thier use my Lord. A good Volley from your archers can hamper an army. Not so exciting yes but still have their uses."
<FS3> Aralima rolls Hawking: Good Success.
"Archers have their use, that's true. To stop an incoming army, the crossbowmen are usually quite useful," Karel offers after a few moments of pause. Offering a bit of a nod to Renholdt as the man heads off, before he looks over to Aralima as she sends off the bird. Keeping silent for the moment, though.
"Ever weapon has its uses; you know this better than most Lord Tyroan. My niece and Master Karel are correct." Firth points out and then she watches her drinking buddy go. She calls out to him. "Good luck, take some willow bark with you. You are going to need it." Her attention is then drawn back to the main group. "Lord Tyroan I promise that I think that wife of his is a changeling."
Tyroan shakes his head, smirking tightly at Karel and Aralima's words, "I never said they were useless, Lady Aralima, Ser Karel. They're just not for knights, and they're not fucking useful if you get to them with pikes or swords." Twisting a bit in his saddle, he adds, "I may be old and gray…" one hand skims over his bald pate, "but I'm not a fucking dotard." The Steward eyes his son, shaking his head, then gesturing for him to head off, "See to your wife. Best you find her before Ana does." The rise of the pale bird from Aralima's wrist causes him to nod appreciatively. When Firth weighs in as well, he rolls his eyes, "I don't remember women telling me how to fucking fight when we took the Stepstones back from the godsdamned Ninepenny Kings, and I was three wars younger then." He arches an eyebrow at Firth's description of Lady Lyna, "She bawls loud enough, Lady Firth. But she's borne him a strong daughter. Seven send a son soon."
Aralima chuckles as the bird takes off like a sleek pale light, "That is because my Lord, the only women who should be anywhere near a war are cooks, healer women and whores." She gives a smirk as one pheasant goes down in a squawk and a puff of feathers, the falcon isn't done yet. Mere seconds later the other goes down much the same as the first.
"Of course, m'lord," Karel replies with a bit of a nod, before he simply listens to the others, nodding a little bit for the moment. Watching as the bird takes out the pheasant, he offers a bit of a smile now. "Nicely done," he offers, finally.
"She has done her duty to her family then. That is more than I was able to do." Firth says a little sadly then she shrugs her shoulders. "Hopefully she will give him son." She shrugs her shoulders. "Historically there have been woman who were acting as head of house or were all that was left of their house and they have ridden out to battle. Look at Bear Island. Some woman even go into battle though it is rare but it has been known to happen. A woman also need to know how to defend her keep if she is falls under siege when her husband is away. Just as she should understand figures so as not to lose money if her husband's steward is lining his own purse." She looks at Karel and she nods in agreement. "I concour, it is. Master Karel, what is your view?" She asks.
Tyroan nods at Aralima, "And that's half the fucking reason war should be waged away from home." That draws a rumbling chuckle from the aging Steward, and he watches the falcon's progress, "One…" there's a pause, and then he smirks tightly, "Looks like your bird's a bit fucking greedy, Lady Aralima… not that I'll complain at dinner." Looking over at Firth, he arches one eyebrow, "There've been boys forced into defending their homes too. That doesn't make it right. There's a reason to have a Captain of the Guards like Ser Karel. Someone who can command the defense while the Lady of the House deals with morale and supply and everything else besides planning the fighting and swinging a fucking sword."
Aralima smiles and calls the falcon back with a whistle. The raptor returns perching on Aralima's wrist and she offers it a tasty bird treat. Looking over to Tyroan, "Well I could have called her back after one, but.. I figured this would be better then fish.." She looks to the beaters, wondering if they are going to continue with their job.
Karel pauses a bit as he hears Firth. "My view, Lady Firth?" It's asked a bit quietly, while he listens to the others for the moment. Watching the raptor as it's called back, he offers a bit of a smile. "The bird probably needed to stretch her wings a bit too, m'lady," he offers to Aralima, a bit quietly.
"Even the women, the young and the old can die by sword point." Firth points out. She never did get her wine. So with silent commands she makes her horse leap into a canter. Her seat is true and for all her fault she can ride and ride well. She pushes her horse forward as she rides a large circle around the party. As she passes Tyroan she calls out. "There are always hidden daggers and dangers."
Tyroan just sighs at Firth's response, setting his mouth in a hard line for a moment before he looks back over to Aralima, "'Reach Beyond Thy Grasp.' I'd be a fucking hypocrite if I told you to hold your falcon back from grabbing onto something that's good for the House." Turning finally to Karel, he points out, "Lady Firth wants to know whether you think I'm a doddering old fool who's forgotten everything he ever fucking knew about warfare too." The servants and retainers do what servants and retainers do… Those with drink prepare and deliver it, those charged with collecting kills do so, and those charged with looking for birds for the falcons and hawks of Aralima and the ladies-in-waiting go beat around the bush.
"I would not presume you to be that, m'lord," Karel offers after a few moments now, nodding a little bit. "I'm not sure what else I could offer to this conversation though." Listens quietly as he glances around at the surroundings for the moment.
Aralima smiles to Tyroan and says, "Oh well then.." She looks to the beaters and holds up a few more fingers and the men go about trying to find some more pheasants, "I am sure you know exactly what you're doing my Lord." She gives him a smile, "And I am sure she knows what she is talking about." She looks to Firth, "Any word from Grandfather? I am surprised he's not sent me a letter telling me I'll be marrying some hedge knight soon."
"You are putting words in my mouth Lord Tyroan. I never said that I was merely pointing out facts. I am woman with no children and too much time on her hands, I read a lot." She grins wickedly as she says this. "Humor the poor lame noblewoman." She this is aid with some amusement. She looks over to Karel. "I am sorry for putting you in that position." She calls to him as she rides another circle around the three of them. Bring her horse back to halt she near them she studies her niece. "Very good question, you are his ward the letter would go through him and not me my dear girl." She says this in a motherly fashion.
Tyroan presses his right fist into his left palm, popping each knuckle loudly and in turn, "And you weren't putting words in my mouth, Lady Firth? I know the use of archers in warfare. I've helped plan large fucking parts of three wars. I said their not fucking knightly, and that they're useless when you've got a pike shoved up your ass." Still, he nods his agreement with Firth's response to Aralima, "Lord Frey's not fucking likely to marry you off to a hedge knight. Most likely, it'll be some Terrick or one of Rickart or Tobias' boys. I'd say Riordan, if he hadn't pissed away any chance of being anything." Shrugging at Karel, he adds, "You're welcome to stay, Ser Karel, but you can also bugger off if you'd prefer. I don't think anyone's going to be fucking stupid enough to attack a group this close to town."
Karel smiles, nodding a little bit for the moment. "I'll stay, m'lord. A nice change of pace from the usual, after all." He looks between the others for the moment, offering them a nod and a smile now.
Aralima ahhs as a few more birds are flushed from the underbrush and she shakes her head, "And no one would be stupid enough to try such a thing with Lord Tyroan here either way." She gives a smile to the man and wrinkles her nose, "Wouldn't mind Justin, but.." She smiles softly and gives a cluck of her tongue sending the falcon onwards again.
<FS3> Aralima rolls Hawking: Good Success.
"To quote my father they should have never taught me to read or write." Firth points out to the lord as she strokes her horse's neck. "Child you are worth ten of me." She tells her. "Listen to Lord Tyroan on this as he speaks the truth." She sits there on her horse. She looks to the Karel. "You do this house credit good Master, thank you." She then looks back to Armilia. "You will not have a choice child. I wish I could say differently but that is not the case. I just pray to the seven that your match is kind and will not lay hand on you and will treat you with some respect."
Tyroan nods to Karel, then arches his eyes at Aralima's preference, "That pissant Jerold's son? You'd do better with one of this Bolland's get. Anyone who has the balls to take over a house from his own fucking brother is someone to at least watch out for." He gestures over to Firth at her words, "And if anyone's idiot enough to lay a fucking hand on you, or treat you with disrespect before you're married, I'll have his balls, his hand, or his tongue if I can get there before Lord Frey." Even if they've only spoken in passing for the most part, the Steward evidently takes his duties to the Frey seriously. "If it makes sense politically, no sense not to get your choice." He snorts amusement, "So long as it makes fucking sense politically. Not like the Mallisters who threw away that gawky girl at the Biggest Heron. Their boy-Lord must be soft in the head."
"I try my best, m'lady," Karel offers a bit quietly, with a smile now at Firth's words, otherwise listening quietly for now. Gently patting at his horse as he remains there, getting someone to bring him something to drink now.
The pale falcon snatches both birds from the sky and returns to Aralima, she gives it another treat and places the hood back on, and handing the bird over to its care givers. She exchanges it for a glass of wine and says, "I thank you for that Lord Tyroan, as for.. my husband to be.. I am sure it will be a smart match and will go to someone who can use the dowery to help their people."
"I am going to ride out for a bit." Firth tells them all as she moves her mount forward and she then is off like a light. Her guard is rolling his eyes as he rides after her.
Tyroan snorts softly at Aralima's words, "We can hope. Or back to Stonebridge in trade." He nods over to Firth as she excuses herself, "Enjoy yourself, Lady Firth." Centering his attention back on the younger Frey, he watches her through steel-gray eyes for a long moment, "So. You're already looking forward to being fucking married. You've got what… a year or two before that's likely?"
Aralima looks to Tyroan and says, "If I ever get married it will be too soon. I myself won't mind if I don't get married until I'm past my baring years." She nods as the beaters come up with four large birds, "Lovely."
"There are good things that come from marriages, m'lady," Karel offers a bit softly. "I'm sure that no matter if you're nobility or just one of us on the lower steps of the ladder, every parent that has ever held their child in their arms will say so. Wouldn't you agree, m'lord?" That last offered with a quiet nod to Tyroan.
Tyroan nods to Karel, "…after you get over the fucking racket." Still, that's given with a smirk, and he nods, "Marriage isn't something to be chased after. But it's not something to run the fuck away from, either. I didn't want to marry when I did, but it turned out just fucking fine." He shrugs his gnarled shoulders, "If you marry someone you can live with, you get someone to stand beside you. If you marry someone who ruins your fucking life, you ruin it the fuck back. With prejudice." He looks around the group, "So. Think we're done?" With Aralima's four pheasants and assorted small birds and rabbits from the ladies-in-waiting, it looks like meat's back on the menu… not that it ever left.
Aralima looks to Karel and says, "My mother died during child birth, along with my twin siblings. When I was just a babe, while I'm sure that holding a child in my arms would be a wonderful thing, it's a damn scary thing." She turns her head away to look over the catch of the day, "Nice job ladies you did wonderful." She quickly downs the wine in her glass and thrusts it out to the servant and motions for her to fill it again.
Karel offers a momentary smile to Tyroan. "Well, I didn't get home to my wife and son before much of the racket had passed, m'lord. Was laid up in the Vale of Arryn after a… rather unfriendly meeting with some of the locals." He then nods a little bit at Aralima's words. "Ah, I did not know that, m'lady," he offers, a bit quietly now.
Tyroan starts to turn his horse around toward the town again, "You should spend some time with Gwenah and Analyse, Lady Aralima. It's not the same as a baby, but sometimes it's nice to remember how joyful life can fucking be for a child." He nods to Karel, "A good loud voice is a good sign. If he's not hollaring his balls off, something's wrong with a newborn boy."
Aralima downs the next glass she's givena nd starts to turn her horse around, "Perhaps, but through lessons on this and that I have little time to sneeze. I'll try." She gives a nod and says, "Thank the Seven for Septas."
"Lady Analyse seems to be a most delightful child," Karel offers after a few moments of pause, smiling as he remembers something, before he nods at Tyroan's words, but doesn't say much more for the moment.
Tyroan nods his head, "I'm sure that your Septa will be quite willing to give you some time to spend with the children. Septas like shit like that." He keeps the pace slow, a leisurely walk for their horses, "They're both good girls. Now one of my godsdamned children just needs to have a fucking son." Which would suggest that he plans to have a lordship that needs an heir…
Aralima chuckles and says, "If my Septa stays awake long enough.. the woman was old when I was born.. She's ancient now." She follows along another glass of wine is put in her hand, now that Firth is gone.
Karel smiles, as he listens at the moment now, gaze moving around a bit thoughtfully for the moment. "Ah, I'm sure your Septa will manage to stay awake long enough, m'lady," he offers.
Tyroan isn't about to deny drink to anyone who doesn't seem the worse for it already, so he doesn't comment as Aralima collects the additional wine. "Thank you for joining me, Lady Aralima, Ser Karel. I think I'll take my leave here." That would be about as the party is returning to the first buildings of Stonebridge proper.
Aralima nods her head and drinks down her glass of wine and says, "I'll be along shortly too." She is more then okay to leave the servants behind to clean up everything
Karel nods a little as he hears what's being said now. "I should probably get some work done," he offers after a few moments of pause, before he adds, "Thank you for arranging this little trip, m'lord. It was quite nice."