|Just Fine By Me|
|Summary:||Leon meets some of Stonebridge's "finest," including the Steward himself.|
|Related Logs:||Soups and Songs and Reporting Difficulties|
|Town Square, Stonebridge|
|The surrounding terrain has several small gullies and streams that feed into the waterfront area just adjacent to the town square, the sails of the boats visible over the tops of the buildings. The square is floored in the same heavy stone that the east docks and castle are constructed of while the buildings are a mix of the stone, wood, and mortar. There are quite a few fish vendors with their fragrant catches for sale among groups of tables which tend to be busy most of the time.|
|17 December, 289|
"I am an independant worker and have made garments for some of House Mallister as well as House Nayland and Erenford." It is clear the young woman is proud of this. "except for silk I make and dye my own fabric and do my own lacework and embroidery." After a moment she adds primly, "I find it easier to ensure exceptional quality for my clients that way. The amount I charge depends on many factors."
Leon ponders this, looking at her. "And what would 100 silver stags buy me, Mistress?", he asks curiously.
Penelope looks stunned and then skeptical but reples professionally, "I could outfit you completely with excellent quality cloth. I would recommend however something quite nice but perhaps lesser fabrics so you are not seen as one striving to be above their place." Honest to a fault, her words are blunt but delivered gently
"Oh, oh no, Mistress, it's not for me. It's for a woman. A girl… about your age…", Leon tries to explain. Measuring her while he in the saddle of his horse is more difficult, but he adds: "And I think your height as well. A pretty dress… not too fancy, not for a noble. But for a beautiful maiden… with a veil and some trinkets and… a warm cloak perhaps?", he tries to describe female garments with his hands, failing so utterly that even his horse snorts.
The various, virtuous morn activities of the good smallfolk of Stonebridge are interrupted now by the passage of a small knot of Nayland guardsman - four of them only, but burly ones - and, enshadowed in their midst, the slighter form of the Tower's young Maester. Taleryth wears a frown, dedicated and drawn, and strides his sweeping, berobed path along with great determination. He is probably not just bound for the Crane & Crossing.
The town is central enough for commerce that riders on horseback arrive often. This one wears dark, dull colors that blend easily into the crowd, and no markings to indicate his rank or purpose. He rides slowly, and his eyes search the crowd. He might offer a slight nod to those whom he recognizes, but little more until he sees the entourage of Nayland guardsman. These, and particularly their charge, draw his lingering attention. With a soft click of his tongue, he urges his chocolate brown mare to move more quickly through the crowd toward the group. "Maester?" he calls from beneath his cowl. "Maester Taleryth?" Nathaniel lifts one hand from the reins to push back the cowl so that it falls to his back.
The guardsmen are set to expand in number, as three more, younger and with lighter leather armature, throng their way to meet them, their task assisted by the animals they drive, a bay palfrey and a couple of saddle horses. Most of the maester's attention seems to be upon this band - and judging by the young man's expression it is attention of a stern kind - until the cowled stranger first hails him, then unstrangers himself. It looks like some of Taleryth's henchmen are of a mind to turn him away, but the maester allays them with a calm, formal gesture for moderation.
"Peace, I recognise this rider; he comes from the Terricks, but rarely in war. What would you have of me, master courier?"
"I must finish a commission for lady Mallister but then I should be available to take on this job. I will need to meet with your maiden fair so that I might create for her clothing that she loves." At this moment the baby wakes with a grumbling cry. The toddler turns and runs to his mother's side and pats at the sling "No cry Eli, no cry." With a smile tje mother reassures her daughter but continues to calmly conduct business "I will be able to give a more accurate price later, but you will have plenty for the order Ser"
"Oh, no!", Leon protests, shaking his head, "You cannot meet the maiden - it is to be a surprise for her. I think you ressemble her in stature, so perhaps you can work with your own measurements? And if necessary still alter the dress later if it does not fit her properly. You will be handsomely recompensed, have no worry.", he smiles, managing to hide a frown as the baby starts squalling and his horse tripples nervously.
Nathaniel stops his horse while the guards protectively close ranks around the maester, but he inclines his head ion as much of a deep bow as is possible from horseback. "I bring a package and a message for you, maester, if I may," he answers in a voice that is clear but measured to avoid drawing more attention than necessary. "I do not wish to detain you longer than necessary." He glances toward the sound of the bawling, but only briefly before returning his attention to the maester. "May I approach? If so, please forgive me for not dismounting. I wish to return with your reply, if you choose to give one, quickly."
"I also prefer celerity," the maester returns to the courier in an equable, neutral voice. "Pass your bundle to one of these good fellows, and speak your piece swiftly…"
But at this point one of the maester's guards butts in with even greater emphasis, and Taleryth turns aside with an irked expression as the strapping fighter mutters urgently in his ear…pointing the while towards the woman, the babe, …and the golden-headed hedge knight.
The young Maester draws in his breath…bites his lip…and nods. Only one guard now loiters beside him, the other six advancing on the apparently innocuous scene of commerce!
Looking amused at Leon's reaction and unphased by her daughter's waking she nods "In that case I shall discuss the design with you when I am able to take the job." Lifting the small girl from the sling, Penelope cradles her against her shoulder. "I estimate that I will be able meet with you in about two weeks." Glancing towards the commotion with the guards, there is something that causes her to look stricken for a moment so brief it is perhaps not noticible. Her expression tightens and she adds, "Thank you Ser. If there is nothing else?" As the large soldiers approach, the woman manages an awkward curtsy and greets them politely "Sers, good morn"
"Wonderful, I look forward to it. You can ask for me at the Inn in Terrick's Roost or have a message sent there when you are ready to see me.", Leon smiles at Penelope, "Pray, don't let me keep you, if you must be on your way though… " He bows to her and seems ready to head off when he notices the soldiers as well and quirks a brow as if to ask what all of that meant.
Tyroan doesn't leave Tordane Tower that often, and even more rarely does he leave the Tower wearing his brigadine and carrying his sword sheathed at his side. Evidently, one of the Sheriff's deputies passed by and headed off to the Tower. Spotting the knot of levymen and guards, the Steward stumps after them, opening and closing his hands inside heavy leather gauntlets to work the fingers into mobility. He slows a little as the guardsmen approach the hedge knight, allowing them to make the first approach before he takes his usual bull-in-a-china-shop approach.
Nathaniel waits patiently while the maester and guards debate the thorny issue of who really runs this show, Then he nudges the mare forward slowly and precisely, holding his reins in his left hind while his right hand removes a small bundle of blue cloth from his pouch. The cloth is bulky, wrapped in several layers around something shaped like a bottle. He offers it to the guard. "With compliments from Mistress Dorsey, maester, and a request to meet with you when your time permits. She offers to ride here or to the tower, at your preference." Having said this, he bows his head once more and looks at the gray-robed man to see what response, if any, he will receive.
Formerly so composed and efficient looking, Taleryth in the midst of the message and the developing…situation has become distracted and irritable. He nods to the courier curtly, "She can come whenever she pleases, but it might be best to remind her that unlike the so-called maester who taught her, I don't intend to sever my chain and take a wife." He shrugs and takes the gift from his last guard, before nodding, and stepping back, "I am to the Tower, and suggest you depart too, master courier. Things are about to become, I deem, …less cerebral."
At the same time as the maester and his now singular guard are bustling off the scene, the serjeant in charge of the remaining detachment approaches the yellowheaded knight with a rather steely courtesy, and suggests that he "come along in to the Tower, his Stewardship'd like a word." When the Nayland in question actually nears them, the six guards and levymen stand to attention without letting their target out of it either…henceforth directly at their master Ser Tyroan's beck.
Penelope notes that the guards seem to not wish her and with a whisper to her son, "Come along my darling, this business is not ours." She takes Quintans hand, balancing her baby in one arm.
"Is that so?" Leon looks from the guard to the Master and then to the newcomer, but finally looks back to Penelope and bows as deeply as he can without falling from the saddle. "It seems my presence is requested elsewhere, Mistress. So I must beg leave to be excused. But I look forward to hearing from you." He smiles at her and the little boy who's still fussing over his horse, then turns in the saddle to face Ser Tyroan with a curious expression, ready for him.
Tyroan nods to Penelope as she departs with her children, then centers his attention directly on Leon, clasping his hands behind his back as if he were standing in his own map room rather than looking up at a mounted, armed man. Two Guards with sword and shield along with three levymen with pikes will do that for a man. Or maybe he's just like that. When he speaks, his voice has a gravel to it, as if it's been worn out shouting orders and curses over the years, "Mind hopping the fuck down and coming with us to the fucking Tower?" The words are politely enough asked, with the curses coming as a matter of course rather than out of any anger.
Upon receiving the maester's response, Nathaniel bows his head for a moment, and then replies, "I thank you for your time, maester. Be well." Then he shifts in the saddle to follow the scholar's gaze toward the growing number of guards. He hesitates for a moment to gauge whether any of them are looking to detain him. Although he knows no reasons for worry, with nobles caution is a wise course. However, he sees that Leon is their person of interest, and so, with another click of his tongue, he guides his mare away from the scene and back along the route that brought him here.
Leon seems surprised by the language, then slightly amused. "You seem to know me, good Ser, but I have no idea who you are and what Tower you want me to follow to? If you prefer for me to follow you on foot, that can be arranged. I trust one of your men will look after my steed, he is very dear to me?", he asks and dismounts with a well-practised fluid movement.
One of the guards snaps out, "That's the Steward of Stonebridge you're talking too." Tyroan himself waves off the guards anger, "Ser Tyroan Nayland. And I don't know your name, but unless I miss my fucking guess, you damn near broke up a common room in town not long after the Battle." The Steward reaches up with one hand, running his gauntlet back over his balding and shorn scalp, "It's the goldilocks. Should've cut them if you were looking to come back." He gestures to the guard who spoke up, the serjeant in point of fact, who moves up to take the horse's reins, Tyroan speaking up again, "And we're not fucking thieves."
"I did not break a common room, not even nearly, Ser.", Leon replies, running a hand self-consciously though his hair, which he keeps wellgroomed and clean and which is clearly his pride, "I came back because Stonebridge used to be my home. Before it was razed and my family killed.", he adds with ill-concealed anger, "I came back now because I wanted to check on something. And as soon as you will reunite me with my horse, I shall be on my way again." But for now the horse is given up and he falls into step with the Steward.
Tyroan turns about to lead the way toward Tordane Tower, the other Guardsman falling in to Leon's left side and a step behind him, with the three levy men taking up the rear with their long pikes. Tyroan walks confidently for all his age, half-turning his head to speak to the hedge knight over his shoulder, "By the reports I have, you damn near started three fucking fights. Two with minstrels and one with an off-duty Guardsman." He's silent a step or two, then adds, "And if your family died in the couple of fucking fires that got set here, they were either brave fucking levy men, or they were fucking stupid. All the civilians were sent off to the Mire just so they wouldn't be fucking killed."
Leon glares at the man when he calls his parents fucking stupid, but he gulps and tries to keep his anger down. "I had a few words with a guardsman, that is all. He provoked me. The minstrels… pshaw. If they are so thin-skinned to run for the local sheriff when someone mocks their bad singing, they have no right to be in this business."
That Guardsman walking beside and just behind the hedge knight clears his throat, and Tyroan turns about, coming to a stop to face the other man's anger, "My nephews didn't do much right in the defense of Stonebridge, but sending out all the women, children, and old men was one of the fucking smartest things either of them ever did. Anyone too stupid to leave and too fucking unlucky to be caught in one of the few fucking fires… well." He shakes that off, "As for your 'performance,' if you grew up in Stonebridge and have been here these last years of Nayland control, you'll know that we don't suffer fools or hotheads lightly." Outside of the family, at least. "If you're just going to fucking lie to me, I'll throw you in the damned stocks now, boy." Sure, the other man may be grown and knighted, but age gives you leave — from most — to refer to others as youngsters and the like, "The report I have says you drunkenly tried to attack two minstrels. Why?"
"And what makes you so certain that I am the one who is lying and not the minstrels who submitted their report or said those things to you on some occasion?", Leon asks, then inhales deeply. "The truth. I tell you the truth and if you do not believe me, I cannot help you, Ser." He inhales deeply, then begins: "I spent the last six years away from here. I was squire to a good knight and became a knight in Kings Landing last year myself. I saved some money and came back home, eager to share my good fortune with my family. I had no idea what had happened here in the last months. I found the village destroyed, my family dead - except for my sister, who was among those who had gone to the Mire. I do not know why my parents had not left. It did not matter to me, what matters was, that they were gone. They never saw me wear the spurs of a knight, they never received the bag of silver stags I had saved up to give them…" He chokes for a moment, but then carries on. "My wounds were fresh and raw when I was in that Inn that day, trying to gather myself. I might have had a few drinks too many but who wouldn't drown his pain in such a situation? Having minstrels sing mocking songs… it was more than a man could bear. So I told them to shut up…"
Tyroan shows his teeth in a tight smirk, "Who says I'd listen to a word a fucking nancy-boy minstrel said?" But beyond that, he lets the other man speak. When he finishes, Tyroan crosses his arms over his chest, "Ser Geoffrey," that would be the last Lord Tordane, "May have let brawls go unpunished because of emotion, but you'll find the Nayland Steward does not. There will be law and justice in this fucking town. No bandits running around our lands, and no brawls in our town. I'm fining you one stag and two stars for damages. You start another brawl, you'll spend time in the stocks as well. And if you see the minstrel who was pissing on the fucking memory of Stonebridge's dead, you let a levyman or a Guardsman know. I've a mind to let him fucking see how smart his tongue is with his own eyes."
Leon looks a little surprise and finally has a hard time to stop the corner of his mouth twitching upwards into a grin. "I will be glad to send the minstrel your way, Ser.", he acknowledges and nods in agreement to the fine. "I thank you for your understanding, Ser. Please accept my apologgies for the damage I did. I was beside myself with raw grief for my family, but that is no excuse of course." He stops to fumble for his purse and counts out the requested sum for the Steward.
Tyroan gestures for the money to be handed over to the Guardsman at Leon's elbow, "See that fucking gets to Guardsman Hareth to cover what he paid." Apparently, the Guardsman on the scene paid for the damages out of his own pocket. Stepping forward a bit, the Steward centers his attention on the hedgeknight, "Now. You're new to the spurs, so let me give you some fucking advice. Keep your godsdamned temper under fucking control, or you'll find yourself hanging from your heels with your fucking spurs hacked off. They may fuck around with justice in Terrick lands, and they may fucking flaunt it in the wolfshead's manor up north, but in Stonebridge, we see justice done, and fast. You got me?"
"Yes Ser, I understand.", Leon replies and bows slightly, "I… I had no intention to come back here, but I heard that an old friend of mine was alive yet and I came to visit him for the day."
Tyroan nods his head, then gestures to the Guard serjeant holding the hedge knight's horse. The younger man brings over the horse, handing the reins back. Tyroan makes a dismissive gesture, "Then get on out of here. Don't find yourself in front of me again." He pauses, then grunts, "Fuck it. And I'll need your godsdamned name," he doesn't seem angry at the hedge knight, but rather at… "for the fucking reports."
Leon looks surprised once more. "The report didn't even state my name?", he realizes, "So how did you know to look for me. I am Ser Leon Undyl, at your service." The young man bows slightly, before reaching out to take the horse's reins, but he doesn't mount yet.
Tyroan gestures towards Leon's hair, "The hair, a description of your face, your body type, and your armor. Not many people with hair that color or that length around here." Does the Steward sound grumpy? If so, it's only because he started losing his hair three decades ago. "Get the fuck out of here then, Ser Leon." There's a pause, and then he shrugs slightly, "My fucking condolences on the loss of your parents." And then the Steward is turning away to stump his way back toward the Tower.
"I see, thank you.", Leon mutters and mounts his horse again, perhaps making a mental note to wear a woolly cap in future. "Have a good day, Ser.", he remarks before the Steward can trot off, then he steers his horse into the opposite direction to put some distance between them… fast.