|Invasion of One|
|Summary:||Young Lord Patrek discovers that Raffton Howell is Not Of The Riverlands.|
|Related Logs:||Not Quite Bumping|
|The Green — Terrick's Roost|
|The Green is a large field of deep green grass, nearly flat, that runs along the base of the towers. The road into town runs along the far edge, hemming it in neatly to a confined area where beyond a line of trees serves as a subtle windbreak. This area is most often used for drilling or practice for the guards but also serves as home for festivals, tournements, and another other gathering that might require the space for a large number of the local residents. A well-trodden path winds around the side of the wall and moves towards the coastline.|
|28 December 288|
Revyn is largely responsible for training young Patrek Mallister in the swordly arts, and the boy's been put through his paces for much of the morning. With the sun climbing high and the day's heat reaching its zenith, Revyn has called a stop for now and taken himself off the field, leaving the young, curly-haired squire to collect the equipment. Which he'll likely do in a moment. Just now, panting and sweaty, he's never the less doing his best to gut one of the practice dummies with a waster.
The Green is also where the men-at-arms of the Roost spend a part of each day training. Mostly cavalry drills of late, spear-work and the like, and it's stabbing targets from horseback that a knot of them are doing at present. The drill breaks up as the sun climbs high, and the blondest member of the guard, pale hair tied back in a short queue at his nape, wanders over to get himself some water, watching Patrek stabbing at the dummy nearby as he drinks.
Finally, the remains of youthful energy are burnt out, and after a final, valiant swipe, Patrek drops the waster and trudges over to see about some water for himself as well. He peers over at Raffton as he scoops up a ladle and swallows it down in large, dribbly gulps. Wiping his mouth on his sleeve he says, "You were in Lady Lucienne's retinue, weren't you, sir?"
Raffton splashes more water onto his face and swipes it back onto his neck before straightening, stepping out of the way to offer a sloppy little bow to Patrek, mumbling, "Young Lord." To the question, he nods. "Aye, sometimes."
Patrek nods a little and follows Raffton's motions, wetting his own face and rubbing a damp hand across the back of his neck. "Are you, uh… I mean you talk like, that is," he licks his lips, "like them."
Raffton's brows lower slightly, and he looks back at Patrek as he asks, "Like who?"
"Like they do," Patrek insists, his voice a little hushed. Finally, he clarifies, "The Ironmen."
Raffton frowns a little, and replies in more of an accent-obscuring mumble, "Do I?"
"Yes," Patrek says with another small nod, "when you speak properly, you do. Why do you?"
Raffton shrugs a bit, glancing away across the green at his comrades in arms heading off the practice field. He rocks on his feet a little before turning back and shrugging again, kind of sighing as he once again mumbles his reply: "'was born there."
Patrek's eyes widen and he eases a step backwards as he stares up at Raffton. It's one thing to suspect, but quite another to have those suspicions confirmed. For a beat, he can only stare. Then, with a swallow, he asks, "Does Lord Jerold know?"
Raffton watches the boy's reaction, silent, though he drops his gaze down to the toes of his boots for a moment, and then shifts to ladle himself another mouthful of water. His head bobs in a nod as he straightens up, wiping his mouth on his forearm.
The boy's brows knit together in confusion as a budding conspiracy is snuffed with that nod. "But why? Why would Lord Jerold have an Ironman in his guard? He's a good man. My father only ever speaks highly of him."
Raffton frowns a little, arms crossing against his chest. "Lord Jerold is a good man," he replies firmly, gaze stern.
"Then why does he suffer you here?" Patrek asks, lifting up his own chin so he can return Raffton's steady gaze. "Why hasn't he sent you back to your islands? How can he let you guard his lady daughter?"
Raffton continues frowning, though his own chin remains lowered, his voice still low as well. "Guess maybe he trusts me," he says. After a moment or two he adds, "That so hard to believe?"
"Never really thought Ironmen could be trusted," Patrek says, though there's no malice in the words. "You don't like us. You come on ships and attack us. My father and his father and his father before him protect our shore from the Ironmen. I will, too, one day."
Raffton grunts at this reply, and shifts a little, hands still tucked against his biceps across his chest, firsts curled tight. "You trust all Riverlanders the same?" he asks.
Patrek frowns a little for this question, digging the toe of one boot down into the grass. "I suppose not," he allows a little warily.
"Mmhmm," Raffton grunts, slightly less briefly, this time. He just gives a little nod, and turns back to get himself more water.
"So then," the boy murmurs, still watching Raffton, "why does Lord Jerold trust you?"
"Question for him, isn't it?" Raffton replies. After another pause, in which he drinks and wipes his chin dry, he adds, "Never done anything to hurt him."
Patrek nods a little for that. "Guess so," the boy agrees softly. He considers, as Raffton drinks, before asking, "Why haven't you? Why do you trust Lord Jerold?"
"'s a good man," Raffton says of Jerold once again, about as firmly as before, which is about as firmly as he's said anything, "Done right by me."
"But why?" Patrek asks again, frowning a bit more openly.
Raffton frowns back, looking confused by the repeated question. "Why what?"
"Why'd he do right by you? Why are you here at all?" Patrek says. "I've never heard of an Ironman that up and decided to live in the Riverlands."
"Didn't 'decide'," Raffton mumbles, shifting on his feet, toeing the base of the water barrel, "Got captured. Dunno why he did right. Guess 'cause he's a good man."
"So you were part of a raid," Patrek says, pushing his shoulders back a little, "just like all the other Ironmen. And Lord Jerold captured you and…" he blinks, the confusion returning, "kept you?"
"Younger'n you," Raffton supplies in the same tone, and then shrugs again and nods at the last. "Yep."
Patrek studies the barrel of water, or perhaps the reflection of Raffton in it, wobbling and swaying. Or maybe he simply looks for a moment to digest this new bit of the puzzle. He sniffs and lifts his head again. "It looked good," he offers at length, "the cavalry drilling."
Raffton's reflection grows only more muddled as the man himself shifts, lifting a hand to scratch at his beard and briefly at his nose, glancing over towards the fields where said cavalry drills were taking place. He shrugs, and nods a bit. "Captain Ser Jarod was working 'em hard. Not my strong suit, but." He shrugs again, "Do what I can. Got t'turn from the shoulder more when you're stabbing," he offers after a moment, the advice given in his mumbliest mumble yet, "Too much from y'wrist."
"Yeah?" the boy asks, interest piqued. He glances back at the dummy and his waster lying beside it. "Could you show me?"
Raffton peers at Patrek for a long moment, glances at the dummy, and then back to Patrek again. He's silent for a long moment, and finally shrugs one shoulder, dropping arms to his sides and heading over towards the dummy to pick up a practice blade and demonstrate.