|Just a Sellsword|
|Summary:||Eryk asks a favor of Ella, and gets both more and less than he'd requested.|
|Date:||14 June 289|
|Related Logs:||None in particular|
|Stonebridge - Town Square|
|It's a square in a town.|
|14 June 289|
Not all the vendors in Stonebridge are of the fish-monger variety, thankfully, and the town square is dotted with tables and stalls selling any number of other types of goods, as well. Among them browse people of all ranks and stations, from the highest to the lowest (not that there's much in their price range). Somewhere in the high-middle end of that range is where Mistress Ella Weston falls, her dress fine enough to belong to a noble woman, but plain and discreet enough to mark her more likely a rather wealthy commoner. With a liveried young man following her acting as both guard and parcel-carrier, she surveys the goods on offer at a leather-worker's stall, examining a bit of dyed suede.
Eryk definitely looks like one of the lower end of that spectrum. The bearded man looks like a vagabond with his weather stained clothes and most of his worldly goods slung on his back beside a longbow and a sword in its scabbard. As he makes his way through the market stalls most of the seller eye him warily as do the guards making their rounds. Still, when Eryk spots Ella in her fine dress and servant following behind he wastes no time in turning his steps in her direction, smoothing out his beard with his fingers and adjusting the solid iron ring he wears on a leather cord about his neck. When he arrives, he makes a bow far too polished to unpractised and asks in a voice tinged with accents of the Riverlands "My lady, might I have a word?"
That guard is at the moment busy juggling several packages from other stalls and shops around the square, but he shifts them to one hand and rests the other on his belt, eyeing Eryk very warily indeed as he approaches. "Should I clear him off, ma'am?" he asks, looking eager for a chance to do so - or maybe just for a chance to do anything but carry shopping. Ella looks up, setting the suede down and watching that bow with a gaze slightly narrowed in curiosity. "Not just yet, Willem," she says aside to the guard, staying him with a hand gesture. To Eryk she says, "You may." She nods, and spreads a hand in a 'you may go on' sort of gesture.
Eryk inclines his head in thanks. "You're very kind my lady, I will be brief. I was wondering if you might be one of the Naylands? I'm seeking an audience with Ser Riordan and for some reasons the guards at the tower have taken a dislike to me," he smiles a little at the last.
"And who might you be, ser?" Ella inquires, "You seem very well-practiced in bowing for the simple commoner you appear, and very well-armed," she adds, looking pointedly at that sword, so out of place on one of humble station. "I am afraid I am no Nayland, nor a lady," she offers, "but Mistress Weston. But I may perhaps be able to assist… what is the nature of your business with the Lord Regent?"
The man tugs his beard still smiling. "It seems we have both over estimated each other's station Mistress Weston," Eryk says lightly. "I am no knight, just a sellsword with an overabundance of education. I'm Eryk of Mummer's Ford, but most men call me Eryk Half-Maester because of my ill spent youth at the Citadel," he taps the single iron link hanging from the cord around his neck. "As for my business with the Lord Regent, I hope to be of help to him in whatever comes after his seizing the Charltons."
Ella lifts a brow at that. "A common sellsword with a fine weapon and an ill-spent youth at the Citadel? How singular." She considers Eryk, and his stated business for a moment, and then says, "If you seek employment in the guard, I would suggest you apply to Ser Bruce Longbough, its captain. He may be more accessible and better able to assist you than the Lord Regent himself. I expect he is likely very busy of late with this Charlton business you mentioned, but I think we would all be very surprised were he to miss the tourney at Seagard in a few days; you might seek him there."
"The Lord Regent, that is," Ella clarifies herself after a moment, with a politely self-deprecating smile, "Though Ser Bruce may attend as well, I do not know."
"Ser Bruce Longbough," Eryk repeats committing the name to memory, and behind his eyes there are wheels turning, though they stop after a moment and he blinks his eyes. "Hmm? Oh, I'm not so singular, my father was wealthy, a merchant, but not so wealthy as to keep as many sons as he had. So I was sent to the Citadel. As for the sword, they were easy enough to find during the war," he lifts his shoulders in shrug. "So what's this about a tournament?"
"Ah," Ella nods in understanding and apparent acceptance of this explanation, "I see." Then she pauses and asks, "May I ask your father's name? The Weston family is involved in merchant business in many areas of the Riverlands, perhaps we are acquainted? As for the tourney, it is to celebrate the betrothal of Lord Patrek Mallister and Lady Syrah Redwyne, daughter of the Lord of the Arbor. It begins on Saturday, at Seagard. I expect you would have a better than average chance of finding there any knight you might be seeking," she says, with another small smile.
"I doubt it," Eryk says tugging his beard. "He died in the rebellion. My other kin too." He sounds none too distressed about this fact and moves on quickly to the tourney. "Saturday? How far to Seagard?" he asks looking about the market. "And by that token, which way?" he asks.
"I am sorry to hear that," Ella offers, "You have my apology for pressing the subject." She smiles and allows the moving on, saying, "Less than a day's ride," she says, "Perhaps a day and a half on foot. It is out the road that way," she gestures, "Almost due south down the river road. May I ask, Master Eryk, what sort of experience you have as a sellsword?"
Eryk looks to the south and nods. "It's no matter, that was a long time ago," he says waving off the apology. Then he turns back to Ella when she asks about his experience. "I was a siege engineer during Robert's Rebellion, and since then have done just about everything else from leading men into battle to fixing some lord's holdfast. Though that last was more a test of what I learned in the Citadel than what I learned as a soldier. Why do you ask my lady?"
"A siege engineer?" Ella's pale brows rise once again. "That is the iron link, I take it?" she asks, gesturing at his not-chain. She listens with some mild curiosity, and then says, smiling, "Please, just 'Mistress', Master Eryk. Should any of the actual ladies about the town hear you, they will be very cross with me if I don't correct you. And I ask because I wonder if you have done any work as a guardsman before? I — my family business, that is — employ them to look after shipments on the roads and the river, among other things."
Eryk nods flashes a brief smile at his mistake. "Sorry, mistress. I'll remember this time," he says and then holds out the iron link. "Yes, it covers all the arts of war planning battles, fighting sieges, defending castles," he says rather proudly. "And yes, I've done some work as a guardsman between the rebellions."
Ella nods as she listens to that explanation, saying, "I see. That does sound a step or two above your average sellsword, Master Eryk. I can see why the lord of a tower might be interested in your services. Or the lord who desires a tower, I suppose, equally interested," she says, with a quirk of her lips in brief humor. She nods again as he goes on, and says, "I wonder whether you might not desire temporary employment on your way to Seagard," she proposes, "We always have caravans headed that direction, and if you are to travel there anyway…."
Eryk smiles. "One lord or another," he says with an easy shrug. "So long as their gold spends. As for your offer, I'd be honoured, you've done me a kindness by offering me both answers and your company, I could not say no even if I wished to."
"I expect the Lord Charlton is probably even more difficult to get an audience with than Lord Riordan," Ella says, and then shrugs elegantly, and smiles as Eryk accepts. "Excellent," she replies, "Then I shall give your name to my foreman, and let him know to expect you. He will make the arrangements and assignments and such, though I warn he may decide to put you through your paces a bit before hiring on," he says with a crooked smile, "He is a very cautious fellow."
"Yes, I imagine Lord Charlton would be hard to arrange an audience with at the moment," Eryk says with a smile. "Which is why I'm hoping to throw my lot in with the Naylands. Besides, defending a castle is always easier than taking one." He nods then and shifts the burden on his back. "Sounds like just the man you want as your foreman," he says approvingly. "I'll be happy to prove myself to him. Will you be going to Seagard as well my la… er, Mistress Weston?"
"I suppose it would be," Ella nods, "Easier to hold a castle than take one. Not that I'm at all acquainted with siege-craft myself," she demures with a smile. As for the foreman, she nods, "Yes, he is a boon to the business, to be sure. And I believe I may," she affirms, "I have both kin and business in Seagard, and the tourney is likely to be quite a grand affair, from the sound of it. They say a great many knights of the Reach will be attending, so it ought to be a spectacle of the sort we don't often see."
Eryk returns the smile and tugs at his beard. "It is I can assure you, but one hopes it doesn't come to defending Stonebridge, I suspect it would be bad for your business," he says and then shifts the bundle on his back. "Sounds like it will be a good tourney, worth the trip even without the promise of work and if you're coming and I am not presuming on your kindness too much, mayhaps you will introduce me to some of the great knights and lords in attendance?"
"On certainly does hope," Ella agrees, and laughs lightly, briefly, "One does very much." She smiles, and then nods, "It should be a good tourney, yes. I have high hopes for it, I admit." At his request brows lift once more, and she smiles faintly and says, "Perhaps, Master Eryk? Though my personal connections among the great lords in attendance are not so numerous, I am afraid. But let us see how you do with my foreman and the journey down, and then we shall see about my vouching for you to others, shall we?"
"I am confident I will prove worthy of your trust Mistress Weston, but you're right, I was too hasty," Eryk bows to her again. "Forgive me." He rises from his bow. "I suppose then before I do my case anymore damage I should be off to find your foreman and submit to his tests. All I have done this far is talk, and done so poorly, it would be good to back them up with action."
Ella smiles, and waves a hand in a dismissing gesture, "You are forgiven, Master Eryk. There is no harm in asking once, it is not as if you have pressed the matter. But yes, do see the foreman and we will see about getting you engaged on the trip to Seagard and go from there." She smiles again, "I wish you luck with his trials, and perhaps we will speak again at the tournament."
A confident smile crosses Eryk's lips. "We will," he assures Ella. "I am certain of it." Then he inclines his head. "I will leave you to your shopping. Good day Mistress Ella," and with that he starts away before slowing to a stop after a few steps. He turns. "One last thing, which way is your foreman? I did not ask," Eryk says tugging at his beard.
"Until next time, then, Master Eryk," Ella replies, smiling in good-natured amusement at his confidence. As he turns to go, she starts to lift a hand and open her mouth to call him back when he does so of his own accord, and she smiles again. "Down that street there," she directs, "Take your first left, and it is the second building on your right, you'll see the Weston sign. Master Garrison is the foreman's name. Good day, Master Eryk."
Eryk smiles as well, caught out by his own enthusiasim. "Thank you," he says rubbing his chin. "And good day to you as well," and with that he turns and makes his way throught the marketplace crowds following Ella's directions.